About this project
Rocket Mass Heater Resources:
Thanks everybody for supporting this, my fifth kickstarter. If you are arrving late to the show, here are some important resources:
When the DVDs are ready, they will be made available here:
And until they are ready, you can find the DVDs from my 2012 kickstarter.
I wrote an article on rocket mass heaters in 2009 and have polished it about a hundred times. It is a great place to start for this sort of information:
To get an email notification the moment that the new DVDs are ready (any anything else interesting), please sign up for my dailyish email:
I'm not sure how long it will be available, but we are currently giving away a set of rocket mass heater plans for people that sign up for the dailyish email here:
I have over 20 free rocket mass heater videos on my youtube channel:
And, of course, come on out to the forums at permies.com where we talk about rocket mass heaters, homesteading and permaculture all the time:
rocket mass heater forum:
What is a Rocket Mass Heater?
The annual cost of a rocket mass heater is less than a tenth of the annual cost of natural gas - and that's if you buy the fuel instead of harvest it yourself. Some people heat their homes with nothing more than the twigs and branches that naturally fall of the trees in their yard. One guy heated his home all winter with nothing but junk mail. And a rocket mass heater emits less than a tenth of the greenhouse gasses produced by natural gas heat. Many rocket mass heaters will heat a home with a tenth of the wood of what a conventional wood stove will use. The trick is to mix modern science with knowledge from hundreds of years ago: Burn the smoke; capture heat from the exhaust; focus on the more efficient forms of heat (radiant and conductive heat are favored over convective heat); and, most of all, use a mass to hold the heat for days.
A look at the innards: The fire is at the bottom of the sticks. The strong thermosiphon draft in the riser causes the fire to burn sideways. Rather than immediately extracting the heat, like a conventional woodstove, the heat goes into an insulated area where it gets much hotter. Hotter than molten steel or lava. The sharp turn causes the smoke to mix with the flames, thus burning the smoke. The exhaust is then carried through the mass and outside. More details can be found here.
So we now have footage of building:
- a cob style rocket mass heater in a log structure
- a cob style rocket mass heater in a tipi
- a pebble style rocket mass heater in an office
- a pebble style rocket mass heater in a shop
- a pebble style rocket mass heater in a conventional living room
- three wood box style shippable cores
- three small molded shippable cores
- three molded shippable cores with manifold
- three batch box variations
- an outdoor rocket mass heater that doubles as a BBQ, cooker and smoker
- an outdoor rocket mass heater "ring of fire" with glass in the burn tunnel
- a batch box style rocket mass heater with careful measurements of the exhaust
- an indoor rocket stove with a griddle, oven and hot water
- a batch box rocket mass heater with the heat directed into the floor
DVD 1: COB STYLE
DVD 2: PEBBLE STYLE
We will show the construction of three pebble style rocket mass heaters. The difference with these is that the mass is usually a wood bench filled with pebbles and rocks. A different aesthetic. These designs are (relative to cob style) easy to move and modify. They also tend to be lighter, thus, better for installing in places that have a wood floor.
DVD 3: SHIPPABLE CORE
The kickstarter from two years ago showed an early prototype. We were certain that by the time the video came out, people could buy a shippable core and plug it in. In the time that has passed, that didn't happen. We ended up releasing a variety of information on how to make your own - and now, in this video, we supply the "how to" video for a variety of techniques.
DVD 4: INNOVATORS EVENT
Last fall we put on an event where Ernie and Erica invited several rocket mass heater innovators that they thought were the best in the world. Each innovator was provided with the materials to create whatever they wanted. The results were: "the ring of fire" - a rocket mass heater shaped in a circle with glass to show the burn; an outdoor rocket mass heater/cooker/smoker; A "batch box style" rocket mass heater with measured output cleaner than anything we have ever encountered; An indoor rocket stove, griddle and water heater.
We're funded! Stretch Goals!
Hot dog, we're now funded! This thing is now gonna be made!
But there is so much more we can do. The world of rocket mass heaters is just getting started. And the innovators are loaded to the gills with lots more ideas. So we have decided that we will do the innovator's event again this year.
$70,000 Stretch Goal (Done!) - More Innovation
Last year we hosted five innovators. If we reach this stretch goal, we will expand that to seven innovators
$80,000 Stretch Goal (Done!) - More Plans
Erica has a pretty huge collection of plans that she has drawn up for several of the rocket mass heaters that she and Ernie have built over the years. If we reach this stretch goal, I will pay Erica to create plans for the cob style rocket mass heater in the log structure, plus plans for the pebble style rocket mass heater in the conventional living room. These plans will be for the people that supported at the $40 level or higher.
$90,000 Stretch Goal (Done!) - Even More Plans
I will pay to have Erica create two more plans (for a total of four plans). The two NEW plans will be one for the tipi and one for the steampunk experimenter's rocket mass heater of science (pebble style). These plans will be for the people that supported at the $40 level or higher.
$100,000 Stretch Goal (Done!) - More Tools and Materials for Innovators
When the innovators worked hard last year, there was one tool that would have made things much smoother: a really good plasma cutter. There was also desire for a few other things, including an electrical upgrade for the whole shop. If we get funded at this level, I will ask the innovators to make a list of what they would most like to see here for the 2015 event.
$110,000 Stretch Goal - Cover the travel costs for the seven innovators for 2015
They got here on their own steam last year. It would be great to cover their travel costs this year. Tim Barker came from Oz. Peter van den Berg came from Euorpe.
Micro-Documentary and Candy for All Backers!
Note that in order to pull this off for a dollar for each person, some things will be available for just a short window of time. We will email you and you will have just a few days to download the product.
