Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April DIY - 2012 experimental Rocket Cooker / Canner / Forge

So as I'm moving our digital store from Scubbly (now sadly closed) to the Permies.com digital marketplace, I'm coming across all kinds of memories and fun projects.

this is one from 2012, where we accepted Paul's dare to out-fry a propane-powered turkey fryer:

 It turns out a propane turkey fryer is a little more than an ordinary propane camp stove.  It sounds kind of like a jet engine.  Our ears were ringing when we turned it off.  So it took us a couple of tries, and we did end up insulating the pot lid as well as the stove and pot-skirt.

Cheating?
well, if the propane stove makers had bothered to "cheat" by improving their efficiency even 25%, they could easily have made it a lot harder to beat.  We turned their fryer on full-bore, and made ourselves beat it at its highest setting.
So whether or not it's 'cheating' to use old familiar tricks like insulation and heat conservation, I still do it, and they don't. (I sometimes leave a spare pot-holder over the lid on pots at home, now, too.)
So if anybody is upset that we 'cheated,' they are welcome to cheat too.

Afterwards, the cook found she had to put a grill, and some bricks, on top of the stove to vent off some excess heat in order to use it for ordinary cooking.  ("ordinary" in this context being 4-gallon pots of soup or chili for 20 people.)

We wondered if you could call it a rocket forge.
So we tried blacksmithing with it:

Answer: yes.
Ernie made me a few pot hooks, and though we didn't have any real flux, we got indicators that we might be at forge-welding temperatures.

This design could be a fun one to modify with a pass-through for working on leaf springs and stuff like that.

Our favorite wood mix was a blend of dense, dry wood (we got some black locust scraps, but oak or madrone should work about the same), along with ordinary softwood like pine.  Using cut wood or large kindling, 1" to 2" pieces, seemed to provide the best high-intensity heat from this small firebox.

We're putting our notes and some diagrams up on Permies.com as a plan for sale, and will be releasing them to our 2016 Kickstarter supporters with this spring's DIY updates.

Here are the threads:

Plans for sale: https://permies.com/t/64465/Rocket-Canner-Fryer-Forge-Draft

Discussion from the 2012 workshop and video fans:
https://permies.com/t/18988/Erica-Wisners-Rocket-Canning-Frying