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 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop

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Lizard



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Join date : 2015-01-26
Location : East Coast

PostSubject: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:16 am

This is my attempt to build a mini-rocket heater for my small 12 x 15' shop.  I've collected scraps from a recycle dumpster at work and got the propane cylinder from a local landfill for free.  I've currently have about 35.00 in additional metal that I purchased from a metal company.

A little more about my RH, the fire box tube is mounted at an angle to the round center pipe going up the inside of the RH.  The reason for this is I was hoping to get the flame to vortex as it climbs up the center tube.  The larger box below the burn chamber is the ash clean out compartment.
I'm not looking to produce a massive amount of heat in my shop, I just want to keep it around 68 degrees or so in the winter time.  The shop is insulated which should help.  
I'm biggest concern is the size of the main burn box, I'm hoping it's enough to get the fire going and keep the flame burning good.  The feed tube is going to be 2 parts, the main one is welded on the firebox/burn chamber and then my plans are to add a flange to the top of the feed tube to allow me to bolt on an additional length of square tubing to allow for longer pieces of wood to be burnt.  The feed tube will have a cap on either the standard one or the extended one since the air intake is going to be from below and in front of the burn chamber.  I'll be adding a control knob setup on the air intake and a door to the ash compartment before that.
The top cap is going to be clamped down but removable so I can clean the ash out of the tank.  
And this is where I'm at with my RH so far....opinions......suggestions??
Thanks,
Lizard
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:18 am

PS: Yes....I suck as a welder so if you'd like to mention the welds....I agree they're bad.
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:22 am

Here's the center pipe with the tank off.  It's hard to tell but the feed tube is positioned to the right side of the tube so the flame (in theory) will spin to the left as it climbs up the center pipe. " />
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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:50 am

nice build

could i ask what your feed tube size is and your vortex tube is

is the vortex tube in stainless steel or steel

how big is your gas bottle on top of the system though it looks to be about 8" and also your vortex tube height as well

i presume the big box underneath it is for collecting ash in it
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ROACH

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PostSubject: re: 30lb rocket heater for shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:26 am

nice build , the lower tube you can use for a ash box that you can go longer without having to clean out as often i like the feed tube it should be far enough to keep the fuel from getting to hot before it starts burning the tank will get really hot mine is to close i am having to put some heat sink in it to keep from getting to hot
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:54 am

gadily wrote:
nice build

could i ask what your feed tube size is and your vortex tube is

is the vortex tube in stainless steel or steel

how big is your gas bottle on top of the system  though it looks to be about 8" and also your vortex tube height as well

i presume the big box underneath it is for collecting ash in it

Thanks.

The feed tube is square tubing I purchased to build a pontoon trailer tongue for the trailer hitch.  I believe it's 3 or 3-1/4" (I'll measure it on Monday)

Unfortunately the vortex tube is 4" diameter schedule 80 steel pipe. I plan on coating the whole inside with high temp paint 2,000 degrees in an attempt to stop or slow down the breakdown of the steel due to the heat.

The bottle is at least 14" in diameter, I cut the top out and welded in a 8" blank flange (cast iron) in an attempt to grab as much heat as possible to radiate off the cast iron for as long as possible, even after I quit feeding the fire.

Yes the larger square tubing under the feed/firebox area is for ash collection (in theory). we'll see if it works I have my doubts because the grating is at least halfway down the firebox so ash doesn't have a lot of space between the vortex tube and the opening to the ash pit to drop.  I keep thinking that most will go into the vortex tube depending on the draw of the fresh-air inlet.  

Hoping to finish it up within the next week or so and run my first test on it and to cure the high temp paint in the three stages that's required. Not sure how I"m going to control temperatures during the curing process.  200 degrees for 20 minutes, then cool down, 400 degrees for 20 minutes than cool down and then 550-600 for 30 minutes, that's going to be tricky to do.

gadily: I'll try to get some measurements of everything on Monday. vortex tube, feed tube, feedbox area to the vortex pipe, tank size, etc... My drawing plans are kept in the rear back corner of my brain, next to which there's a pile of wadded up paper from previous brain cell drawings of this RH. Very Happy


Last edited by Lizard on Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:07 am; edited 3 times in total
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:57 am

Note: The bolt heads on the blank flange on the top are for decoration only, I welded them to fill the holes and to make my RH look industrial in style. I wanted to add rivets around the tank also but it's January and I need this thing in my shop as soon as possible.....not in the Spring time. Very Happy
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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:33 am

heres a forum build with advise that could be used for both yours and roaches build of a rocket burner

http://woodstoves.forumotion.co.uk/t527-question-on-j-tube-and-base-plate

and roach thanks for your message with the gas bottle we are still using those sizes here in the uk
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:13 am

Here's a few more photos of the build.  The one is the grating which is built out of 1/4" x 1" Stainless Steel flatbar, then bolted together and tack welded on the bolt ends.


