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Jul 12th, 2019

Smart Kiln: The First Prototype

A Look back at the first prototype of the SmartKiln, the source code involved, and why I got started in the first place. A standalone kiln controller based on Raspberry Pi, Relays, and Node.js.

smartkiln version one ui


Getting Started

“The purpose behind this ongoing project is to create a better, smarter, cheaper, and more accessible kiln controller. Whether that be for ceramics, glass, curing, or any other application, my aim is to lower the cost while bringing a better experience for beginners and experienced craftsmen alike.”

That was what I had originally wrote when I first started talking about the SmartKiln, and while it still holds true, I don’t know that “cheap” and “smart” go together while still being able to maintain a premium device such as I envision. This “Standalone” version was my attempt at testing my code, simplifying the project, and making something that just works and gives users the ability to visualize, on a graph, what is happening inside their kilns. In that regard, I’d say I mostly nailed it!

I’ve continued to improve my code since though and I have a product that will be launching in 2020! There will definitely be more posts about it as things get closer, so keep an eye out!


smart kiln retrofit

This project utilizes a Raspberry Pi 3 B+. One of my favorites pieces of tech!

NodeJs on the Pi was the ideal choice to use for controlling everything, and yes I know, Javascript for an IoT device may not sound the best. But given all the community support and packages, my current Javascript experience, Nodes endpoint capabilities (i.e websockets, REST, etc), and the amount of expandability even within the confines of Node, it has worked wonderfully! It also allows for lots of code sharing between server, hardware, and frontend code.

Listed below is a parts list for the tech used.


As for the actual kiln used, it was an old kiln that had been sitting around gathering dust, never being fired. All mostly because it didn’t have a electronic kiln controller! I was able to fairly easily retrofit the kiln with the SmartKiln and so far it has been running perfectly!


My preferred choice for modeling is Blender, which is a free, open source, 3D software on par with most all premium modeling softwares out there!

The case was my own design, specifically to fit my needs and component placement. It was then printed out on a MakerGear M2 3D printer using PLA and Simplify3D as the slicer. The one thing I forgot to add was a way to mount it! As you may see in the header image, I resorted to just placing a few nails around the edges to hold it in place. I have since designed new cases that have a spring mechanism for mounting and easily un-mounting, while still having a nice clean design.

Unfortunately, I thought I had a backup of the original case and when switching computers recently I didn’t bother to make an extra copy. As it turns out, I completely lost the file and no longer have any reference to it, other than the physical model. This is not a huge problem though as the SmartKiln design has changed so much that the current version no longer originates from the first one in any regard.

Source Code

Repository Screenshot

Linked below is the source code for the two parts of the project. As of the time of writing, both projects have been archived and are purely still alive just for reference back to my first working prototype. The project and future code has also been taken private as the SmartKiln will be released as a full fledged product in 2020.

Listed below each link are the technologies utilized in each part.


  • NodeJs
  • ExpressJs
  • OnOff (Raspberry Pi GPIO Control)

User Interface

  • ReactJs
  • Chart.Js


What did you think?