Homemade tent stove project in the works

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Homemade tent stove project in the works

Post by Woods Walker » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:55 am

I read though the NY winter camping trip.

http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21022

Looks like a great time. But stories of frozen booze, melting socks and shivering hands trying to take a piss convinces me that we need to get some more smoke stacks. With the exception of the now infamous failed downmat fiasco I was hanging out in my heated tent with just my short sleeves and boxers on my trip.

There are packable stoves on the market. Kifaru and Ti-goat come to mind. But the commercially available stoves are often too expensive for most. There are easy ways to make a stove out of mild steel with everyday stuff. But rusting gear sucks. So rather than make something that requires welding and special tools as I would normally do I think a stove could be made cheap using everyday tools and materials. Here are some guidelines for the project.

1. The stove must be made out of Stainless steel or Titanium
2. Must be reasonably packable so it could be used in an extreme cold weather bug out.
3. Be cheap to make and easy to build using common tools and materials.
4. Should have a firebox big enough for a reasonable burn time say 1.5 hours.
5. Should have a damper and spark screens. Maybe a stack robber.

The advantages of a vented tent stove are many. It can dry your clothing. Cooks your food. Heat your shelter to over 100 degrees about the outside temps. It makes all the difference in the world for those that live in colder areas. I don’t think split wood and all the booze and food someone can consume would be available if forced to bug out in subzero. Not that -17 is easy in any circumstance. Great job by all. I sure was impressed. 8)

I have never made a Stainless stove that didn’t require welding etc. So thinking this would be a great group project. I would like to hear any suggestions on how best to approach this. I have tons of experience with wood stove projects but surly am no expert and more minds are clearly better than one. After we work out how best to do this I will build it and post photos with step by step instructions.

Once the stove is done the next logical step would be a shelter that can take our ZS wood burner. It should have the following characteristics.

1. Be cheap and easy to make.
2. Should be able to withstand snow load and wind.
3. The tent would need to be packable.
4. Floorless do to the wood stove.
5. Have a stove jack.

It will not be done overnight but I believe we all can come up with a cheap workable solution.
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Post by TheFreakinBear » Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:26 am

I can't wait to see what you come up with. I think highly of you and your mad back-packing skills not to mention all your experience camping, etc. I'm really kind of excited lol. YAY WW!
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Post by AltimGXE » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:11 am

Yes! This is my dream thread :)

I had a plan to build a similar stove a while back, but had to put it on the backburner due to real life. The hardest part of the stove in my opinion is getting the material, which in my case was 30ga stainless steel sheet. I couldn't find any business that carried stainless this thin, most companies stop stocking at 26ga. I did end up finding a company that produces good stainless in 30ga, but the minimum order from them was 10 feet of 24" wide (in other words, $500). You could surely build a lot of stoves with 10 feet of foil, but for $500 I could just go out and buy a commercial stove or two.

I also found a place that sells scrap copper sheet (30ga) for MUCH cheaper than stainless, you could probably acquire all of the metal needed for the firebox for under $60 shipped. I wasn't too sure about how well copper would fare under the heat of a wood fire, and I just found this website towards the end of my stove pursuit so I never really followed up.

The rollable chimney I found zero information on, and the best I could manage was simply buying one from ti goat for $5.50/ft as opposed to $12/ft from Kifaru.

Design wise I was going to pretty much copy the Kifaru stove :oops: , using a cheap metal brake from Harbor Freight.

edit:
Looking through my bookmarks, there was this site: http://www.sliceofstainless.com/ where you can get a suitable amount of SS for around $140 + shipping. Not the cheapest, but at least you don't have to buy $500 worth.

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Post by Molon Labe » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:50 am

I can't wait to see what you come up with. I always wanted to do the same thing. I'm always making hobo stoves and the like.
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Post by Tonto » Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:34 am

Oh this thread has the potential for full win!

I'd love to have one of those stoves like you have for winter camping.. my el cheapo mailbox stove was a 50/50 success with materials used.

I'm thinking the tent/shelter would be one of a modified teepee that you'd either car camp or utilize a sled to pull. For winter time use, utilizing a sled - even a cheap childrens plastic sled, would allow one to have additional weather protection equipment thusly, the shelter could be made of a more sturdy and heavier material. But that's just my opinion.
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Post by Squirrley » Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:15 am

This thread is full of much win. I've always liked the look of the Kifaru Paratipi, and thought about trying to make a knock-off one. I really like the idea of a heated tent.
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Post by Jamie » Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:36 am

WW...Great Idea!!!

I am excited about this, and ready to help out in any way that I can, including being a guinea pig for testing...

I'm going to stop into the hardware store on the way home today, and wander around thinking about this project...

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Post by crypto » Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:49 am

WW: One tried and tested method for assembling steel without a welder is rolling seams and crimping them down.

