Guess I'll try again.

Icu4dzs

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Hello all,
It has been a while since I kept a journal here. I was having some difficulty with a few less than desirable people who felt it was their business to attempt to censor what I wrote because it exposed not only their inadequacy but their despicable behavior.
Since then I managed to move on. I did have to have the journal pulled down because a woman with evil intent was attempting to cause me problems and I decided to just get it down rather than have to take her to court. I despise that kind of nonsense but I know what she was up to was no good.

Since I last wrote things have moved forward on the farm. All the buildings now have steel roof so I am no longer worried about leaking roofs and water damage to my buildings. Not much work has been done on the canning shed but then I have been quite busy with work and that has kept me about 100 miles away from home for about 4 days a week. That is now over so I can be home more often and just work one or two weekends as I need.

I did manage to continue my approach to self-sufficiency and my dog, Buddy is being himself, but not the least helpful. He is such a demanding soul. He would play "fetch the stick 24/7/365 if I could do it...which I can not. My right arm can't throw overhand since an injury in Viet Nam when I had to throw some frags one night to protect my patients. I had been instructed on the "proper way to throw them" but I don't think the enemy was willing to wait till I had "assumed the position" so I threw them as hard as I could and I hurt my rotator cuff. Now I can't throw a baseball without pain...which is a bummer because I used to have a pretty good arm as a kid. All that is in the past now but Buddy still wants to chase that stick...so I try.

Monday was interesting. I went to see my friend who is for all intents and purposes the 21st century blacksmith (in a way) because he makes things out of steel (he calls it IRON). I had told him several months ago about wanting to make a rocket stove big enough to heat my metal shop which has about 900 square feet (roughly 30 x 30) I gave him a copy of the plans that ZeroFossilFuel drew up and photographed of his shop heater which was similar to the "rocket mass heater" but somewhat more sophisticated in some areas of design. He liked the idea but because he has sold his farm, he is getting out of the "making things" business and has been spending all his time, taking things apart and getting rid of all that he has collected over his life time so he can live in town. This was NOT a happy thing for him but his heart is giving him difficulty so his wife put her foot down. He still goes to the shop every day but is working to dissolve his entire life of working with steel...an activity that clearly "breaks his heart" from a different perspective.

At any rate, when I got there he showed me a piece of 6" square steel tubing that was 1/4" thick and about six feet long. He suggested I try making one of the rocket stoves out of that before I started cutting up 20 foot lengths of 5" square steel tubing. 1/4" thick steel is not going to "burn through" in MY lifetime...you can bet on that. :thumbsup

I did a couple of quick calculations and told him how long to make the cuts since he has a power hack saw that cuts accurately on the 45* angle. We cut that tubing into three pieces each on the 45* and stood them up to look like the "J" of a rocket mass heater. The cuts were amazingly accurate so we welded them together and I took it home.

So today, I set this monster up. (yes, it weighs nearly 100 pounds but I was able to lift it a short distance) I put it up on top of a pedestal I made out of concrete blocks and supported it with some more concrete blocks. I took some paper and a few small dry pieces of 2x4 that were cut off at the corners and put them into it. I lit the paper and the wood began to burn but for quite a while the fire was coming back toward the short part of the "J" not going up the long side. I spent a little more time on it and before too long, I had this thing buring like the Rocket stove it is designed to be. I have an infra-red thermometer and places on the pipes were greater than 500*. The thermometer only goes up to 500* and I know that the one part where the long side of the "J" goes up was at least 497* in one spot.

I surmised that the problem with getting the combustion chamber to draw the fire in was that the temperature of the tubing was still quite cool...in relative terms (it was about 80*F in the shop today.) No problem with it though after I got the entire tubing hotter. In fact, I was able to put a 5" log in the combustion chamber and it burned beautifully. I was amazed that I was able to put such a large piece of wood into the chamber but that is why I made it out of 6" tubing.

