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Pretty Rocket Mass heaters?  RSS feed

 
                                
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So I like the Idea of a rocket mass heater, and they are fabulous! But maybe I'm still quite vain, IMHO, they just don't Look Fabulous!

Any ideas on how to purdy one up? All the pictures I've seen have had mostly barrels :'(

-Johnny
 
                        
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That's what I thought, at first, but with a bit of design work...since all of the "not pretty" parts need not be out in the open (save the feed) the design possibilities are endless!

 
                                
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So basically, you just have to keep the feed open and a space to be able to clean it out and you could have that bugger hiding in something pretty or disguised?



/joy

 
                        
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Paul has a video for one with a wood case

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bsUd5zLcLw

Plus, it's portable so you could mount it to a trolley and wheel it in and out, as needed.
 
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Location: Alaska
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The top of the barrel has to be able to radiate heat off efficiently or you will not get the draw effect. So don't cover that sucker either.
 
                                
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Emerson White wrote:
The top of the barrel has to be able to radiate heat off efficiently or you will not get the draw effect. So don't cover that sucker either.



The barrel is the part I hates D:

Its so..... industrial.



Ok so If I cant cover the barrel, anyone know of good heat resistant paints?
 
                                
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I thought maybe with enough tinkering you could make something like http://www.taosearthships.com/84518/P1010134.JPG

But with a Rocket as the heat source!   Like a Rocket-Kiva Hybrid! Maybe I'm too girly?

 
Emerson White
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It just needs to be a roughly barrel shaped metal object. Stove black will burn off, but I think that there are some ceramic engine block paints that you can use. Alternatively you could have a welder fabricate a unit for you and polish it up.
 
                                
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Oh now I have such ideas

 
                                
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Ive been toying with the idea of using an old water heater instead of a 55 gal drum. I don't know if they still are or not, but EVERHOT use to have all copper tanks, that would look nice all polished up. I don't think the copper would hold up to the higher temp's though. So I'm thinking about contacting THERMO PRIDE (a furnace manufacturer) about getting some of their high temp. heat exchanger coating, it's copper colored and lasts for years (some of their furnaces built in the 50's are still in operation around here, and holding up well).

Just a thought.
 
                                
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Oh my goodness! A polished copper tank would be so lovely!
 
                                
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I'm sure looks wise it would be attractive, the copper would be too soft a metal when talking about a couple thousand degree temp's though. It would definitely change color too, probably a blueish purple/black over time, if it held up to the heat. The other concern I would have with copper would be toxins being emitted from the metal when super heated(throw some copper pipe on an open fire sometime, gives off some pretty flames but stinks, and try not to inhale any of the smoke. It'll leave a metalic taste in your mouth, pretty sure thats not healthy).
 
Posts: 104
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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RMHs do not need to be ugly.
I have never built one but I have looked at a lot of pics. There are some that are completely encased in adobe or another material. They are basically turned into sculptures. Add colour and you can literally create the centre piece for your home.

The basic core of the RMH has to include certain things, but the exterior can be anything you want. Use your imagination and the sky is the limit. As long as it is a stable mass and any flammable materials are protected by mass you are fine.

Here is one that is fairly nice.
http://ilovecob.com/gallery/solunit-rocket/?g2_page=4

And here is an even nicer one.
http://ilovecob.com/archive/rocket-stoves-experimenters-corner
 
Emerson White
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I'm not sure about the galvanic results of having two dissimilar metals next to each other, but a copper barrel with a top made of another tougher metal would look great and be able to take the hot spot I'd think.
 
pollinator
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Beauty = what we are used to. Is an iron wood stove really pretty? Or a fireplace for that matter? Function that works gets used.... what we grow up with is what is fondly remembered for the activities that took place around them.

And art is worth paying more for....
 
Emerson White
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Could a high temp stove gasket be fitted to hold a piece of soap stone in a copper barrel body?
 
                                
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I think it would be easy enough to braze a piece of refrigeration tubing, cut in quarters length wise, around the top that could hold a rope seal. I'm sure this could be soldered instead, but I'd venture to believe the solder would melt down.
 
                                
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Wow, you guys amaze me with your ideas.

Klorinth, Thank you  for the links. Your right those do look a lot nicer than the normal ideal of a rmh.

Len, I think fireplaces and ironwood stoves Do tend to have beauty in them. Depending on design. And that's what I'm trying to find is a way to design a beautiful RMH.

Emerson, That would be awesome. Or maybe a copper barrel over another stronger metal that can handle the heat, almost like an encasement?

and Shaneaaron, sounds good but I have no idea what half of what you said meant due to my unfamiliarity with refrigeration tubing, or rope seals

 
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Location: Malmö, Sweden
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I'm kind of thinking along the same lines as Johnny. Although the perfect thing would be a RS that looks like an ordinary fireplace, built into a wall. Has anyone ever done this? I am 1000% certain I would never get the RS original design past "the government". This could in turn heat hot water for showers or run in pipes in the walls or floor for a heating effect. Would be great if you have i.e. thermal mass stone floor.
 