It's kind of like rolling down the top of a bag of coffee. You put 2 pieces of steel together and fold the edge down over itself 180 degrees. Then you do it again, so you have a fully encloses seam joint. If you do it carefully (and there are many hand and bench tools to effectively make this kind of joint), you'll end up with something about as strong as the car's body panel, which is typically joined the same way (and then spot welded every few inches to keep the roll tight over 10 years of use).

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Some of these joints, like the "overlap" joint in the top left, really need spot welds every so often if the metal will be flexed and moved around. Other joints that are stronger might not.

The bench tools typically are just a variation of a vise with a slot-machine handle on it instead of a screw. You put the metal into the thing and pull the handle to make an even 90-degree bend. Then you stick it in the machine a different way and it crimps it flat on itself. Then, if you want a double roll, you do it again. What you end up with is a coldwelded seam, thats pretty damned strong.

The hand tools are basically just big pliers with a wide head so that you can bend a few inches of metal at once. Only for small parts though, for long seams you really want the bench tool.

Welding sheet metal is a pain in the ass to be sure, but spot welding is a lot easier than trying to draw a bead down a piece of thin stainless steel.

I'm sure you know this already, but if you don't: to make a spot weld with cheap welding equipment, you drill part-way through the joint, and then just hit the hole with the welder and throw some material into the hole. It will melt around in there and fuse the metal surrounding the hole. It's much simpler on thin metal than a continuous bead. Since you arent keeping the current flowing all the time, you dont have to worry as much about burning through the sheet steel.

Lots of places make special drill bits to make the spot weld hole properly each time.

If you want to really do it easily, they make spot welder heads that are double sided. you just clamp down on the seam and give it juice, and POP you have an instant weld.


Either way, I think that a crimped seam is what you want to go for, and then reinforce some of the seams with strategic spot-welds.

I think this is definitely doable with some cheap tooling. You can pick it up from Harbor Freight, or wherever cheap shitty tooling is sold. You might find it in the paper, or if you know any guys who work in heating or cooling, their union should have a "for sale" bulletin board where people sell metal bending tools for ductwork.

Hope this is helpful.
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Post by CavemanSam » Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:10 am

I will be watching this thread very closely.

Although the sleeping bags made the nights comfortable, leaving the bags was agony. The tent was not much warmer than ambient temp was. A wood burning stove would have been pretty cool.

Keep up the awesome work, WW
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Post by Jamie » Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:37 am

ok...here's a lame idea that I came up with during my lunch...please excuse the ms-paint artwork...

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My thinking is that we can use stovepipe in 2 different sizes, a reducer, and an elbow to make the basic stove...fine screen fixed over the top/outlet and removable for wood-loading in the front...large screen, almost grill-sized, for suspending wood over the ash...

I haven't figured out the legs yet, hardware-store inspiration needed... :wink:

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Post by Dave_M » Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:46 am

crypto wrote:If you want to really do it easily, they make spot welder heads that are double sided. you just clamp down on the seam and give it juice, and POP you have an instant weld.
I was just thinking the same thing. My 110v Harbor Freight spot welder would probably do the trick.
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Post by derajer » Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:59 am

since the spirit of the idea is to be CHEAP AND EASY I think we should try to brainstorm existing containers that are made of acceptable materials that could be modified. I have seen a thread with a paint can that was converted, but I assum those are not stainless. Are there any kind of cans that could be stainless or copper? How about some kind of tool box.

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Post by AltimGXE » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:49 pm

This guy is doing the same project (pretty much), this might provide some ideas: http://minibulldesign.com/myadventure/

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Post by Tonto » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:55 pm

Here's the directions of a wood stove I made from a mailbox - yeah, it has galvanized metal.

http://www.webfun.org/woodstove.html

You can see pics of it here.. it's sitting on the table

http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25909
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Post by Woods Walker » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:58 pm

Cypto.

Great input. I am very familiar with spot welding. But I am looking to make something that all ZS members can do without any welding equipment. So the logical option for fabrication would be stainless steel rivets. Here is a stove that was riveted together. It was made out of galvanized steel. Once the zinc burns off (outside the tent as zinc vapors are poisonous) there is still a residue that offers some rust resistance.

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Here is another homemade design that could be riveted easily.

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But I am looking for the least amount of work so the greatest numbers of people can build it. I think tackling the stove body first is a good idea. Than worry about the other components. Somehow I feel that transforming a container into the body maybe the easiest. But just putting a hole in any old thing and hoping for the best could results in problems. If the shape is not right the stove will not draft correctly. Normally this would smoke the tent up badly.

Here are a few containers that were made into stoves. I found this info on discussions of just the same topic in a hunter’s form.

This looks a great deal like a Coleman white gas can.

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Another Coleman can.

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A paint can.