$2 Gets You Plans, Podcasts and eBook and Microdocs
The $2 reward includes the micro documentaries and the other goodies at the $1 level ....
PLUS the plans for the beautiful "Bonny" rocket mass heater. This is a cob style rocket mass heater built on a conventional wood floor. Yes, this is the full plans. The same plans that currently sell for $25.
PLUS plans for building a rocket mass heater in a greenhouse. These plans have not been released to the public yet. 41 detailed pages.
PLUS an eBook featuring all of the cards from the permaculture playing cards. These cards have been selling for $21.95 on amazon and have 53 reviews with a 4.9 star average. With an eBook, you might be able to better find the 26 hidden names. Can you find the names hidden on this card?
PLUS podcasts 201-280. Yeah, yeah, they've all been given away for free in the past, but this is in one of those convenient zip file gobs!
$3 or more gets you Plans, Podcasts, eBook, Stoves pdf, Formidable Vegetable Album and Microdocs
So this is everything at the $1 reward level, plus everything at the $2 reward level, plus a pdf by Erica Wisner about "3 Stoves for $3 or Less" plus the full album "Permaculture: A Rhymer's Manual" by Formidable Vegetable. And everything at this level is available at all of the higher levels.
This would be the four DVDs listed above, plus the four DVDs from the previous kickstarter. The four new DVDs are designed to offer material not found in the earlier four DVDs. So the new effort does not replace the old effort. Here are the previous four DVDs which will now be numbered 5 through 8:
DVD 5 - Fire Science: This one shows the many interesting ways heat works. Essential for understanding how a rocket mass heater works.
DVD 6 - Sneaky Heat: The theory behind the rocket mass heater, plus the build of a rocket mass heater.
DVD 7 - Boom Squish: Pressurized hot water - with a strong emphasis of the dangers of pressurized hot water mixed with rocket stoves.
DVD 8 - Hot Rocket: Pocket rockets, rocket stoves, a race between a propane turkey cooker and a rocket stove, a poor man's forge, tools, etc.
DVD vs. HD Streaming vs. Digital Download
We're putting a lot of emphasis on HD streaming or digital download. DVD delivery is four to six weeks later; plastics are involved; packaging to fill dumps; petroleum burned in delivery; and most of all, a huge portion of the risk we take for the kickstarter is funds for quality printing and shipping. The only upside to DVD is that after you watched it, you can pass your copy on to somebody else.
I really want to encourage people to get digital download. I've made the prices extra, extra sweet for digital download. These will be smaller file sizes so they can fit easily on phones, tablets or computers. This will be an MP4 file - so you have to be able to play an MP4 file.
HD streaming requires a high speed internet connection. You can watch it as many times as you like for many years to come.
Better Rewards This Time
Ernie Wisner is an arctic fisherman, turned natural builder with a passion for staying warm. He has built about 700 rocket mass heaters. In these new videos, Ernie will run point on several of the builds, and his greatest innovation is the ceramic fiber shippable cores that might be pushing 4000 degrees F (note that steel is liquid at 2600).
Erica Wisner is a science teacher with great skills at being the human interface between people and Ernie. :) Erica was named "rocket mass heater innovator of the year" in 2014 for her work in several castable shippable core designs.
Ernie and Erica make a great team as Ernie works like a freight train to get amazing things done and Erica helps us to understand what we are seeing.
Peter van den Berg is one of the top rocket mass heater innovators in the world. He has been interested in efficient wood burning, mostly by way of masonry heaters for the last 30 years. Since 2007 he has been investigating and developing different rocket heater variants. He was among the first to post emissions-testing data on rocket firebox models, and his attention to detail has led to two new firebox refinements that reduce emissions even further.
Matt is a designer, builder, and tinkerer who spends his time collecting firewood and growing food on his farm on the Olympic Peninsula. A lifelong wood burner with a curious mind, he has been designing and refining wood burning devices since childhood.
Tim has come a long way since his days as a diesel fitter mechanic and now spends his time as a semi professional pyromaniac and mad scientist teaching people how to burn stuff and make really cool machines and devices for low carbon living. He has previously been farm manager for the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, power station operator/mechanic, adventure guide and professional turtle wrestler. His rocket stove and char making powered hot water systems, ovens and cookers reflect his passion for elegant simple and durable combustion technologies.
Tony and Emily are the couple that lived in the tipi at Wheaton Labs for about a year. They helped build the rocket mass heater in the tipi, and the tipi itself. They also had a huge role in building the log homes out at Wheaton Labs. They refer to themselves as nomadic homesteaders and travel all over the world trying to be self-reliant and live through permaculture principles. They both often work seasonally for the National Park Service as Wilderness Rangers or Trail Workers in parks and then do the ol' homesteading or WWOOFing thing the other parts of the year!
My TED Talk on REALLY saving energy
A bunch of people (yes! more than three) said I needed to post my TED talk here. They said it is important and will help the kickstarter. I start to talk about rocket mass heaters about halfway in. Oh, and something is wonky with the sound for the first 20 seconds.
These DVDs and all of my kickstarters are borne from the community interactions at permies.com (where we talk about rocket mass heaters, homesteading and permaculture, all the time!) combined with the mighty power of the daily-ish email.
Thanks to my top supporters:
Risks and challenges
The scariest thing so far has been the much higher goal this time. Mostly due to a shift in HOW the DVDs will be printed, and the minimum order of 1000 for this kind of printing. Then, to print 1000 single DVDs, 1000 4-DVD sets and 1000 8-DVD sets. This is the most I have ever asked for in a kickstarter.
This is my third kickstarter featuring DVDs, so I feel pretty good about how to go about it. I learned a great deal on my previous kickstarters. As always, the biggest risk is the unknown. What could pop up this time that did not pop up on the previous times?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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