Did you ever want a specific colour or size of frit and not have it? I am sharing my process for making your own "clean" frit. No manual "smashing"
This process will not only give you the quantity, colours and sizes of frit on demand, but it can use up those fusing glass bits you have been diligently hoarding and possibly save you money in the long run.
Items you will need:
Scrap fusing glass
Stainless steel strainer with short handles (long handles are fine if you have the space but don't be tempted to grab it by the handle. You will get burned!)
Long metal barbecue tongs (Mine are stainless steel, 16" long with a scalloped gripping edge and no silicone)
2-3 "Shooter" marbles (approximately 1" in diameter. You can steal them from your kid's marble bag, they probably won't miss it because they don't know what to do with it anyway!)
Quart sized sturdy plastic container with lid. (1kg cleaned out peanut butter containers work well)
Tub of water to accommodate the strainer and to cover the entire amount of glass
Nesting sifters (I sell them and/or rent them at Cranberry Stained Glass)
Piece of paper to place under sifters to capture powder if you are so inclined
Containers to store your bounty. (5 per colour if you are keeping the powder, otherwise 4) Recycled frit jars, zip bags, plastic Rubbermaid, Dollarstore finds...
Choosing Your Glass.
I reccommend that you do one colour at a time per strainer. You can do more than one strainer at a time if you have multiple strainers and the space in your kiln. But, for your first time, keep it simple and do one strainer with one colour. You can "fill-yer-boots" once you are familiar with the process. Mixing colours afterwards once frit is complete is reccommended. Don't do more than 2 pounds of glass in one strainer load. This is a great way to use all your compatable fusing scrap. Clean any marker that is not black sharpie off the glass. Roughfly cut or snip the glass up into manageable pieces that fit within the strainer. Set the glass in the strainer and place it in the room temperature kiln. Make sure the strainer is not touching the elements or the thermocoupler and is not too tall for the kiln. No need to kilnwash or spray the strainer with a releasing agent, the kiln will not be hot enough to cause glass stick to anything.
Note: I have experienced some incompatability within Oceanside "System 96" and Wissmach "96" Glass. I reccommend that you do not mix Oceanside and Wissmach in your frit or on your project.
Program The Kiln.
Plan Your Path!
While the kiln and glass is heating up. Prepare your work space. Plan your path! Remove any obsticles in the way! Place the tub on the floor close to your kiln without blocking your own access to and from the kiln. Put enough cold water in the tub to cover the total depth of the glass in the strainer.
Get Ready For Action!
When the temperature in the kiln reaches 1000F, start donning your safety protection: safety glasses and leather welding gloves. It would also be advisable to wear closed toe shoes and long pants (lets not be careless!). Remove any curious kids or pets from the location as well.
Take The Plunge!
With tongs in one gloved hand, and the other gloved hand on the kiln lid handle, carefully open the lid of the kiln. Reach in with the tongs and using only them, grab the side of the strainer with a firm grip and without racing, carefully transfer the strainer of hot glass to the tub of water and plunge the whole thing into the water. Everything should sizzel and bubble for a few seconds. The glass will experience thermal shock and will have cracked up like broken tempered glass (much more obvious in transparent glass). It may still look like a solid piece, but be assured it will fall apart relatively easily at this point. Leave the strainer and the glass in the water for a few minutes until everything has cooled down. Using the tongs, remove the strainer with the glass from the water. Remove the glass from the strainer and dry the glass.
Once the glass is fully dry. place it in your quart sized plastic container with 2-3 "Shooter" marbles, put the lid on the container. Make sure your safety glasses and your respitory mask are ON. Hold the container with 2 hands (Not like in my photo. LOL) and SHAKE-IT-UP Baby!
Sift & Sort!
With Nesting sifters in order (largest holes on top down to the fine mesh on the bottom), safety glasses and respiratory mask on, dump the contents of the plastic shaking container into the sifters.
Gently pan around the crushed glass to encourage sifting through the levels of mesh. Once you feel you are done, seperate the sieves and distribute your fresh clean frit to their designated storage containers.
Don't forget to label your frit containers! Brand, colour, indication of System or Coefficient of Expansion (COE) and perhaps the size: Coarse (C), medium (M), small (S), Fine (F) and powder (P).
I will label this colour frit as: Wissmach 9640F, Orange-Red Solid Striker.+size (C,M,S,F, or P)
For Your Information
Where I purchased items.
Shooter Marbles at my local Dollarstore. I had to purchase a whole bag of marbles to get 2 Shooter Marbles. I might have a game at recess today!
Research & Developement (a.k.a. R&D Playtime!)
I have also experimented with an electric coffee bean grinder with moderate success. Only appropriate for Step 6 and beyond. Make sure the grinder has a stainless steel blade and is set on the coarsest setting or only pulse in miniscule bursts. Mine was purchased at Canadian Tire for under $20CDN. Keep an eye on metal particals that may break away from the blade and pick them out manually. A magnet will not work on stainless steel. Wear your mask! This process does kick up more dust. After your first use, there is no going back to being a coffee bean grinder! At that moment, it is committed to only being your Frit Grinder! BTW, all warranties will be null and void too!