The other photo is the exhaust pipe which is the same size as the riser.  I plan on using pellet stove pipe to hook up to it and then go to double walled before going out of the side of the shop with the exhaust pipe.
 " />" />
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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:07 am

that grate should be fine to drop ashes through it although i may put it in the box below so at least the burn chamber would be 3 1/4" full burn chamber ashes should be enough with the box below it even at 3 1/2" for the collection of the ash

will it last in 3 months it may or may not depending on its thickness of tube

query did you use the flick of ppottys and have you pretested it as of yet?

oh and by the way nice welding table at that
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:47 am

Not sure what you mean gadily:   query did you use the flick of ppottys and have you pretested it as of yet?


Here's a drawing I just made of how the grating sits in the slot between the burn chamber and the ash collection.  
" />
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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:12 pm

everyone uses a different method of creating a vortex in the up tube

http://woodstoves.forumotion.co.uk/t302-rs-vortex-testing

i was just wondering if you have tested your build yet?

as sometimes you can make a change before you go to far on your build if you test between them
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:55 pm

gadily,

I have not tested it because I didn't want to dirty the surface of my riser before I applied high temp paint to it. I completely understand that I should probably test it before assembling everything and then find out it doesn't perform correctly. I guess I could apply some high temp paint this week and then pre-test the vortex tube.
One thing that doesn't show up in the photos is the secondary air feed tube, it's directly under the vortex tube at the bottom of the main base.It's mounted dead-center at the bottom of the vortex tube and my plan was to test the RH and if it seemed to need more air-flow in the vortex tube I'd unscrew the cap on the secondary pipe to allow more air into the riser from underneath. It won't be heated air but it will be some additional air flow in the riser. (I'll get a photo tomorrow of it and post it up)

I haven't been taking photos every step of the way and that's my fault. I didn't figure I would be posting up my project on a forum like this when I started, but I'll correct that this week and get plenty of photos and measurements to add to this topic.

I've got a pretty busy schedule at work these next 2 weeks with a major inventory project that I'm working on, so I'm not sure just how much work I'm going to get done on it if I decide to do a test burn before continuing with the build. It means I'll have to prep the the main parts and apply paint this coming week and then towards the end of the week do the test burn on it. Then after the results of that burn I'll know if I have more work to redo or if I can move forward with completing it. I'll have to go back and clean up the vortex tube and burn chamber before I apply the finish coat of high temp paint to the whole thing.
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T2H
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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:37 pm

Man that stove is totally cool, some major steam punk action going there.
I love it!

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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:11 pm

Thanks Trying2Hard, you're the second person to mention it being "steam punk".   The rivets I wanted to add to the tank would definitely be a plus to the style but it would take awhile to add them all to the tank and I really need to get this thing done for my shop.

My original plan was not to have legs on the RH but use a bridge girder design to suspend the RH off the floor and have it lag bolted to the corner of my shop.  Weight became the issue with that plan due to the RH already being close to 100 lbs and I'm not finished with it yet.  I realized that I'd have to give some major thought in how I built the girder and the mounting bracket to assure there wouldn't be any damage to the shop walls and that the RH wouldn't be leaning forward from the weight on the girder.  Who knows, if the RH turns out to be perfect for my shop and there's no issues with the functional design of it, I may go back and build the girder system and install it later this year.  
Girder style would be like these in the below photo.
" />
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T2H
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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:16 am

If you used small square tubing it probably would not be a great deal of weight.

Pretty darn creative man, very artistic.

I think that is pretty darn cool, going to be a darn cool conversation piece while your warming yourself by the stove.

If you do add it, I would enjoy seeing what you did with it.
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:45 am

Thanks Trying2Hard...I'll definitely post up photos if I do build the support bracket.

