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2015 rocket mass heater pyronaut event in October  RSS feed

 
master steward
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Is there access to electricity even if I'm in a tent?



As for electricity, we don't have the best options for that just yet. What we do have I'll do my best to describe.

at base camp (where most of the event will take place):
--our turtle parking lot has an outlet, though tent camping amid cars and trucks might be less than optimal (though camping in a truck or van might be okay) and it would be first-come-first-served on this one two-outlet thingy

at the lab:
note that the lab is about 10-15 minutes and two miles down the paved, then gravel, then dirt (some times mud adventure!) gated road where a high clearance vehicle at the least (if not all-wheel or 4-wheel drive) is recommended
--solar voltswagon - currently parked near Allerton Abbey, an extension cord could be used for tent camping nearby
--solar leviathan - currently parked near wofati 0.8, an extension cord could be used for tent camping nearby

The thing is that base camp is a huge rock, with quite a bit of rise up the "volcano" to the best camping spots. We have not blasted in or laid electricity up the hillside.
 
steward
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This is coming up so soon! There are still tickets left just so everyone knows.
 
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Location: Athens Ohio
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Hey im flying in monday and ill be into Missoula at 7 whats the best way to get out there?
 
master steward
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randall gabriell wrote:Hey im flying in monday and ill be into Missoula at 7 whats the best way to get out there?



Randall,

Once you buy a ticket you will get all the info about getting here, including the arrangements to get a ride from the airport.

You can find all the stuff about tickets here: http://richsoil.com/rmh-innovators.jsp
 
randall gabriell
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My ticket might be under morgan shes is the one who purchased the ticket for me. Our company is paying my way. We purchased a ticket right before the early bird special was up. Thanks
 
paul wheaton
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"Morgan" is the magic word. All of our emails to Morgan bounced. We ended up sending snail mail.

Send an email to workshop at richsoil.com and everything will be made right as rain.
 
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So another innovators event is done and i'm back home in Oz sitting on the back verandah in subtropical Queensland sucking on a frosty cold tinny of Fosters Larger and cuddling my pet Koala while kangaroos frolic on the back lawn and a kookaburra laughs in a nearby tree. The kids have just returned from crocodile hunting having caught a small one (24 foot) and were going to cook it on the barby (rocket powered of course) with some shrimp later. What can i say of My time at a secret location near Missoula but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all involved.

Paul as usual it was great to see you again. You may be brash, loud and American (lets face it not everyone is fortunate enough to be born in Australia) but you never harshed my mellow because your just a big softy at heart and your passion shines through. Thank you for making this happen each year and here's hoping you have the support and energy to keep it going as it's on my favorites list. Jocelyn thank you for all your efforts, of course the success of these events is a team effort and you and Paul are "the" team but your cuter and more cuddly than Paul. Fred thanks for the running around and for not telling all us innovators what pains in the arse we were your a legend. To the domestic goddess team of Katelin, "Little Janice" and Jocelyn (double mention) thank you for the yummy food the Celtic pop and the Motown. To Daniel the videographer thank you for your patience following me around trying to get a sense of what i was up to when i didn't even know myself. Hopefully i didn't destroy any lenses with grinding sparks. Priscilla the photographer, "Queen of the dessert" thank you for your art and making us all feel a little special. Cant wait to see the piccies.

To the attendees thanks guys and gals for coming and sharing in the passion. Special thanks to Randall and Steve for your help in getting across the line with the projects. Not only didn't you get paid, you paid to be my slaves how messed up are you! But thanks again for the laughs the beers and the fabrication couldnt have done it without you.

To the other innovators , guys and gals i am but a grasshopper (in the kung fu series of the 70's sense not the Paul Wheaton ants and grasshoppers sense). You knowledge humbles me taunts me and makes me want to be better.

To Peter Pan from below sea level your passion gives you energy i can only wonder at and the rigour of your approach chips away at the mystery of combustion.
ernie and erica what a double act, the imagination, enthusiasm, mad skills and openness you bring to these events is a major ingredient in their success.
Mat like Peter your rigour and imagination lifts the veil on combustion. You also have this great gift of making everyone feel valued when you talk to them thank you.
Lasse it was a privilege to meet you, your work is as functional as it is simply gorgeous and you would have to be one of the most mellow human beings i have ever met.

To all Peace love and efficient combustion.


 
steward
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That's wonderful!

