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Rocket stoves are outdoor woodstoves designed to be highly fuel-efficient, somewhat portable, very hot, and low on emissions. Dr. Larry Winiarski developed the concept for these stoves for developing countries where finances are tight and fuel is scarce.
Rocket stoves also work well for camping, emergency situations, and homesteading. You can purchase a rocket stove at places such as Stove Tec, but if you are just a little bit handy, you can quickly build one with inexpensive or even free materials.
Here are 11 DIY rocket stove plans for you to try.
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What Makes a Rocket Stove?
Rocket Stoves are named for the roaring noise they make as fuel is burned and heat swooshes up from the fuel intake and out the chimney. Your rocket stove will be made from three main parts: the intake, the combustion chamber, and the heat riser or chimney.
The intake is a tube or hole where fuel is inserted and oxygen enters the system. The combustion chamber is where the fuel burns. Lastly, the heat riser is a vertical chimney-like structure that allows the heat to rise from where combustion occurs.
You’ll use the top of the heat riser to hold your pot or pan to cook your food. When the rocket stove is insulated, it is highly efficient and requires very little fuel to create concentrated heat.
No matter which method you choose, always be sure to use your rocket stove outside in an area that is safe for burning.
1. Concrete Tiki Rocket Stove
If you’ve got a little time on your hands and a bag of concrete, you can construct this impressive Tiki rocket stove. This extra heavy stove won’t be very portable, but it will add some exciting décor to your backyard or cooking area.
You’ll need some additional items such as a large bakery bucket, a tin can, some wood, plastic, and a bag of volcano rock. But if you are resourceful, your project should cost you less than $40. You can learn more here.
2. #10 Can Stove
One of the easiest stoves to make is a #10 can stove. You can find #10 cans from canneries, grocery stores, or just grab a recycled one. You also need a few other items, such as 2 28-ounce cans, some tin snips, and insulation.
Essentially, you’ll put the small can inside the large can with a hole through both to create the chimney portion of your rocket stove. The other can will be turned on its side with the ends cut off and centered inside the hole to create the fuel feed.
3. Cinderblock Rocket Stove
An inexpensive rocket stove can easily be created from a few cinderblocks. Some people have found that cinderblocks can dry out or explode if heated unevenly. However, many find that this is still an effective and relatively safe method of building a rocket stove. Please do your research before deciding if this method is for you.
To build a cinderblock rocket stove, you’ll need three large cinderblocks, a brick, and two pavers. You’ll use the pavers and cinderblocks to create an L-shaped chamber by lining up the holes of the blocks. The horizontal part of the chamber is where you feed the fuel, and the vertical component of the chamber is where the heat will rise. You can place your pot or pan right on top of the block, but do not smother the fire by covering the entire hole.
Here are more detailed directions on how to place the cement blocks.
4. Trash Can Rocket Stove
A clean metal trash can, some stovepipe, and vermiculite are the building blocks for a large type of rocket stove. You’ll also need some tin snips and a few other minor items to create this large rocket stove. Check out the instructions here.
5. Quikrete and PVC Rocket Stove
If you like working with concrete or Quikrete, you can create your own rocket stove using a five-gallon bucket and PVC pipe for a mold. You’ll need to remove the PVC pipes before the Quikrete completely sets up because you cannot burn in the PVC pipe. You can find the directions right here.
6. Metal Bucket
If you have an old metal bucket lying around, you can use it to make a rocket stove. You’ll also need some metal vent pipe with an elbow. Cut a hole near the bottom of the bucket that will fit your vent pipe, leaving the horizontal end to stick out while the vertical piece stands up inside the bucket.
You can insulate your bucket with dry clay dirt in between the vent pipe and the bucket. Top it off with an old piece of a grate, and you’ve got your rocket stove. You can find more in-depth directions here.
7. Permanent Brick Rocket Stove
If you are interested in a more permanent stove installation, you might want to look at this version of the brick rocket stove. This stove will take a little more investment of your time and money. It uses bricks, cement, a metal stovepipe, and a grill.
8. Brick Rocket Stove
Repurpose those extra bricks into a new rocket stove. With as few as 16 bricks, you can create an easy rocket stove that assembles and disassembles in just a few minutes. You’ll also need a small grate for the top, but the rest is easy. Watch the video below to see how.
9. Heavy-Duty Rocket Stove with Stand
For a unique and functional piece, you might enjoy this rocket stove made out of an old steel tank. However, this design will require some cutting and welding and a little design knowledge, but the finished project is certainly worth the effort. Check it out here.
10. Sand Rocket Stove
In an emergency situation, you may find yourself with little firewood but needing to cook. In this case, you might try creating a sand mound rocket stove. All you need is a tube to help shape your rocket stove, some water and sand, and a little bit of fuel. Here are specific instructions on creating this emergency rocket stove.
11. Rocket Mass Heater
Rocket mass heaters work on the same principle as a rocket stove but can heat a room or even an entire home. These fuel-efficient heaters are often constructed from metal barrels and cement. The stove burns eighty percent less wood than a traditional wood stove.
Hot air is forced through cement or masonry to spread the heat throughout the room. Extra care must be taken when constructing rocket mass heaters because they are much larger and are used indoors. You can find more information about rocket mass heaters here.
With a little ingenuity and creativity, you can build your own rocket stove quickly and inexpensively. Remember always to take safety precautions and be extremely careful not to get burned on your rocket stove.
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