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These are all great innovative ideas but are lacking in the rust resistance department. What I like so much about using a premade container is the reduced work. Also a container could be filled with gear during the colder months and then stored inside a larger BOB making it packable. Here is a great idea that is both cheap and rust resistant. A large stainless steel pot. They are thin and UL. Being round there is nothing to snag on a pack and the shape is dent resistant.

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I am thinking a stainless steel bathroom trash can might work too.

Building a takedown stove like my Kifaru has its own problems. The materials are expensive and hard to get for most.

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The same is true for attemps to replicate my TI-goat rollup stove.

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Also I don’t expect some to fabricate a stove like my homemade cylinder stove from just stainless sheet. Rolling and welling stainless sheet is a bitch.

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So there are a few difficulties with this project. I am confident we can all come up with something.

AltimGXE.

Copper is a no go. Transfers heat great but has too many issues against it.

NFA.

A great start. But the 90 degree angle on the lower part of the stove could hurt the draft and increase the chance of drafting sparks. 48 inch pipe drafts ok. I have one but an extra foot drafts so much better. I have the leg issues worked out. I am going to luck so will think on this some more. Great work so far.

Derajer.

I am thinking on the same wave length with the existing container idea. But this is still early in the development stages so anything goes. I think it would be a great idea to brainstorm on Stainless containers.
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Post by Woods Walker » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:05 pm

AltimGXE wrote:This guy is doing the same project (pretty much), this might provide some ideas: http://minibulldesign.com/myadventure/
I was looking at the same thing when food shopping the other day. If the container is stainless than maybe it would be good. If Aluminum it is a disaster waiting to happen. Anyone knows what those mini kegs are made of?
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Post by AltimGXE » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:12 pm

Another post by the minibull guy from earlier, he built the stove using $30 of parts from a hardware store. A stove pipe might work fine as long as we can reliably cap the ends. No idea how you'd attatch some WW style pot holders to the top, maybe you could rivet some thin strips of metal to hold them on.

http://minibulldesign.com/myadventure/i ... itemid=822

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Post by thelight » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:13 pm

Question, will stove chimney pipe handle the heat of hot coals? You could just use that, then, and figure out a closure for one end and take the chimney off of the back.
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Post by Dak Kovar » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:41 pm

Oh fun. WW I love your posts and I always learn something from them.

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Post by Biff » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:26 pm

...
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Post by CommonHighrise » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:35 pm

Oh, so much win...so much time wasted in the garage...I hate you Woods.

I think I need to build myself a Teepee-tarp tent before I get to stovecraft, so off to the hardware store for some tarp I go...
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Post by Woods Walker » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:37 pm

DK.

In no way is giving suggestions for a stove hijacking. This is a group project that with luck anyone will be able to reproduce. The downside to a .50 cal ammo drum is weight. Also I am not so certain that high temp paint can stand up to the glowing red hot temps that extra thin stoves can burn at. But your idea is good and should be considered.

AltimGXE.

Wow I liked that stove. 8-inch stove pipe with end caps could make for a real nice stove. The author is unaware that the galvanized coating is a big plus. Once it burns off it leaves a residue that is not harmful to the shelter's occupants but still offers some rust resistant. People have been using galvanized sheet metal for years in stoves for just this reason. But sometimes it is necessary to burn off the remaining coating with a propane torch as there is always a little that gets missed by the break in burn. I would just have to work out the best size for packablilty. Also his draft pipe is just too small in terms of width and length. He has not yet worked out a spark arrestor system (I think something like Kifaru's might work). This will reduce the draft considerably with a 2-inch pipe. 2.5 inches would work but 3-inch pipe would be best.

But one big positive of the 2-inch pipe if it works with a spark screen is that the thing might be able to nest in the stove in sections. I am going to use one of my roll up pipes but seeing how this will be made for everyone a nesting pipe system should be looked into.

2day.

People have been using chimney pipe metal as stock to build stoves for some time. The mild steel can burn out after extended use but this would take a long time. It is not stainless but seems to hold up.

Keep the ideas flowing! :D
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Post by Woods Walker » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:44 pm

Biff wrote:BTW, galvanizing can be removed with muriatic acid, available from the pool supply store.

Woods, how critical is the seal between the stove and the chimney?
Not overly. Someone can spoil the draft if there is a big gap. But on the flip side if it is too tight than sometimes moving the stove pipe into position can be compromised. In general with these thin UL stoves nothing should be super tight as it will bind up. But any overly large gaps will reduce the burn time and overall control of the stove.

I would burn the galvanizing off as this is the time tested method. Proven safe if done outside the shelter.
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Post by E » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:47 pm

you keep talking about rust resistance on the outside...

what about using something like engine enamel or some other heat resistant paint? (think automotive rattle can type)
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