Now, I want deets. Deets and pics.
 
gardener
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Details, right. I'll try to describe what I've done. Sorry no pictures because I was far too busy and I left my camera home on purpose so I had my hands free to meddle with combustion and heat extraction.

This year, I focused on producing something that could be used as a small housing rocket mass heater. Obviously, footprint is very important so I selected just one 55 gallon barrel as the base unit. The whole of the build needed to be inside that. We (Randall and me) started with a Dragon Heaters 4" J-core, an open top barrel and a grease drum. We'd cut a rectangle opening in the side of the barrel, cut up the grease drum so it could be mounted to the side of the barrel, over the opening. Since Randall could handle spot welding with MIG welding equipment the barrel and the cut up drum where permanently fixed to each other this way. The 4" core was lowered in the barrel and shifted into place. Behind it a Duraboard divider so behind the core an open space was created, compromising about one third of the barrel's cross section area. Around the core the void was filled with perlite with a layer of perlite/clay on top in the barrel and the drum.

Now that I read this again, it sounds like a smooth build but it wasn't, believe me. We were inventing things while going ahead which is very time consuming. The lid for the grease drum was particular difficult because we had to make that one ourselves. Or to be honest, Randall did.

The vertical exhaust stack was installed by cutting a hole in the lid close to the rim. Pushed a 5" stove pipe through that which stopped about 5" above the bottom of the barrel low in the open space behind the core. Three sections of 2' on top of that and the heater could be started up for the first time. And lo and behold! It worked first time without as much as a hitch, the exhaust temperature being quite low but still adequate to keep the fire going healthy. At this stage, this cuddly heater recieved the name "Minnie Mouse Heater". The M of Mouse could be changed for a H but somehow everybody seemed to prefer the Mouse.

Next step would be to add mass to the thing. This was done with ordinairy red bricks, stacked on edge all along the perimeter of the barrel's inside. This would narrow the inside, and bricks are slower in heat extraction so I figured the lid would presumably get hotter. But boy, was I wrong! The exhaust temp was very low, one could hug the bare stove pipe even after hours of running and the core didn't got up to temp or so it seems. Later on, we fixed that by means of a vertical slot of 4" by 1/4"in the stove pipe just under the barrel's lid. In Germany this is called a "raughschlitt", a permanent opening between the chimney and the hotter part of the heater. The easy startup was back again and the core didn't smoke back anymore. It also got not as hot at the outside and gave off some heat for a couple of hours after the fire was out. We never got as far as to install it in one of the cabins but we didn't have the time at the end.

Also, I planned to build a much larger system along the same lines inside a salvage or overpack drum. Those are quite a bit larger as compared to the standard barrels, available in sizes from 85 gallon to 110 gallon. With a batch rocket inside but that story has to be written tomorrow(ish).
 
Julia Winter
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Thanks Peter!

I'll just hope that somebody can take a picture of Minnie Mouse and share her with us scattered around the world and curious. Maybe she can grace the shelter of an Ant?
 
Peter van den Berg
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Hi Julia,
Actually, Minnie isn't a very eye catching heater. Here's one picture of the general workshop area posted by Steve. Minnie can be seen as the blue barrel with the red and yellow addition at the front and a stove pipe sticking out of the lid.
 
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Peter I've been following your work for a while on Kirk Mobert's boards and am very interested in the Dragon Heater cores. Are they manufactured and available in Europe as well?
 
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Julia Winter wrote:Thanks Peter!

I'll just hope that somebody can take a picture of Minnie Mouse and share her with us scattered around the world and curious. Maybe she can grace the shelter of an Ant?



Maybe this is the one or a very similar unit, "lifted" from another permies thread
20151014_094939batchbarrel.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20151014_094939batchbarrel.jpg]
 
gardener
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No, this is a batch box unit. Minnie Mouse has a blue barrel with part of a little red & yellow barrel attached to its side. You can see it in the post by Peter van den Berg above.
 
Julia Winter
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Could someone post a link to the discussion of that unit? It looks like something that will quickly heat up a place, but without burning out like a "pocket rocket."
 
Byron Campbell
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Glenn Herbert wrote:No, this is a batch box unit. Minnie Mouse has a blue barrel with part of a little red & yellow barrel attached to its side. You can see it in the post by Peter van den Berg above.



Oops, sorry about that. I was just reading about PvdB's 4" batch built into a 110 gallon salvage drum over on Donkey's board and confused that stove with the mini.
 