                                
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Paddy82 wrote:
I'm kind of thinking along the same lines as Johnny. Although the perfect thing would be a RS that looks like an ordinary fireplace, built into a wall. Has anyone ever done this? I am 1000% certain I would never get the RS original design past "the government". This could in turn heat hot water for showers or run in pipes in the walls or floor for a heating effect. Would be great if you have i.e. thermal mass stone floor.



Ditto, Been pondering how to do just that. I'm pretty sure you'd have to have the firebox directly under the stack to get any kind of fireplace type flame, and I'm also pretty sure that if it worked it would be a very hot fire with characteristics unlike a conventional fireplace, more blue flames than yellow/orange. I am building (rebuilding) my outside fireplace and am going for an RM/ fireplace (I have a few old water-heaters I've been saving just for this project) and am going to try mocking up a simple radiant sys. using garden hoses. I plan on taking pics. (if I can get my damn camera to stay working long enough) and will try my hand at posting if I have any. I will tell you up front it ain't gonna be pretty, just want to see if it'll work the way I want (no pumps, all thermal convection/gravity flow). No promises, just an experiment.
 
Emerson White
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You can use an "L" tube instead of a J tube, but the horizontal tube burn box component is vital.
 
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Hey nice comments.

Well, I built a few nice-looking home heaters that work on mass.  My favorite was a cob rumford design actually.  It heated up the space quickly with little wood, but with a long hot fire, would then stay hot for hours and hours.  I think you can see a photo here:

https://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=612755&id=558585150&saved

Here are a few cob ovens from earthenhand.com.  Please notice the ceramic-skinned oven.  I can make any kind of tile for your fireplace from scratch, which means you can get any array of wonderful surfaces and colors.

A good friend of mine, Ray Cirino, is inventing some impressive performance ovens and the like:

http://tribes.tribe.net/waterwoman/photos/1ad1f45a-217c-4b48-8c44-483c5361ec46


Cheers,
 
Scott Howard
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oops, left this out:

http://www.earthenhand.com/Ovens.html
 
                                
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Oh man! If only you could do this with a RMH!!

http://www.earthenhand.com/images/portfolio/ceramic%20ovenxk.jpg

Thats so beautiful, thank you earthenhand for the links and further ideas
 
Scott Howard
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I'm considering building a small demo version this summer, and will post pictures when I have them.
 
                                
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Please do! Since I'm about 2 decades away from having enough saved for my property anyways, I aint in a hurry
 
                              
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I totally agree.  Rocket stoves could look alot nicer and this site www.firespeaking.com/ shows they can be.  Enjoy.
 
Scott Howard
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Ray Cirino creates these incredible rocket stove inventions.  I think what he has done looks and performs better than any others I have ever seen.  Keep in mind this one here has no cob so it can be light to transport.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE9slGqRSsc


 
                              
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Wow, this guy is great. Not mass heaters but I love the idea at the end of using solar parabolic to heat a cob bread oven.
 
Scott Howard
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I just think Ray Cirino is one of the truly gifted inventors in that area, and he has other models that are not for transport which use the mass.

I am teaching a Lorena stove workshop in Naselle, WA June 10-12.  This design is really similar because we use a rocket stove-like design, but build the whole thing out of adobe.  You can heat the mass, heating your self your home, and cooking your food.

See WWW.EARTHENHAND.COM/WORKSHOPS.HTML 
 
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Here's a beautiful one.
www.home-n-stead.com
A family built a wonderful cob/cordwood home in the UP of Michigan
page1_blog_entry34_3.jpg
[Thumbnail for page1_blog_entry34_3.jpg]
 
Len Ovens
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Katee wrote:
Here's a beautiful one.
www.home-n-stead.com
A family built a wonderful cob/cordwood home in the UP of Michigan



Looks nice. I like the cob almost up to the top of the barrel.
 
                                    
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Ok. I like cob as much as the next permie person, but my husband isn't sold.  I have also seen a masonry style rocket stove, but was thinking of a hybridization.... would a regular brick "lattice" screen built in a square pattern around the barrel (in a corner or whatever) be able to withstand the heat being radiated by the barrel?  And, would it allow enough heat to be released to create the "draw"?  I am in search of something functional as well as aesthetically pleasing....

