Howdy all! I hope everyone had a great summer 😉
In this quarters wood gas newsletter we are going to cover:
- 3 Tutorials: Ben’s simple secret hearth upgrade, push-blower configuration and simple jets you can make for cheap.
- $2000 Contest (happening now): Win a 20 minute call with the Ben (the author), Free gasifier parts, store credit & bragging rights. (Already gave away $1000+ in store credit)
- Community bulletin board: Have something to share with the community?
- Odds n’ Ends: Random news you should know.
Lot’s of life changes this year on my end, how ’bout you?
My outdoor chores are done and everything has turned to mud, so it’s that time of year when I like to hunker down next to a fire and do some reading while I wait for spring.
I made the leap back to the country full time. Moved off the 5 acres I was renting in Redmond. No more crazy Seattle Metro rent! Landed in a seaside town with no stoplights, no store and no traffic! Just me and a nice silent patch of alder. Good splitting wood. Good gasifying wood. I feel like myself again. I’m finally 130 pounds lighter (no I didn’t go on a diet) and decision making is alot easier…
Progress is moving forward on the village project. Too ugly to show any pictures just yet, but next year I should have something for you to see. I had to spend alot of time building a fortified entrance to keep the stray meth head from grabbing my steel and welding tools. I also spent alot of time squatting in the bushes hoping to plug one of the little fuckers with my 45, but I think they saw me open carrying and decided to poach elsewhere.
Here is my Great Wall of Woodgas to keep the Meth Mongols (& code inspectors) out. Privacy, security, storage and power in a 1 day install. Sweet!
I am excited to merge woodgas and solar power into a micro grid. I think micro-grids are the future. Alot of the benefits of grid stability without the lack of control. Saves wood. Easier to spread the cost around so it’s not as expensive per person too. I have 4G internet out there and not much else, so I haven’t had to dig a single utility trench to the outside world (Yes!)
Hearth- Now that we have enough people building I wanted to share a really cool design trick that I used on the Victory line of gasifiers called the Victory Hearth. It’s a favorite.
After spending hours running gasifiers with glass over the top watching how the charcoal heats up in the air stream I began testing some ideas to even out the hearth temperatures and force any wood and water vapor through the hottest part of the combustion zone, giving it the longest residence time. This is the brute simple type of approach I am known for.
Steep v-angles channel the fuel and vapor into the the jet stream while also insulating a normally colder area, boosting performance. I don’t have any measurements for you, but you can eye ball it and start with a cardboard template. Steeper is better. Works like a gee-whiz.
Jets- Lot’s of stress in woodgas land that we aren’t offering jets anymore, but fear not.
A 1/2″ stainless plug with a hole drilled in the center works great. Or you can cut a length of pipe nipple and weld a thick fender washer on the end. Viola!
Blower- Using a blower in suction mode is an easy way to get your gasifier started, but sometimes it makes good sense to use a blower to push air into the gasifier. (if your seals are tight)
A gasifier needs alot of flow to attain and maintain it’s internal temperatures. If you have a tight filter, you might need a little push. Need more power out of your engine? Give it a little push. Keeping the blower on the front end means only clean air passes through it, so it will extend it’s life.
If you put it on the outside of your check valve as pictured, then you want to drill a small hole through the side of that check valve and attach a rod with a small cam to force the check valve open when its gets sticky from pyrolysis oils. Rotate the rod until the cam pushes the flap open.
You can put the valve on the intake side of the blower if you mount the blower rotated 90 degrees, but pyrolysis oil can accumulate on the internal blades and throw off the balance over an extended time.
Question from the Community
“What does it take to get in the gasifier kit business?”
I get this question from time to time. Here is a quick rundown if you decide to go this route:
- Make sure you are selling kits- It gives you legal protection selling “unfinished parts” (even if they are assembled)
- Understand that this is a bite sized business. You can do $50-250,000 in sales from your garage, but don’t try to scale beyond that. Also understand that this business isn’t Starbucks or Hilton. You don’t have high profit margins and you don’t have a recurring revenue stream.
- Solve your energy problem and then find others who want that solution. Don’t chase the market. You will get a zillion calls from people saying “can you make this”, “if only you made …” Don’t chase the market. Make one thing, make it well and be willing to say “No.”
- You must do your own welding in my opinion. Welders are super flaky and most people don’t have the skill anymore after NAFTA & made in China took manufacturing down. Manufacturing is coming back, but think CNC.
- You must own your own CNC plasma table.
- Offer educational content, not discounts. Let the price shoppers go to the next place. Teaching is reaching. It’s free advertising and brand building.
- Don’t ship UPS. They drop shit! Freight forwarders.
- Pick a popular engine/application to mate up with, but you don’t have to supply it.
- Pick a metal- stainless or mild steel. Just offer one choice. Stainless doesn’t need paint, can sit outside and has higher perceived value, but it doesn’t cut as well on a plasma torch.
- Popular price points for simple, decent kits in various stages of completion is $2000-5000 in mild steel. Add 50% in stainless.
- Think outside the box- You might do better building turn-key power sheds and putting them on cheap land, then charging more for the land and making money on the financing. Supplement your income with workshops and downloadable tutorials.
- Have fun. If it sucks, then you might be doing it wrong or your goals overmatch the marketplace.