Peter van den Berg
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Let's have the report about the little batch box in the large barrel. In fact, it's slightly larger, about 4.1" in a oversized DIY barrel. Actually, 85 upto 110 gallon barrels do exist but it turned out to be quite expensive to order one of those. So the decision was made to fabricate one ourselves. I'm led to believe this one is equivalent to the 110 gallon sized overpack or salvage drum. It turned out to be a difficult job to build it like that, not the least because the metal working tools were in high demand most of the time. This one is along the lines of the Minnie Mouse Heater with all of the heater built into the barrel in order to minimize footprint. At the same time large enough that it could be functioning as a bell system.

The batch box core itself was built out of a good quality vermiculite board and just held together by a handful of screws. All the seams were caulked with refractory cement in order to eliminate leaks which, by the way, is killing for a small system like this. Since the batch box is much more powerful as compared to it's J-tube equivalent the oversized barrel seems to be the logical choice. Just one rectangle opening in the side and the core could be placed inside. The core is elevated from the floor of the barrel by as much as 3.5", just by two bricks for simplicity of this particular experiment. I must stress here, the vermiculate board on its own isn't capable of withstanding the rigours of several winters heavy duty useage. In the case of a permanent installation I would recommend firebrick splits in the inside of the board so it will be quite a bit lumpier that way.

The vertical exhaust stack was also led to the outside air through the lid, much the same as the MInnie Mouse. The stack starts at about 6" from the floor of the barrel. First fire was remarkable in the sense that the whole barrel got quite hot and the stack remained just not hot enough to burn one's fingers.
At this stage, names were creeping up now and then. In line with Minnie names like Fat Rat or Round Rodent came by but I felt it didn't do justice to the cuddly looks of the thing. So we settled on the name Fat Rabbit. The next day we opened up the Rabbit again and stacked bricks in it along the perimeter of the barrel. Not on edge this time but just flat, estimated as a total weight of 530 pounds. The same effect as with the Minnie was there, too low of a stack temperature, not enough draw so the core couldn't get upto temp. Besides that, the thing kept smoking now and then and in a couple of hours we realized this wouldn't go away by itself. Part of the reclaimed bricks were coated with bitumen on the outside and this was melting and stinking like a freshly laid tarmac road. Next day we bit the bullet and took out all the bricks, burned out the bitumen which dripped on the barrel's floor and replaced the whole liner with bricks which were just dusty, nothing more. In order to alleviate the low draw I also did the same trick here as with the Minnie: made a vertical slit of 4"x 1/4" just below the lid, this upped the stack temp just enough to ensure the proper functioning of the core.

This tiny house heater is an example of what could be done with ready-made materials and parts to implement a small mass heater. Because the mass is limited, this one could store heat for no more than 6 hours in my opinion.
 
Glenn Herbert
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This sounds very promising! With Minnie Mouse, it seems we now have tested and replicable RMH examples for tiny houses. Did you do any Testo monitoring?

I would think this design could be adapted to any existing metal shell of appropriate size, say an old furnace housing, as long as it can be sealed up. How about a pair of washing machine shells stacked and sealed together?
 
Peter van den Berg
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Alas, no Testo data available. Matt did bring his analizer and computer but on Thursday afternoon I tripped over my own feet when carrying 6 bricks. My right hand was mangled between the bricks and the concrete floor so Paul had to bring me to the hospital in order to get my pinky finger stitched up. So I wasn't exactly in the mood to do complicated things on the last day.

As long as the inside of the barrel, bell, waching machines or whatever is sealed and the brick liner is inside, the outside of the thing won't get hot enough to burn any paint off. That is, according to my opinion.
 
Wendy Howard
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Hi Peter. Guessing my question got missed in all the posts above but I was asking whether your design for the Dragon Heater cores are manufactured and available in Europe anywhere?
 
pollinator
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I would like to suggest that the minny mouse and at rabbit designs are portable enough that they could be assembled and tested in a testing laboratory and get certified.

While I was day dreaming about the fat rabbit I came up with a way to hold the bricks in place on the inside. If rebar was welded to the base plate around the edge so that the bricks with three holes could be stacked over them through the center hole and on the next layer through the space between the ends of the bricks it would be very stable.

Seems like this could be built in three parts that two people could move, the base plate, batch box core/riser, and the outer barrel with the internal chimney and then the bricks to be stacked during assembly. Would it not be nice to have a certified rocket mass heater?
 
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