This is the lattice idea I am talking about... Thanks

http://homebuilding.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/10/pierced_brick_walls.php
 
Len Ovens
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smichaels wrote:
Ok. I like cob as much as the next permie person, but my husband isn't sold.  I have also seen a masonry style rocket stove, but was thinking of a hybridization.... would a regular brick "lattice" screen built in a square pattern around the barrel (in a corner or whatever) be able to withstand the heat being radiated by the barrel?  And, would it allow enough heat to be released to create the "draw"?  I am in search of something functional as well as aesthetically pleasing....

This is the lattice idea I am talking about... Thanks

http://homebuilding.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/10/pierced_brick_walls.php



Those bricks would stand the heat fine. They are clay and were used for everything fire brick is used for now. Concrete patio bricks may be more problematic but are probably ok.... they loose strength at around 600C (some as low as 500C). Concrete brick may also insulate just a bit more than clay and raise the temp a bit more. So I would stick to clay brick and use clay based mortar.

The thing is, and I may be missing something, all the temperatures I have seen for the rocket mass heater have been of the barrel surface at various points. The top of the barrel gets very hot and the bottom is much cooler..... but, the top has the flue gas fired right against it whereas the the bottom of the barrel just has the flue gas passing by. So while the temp difference from top to bottom may be important to performance, I suspect it is less than the measurements made so far show.

Now obviously the ability of the barrel to radiate (or loose heat some way) is still important. Most RMH already have cob at least part way up the barrel with no problem. Cob or clay brick both conduct heat reasonably well and so might soak up the heat better than standing air anyway. How they soak up the heat as compared to radiating is harder to figure. That would depend on how reflective the room contents are to the heat.

Personally, I think the greatest problem with anything touching the barrel, is the varying expansion (from the varying temperatures) causing cracks in the clay. A lattice a few inches out would probably handle that better.

Unfortunately, the real answer at the end of it all, is you have to try it and find out. If you have read much about RMH (at least in these forums) the answer is to try it out in your backyard first. There really are a lot of variables in heat transfer and a lot of things that have yet to be tried. If you are not an experimenter at heart and just want something that works.... pretty much stick to the instructions in the book. That particular setup has been tried in lots of different places and has a good success record behind it. The farther away from those instructions you get... the less well travelled the road you are on..... be ready to try more than one thing. (clay mortar -AKA refractory- comes apart easier than portland)
 
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The brick lattice would be very attractive, but consider the labor of having to dust each one of those openings before you make a decision.  (I hate dusting, LOL!)

Kathleen
 
Len Ovens
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
The brick lattice would be very attractive, but consider the labor of having to dust each one of those openings before you make a decision.  (I hate dusting, LOL!)

Kathleen



I hadn't thought of that....
 
                                    
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When I spoke of the lattice, I meant that you could build a square around a cylinder, and definitely with a few inches of clearance all around.  Yes, it might however, create a dust issue.  But then again, what doesn't?  Just trying to think of a nicer appearance for that 55 gallon drum.  I'm always open to suggestions!
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I think that the drum would look nice if it was tiled all around, like many of the European mass heaters.  It would be a lot easier to keep clean than the brick latticework.  I'm not sure what you'd have to do for a backing for the tiles, though.

Kathleen
 
Len Ovens
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I think that the drum would look nice if it was tiled all around, like many of the European mass heaters.  It would be a lot easier to keep clean than the brick latticework.  I'm not sure what you'd have to do for a backing for the tiles, though.

Kathleen



Cob.... or refractory mortar.... both are clay based.

I've been thinking about the lattice (metal or brick) and think it may be not the best idea. The air between the lattice and the barrel may act as an insulator because the lattice keeps it from moving. The lattice would also block the radiation to some extent. I think any metal/brick work would need to be in physical contact with the barrel to conduct the heat away. In the end we want to heat mass not air.

Just another way of saying... we don't know for sure without trying it. I don't know if anyone has even tried cobbing the top of a barrel, though they have cobbed the whole side to the top. I do know someone has made the barrel out of brick.... but I don't know how well it worked... it was built for a workshop, used two days and dismantled. Certainly no long term notes.

I think if looks are so important, but a mass heater is wanted, a masonry mass heater may be a better idea. Cost? More. Works? Yes. Permit? Yes. Warranty? Maybe. Most masons are willing to work out any kinks in their work as they rely on word of mouth.
 
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The problem with cobbing round the entire barrel is that the 'siphon' effect depends on the hot air leaving the riser losing heat and sinking down the barrel.  Cob all around the barrel might stop the siphoning effect, so the warm air won't flow through the rest of the tubing in the 'mass'.  It might even stop the whole rocket effect and you'd end up with flames shooting up the feeder tube! 
 
Whose rules are you playing by? This tiny ad doesn't respect those rules:
Would you replace your oven with a rocket oven?
https://permies.com/t/90099/replace-oven-rocket-oven
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