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Did not want to take over Eric's retort thread. I also built this modeled after Ian's retort.

 

I sourced my pipe from the scrapyard. The closest thing they had to 6" steel pipe was 7" sch 40 steel pipe. I also used 4" sch 40 steel pipe. First things first, did not have a spare tip for the plasma torch Friday evening, and when I got to it, it was shot. Friday night was my night to start. So I used cutting wheels and an angle grinder instead. Had to create a flange for the venturi-esqe pipe to mount to the barrels. Using the angle grinder and a portable, gas powered 14" chopsaw, I managed to make the flange (out of 1/4" plate), cut the pipe down, and create a tee out of my materials. Just want to let it be known that I do not usually fabricate outside of what I do smithying. Nor am I a welder. I simply have access to cutters, 220v welders, saws, etc...

 

Ian also informed me that I had to make the transition from the 7" to the 4" conical. So I did, the best I could at least. I'm also now realizing now that I see pictures of my progress that the height of the 7" is several inches taller than both Ian's or Eric's. I think I'm going to leave it as is for now and see what it does. Perhaps it will allow the fuel and air mixture to more thoroughly mix? We shall see when I finish. Pre-game activities cut me short today. Many hours of welding done today though.

 

Will post more as it goes.

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Daniel it looks like it will get the job done. I used the angle grinder and 240V welder to make mine also. I cut a piece of a angle iron every inch on 1 leg and and formed it to a 6 inch diameter for my flange. I wish I would have done what you did with the 1/4". Mine leaks quite a bit around the flange. I found you will have to feed the fire quite awhile after the gases start to combust the first batch of charcoal I did didn't fully gassify and I ended up with 1/2 charcoal 1/2 wood. Get her fired up!

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Ah, maybe some RTV will fill in the gaps?

 

Got more done today. Almost done. All I need now is cut the lid, throw in other barrel and add insulation and make the framing that will suspend it in the air.

 

EDIT: Btw, I also added a 1/8" plate on the inside as well. You can see it in the barrel. Didnt have quite enough to reach the entire diameter of the inner barrel, but its better than none, plus it made the mounting of the piping more rigid, and it doesn't flex at all as it is attached to the barrel.

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Eric, I smear a bit of mud(common garden) around the top to make a seal every time I fire up, I also let some steam escape around the chimney before I stick the sand on the lid, to seal and insulate.

Ian

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Question for Ian. I used soil from my yard as the insulator between the barrels. After many hours of fire lit underneath i am still building steam and npt gassifying the wood. I also noticed my grate does not hold any coals and they all fall out so i think i am also not building enough heat. Will try again tonight or this weekend.

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Try leaving the lid off and making a fire inside, it might help to dry it out?

Ian

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I'm not so sure how soil will work, can't see why not? once you have got rid of the moisture and ensure that it does not dehydrate!

Ian

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Is there a bottom to the inner barrel with insulation between it and the outer barrel?

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Thought i read about dirt being used. Not sure how i got that in my head otherwise. Will try the buildig fire or empty it out and start over with a different insulation.

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I used regular wall insulation and just sealed the top 1/2" with mud. I am finding that it takes a little more than an hour and a half. I have also been feeing the fire from the top with longer sticks this seams to get it heated up.

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I looked over Ian's thread again, as well as the others.  It doesn't look like there's a bottom on the inner drum.  I'm just thinking that if the inner drum had a bottom and insulation it might retain heat better and keep the outer drum from wearing out over time.  Thoughts?

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I did weld a bottom on my inner drum. If anything it will help keep the O2 out.

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Alright. It was a success. After about 2.5 hours of fire in the firebox/tube, this bad boy started whooshing. It literally nearly blew my eyebrows off once the gasses started to ignite literally 2-3' above the stack like fireballs. Then a 4' torrent of flaming inferno. It hummed and there was enough energy being produced that it made me feel a little sketchy.

 

I had to put it out. I thought initially that I had it far enough away from my shop, but after the unexpected booms and flames, I realized I underestimated it. It was just all of a sudden. For hours of heating up, I felt like it was going to result the same way my last 2 failed results. Then boom.

 

I'll be dragging this another 10' away and going at it again this week. Now I know the set-up works. Time to make a few tons of charcoal.

 

Also, sorry about no pics. Didnt have it set up. I will take pics and video this week though. Its intense enough to be worthy of video.

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Once you get these babies going you'll get to know what I mean when I say they "Roar"(quite fun and safe,,,,, grin)

Ian

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Is there a bottom to the inner barrel with insulation between it and the outer barrel?


There isn't really a need for it when your bottom(of the drum that is) is about to fail/fall out one can simply cut a lid from another drum and pop it in!

Ian

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Emptied it out today. Around 75% recovery, and even though I only let it flame for 5min. it managed to nicely fully char 80-90% of the wood. Still a success in my book!

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I was wondering if packing some leaves, twigs, pine needles or hay against a patch of the flue would make enough smoke to get the flue temp high enough to start to gas the timber sooner.

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I was wondering if packing some leaves, twigs, pine needles or hay against a patch of the flue would make enough smoke to get the flue temp high enough to start to gas the timber sooner.


I recon the thing is to get the sides of the flue hot "inside" the barrel where it 'touches' the wood and the driest wood packed tight against the flue. Also the best thing about this design is that you can get it to be pretty much "smoke free" it's a bit of a learning curve, also I've found that the 'tilt' makes a big difference to the start.

Ian

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Also, my retort takes roughly 3 hours to heat up the wood to gassify as of right now. I have tried it standing straight up and with a tilt. The wood I am using is rather dry also.

 

I am assuming the surface area of my firebox is a contributing factor, it being 7", sch 40 and a bit longer before it transitions to 4". Takes about a 6' 2x4 cut into segments and oak branches from my yard to get it to gassify. Which still like 5% of the wood I had to use making charcoal in the past using the indirect method.

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