i love junk, upcycling, creating, and fire! I'm sure I'm not alone. I've seen some homemade tent stoves made from ammo cans, store bought mini house wood stoves which are costly, barrel stoves which are nice in the eye of a recycle'r upcycle'r creator, but very thin material which can easily burn-out. i have access to many old date expired free propane tanks, car wheels, and various scrap metals so i thought i'd try to build something more simple than a rocket stove, compact and take up minimal floor space (tiny living, space saving,...), and do it by spending very little, and practice welding and fabricating along the way.
my first outcome was simple. safely evacuate and purge the gas, add a door opening and exhaust stack. KISS keep it simple, silly! i ended up using a 5" diesel truck exhaust pipe! i've seen tiny home stoves and pellet stoves with 4" exhaust, i've made rockets and wood stoves with 6", so this 5" heavy duty pipe should be a great piece to use. the heavy exhaust pipe will extend a few feet from the body of the stove, as a part of the stove. this strong heat rated exhaust pipe can handle the heat if any flames travel up into the exhaust, which i'm sure is possibly inevitable which a small stove.
i'm using a 40 lb LP tank as i thing a common 20lb bbq tank is a bit too compact. this 40 lb tank has more radiant surface area but takes you the same 12" diameter , only 1 sq ft of floor space required either way, but this way allows more capacity, more radiant surface area, and more room for exhaust to funnel, and ash to build or clean.
here is my first simple setup, i started this last winter as a free-time boredom welding project, later on i make some modifications to a few things. the cook-top was something i wanted to change for the better. i always liked clean burning fires and lots of oxygen, never intended on building an "airtight" model but i do have a couple new wood-stove rope seal door gaskets waiting, in 2 different sizes.
stage 1, safely convert the LP tank into an upright wood-stove. i consider it to be a vertical barrel stove, vertical for less floor space requirements.
Compact upright barrel stove STAGE 2 ! A better Cook top / stove top:
In case of emergency, i really wanted to get a cook-top directly on-top of the fire. i had a "floating" cast iron plate that served as a warming plate or place to dry wet gloves but i wanted the option to boil water or cook meat without taking a century. a real hot cook top / stove top was the next step to make things better. This little homemade pile of metal would be great in a small home or small workshop, cabin or camping, but here in Canada we get ice storms and snow storms through winter that can knock out power for days, and we also get crippling cold. if the power ever went out, this stove could be an off-grid emergency cook stove to cook a meal, a great space heater, she really does throw an abundance of heat with a small amount of wood, and it could also possibly heat water with a stack coil, or provide light with a glass door, or charge a cellphone with a thermal-electric generator panel.
for stage 2 i focus mainly on the cook top, which requires some chimney exhaust stack modification and relocation. i should have considered this from the start, but hey you learn from hands on, and you learn from your mistakes. this project wasn't drawn out in pre-planning, but rather salvage what i can find, before i decide on design. this is important with free and recycled upcycle type builds, unless you already have your materials
The story going around North Idaho a few years ago: someone flushed a fuel tank 3 times with soapy water and let it dry. But when he tried to cut it with a torch, there was enough fuel remaining in the rusty interior to cause a fatal explosion.
Yes yes yes..very possible. I have scrapped lots of things and have welders and cutting torches. If I think there is the possibility of a fuel explosion I do not bother with it. I have a dozen or more tanks headed to the scrapyard now (out of code) and I just take the fill valve off and junk them or exchange them at Walmart and pay a fee to get an in code tank that is full. I then take the Walmart tank to a local place that charges propane by the gallon and actually fills the tank. Buying propane by the tankful vs by the gallon is an unbelievable rip off most people are not aware of. I knew one guy that thought a gas tank off a car was empty and he threw a burning rag in it to make sure...it looked like a bomb went off with a big mushroom.of fire and smoke. The fire dept rushed over cause people saw the fire. No one was hurt luckily. I am not going to weld or torch fuel tanks.
The method is to take off all valves and fill with soapy water drain and refill a couple of times. Use a portable sawzall with fine blade after drilling a hole to put blade in (this is while tank is full of soap water mixture). You can use an angle grinder with cut off wheel but is less safe due to sparks. Propane is orderless and a chemical is added to give it a smell. The odor can stay in tank even when no propane. Propane settles to bottom of tank. Propane also will form various residue that will fire up. Propane will permeate into steel in of tank. The tools you use for cutting should be air tools or portable so you do not electrocute yourself instead of blowing yourself up. Best thing is not to cut propane tanks...weird things happen sometimes...just saying.
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