I got a hot water heater tank which is about 17" in diameter for the outside of the heater and found some chimney flu that is 8" square for surrounding the upright which will be filled with the insulating material (either vermiculite or perlite). When I cover this thing with the water heater tank, it will be rather large so I have to put it in one place and then leave it there. My guess is that with the 900 sq. ft floor space and the 20 foot high ceiling (think quonset hut) I am convinced that this thing will be able to heat my shop so I can work in it during the winter. I am somewhat concerned about clean out because of how long I need to keep a fire going while I work in there but I do believe it will overcome much of the -25*F on those days and the average 17*F on the other days. I will see what it takes. Surely there will be enough heat to work but I don't know what will happen when I leave at night unless I put a really big log in it and do what I can to control the loss of sparks, etc to prevent a fire. I think I can do it but when it gets that hot, the wood will burn faster than I'd like. O well, the proof will come this winter for sure.

The other good news (at least to me) was the find I made on his scrap pile. There was a 6 gallon Surge Bucket milker just sitting there waiting to be sent to the scrap yard which I immediately grabbed and offered more than the scrap price. I cleaned it and did a little work on it to be sure it would function and all I need now is to create -12.5 lbs pressure and it will milk my beautiful Buttercup!...I am soooooo happy. :clap

I did call the company who sells parts for it and ordered some new inflators and repair parts for the "mechanism". I was so glad to talk to the lady on the phone because she owns/milks cows and was able to be very helpful with what I needed. I can't wait to see it work but then I am NOT ready to milk just yet. I need to be able to be home 7 days a week and not miss a milking. Buttercup deserves good treatment as do all my animals.
More later...
 

Icu4dzs

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This weekend has been remarkably productive. I have worked on several projects that interest me. One of them I didn't take any pictures, but the other two are coming in this post. Now that I am getting the hang of posting photo's, I will explain the first picture...



What you see is the "guts" of the rocket stove/heater that is going to heat my shop. I don't know that I am going to try to use a huge mass made of cobb to retain the heat, but it will certainly kick out some BTU's when I am in there.



In this view what you will notice is the tank from an old water heater that I have cut to serve as the container for the heat generation from the rocket stove. Some of the folks who build these use 50 gallon steel drums but I like the steel tank from a water heater. It is really heavy and should do quite well. I have been studying the "rocket mass heater" and I have also studied the shop heater created by a guy who calls himself "ZerofossilFuel" on YouTube. The guy is brilliant and a very well educated engineer (my guess). If you haven't seen any of his videos, I highly recommend them.

Any way he created a rocket heater and this one is similar to it but has some significant design changes.

As I said, this one is 1/4" steel tubing which is 6" square giving me a huge cross-sectional-area (CSA) of over 30 sq. in. Since the csa has to remain constant through the entire stove, I felt that working with this steel tubing would be superior to trying to cut a bunch of fire bricks and attempting to put them together inside a much smaller tank.

At any rate, this is what has been going on. Cutting that tank was easier than I had imagined. Having the right tools certainly does make a job go a lot better.



This time I used a 24 TPI hacksaw blade in my jig saw rather than the 42 TPI and it worked much better...i.e. faster. It takes some getting used to when cutting this tank (3/32" steel) but once you realize how quickly this thing cuts and how easy it is to control, things go very quickly.

Then today, I finally decided to put the gate on the north side of my hay field so I can get in and out of the farm along the "oil road" without having to go all the way around. So while you can't see both sides completely, the gate is still quite easily recognized.



My last project (other than cleaning up the shop which is a monumental task() was a candle heater. I saw it on the internet and took the time to build one. Building the legs took the most time. I didn't light a candle under it just yet, but will tomorrow. I'll also include a picture of it. Basically a group of terra cotta flower pots assembled inside each other.
Kind of a neat process.

Having some time off really does wonders for my mind and creativity.
 

