Easy Large Portable Woodgas Stove




About: New twists on old ideas

This is a CHEAP version of my first Instructable

If you need to get a BIG stove going  right now, this is the one.

Video of stove operation at end of Instructable.

Read and BUILD!


Step 1: Tools and Materials


- Tin snips
- Sharp chisel and hammer
- Corded or cordless drill or screwdriver
- Optional hacksaw
- Optional Dremel with fiberglass cutting wheel


- Large tin can. 10 inches wide, 11 inches tall (roughly)
- Smaller can about 8 inches wide. #10 food can type
- Computer style fan. (80 or 92 mm)
- 1/8" diameter metal tubing (flux brush, golf club tubing, small copper tubing from old fridge?)
- 2 1/2 inch deck or drywall screws. Any long screws will do.

The large tin can might be a popcorn or cookie tin. It can be a 5 gallon kerosene or hydraulic fluid container. It could be a metal paint pail with lid that seals. The container has to have a flat top and be completely intact.

The inner burn pot can be made from a #10 food can, or 2 stainless steam table pots (bain marie).
I use the inner pots from my other instructable in this one. Look there for more info.

The single wall burn pot will work fine. It will radiate enough heat to melt your computer fan though.
The fan pictured below melted in this close configuration.

Cut the top hole in the outer can with a sharp chisel and hammer. Or use the chisel and hammer to get a hole started, then use tin snips to finish the top hole. Take your time and make the top hole PERFECT. The #10 food can/inner burn pot must fit TIGHT. This allows the gasifier to work best without needing weird exotic sealants you have no access to.

Next step will show how to make a basic duct to keep the fan a small distance away.

All this instructable shows is how to make a fan duct and gasifier if you have barely any tools and supplies.

Step 2: Cut Fan Hole

Here is how to ghetto mount a fan and duct.

Punch the metal can with chisel and get tin snips in there. Cut hole for fan.

Step 3: Cut Fan Standoffs

This is a nice little trick I cooked up. I needed fan standoffs and had nothing. Or so I thought.

Take some cheap acid flux brushes and cut 1 inch pieces from them. These brushes are everywhere. Harbor Freight sells a whole bag for 99 cents. Any plumbing supply/home improvement store has them.

If you don't have them, use an old golf club shaft.
Or cut some thin copper tubing off a refrigerator compressor.
Anything that fits over the long fan screws like a sleeve.

When cutting thin tubing take a hacksaw and reverse the blade so the teeth are pointing back at you. See pic 2. Slide the hacksaw forward VERY light at first. Maybe do only forward motions with it.
This tubing snags the blade very easily.
Or take a Dremel and slice the tubes right off. A Dremel cutting wheel makes extremely clean and smooth cuts.

Make 4 small 1 inch tubes. Now you have fan standoffs!

Step 4: Install Fan Standoffs

Put the long screws through the fan first, then slide the tubes on.

If you need to, use a sheet metal screw smaller than your main screws to punch the can easier.
Or predrill with a small drill bit. Or make holes with hammer and nail. It's up to you.

Step 5: Fan Standoffs Complete

Sit back and marvel. Drink a beer or something.

Take it easy because the next step will make you pull out whatever hair you might have.

Step 6: Make Fan Duct

This is where it gets annoying. Seal the area between the fan and outer can by any means necessary.

Duct tape in small strips will work if you have a double inner burn pot setup.
Metal duct tape works better.

A small strip of metal cut from another tin can and formed into a square would work too.
Seal over that with tape. The object of this step is to have the duct be airtight. Every bit of the fan's air needs to go through the duct. This helps with keeping the fan cool and meltdown free.

MacGuyver would have a hard time with this step too. Don't feel bad.

Step 7: Complete

Looks great eh?  Or not as the case may be.

Hopefully you have function instead of form at this stage.

If you have a double walled burn pot, even this horrible duct tape unit will work.
Imagine that, duct tape used to make an actual DUCT!
Possibly a first in the world of poor man's DIY.

Step 8: Bonus Burn Pot Pics

Here are some top down pics of the double walled stainless burn pot.

No sealant is used between the pots. Just a precise tight cut in the large container.
8 sheet metal screws installed carefully (no stripping!) hold the pots in.

Step 9: Video of Operation

Here is the video. Quick and dirty horrible editing.



