Hello! First post on these forums (though I've been stalking for sometime).
My family and I have lived in a 1966 Airstream for the past two years with the end goal of a completely off-grid setup. Last winter was brutal and I'm very interested in wood heat. There are a number of small wood stove manufacturers that look decent but are very pricey $1k - 4K. (I guess less is more)
I love the efficiency of Rocket Stoves & RMH but given we are in an Airstream we don't have the luxury of hauling around thousands of pounds of mass.
I am wondering if the RMH approach can be done on a smaller scale? I found this video on youtube and it looks like an interesting design. Kind of a mix between a rocket stove and masonry heater. Take a look:
Has anyone tried this style of rocket stove? Thoughts on the design? Thoughts on making it better?
Any ideas on safely using a water tank as a thermal battery with this design?
Ultimately looking for an affordable (efficient as possible) heat source for the old Airstream!
I would love to get your thoughts and feedback on this!
Without the mass a rocket stove isn't going to gain you much, you will probably be burning more often to keep the temps up in the airstream.
The stove in that video isn't quite a masonary heater as I believe all of those brick are refractory and helping to insulate the burn for complete combustion, not for radiating heat. This stove would still need masonary brick at the exhaust end in order to hold and radiate the heat over time. Which leads to more and more weight. If your airstream was super insulated you might be able to just run off a rocket stove burn for a while, but I'm guessing airstreams aren't known for their insulation...
You might have better luck looking with a modified "pocket rocket" or still using a bench but using a shorter run and understanding that you won't be gaining the burn eff you really wanted the rocket heater for in the first place.
Of course, I'm a newb, I'll yield to the advice of Allen or Santamax or a Wisner, they will have more info for you.
Nick Peterson : A late Welcome to Permies.com, our sister site, richsoil.com, and a Big Welcome To the Rocket, Woodheaters, and Cob Forum threads.
( you lurker/stalker you !)
Actually the design is a clear copy of the core of a Masonry Heater, as shown here the whole thing could get tightened up to eliminate leaking exhaust gases with a
conventional clay/sand based mortar and connected to an indoor chimney and give good service, If the whole thing was stationary and not in a moving vehicle
This WILL cause cracks to open up at brick joints so frequently you would need to dissemble it to move the trailer to a new location !
If you go back to the original video at youtube.com ( be very careful there is a lot of crap builds on you tube) you can find the original posters list of videos, this is
his #33 , #34 puts the whole thing in a metal box. If you used a clay slip instead of a good clay/sand based mortar you would be able to use the heater as is, and
disassemble it carefully packing it in its metal box ! Keeping thjs unit air tight all of the time would be nearly impossible, Crackes will happen, and you would have
to switch to a back-up heat, put tarps down in your trailer and disassemble fix and reassemble this unit to put it back in service !
As built its creator guesses its weight to be 100 kilos or 220 lbs. Insulating the bottom of this heater to make it safe for installation on your airstreams floor would
probably add another 25-30 lbs. So total weight less than 300 Lbs and cost $250 -$400 This does not account for the additional cost of a dedicated chimney, this
could easily double or triple the whole cost !
In order for this unit to radiate off the heat you are hoping to get off of it, it must remain uninsulated and therefor it WILL be a risk to nearby exposures, And small
children. How or where to place one of these things inside your Airstream I leave to you !
Often, we recommend that a simple shed type structure be built up against the side of the Trailer, this serves as a mud/cloak room and an Air Lock cold air sink in
cold weather, and can be the location of your Rocket heater only needing the doors of the trailer to be left open to cause the transfer of heat to the trailer by
In this case, your airstreams unique shape makes the use of a semi-detached shed structure a builders challenge !
Kinda in a Nut shell or in your case an Airstream shell those are your options. Sorry it was not more positive, For the Good of the Crafts. Big AL
Success has a Thousand Fathers , Failure is an Orphan