Denim Deb

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How big an area does the rocket heater heat? I'm seriously thinking about building one for my green house but am not sure where to even start!
 

rhoda_bruce

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I also have a long drive to work and I did return to nursing because my cushy little job got stupid.....I could have handled it but DH wouldn't let the stupidity slide and it was affecting my home life. Oh well, I still had a license, so bought a couple of new white uniforms and figured out the bare minimum of those cursed computers I now have to use (which isn't a good thing at all, btw).
Well, I have a book on RMH's and I want to construct one for under my house, if I can get it closed in. One drawback is my oldest daughter has voiced that she believes if we close in downstairs, it would stay damp. Well, I want a bunch of big old windows for ventillation and possibly an AC or 2 for special needs, but if the entire under part of the house is closed off and the climate is controlled down there, it seems to me that it would help control the upper part, where we actually live. I only know one way to find out, but the girl is super smart and her opinion will weigh heavy on her Poppa....Grrr.
I know what you mean about milking chores. It would be good if you had a partner in these ventures, because I for one was scared when I bred my does. I was mentally preparing myself for that chore and as faith would have it, I ended up nursing again, and thus am spending much more time at home. It would be better if I milked twice a day though.....heck, as far as that goes, it would be better if I actually had a doe that was from a milking breed, but she is emptied in just a few minutes and is cutting down on my milk purchases. I"m not 100% set up for what all I'm doing with her, so I have been having to improvise. You wouldn't even want to see how I have to position her for milking (How many Cajuns does it take to......?).
 

Wannabefree

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:ya Glad to see you back!!!! Love the stove!
 

Icu4dzs

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Denim Deb said:
How big an area does the rocket heater heat? I'm seriously thinking about building one for my green house but am not sure where to even start!
To be perfectly honest, I don't know...yet. This one is distinctly larger than any thing I have seen on the internet to date. I used steel for the basic rocket stove component and now I have created the metal shell which will become the "radiator" for the heat. The guy I talked about (ZeroFossilFuel) made a smaller version using half size fire bricks because he wants to be able to move his from one location to another. His shop is quite small (particularly when compared to mine. I think his is 14 x 24)

My shop is a 35 x 90 quonset hut which has been divided into 34 foot and 60 foot sections. The 34 section is my "machine shop". It has a massive double door on the west end, and a small garage door on the south exposure. I'll take some pictures of it but if you look at the photos I have published you get a feel for the curvature of the building. I measured it roughly as about 35 square, so the area is 1225 sq ft. The ceiling is 14' 7" from the concrete floor. My rough calculation is that it is about 17,685 cubic feet.

So, as I said before, on a day when it was -25*F I had a smaller version (similar to the ZFF model which I was contemplating building) and got the air temperature to about +40*F in there. Now that took me all day to do (and nothing else because I had to constantly feed the fire and observe the situation) but at least the air temp was better. The issue for me though is that I was also using a propane furnace and between the two of them I was still not able to take off my coat and gloves to do work. The ambient temperature of the machine on the north wall (A Smithy IMX40 which can be seen partially on one of the photos with the tank on a table) was still too cold to work so I still have to come up with a process to keep the ambient temperature of the machines in that shop at least in the +50*F range so they and I can work. Since I have not completed this particular model of the rocket heater, I will have to wait to evaluate its capabilities for now. I did fire it up just to see if the proportions were good and the horizontal component is 24" long and the vertical component is 47" high which is nearly the perfect specifications as described by Winiarski which indicated essentially a 2:1 ratio of vertical to horizontal. I did figure out that when I was starting the fire, if I blew some air into the combustion chamber right away, it carried the air current in the conrrect direction and immediately began to burn as expected.