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    22 Discussions


    6 months ago

    Thanks for the video. Sorry for my english. I'm from Germany. I have heard in one of your videos,
    that it is possible to fill in new pellets even if the stove is still working. Did you try this for a longer
    period ? Cause have found a new way to run my normal wood stove with pellets. Never seen a better and clean burn before. The problem is, that the fire stays only for one hour. I have tried to
    fill it up with pellets - one after the other - but it is not possible. After a while the pellet coals are
    disturbing the fire surface and the fire went of and a terrible smoke comes instead of flames.
    Do you have any idea why ?

    Hi interested in the possibility of producing steam from a wood gas stove. i want to build a sauna while out trekking and rather than heatiing up rocks to use in the sauna to create the steam. i am now considering piping the the steam directly into the sauna from the wood gas boiler. the sauna is a converted 2 man tent. any ideas from you guys on producing continuous steam would be great. i am going to backpack this so size and weight is an issue. robert

    There are only so many metal fans out there. They are normally expensive also. I want to show something anyone can build.

    A tube would work just fine for a plain computer fan. I built square ducts out of metal 2x4 wall studs for a few of these stoves.

    Hair dryer is out because you can only use it near a house. It's too much air also, fire will burn really hot and die out fast.

    Get Google Sketchup and learn it. We need more people that can rock that stuff.

    They have CPU fans in the 3D warehouse I bet.

    My duct was similar, I made a rectangle box and had the fan blow down then do a right turn. I didn't have any tubes available.

    Did you check out my other Instructible? The silver gasifier? No tubes needed. Part of the reason I did the better stove.

    that's what i'm talking about! but...you need that sheet of steel or something to mount the fan to it and then to the tube ;) that ring it's not enough ;)

    You have to look at the drawing within Sketchup. It is a sheet of metal exactly like yours.

    Take a very close look at that pic. You will see the gap between the fan and the plate with tabs cut.

    Basically you take computer fan screws, the stubby ones, and screw in from the back side. From the plate into the fan.

    You can also take put the tabs inside the pipe. Screw small sheet metal screws from the outside of pipe inwards (into the tabs). This would create better air sealing. Or just use high temp RTV on it all. Whatever ya got.

    If you have a powerful enough fan it won't matter. If the fan is wimpy it won't allow a big gasifier like this to work right. You have to get the right fan power for your enclosure to get the correct burn rate. In a smaller gasifier, any old computer fan would work perfect.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I'll work on the fan tube drawing some more showing how to attach tube to gasifier body.

    You can take the drawing and run with it too. Learn Sketchup. I've been using Sketchup for 3 weeks now and the drawing still took me 2 hours. Takes a while when you are thinking out concepts as you go. It's easier to make things in real life. But...without documenting things for other people...it's all a waste of time. Hence the Instructables website ;)

    Hey I got another idea from your drawing. Make the tabs longer, then put them outside the tube. Use a large metal hose clamp to go around them, holding them tight to the tube.

    I'll get my old gasifier out and try to do this idea, will then add the pics to this instructible.


    8 years ago on Introduction

     What's the difference between the woodgas stoves people are making without fans and the ones being made with fans? What is the functional difference? Are the ones with the fans more efficient gasifiers? 

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, the ones with fans run better/smoke less. They don't blow out in the wind either. Computer fans and car batteries are available all over the planet by now. I'm a fan kinda guy cause I WANNA SURVIVE ;)

    oh...and let me give you another idea...put a copper tubing serpentine between inner and outter chambers an you can make hot water or a small steam boiler :D

    1 reply

    Yes, that would be pretty easy. And don't forget the pressure relief valve. Or it will blow up in your face. This gasifier runs way more than 300 degrees around the top rim. Lower down the body it's 200...towards the bottom its 100. These are EXTERNAL temperatures.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    You could use peltier elements attached to the body of the stove to power the fan, what do you think? By the way, nice stove! I'm planning to build one a little smaller, for my camping trips.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I noticed that you have two different stoves shown above, One with large holes near the top and one with samll holes near the top. 

    Could you explain the benefits/detriments and or purpose of each configuration?

    1 reply

    The picture showing large holes is just to show the most simple method of making a burn pot. It is a #10 food can I believe.

    The pictures with the small holes depict a completely different double wall burn pot. This pot is detailed in my other instructable.

    It's basically a large stainless pot with another smaller pot that fits inside.
    The smaller holes on the top and bottom of this setup create a very different (and better) burn.

    I used the pot assembly from the better stove just to illustrate how well it works with different fans.

    You use what you have on hand to create one of these stoves.
    Build the simple one, then get some money together and build the better one later.