1 gallon paint can Pocket Rocket Heater

I needed to make something today… so I decided to make a “pocket rocket heater”. These are a small sized high air flow wood stove that sounds like a rocket as they suck so much air.

I decided to make mine “right” so I used an old, dried up paint can that was in the basement when I bought the house and some speghetti sauce cans. Ok, the “doing it right” ment I went out and bought vent pipe. I got a double walled gas water heater pipe, a 3″ to 4″ reducer, a variable elbow and a length of 4″ pipe. Dang is that stuff spendy! $40! Well, a bag of perlite is in there too.

I initially wanted to make a downdraft gravity fed unit, but that’s going to be really challenging to pull off in a paint can. So I made a simpler side feed unit.

Tin snips to cut out a whole in the side of a paint can.
Tin snips to cut out a whole in the side of a paint can.
A big hole for a speghetti sauce can for the wood inlet part.
A big hole for a speghetti sauce can for the wood inlet part.
The inside of the Pocket Rocket
The inside of the Pocket Rocket
Two cans intersect, so I cut a few tabs so they interface well
Two cans intersect, so I cut a few tabs so they interface well
This bit of can gets marked, cut and bent as well
This bit of can gets marked, cut and bent as well
Looking down, you can see that the 2 cans interface cleanly.
Looking down, you can see that the 2 cans interface cleanly.

Its not done, but I decided to fire it anyhow, if only using cleaning out the paint as my excuse. It needs a fire shelf so air can flow under the wood and then up through the fire. It also needs the fire area enclosed so I can insulate the can with the perlite.

It burns even when missing the fire shelf and the burn chamber not being enclosed inside the can.
It burns even when missing the fire shelf and the burn chamber not being enclosed inside the can.
The safest place to test the Pocket Rocket heater is on my grill.
The safest place to test the Pocket Rocket heater is on my grill.
It's tedious to keep feeding the wood. It needs the fire shelf to help it burn better too.
It's tedious to keep feeding the wood. It needs the fire shelf to help it burn better too.

I guess if you can insulate the burn chamber, these things can burn so hot that they burn clean. Just carbon dioxide and water. This is my goal. If I melt the stove pipe, its all in the name of science. Maybe next time I will get the right kind of pipe.

Hopefully tomorrow I can take it apart, see where it got hot, etc. and then finish the Pocket Rocket Heater. I want to add 1 more can to complete the burn chamber, and then pack perlite around it inside the can. I also want to set it up inside the garage so I can heat the garage. I will run it out one of my windows. Stove pipe out the upper part, flexable dryer vent for an air intake coming in the lower part.

I need one of those temperature guns so I can see what the temp gradient is on the stove pipe. I want to run enough length inside the garage that I actually can heat the garage..