In the picture you see several large pieces of wood in the burn chamber standing up. I did some temperature measurements in several areas of the stove as it is shown on the current photograph and the vertical component, near the very top was 497*F. My infrared thermometer only goes up to 500*F so I really don't know exactly how hot that thing got but I don't think it is hot enough to soften the welds that hold it together. With the inside diameter of the combustion chamber at over 5 1/2" I can put a rather substantial log in that thing but have to supplement it with some smaller pieces because a thick log will go out. I notice that smaller logs burn quite rapidly in it but the trade off is the amount of heat generated and the fact that there is almost NO smoke coming from the vertical stack. It does put out some smoke and thus the need for the shell and a way for the smoke to be chaneled away from my air space. I have considered an exhaust fat just to keep the smoke going out but will have to see where I can put that on the days when it is SOOOO cold.
I am going to experiment with partially splitting the larger log to let the fire get up inside it much like the Swiss log stove where you take a dry log, split it in 4 pieces and start the fire on the inside of the log so that it burns from the inside out. That may improve the function of the stove, too.

The old water tank I used for the shell is 3/32" steel which is quite thick and will radiate heat quite well. ZFF made some modifications to his which increased the surface area of radiation and that seemed to improve the output of his stove. The steel is a good heat transfer medium so that will be more helpful.

The next step is to cut out the hole for the smoke to egress and to attach the tubing to carry the smoke. I am thinking of using stove pipe steel because it too will radiate heat. The purpose although is to capture as much heat as possible and to minimize the heat lost at the point where the exhaust exits the building. Once I have that, I will work on the construction of the insulation around the vertical pipe which helps maintain the temperature of the entire stack in order to burn as much of the products of combustion as possible and minimize any smoke by burning that up too!

The unfortunate part is that my building is made of steel and has NO insulation. That makes things a bit difficult to retain the heat but on those days with the snow sitting on top of the building, it makes the ice melt quickly and come off up there.

Once I have some more data, I will let you know exactly what I am capable of doing. Mind you, I chose some really heavy steel parts for this so carrying it around is somewhat impractical. I will have to use my tractor bucket to lift it into place once I get it built.

Once I have this stove working, my next experiment will be to make a large wood-gas stove out of a 30 gallon barrel and a 50 gallon barrel in order to come up with something that will allow large heat production and complete combustion (or near complete).

I'll take some pictures of my candle heater today and publish them later today or tomorrow. :)

I am still waiting for the shipment of the milking machine parts I ordered and the lathe cutters. It seems that shipping to this part of the world is nearly as difficult as most of central Africa. :somad

Stay tuned guys, it is going to be a cold winter...
 

~gd

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Good to read you again. We had been writing about you and your user name because some one wanted info about ND and it's growing season. [Hubby has a job in the oil patch lined up] look up her posts if you want to help her.

I don't know squat about a rocket stove but I get the impression that you can't or shouldent control the air supply to the fire box? To keep a chunk burning all night my Dad would 'bank the fire'covering the log with ash so it burned slower but still kept the flue warm [You need a clean burning wood for this] This was in the fireplace before we got the 'oak stove' [brand name? most people called them pot bellied stoves] He loved that stove. air control and rocker grates to help with removing the ash and as long as the flue was warm it was smokeless in the house. To start from cold he would burn newspapers to warm the flue and then slowly build a real fire.
As for your dog buddy and your bum arm have you tried a Frissby [sp?]flying disk? I have a similiar problem [I tried not to look like the wimp I was for the ladies softball team that I was keeping score for] overhand is gone but side hand is good enough that I play "disk golf" on occasion very popular in the seniors circles. buddy may insist on a stick but they cas be side handed too. ~gd
 

Icu4dzs

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~gd said:
Good to read you again. We had been writing about you and your user name because some one wanted info about ND and it's growing season. [Hubby has a job in the oil patch lined up] look up her posts if you want to help her.

