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"Hot Wheels" Stove Keeps Shop Warm
If you're cold, do something about it. That's what Gary Tickner figured when the temperature dropped to near zero and his fuel oil furnace couldn't keep his shop warm. He put together a pile of old wheel rims and started welding.
"I cut the centers out of four 25-in. truck wheels and welded the rims together for a firebox," says Tickner, a logging contractor in northern California. "I cut flat plates for both ends and made a door in one at the front of the stove."
He used scrap steel he had in his shop, using 3/8-in. plate for the door and end plates. He cut four air inlet holes in the door and in the rear plate, mounting sliding plates with offset holes over both to act as dampers.
"When I get the fire going, I can open both sets, and the fire draws air in from both ends of the stove," says Tickner.
Cutting the round stove ends out of square sections of steel plate left behind perfect outlines of the stove's round shape. Tickner welded a length of 4-in. pipe between two of the leftover scraps to make a base for his new stove.
After building the firebox, he took a second set of rims and mounted them above the first set to act as a "heatilator". He cut a hole in the second rim from the front in both sets and fabricated a gasket from steel scraps to connect the two.
Tickner then cut three steel plates with seven matching 4-in. diameter holes sized to fit inside the ends of the upper chamber. Seven lengths of 4-in. diameter steel pipe, each the length of the chamber, were welded to two of the plates with a third plate left to slide free over the pipes.
Before inserting the heat exchanger, Tickner drilled two holes in the front plate and inserted the ends of a rod bent in a U and a few inches longer than the chamber. These ends were then tack welded to the free plate. Pipes and plates were then inserted through the chamber, and the plates were welded in place to cap off the heatilator chamber. A flue was mounted at the rear of the heatilaor.
"When I want to clean off the heat exchanger pipes inside the heatilator, all I have to do is pull on the rod and the free plate," explains Tickner. "As the free plate slides back and forth, it scrapes any soot buildup off the pipes."
As a finishing touch to the efficiency of his wood stove, Tickner picked up a used squirrel cage fan for $10 at a local machine shop and mounted it behind the heat exchanger.
"I don't know how big the fan is, but when I plug it in, I can feel heat moving 30 ft. in front of the stove," says Tickner.
The entire project took him less than two days time, and the only money spent on it was $10 for the used fan. Now whenever it gets too cold for the fuel oil furnace, Tickner fires up his hot wheels' stove.
"You could make this stove as long as you wanted or as big around as available rims would allow," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gary Tickner, 537 W. Moffett Creek Rd., Fort Jones, Calif. 96032 (ph 530 468-2510; glt@sisqtel.net).


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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #2