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Home Made Boiler Up and Running

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by allan, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. allan

    allan Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    EUP of MI
    I just wanted to let everyone here know that I now have my "Garn" like boiler up and runnng. It works better then my expectations. I want to thank all my friends on this site for the wealth of information I have and still am gleaning from this site. I made my boiler (really hydronic heater), from a 3000 gallon tank that I bought off Ebay. I have been running it for the last week, I realize that the temperatures are not really cold yet, but I do live in the U.P. of MI so the temps are going down to the low 20's overnight. Right now I fire once a day (I should say my wife fires once a day). The temperature on the boiler usually read a starting temp of around 160 degrees and an ending temp of between 185-195 degrees. Friday night I was home and the temperature was 195 near the end of the burn (about 6 pm) the next afternoon about 4:30 pm it was still 173, but it was a nice day with outside temps around 50 degrees. Right now I put 3 pcs of paper, 4 pcs of kindling wood, 3-4 pcs of regular wood, turn on fan, light fire with match, shut door, wait 3-4 minutes, fire is roaring by then, load 4-6 pcs of wood in the fire, wait 45 min, reload 6-8 pcs of wood turn timer to 3 hours and forget about the fire. Come back and the temperature has climbed from about 160 to 185-195 depending on how much wood was put in the second load. My wife finds it very easy to operate (she did not grow up on wood). You can't tell the boiler is running except you hear the fan, other wise there is no visible smoke coming out the chimney. I will post some pictures later of the completed project.

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  2. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    West Michigan
    Must....have.....pictures. Otherwise it never happened!

    Sounds cool though. Can't wait to see some shots of this beast....
  3. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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    Nov 20, 2007
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    Central Wisconsin
    Sweeeeet!!!
  4. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell Minister of Fire

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    860-868-9014 h 203 948 0864 c nw corner ct.
    congratulations!, cant wait to see pictures, is this the boiler that dectra asked you to keep hidden?
  5. allan

    allan Member

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    EUP of MI
    This is the project after welding was completed

    Attached Files:

  6. allan

    allan Member

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    EUP of MI
    More pictures of welded project

    Attached Files:

  7. allan

    allan Member

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    EUP of MI
    Inside fire box

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  8. allan

    allan Member

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    Installed and operating

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  9. allan

    allan Member

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    Insulated and operating

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  10. allan

    allan Member

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    More completed photos

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  11. allan

    allan Member

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    Thanks Tom. Dectra never contacted me directly, but I rec'd a PM from someone who said that they were unhappy that I had posted the internal pictures. I'm not out to make anybody upset so I took down those pictures. This was my own design that utilized the principles of the Garn. I modified a 3000 gallon tank that I found on ebay and basically made a 5 pass heat exchanger out of 5-inch pipe. It works great so far I must say. I will need to start working on the control side to make my overall heating system more efficient.
  12. shoeboxlen

    shoeboxlen Member

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    Loc:
    Schoharie County NY
    Congrats on the build and the design. if someone gets bent that you showed pics tell them to talk to a admin. Its your design and your build and you have as much of a right to post pics of it as the guy who spends a boat load on their garn or other boiler. Sure wish I had the skills needed to make that boiler.
  13. allan

    allan Member

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    EUP of MI
    I have a new problem now. My wife tells me the house is too hot! I noticed that my temperature feeding the infloor heat is hoter, so I will have to make adjustments to my 3-way mixing valve. This is my first time heating with wood were I'm using energy stored in the water. I can't imagine anything else now. No wonder the Europeans all use storage.
  14. shoeboxlen

    shoeboxlen Member

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    its a gender thing they are required by law to find something to complain about lol
  15. magnumhntr

    magnumhntr New Member

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    Loc:
    Southwest MIchigan
    Dude, I along with countless others would love to see any pics you care to share. As stated before, this is your design. Noone should have a problem with you sharing your ideas/designs.... Please share ~ others may be able to improve upon your design...

