UPDATE: Just updated this post for the first time in four years – we’ve now got seven rocket stove plans on this page. The newest one is also the easiest… check it out!
Just back from a weekend trip up to the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, and between board meetings, was able to join in with the community’s annual open house and Village Fair. Many, many interesting things going on, but one of my favorites (given my interest in appropriate technology) was a stand selling popcorn popped on a rocket stove.
I’m really intrigued by this beautifully simple concept, created by Dr. Larry Winiarski. The stove was designed for clean cooking in the developing world (where wood smoke fires cause millions of deaths, as well as a huge contribution to deforestation), but strikes me as a tempting project for the DIY-er (even with limited skills — shoot, I’m even thinking about trying this out). I started doing a little research when I got home, and discovered that there’s a kind of “open source” movement around the rocket stove: many people have shared their designs for these super-efficient, super clean wood-burning stoves.
Looking for an alternative to the traditional outdoor barbecue grill, or even for heating your home (at least partially). In my digging, I came across a number of plans that look eminently practical for the weekend tinkerer.
1. The Very, Very Simple 16-Brick Rocket Stove.
This one requires no more than stacking some bricks… though I’m guessing they would need to be made of a material like adobe (for the insulative properties). That the stove’s creator, Dr. Winiarski, putting this one together.
2. The Slightly More Involved Single-Pot Rocket Stove.
You’ll need just a few more materials for this one from the Aprovecho Research Center, but it’s still pretty simple…
3. The Big Brick Rocket Stove
If you’re interested in something closer to the look of a conventional barbecue grill, this plan by the folks at Root Simple may be just the ticket. It’s a bit more involved than stacking bricks, but likely still within most of our skill sets.
4. The Steel Drum Rocket Stove Heater.
Welding is definitely beyond my abilities, but if you’re handy with a torch (or know someone who is), check out this DIY rocket stove for indoor heating. Of course, make sure to follow the author’s safety precautions for operation, and consider his suggestion that such a stove could have implications for your homeowner’s insurance. (via Lifehacker)
5. The Customized Rocket Stove Plan.
The Rocket Stove Design base has an interactive tool (which apparently only works in the Firefox browser) that allows you to input elements of the stove you’d like to build, and spits out a plan for your stove in PDF format.
6. The Tin Can Rocket Stove (10/1/11)
Yep, still looking around, and came across another really simple plan for a rocket stove made from tin cans. Jim Bonham, who made the video, has another one with some updates, and another (shorter) one on some of the safety issues involved in making this particular stove.
7. The “4 Block” Rocket Stove (11/7/2015)
This one’s even easier than the 16-brick stove at the top, and (at the time of the video’s publication two years ago) cost just over $5. Want a permanent stove in the back yard that takes five minutes to construct? This is the plan you want…
Know of other practical DIY rocket stove plans? Let us know about them in the comments.