Pellet Stove 3.0 (now in color)

After almost 2 years since the last iteration and my considerations on heating the cabin, I’ve finally gone ahead and made some much needed improvements; particularly related to safety. This version does away with using old gas cylinders (propane etc…) as the burn chamber and sticks to plain, steel, square tubing and flat stock with maybe an angle or two thrown in for reinforcement. This was following some much needed advice I got from a welder who emailed me after reading my previous post (thanks, Mike!)

For comparison, this is the original “automatic stove” idea.

This is a quick sketch of all my ideas for an "automatic" pellet stove

This is a quick sketch of all my ideas for an “automatic” pellet stove

And the 2.0 design.

Stove 2.0 with improvements

Stove 2.0 with improvements

And the new and improved 3.0. Note, the flue/cleanout setup is the same as in version 2.0.

Stove 3.0 with new safety measures and simpler materials.

Stove 3.0 with new safety measures and simpler materials.

For this design, I’ve made using flux core welding wire to put it together a bit easier. Flux core tends to be more beginner-accessible (no gas needed) a tad safer and requires less skill, which is a big deal since this design is meant to be DIY. I’ve also increased the diagram size and font sizes by request. Apparently, a lot of folks couldn’t read my rubbish text without squinting at the screen. Apologies for that. I really didn’t expect any more than the 4-5 regulars who read my blog to be interested in the design, let alone the 300(!) who emailed me.

I’ve separated the interior components to two easily distinguishable sections : The stainless steel pellet hopper made of thinner flat sheets clad in cement board and the burn chamber with its all square tubing and flat stock construction.

Flat stock is almost always easier to weld than curved surfaces; as is cutting it. If your material has the same thickness, it makes switching temperatures, changing welding wire, voltage etc… completely unnecessary within each section. We can stick to one temp, one voltage, one thickness and, best of all, we’re not relying on old gas cylinders which may or may not withstand the high temperatures they were never designed to endure.

The only time any temp changes would be necessary is for the stainless steel hopper. I elected to use stainless here since often, the pellets you get from the store may contain moisture. The pellets in the burn chamber will, of course, quickly dry out making moisture less of a problem. The thinner stainless steel hopper is also separated from the hot burn chamber by the slight gap created by the space needed for the pellet stop. This tiny gap, along with the cement board wrapped around it, greatly reduces the amount of heat transferred to the rest of the hopper and our (highly flammable) fuel.

The grate is now designed to be replaced relatively easily if necessary since it’s in one piece and welded only at one spot that’s accessible by the air inlet pipe. There are two grates to ensure burnt ashes fall away without being sucked back into the burn chamber and without clogging the air inlet. In addition, this allows hot ashes to cool down in the lower chamber which isn’t as exposed to the full heat of the burn grate.

Also, being mildly OCD, I wanted to ensure there’s ample room to put a wide tray underneath the stove to collect all the burnt ashes without making a mess of my floor. The bent steel rods used as feet reduce the heat transfer to the floor, which may be bamboo or hardwood.

I also tried reducing the overall size of the stove. This one is about the same height and is roughly 2 – 3 times the width as a full ATX tower computer case, like the one housing the computer I’m typing this post in. I want it to be safe and stable, produce enough heat while still be “out of my way” as much as possible. The interior of the entire stove case is clad in cement board (such as Durock®) and the case itself is cut 4 – 5 inches short of the front hot exhaust tube with only cement board used to close opening. This reduces the heat transmission from the exhaust to the rest of the case while at the same time allowing me to reduce the interior volume needed for insulation.

If anyone does build this design or find it useful in any way, please drop me a line and let me know. Any improvements or suggestions are most welcome.

Enjoy!

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New Avatar

For as long as this blog has been on WordPress.com, I’ve used the ouroboros symbol as my avatar. It was a quick design I put together that mean something to me since I didn’t feel comfortable using my own face (people have fainted from fright and disgust). So there it remained for years.

Yesterday, I thought maybe I can put together an avatar. After mucking about a few online tools, I settled on FaceYourManga and created this :

It's kinda, sorta what I look like

It’s kinda, sorta what I look like

I think it looks better than my actual face.

 

I Survived 2012

If you survived the Mayan Doomsday / Apocalypse / etc… etc… and want the rest of the world to know (you know, in case they’re still stuck in bunkers and staring at you through the peephole), wear the proof of resolve on your sleeve. *Yes,  this is totally a shameless plug.

I Survived 12 - 21 - 12

I Survived 12 – 21 – 12 . You know, in case that crazy uncle still won’t believe you.

Mayan Calendar. This thing is broken

Somehow we all know it was… or the people reading too much into it were.

Spoiler...Nothing Happens. Mayan Calendar

Spoiler… Nothing Happens.

 

Or if you like the original calendar and don’t want any snark…

Mayan Long Count Calendar

The original calendar (minus snark)

 

GAME OVER

Thank you for playing the trial version of “Life”. It’s December 21st and the trial, as well as the world, has now come to an end. If you have enjoyed this game, please consider purchasing the full version at wakeupyoupseudoscientificbastards.com.

…I’m still taking a break from the blog and Twitter until after the holidays, but I couldn’t resist.

Nope

This isn’t an update but a hold-me-over until I can do a proper post. This is also to quell the people bugging me over email with “dude, when are you going to do another post?” When I’m not bloody exhausted!

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a summary of what happened in November so far (can’t imagine why you would), here’s a small cross sample courtesy of Twitter. This is obviously excluding the “I just had a sandwich” caliber Tweets.

http://twitter.com/magsol/status/265838561281056770