I don't know squat about a rocket stove but I get the impression that you can't or shouldent control the air supply to the fire box? To keep a chunk burning all night my Dad would 'bank the fire'covering the log with ash so it burned slower but still kept the flue warm [You need a clean burning wood for this] This was in the fireplace before we got the 'oak stove' [brand name? most people called them pot bellied stoves] He loved that stove. air control and rocker grates to help with removing the ash and as long as the flue was warm it was smokeless in the house. To start from cold he would burn newspapers to warm the flue and then slowly build a real fire.
As for your dog buddy and your bum arm have you tried a Frissby [sp?]flying disk? I have a similiar problem [I tried not to look like the wimp I was for the ladies softball team that I was keeping score for] overhand is gone but side hand is good enough that I play "disk golf" on occasion very popular in the seniors circles. buddy may insist on a stick but they cas be side handed too. ~gd
Hey Pal,
Long time no see from you either. Glad you are here!
As for the Frisby, well, yes I have tried it and I admit that it is by far the best option. The only problem is that they are not immune from the teeth of that black beast. He chews everything I throw so I have to be careful. I bought a whole bunch of them and in one bite, he turns them into insignificant pieces of plastic. I had one that lasted a bit longer but they are hard to find out here in the wilds. Remember, the closest city (pop. 26091) is 70 miles from me. Not someplace to run for a quart of milk...

As for the rocket stove, I have been studying them for a while now. I have built a number of them and am finding ways to work with them. The basic design is amazing in that once they are burning they really don't put out any smoke because the burn is so complete.
The smoke comes at the beginning when getting it started. Controlling the air supply is an interesting issue and I have given some thought to trying that by limiting the amount of wood in the combustion chamber of the short vertical side (exposed in front of the steel tank on the photo) similar to the way it is done when using the "L" configuration. The amount of air appears to be important so I think I'll try putting a piece of steel in the side of the opening and keep the wood on the other side. It would be much the same as the "L" shape but still allow a fairly large piece of wood to be placed in the combustion chamber.

There is a modification I have been reading about where someone added an opening just ahead of the vertical stack of the "J" in the horizontal section which is designed to allow a great deal more air into the hottest portion of the fire (*at the intersection of the horizontal to the vertical stack) but so far I have not attempted to make such an opening to evaluate the results.
I intend to get a number of 5" tubing, 20 feet long and make them into rocket heaters, hoping that they may result in some financial gain. We'll see what comes of that if anything at all. It really isn't a high priority for me at the moment. Heating my shop is my goal. Once I get the first prototype completed and operational, I will begin to vary my parameters and see what results. I am still thinking that I might split the logs just a bit to allow the fire to get up inside them and help keep them burning all night. I have also given come consideration to adding a 6" square piece of tubing to make a small "oven" on the vertical stack. I saw one done by a guy someplace in Europe and it looked quite nicel Considering the fact that I can achieve over 500*F with the stack as it is, that would be a marvelous added benefit to be able not only to heat the shop but bake/cook with it. We'll see what comes of it. My colleague on YouTube (ZFF) did not seem to be going that direction but at the top of the tank there is certainly area for a flat plate of steel which on his heater reaches nearly 700*F. I'll bet I could boil some tea on that in a heart beat!
More as I get time...
Cheers,
Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Fratres Aeterni
Trim sends
//BT//
 

~gd

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Icu4dzs said:
~gd said:
Good to read you again. We had been writing about you and your user name because some one wanted info about ND and it's growing season. [Hubby has a job in the oil patch lined up] look up her posts if you want to help her.

I don't know squat about a rocket stove but I get the impression that you can't or shouldent control the air supply to the fire box? To keep a chunk burning all night my Dad would 'bank the fire'covering the log with ash so it burned slower but still kept the flue warm [You need a clean burning wood for this] This was in the fireplace before we got the 'oak stove' [brand name? most people called them pot bellied stoves] He loved that stove. air control and rocker grates to help with removing the ash and as long as the flue was warm it was smokeless in the house. To start from cold he would burn newspapers to warm the flue and then slowly build a real fire.
As for your dog buddy and your bum arm have you tried a Frissby [sp?]flying disk? I have a similiar problem [I tried not to look like the wimp I was for the ladies softball team that I was keeping score for] overhand is gone but side hand is good enough that I play "disk golf" on occasion very popular in the seniors circles. buddy may insist on a stick but they cas be side handed too. ~gd
Hey Pal,
Long time no see from you either. Glad you are here!
As for the Frisby, well, yes I have tried it and I admit that it is by far the best option. The only problem is that they are not immune from the teeth of that black beast. He chews everything I throw so I have to be careful. I bought a whole bunch of them and in one bite, he turns them into insignificant pieces of plastic. I had one that lasted a bit longer but they are hard to find out here in the wilds. Remember, the closest city (pop. 26091) is 70 miles from me. Not someplace to run for a quart of milk...

