When I visited Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen of Homegrown Evolution last week they showed me the rocket stove they made in their backyard. Theirs is quite fancy because it is made of bricks. They sometimes use their rocket stove to fry a meal in a skillet.
The rocket stove was invented about 10 years ago by Dr. Larry Winiarski at the Aprovecho Research Center in Oregon. It consists of an elbow-shaped combustion chamber (usually made from metal cans) surrounded by insulating material (often a large can filled with sand). It uses twigs for fuel, so it's ideal for areas where the trees have been depleted.
Here's a video from the Aprovecho Research Center that shows how to make a rocket stove.
Here are the first 3 of 10 rocket stove principles, by Larry Winiarski.
1.) Insulate, particularly the combustion chamber, with low mass, heatresistant materials in order to keep the fire as hot as possible and not toheat the higher mass of the stove body.
2.) Within the stove body, above the combustion chamber, use an insulated,upright chimney of a height that is about two or three times the diameterbefore extracting heat to any surface (griddle, pots, etc.).
3.) Heat only the fuel that is burning (and not too much). Burn the tips ofsticks as they enter the combustion chamber, for example. The object is NOTto produce more gasses or charcoal than can be cleanly burned at the powerlevel desired.
Illustration from In the Wake
, a cool website on various simple off-the-grid tools.
The success of the Primitive Technology channel has spawned a raft of other channels like Evolution Technology, who built an Ewok-style primitive treehouse complex.
Gabe at H.I.S Survival demonstrates the fascinating process of making chocolate from bean to bar. He also describes some of the many kids of cacao pods and has plenty of tips on how to improve the yields from each batch.
Ben at PressTube has branched out from squishing things in a hydraulic press to other impressive metalworking, like this project to shred and melt soda cans into ingots of aluminum.
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