Contest- Winners will be announced on December 24th, 2015.
Update: contest is over, thank you for participating. I am sorting through hundreds of pages of answers and dozens of great photos looking for the winners.
WANT TO WIN FREE GASIFIER PARTS OR A CALL FROM THE AUTHOR?
Take our customer satisfaction survey (yeahhh survey’s suck, but I’m no mind reader). You’ll get $25 in store credit good until the end of the year just for participating. AND IF YOU UPLOAD A BUILD PHOTO OR A PHOTO OF YOUR HANDSOME SELF WITH THE BOOK YOU CAN WIN:
3 available) Top prize 20 minute phone call with the author
2 available) Blower motor
2 available) Grate motor + linkage
1 available) 10 jets (my last set)
2 available) Old Biomass Energy Foundation Woodgas books
2 available) Vibrating motor
5 available) Safety stickers
Upload a photo of your build or you with the book IN THE SURVEY FORM. Question 27, I believe. Contest ends December 5th.
Byron- You are a badass! This had me rolling! Cheers!
Sweet build Warren!
Feedback so far has been good.
- You want a Bill of materials in excel. That is now on the “to do” list.
- You want welding videos and a chipper/chunker design. I will see what I can do.
- Some folks want pre-made kits. There are kit makers out there and always room for a new one as people move up the chain. That isn’t how I want to use my time. I’m staring at 40 people. I want clean hands and dirty sex! Kit making is for retirees and guys under 30.
- You want more theory of gasification. Talking about “the theory of gasification” is like talking about religion or politics. But I am writing down my thoughts and how I visualize it for a future presentation video. I think it will help simplify it in your minds.
- Folks want parts kits (jets, grates, linkage), but unfortunately the reality is that they don’t move fast enough and no kidding it is a minimum of $10,000 cold hard cash to have that stuff made in China and imported in bulk just to take up space in my garage. Since the blowers are essential I will keep them in stock most of the year.
Shout outs, updates & horse trading
- Stainless Grates: Dana had a whole bunch of these CNC cut and he is offering up extras for an absurdly cheap price (at cost). If you want a great grate, please contact him at: email@example.com
- Many of you haven’t discovered the Builder Resource area of the website yet. (it’s not hiding) The link is in the book and it’s in the upper right of the website navigation. This is where I post new drawings and schematics and clarifications based on your feedback. This info will be incorporated into any new edition of the book in the future. That link again: http://www.woodgasifierplans.com/builder-resources/
- Troubleshooting- 99% of my tech support emails concern folks not using a powerful suction blower. Squirrel cage blowers aren’t going to cut the mustard. I’m sure there are forums full of this very topic, but the bottom line is get the blower specified in the book. I give you the part number and manufacturer in the builders area if you want to bulk import them yourself. I have used ejectors and burned up $800 worth of air compressors. I have destroyed vacuum cleaners. I have custom built blowers and there isn’t a better blower for the money. I used to buy expensive Ametek blowers but their lead time sucks and they are EXPENSIVE. Please get the right blower and you will become a better gasifier operator overnight. Have a big engine? Get two!
- Thinking of building kits as a business? I have been holding the name www.gasifierkit.com for some time now and I am ready to part with it. People search for that exact term so it’s like free advertising. Asking $1500 or better. I can build you a simple web page site for $200 more if you need it. Let me know if you are interested. I will choose a new owner by December 5th. Ben- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gasifier blower motor sales go on hold from 12-8-2015 to 1-18-2016. Ben is going to be doing some traveling and volunteer work in South East Asia over part of December & January so we are going to discontinue signed books and parts sales over that time. We will resume when he get’s back. Thanks for understanding. Order what you need now please. http://www.woodgasifierplans.com/order/
- Have something to announce? Making parts, hosting a keg party? Let me know. If it’s non-commercial it will probably be free and if it’s commercial in nature it will probably cost sumthin’.
Odds n’ Ends
Steel prices are super low right now. It’s a great time to buy metal. I started building kits in 2009 and was able to benefit from low steel prices. Prices are so low now that Chinese factories are closing down. Read more here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/17/us-china-steel-tangshan-idUSKCN0T618320151117#D1udo3f4f8QOboJZ.97
Smart meters are causing big problems for home owners are create a direct surveillance route into the inner workings of your home. Learn more by watching the award winning documentary Take Back Your Power. I have been fighting Smart meters in Seattle. You might want to oppose these in your area too. https://takebackyourpower.net/free-viewing/
White House “Prepping.” Those paranoid preppers in the Oval Office are getting ready for the end of the power grid as we know it. Read more here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/white-house-prepping-single-weather-153841163.html
My thanks and appreciation
It has been an honor to serve you folks in your pursuit of personal freedom. I love hearing your stories. The emails have been really positive and respectfully few. So Thank You!
Wood Gasifier Plans was featured on MotherEarthNews.com and Permies.com early in the summer. Thank you to those sites as well. Check ’em out for good honest country living and let me know if you have seen us mentioned anywhere else on the interwebs so we can give them a shout out too.
Thanks for reading. Get your build pictures in for the next quarters newsletter. We’ll talk again soon,
Editor of the somewhat quarterly Wood Gasification Newsletter… starting … now