As for the rocket stove, I have been studying them for a while now. I have built a number of them and am finding ways to work with them. The basic design is amazing in that once they are burning they really don't put out any smoke because the burn is so complete.
The smoke comes at the beginning when getting it started. Controlling the air supply is an interesting issue and I have given some thought to trying that by limiting the amount of wood in the combustion chamber of the short vertical side (exposed in front of the steel tank on the photo) similar to the way it is done when using the "L" configuration. The amount of air appears to be important so I think I'll try putting a piece of steel in the side of the opening and keep the wood on the other side. It would be much the same as the "L" shape but still allow a fairly large piece of wood to be placed in the combustion chamber.

There is a modification I have been reading about where someone added an opening just ahead of the vertical stack of the "J" in the horizontal section which is designed to allow a great deal more air into the hottest portion of the fire (*at the intersection of the horizontal to the vertical stack) but so far I have not attempted to make such an opening to evaluate the results.
I intend to get a number of 5" tubing, 20 feet long and make them into rocket heaters, hoping that they may result in some financial gain. We'll see what comes of that if anything at all. It really isn't a high priority for me at the moment. Heating my shop is my goal. Once I get the first prototype completed and operational, I will begin to vary my parameters and see what results. I am still thinking that I might split the logs just a bit to allow the fire to get up inside them and help keep them burning all night. I have also given come consideration to adding a 6" square piece of tubing to make a small "oven" on the vertical stack. I saw one done by a guy someplace in Europe and it looked quite nicel Considering the fact that I can achieve over 500*F with the stack as it is, that would be a marvelous added benefit to be able not only to heat the shop but bake/cook with it. We'll see what comes of it. My colleague on YouTube (ZFF) did not seem to be going that direction but at the top of the tank there is certainly area for a flat plate of steel which on his heater reaches nearly 700*F. I'll bet I could boil some tea on that in a heart beat!
More as I get time...
Cheers,
Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Fratres Aeterni
Trim sends
//BT//
They do make disks specifically for dogs In fact there at least two models one for distance and one for hover height. Down here where the water remains unfrozen most of the time they hold contests for dogs where they throw objects over water for dogs to chase. Both use a takeoff platform to give the dogs a running start so both are known by the name Dock Dogs. Rules are like the broad jump and high jump for humans except there are no foot faults and distances are measured by cameras from dock edge to splashdown for distance and triangulation for height. I learned most of this because I went to protest the use of the only public pool in town for the doggy games seems like the local health people and never heard of Leptospirosis even though a popular name is Ft. Bragg Fever and the fort is just down the roadRemember the first disks were metal pie plates from the Frisbee Pie Company in CT
If I owned your building I would be packing the dome with insulation and what is your fixation on smoke all about? Here in the pine woods we have people on the lookout for smoke all the timeGot to run. ~gd. Out.
 

Icu4dzs

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If I owned your building I would be packing the dome with insulation and what is your fixation on smoke all about? Here in the pine woods we have people on the lookout for smoke all the time
I seem to have this nasty habit of liking to breathe clean air. Thus breathing smoke when it fills the room Tends to annoy my tender lungs.
I have considered filling the building at the top with insulation of the spray on variety. The real problem is getting people to do stuff in my neck of the woods. There aren't that many people who do things and the ones who do are generally so busy they don't have time.
I do generally need altitude in the building in order to be able to get my tractor in that room so I can work on it when I have to.
Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Fratres Aeterni
Trim sends
//BT//
 

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