    Chris
  16. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell Minister of Fire

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    860-868-9014 h 203 948 0864 c nw corner ct.
    Eup,when you get clothes back on, do you have a way to check your fluegas temp, also what "garn like" combustion chamber size did you go by , 2000 or 3200 design, how much do you think it all cost to fabricate?
  17. allan

    allan Member

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    Tom

    I used a 36-inch diameter pipe 3 ft long for the wood chamber and a 12-inch diameter pipe 3 ft long for the secondary burn chamber. I made the insulation 1.5-inches thick in the secondary chamber. I have a temp guage in the exhaust stream right after the fan (forth pass) that reads anywhere from 350-400 degrees. I have seen it higher for a short while, upto 450 degrees. I think I have about $6,500.00 into building the boiler not included installation costs. I would like to figure out how efficient I'm burning, but I have not had a chance to weight the wood, figure moisture content, etc. I know that I have no visible smoke, and the inside of the boiler is clean with just some fine ash that brushes off easily. Reading some of your posts, I see that you have figured out how to control the air supply so that you don't have too much excess air.
  18. Paso

    Paso Member

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    Loc:
    Western Canada
    I have let this sink in for a few days ( stewing) and I can't understand why that person would have the gall to send you a PM complaining about you posting pictures of the inside. WTH this is your design , you built it, you built it for your use and are not producing the design for profit so why not share the pictures for the rest of us that are interested in what you did.

    As far as somebody getting mad I think more people are mad that the pictures were pulled. Like I said I waited 4 days to comment so I could tone down a little. :)
  19. fabguy01

    fabguy01 New Member

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    Loc:
    Ravenna Michigan
    EUP, how did you make the insulation in the secondary?,castable refactory? Also what is the big framework around the loading door? thanks nate
  20. allan

    allan Member

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    Paso

    I just want to set the record straight. Dectra did not ask me to pull the photo's, I did that on my own.

    I will think about posting some of my photos. I'm working away from home right now, so I don't have access to them right now. I must say that Garn makes an excellant product. It is simple and simple things work best in my opinion
  21. allan

    allan Member

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    Fabguy

    I ordered my insert from Insulation Specialties out of Indiana if I remember correctly. I sent them my drawing and they made it up for me. They could only make pieces 12-inches long so I have three pcs. If I remember correctly, I paid about $250 or so for the insert. It is not a castible ceramic, more like a ceramic insulation with a hardener in it. It is not very heavy. The steel framework is the path for air to enter the combustion chamber. Basically, there is a 6-inch pipe that runs through the boiler that preheats the air, it then circles around the door and enter the fire box at 12 and 6 o'clock.
  22. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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    Central Wisconsin
    EUP,

    In some ways I think garn should be thanking us for the over whelming support that we give to their product. I do believe that our comments on this site have sold a few units to members here. Not many people have the skills that you and I do but there are alot of people that appreciate a well made piece of equipment no matter what the cost. And as far as I know, I don't know of anyone ever complaining of poor design or complex operation of the garn.

    When people see pics of the inside and out regardless of the original or a home built clone, they start to realize the uniqueness of it.I think these garns are in a class like a M Farmall or A John Deere. Legendary pieces of American design and ingenuity that will stand the test of time. I just wish I would of thought of this design 40 years ago!
  23. allan

    allan Member

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    I agree whole heartedly with your comments Garnification. The Garn is simplicity in itself. My wife can handle the unit while I'm away and actually does not mind building a fire every day. She builds a fire, and reloads once right now to bring 3000 gallons of water from 155-160 to 180-185. My supply temp in actually hotter then my guage reads on the front of my boiler when I use my IR temp gun. I tried to shoot the fire in the secondary burn chamber by my IR just says "OH"
  24. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Falmouth, Michigan
    Somebody has to say it Alan ;) .............

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Nice work. Still want to get up there for that tour of the locks someday. I was within sight of the bridge last week but running a tight schedule this time of year. I'll give you a jingle someday. I'd love to see your craftsmanship firsthand.
  25. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Minister of Fire

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    EUP - congratulations on getting this project to "light off" :lol: . I know we traded a few PMs about the fan. What did you wind up using? Your flue/HX piping is larger than the WHS200, so you can move more air, but do you need to? Did you fab your own impellor, or find something off the shelf?

    Your flue and water temps look great. 510k-765k Btus is your average input during a burn per your last post. Over what period of time are you getting the temp rise?

    Again, kudos to you for starting, and COMPLETING, a project of this size. If I had the tools and skills I would attempt something like this too, but I am a woodworker, not a metal worker. ;-)

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