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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:56 am

gadily,

Here's some measurements on the RH:

Feed tube: 2-5/8" ID x 14" L (going to have an optional removable extension tube to increase the length by 24" for longer pieces of wood to be inserted)
Riser tube: 4" ID x 19-1/2" H
Tank: 12" W x 19-1/2"
Space between riser and top of tank: 1-1/2" (will probably cut an additional 1/2" off the riser)
Space between feed tube and riser: 6-1/2"

I'll try to get a few additional photos taken today and post up tonight, showing the secondary air intake under the unit. Going to apply some high temp paint today after work and let it dry overnight. Maybe by Wednesday I can do a burn test on the unit and report back how it went.


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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:04 am

thanks lizard i like your build and i do know that cast iron is a good heat radiator after heating and lasts a very long time when the system is cooling down

so yours is an interesting build using a different type of metal on top and also looks industrial a different take on them

also on top of that if anyone decides to build your version of wood burner its recorded onto a forum post and allows anyone to copy it for there own build

just for reference on longer lengths of wood used

http://woodstoves.forumotion.co.uk/t460-pallet-burner
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:41 am

I've put a coat of high temp paint on the inside areas and plan on putting a second coat on tomorrow afternoon. Shooting for a fire-up on Wednesday afternoon to test the system (less the tank installed) and see if I get a vortex and that the firebox is burning good. I'll see if I can't video it and post up the results Wednesday night. Keeping my fingers crossed that it all works good so I can move forward with finishing it and getting it in my shop and see if it maintains a comfortable temp inside the shop without babysitting the RH all the time.

I'll take some photos of the extension feed tube when I start building that. It's going to be a flanged attachment that I can quickly bolt on with a couple of bolts so I can feed longer pieces of wood if I want. It's for those times when I'm working all weekend in the shop and want some longer burn times between refueling the RH.

I will also probably incase the riser tube with refractory cement and the inside base around where the firebox enters the riser tube. I figure once the riser tube starts breaking down from the heat, the cement will be there to take it's place as the riser tube.
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gadily
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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:37 am

Lizard wrote:
Hoping to finish it up within the next week or so and run my first test on it and to cure the high temp paint in the three stages that's required. Not sure how I"m going to control temperatures during the curing process.  200 degrees for 20 minutes, then cool down, 400 degrees for 20 minutes than cool down and then 550-600 for 30 minutes, that's going to be tricky to do.

ive been thinking about this and how it maybe possible to do it im used to the plumbing blow lamp

i can think of 3 ways to do it

one is by using an industrial blow torch as you can have more control on heating it to the right temperature using a torch on felt torch or road torch they use for the lines in the rd

wood way is ackward as the higher in the tube the higher temperature your going to get

so i suggest cutting very thin slats of wood and first burn with these as you will get to temp very quickly in 30 secs from lighting and it wont take many sticks to get it to temp either

now other way i can think of is not burning inside of the vortex tube but behind it as this can be more controlable you can heat it up from behind and allow some heat to go away like normal the air inside will keep the temperature around the same heat up the tube

whichever way is best for you
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:45 am

I'll try using a rosebud to heat the outside of the riser and firebox and check it with a temperature lazer gun as I heat it up. Might not be able to fire the unit until Thursday since the curing will take me most of the late afternoon on Wednesday to do. I'll keep you all posted. My theory on the high temp paint is to slow the breakdown of the steel. Maybe recoat it after this winter's use for next season. If I notice the steel breaking down I'll probably skip repainting it and just go directly to adding the refractory cement to the base and riser.
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ROACH

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PostSubject: re: 30lb rocket heater for shop   Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:16 am

they do have a have caramic coating places to put it on dont know how much it costs i was thinking that also the steel i am using is heavy enough it should last for a couple of years i hope
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Lizard



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PostSubject: Re: 30 lb propane cylinder rocket heater for small shop   Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:04 pm

Just a quick update...didn't get any work done on it yesterday afternoon or this afternoon. Lifted something at work today and my lower back/spine is shooting pain. Skipped working on it and came home and went to bed. Thought I'd drop in and just let you all know that the testing is delayed a couple of days til I heal up some.
If the burn goes good then I've decided that I'm going to install the rivets on the outside of the tank as I had originally planned to do (decoration only with no function to the RH). Once that's done I'll be welding up the lower tank to the base, installing clamps to the top tank hold-down system, finishing the air intake control knob, ash compartment door and the feed tube door cover. Then I'll give everything a final finish coat of high temp paint and move it to the shop from work.

More updates to come as soon as I get over this back issue.
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ROACH

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PostSubject: re: 30lb rocket heater for shop   Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:20 pm

get well it can wait untill your back heals
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