Bruce's Baron Downdrafter

While enjoying Brian’s First Down Draft Charcoal Gasifier topic, I spotted a 50 year old Simplicity Baron in roadside trash. This project was born.

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Most of this is coming together from my junk pile.

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The high-temp insulation is leftover from another project. The stainless retainers are cut from a gas grill found in the trash.




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My wife gave me a piece of ribbon that allowed me to easily divide the tank into 4 sections and mark the retainer bolt holes.

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I’m glad to see this project started.

I’ll be watching how you build it and how it gets mounted and plumbed into the tractor. I haven’t run my gasifier since I moved it for the coming winter but I did refill it with charcoal and want to use it again as soon as I move the generator. I’ve been using gasoline for the few times I’ve used the generator since I moved the gasifier and I miss running on charcoal.

I’m sure you will get a lot of use out of that little tractor once this project is done.

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Brian, Thanks for getting me started and for your encouragement! I’ve built a dozen or more charcoal gasifiers, all updraft except for one small crossdraft. Downdraft is scary unknown territory for me. I’m sure Wayne and all of the wood burners would wonder what I’m afraid of. I’ve admired the many old and new downdrafters discussed here on DOW, but I would never have tried this without your example. Here’s hoping…

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Here is the safety spring for the lid:



I didn’t trust my welding skills on this thin metal connector so I brazed it.

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Compression springs have a much higher working temperature than extension springs so I think it will be OK inside the top of the reactor. I bolted it in place.

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Looking good Bruce cant wait to see it come together .

Dave

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OK, here goes another scary part–the tuyere. I drew pictures and set the pipe on a table and tried to visualize what the two fire lobes might look like. I decided to go with my original idea–two 3/8 inch nozzles, 7 inches apart, drilled at 45 degrees and pointed inward toward each other.




Drilled at 45, the cross-section of the oblong holes is probably equal to three, 3/8 inch holes.
Since the 1-1/2 inch pipe is open on both ends the nozzles can be cleared of clinker with a 1/4 inch rod that has the end bent up at 45.

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I worked on the outlet today. Stainless scouring pad:


Perforated stainless grate:

Cap/clean-out/1-1/4 outlet:

Ready for fire:

Next install well near top of tank for wired thermometer:

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sorry about the tiny thermometer image.

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Bruce, looks great! Im curious how this works out

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Hi Brian, Since you asked about “how it gets mounted and plumbed,” here is a picture:


The reactor sets on channel iron bolted to the tractor frame and two pieces of angle iron tie it to the seat/fender pan. Fortunately they were using fairly thick steel for the tractor body back in 1974. This picture also shows the location for the cooler plumbing. The cooler is a 1-1/4 inch piece of radiator from a steam heat system.

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Looks good so far. Shouldn’t be much longer before you are Driving on Charcoal.

Did you get any attachments for this tractor?

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It only came with a mowing deck which I do not need. I will use the tractor in the woods to haul out firewood in a trailer. I have already pulled out a couple of loads running on gasoline. I don’t know if I’ll get any more work done on the gasifier before Spring. It is getting pretty cold.

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I looked around in my scrap pile for something to cap or plug the tuyere at shutdown. I found a 1-1/2 inch OD aluminum tube:


This is a thick walled tube (5/8" ID). It is long enough to pass through the whole tuyere pipe:

This will also allow me to seal off one nozzle hole while running to compare tuyre size performance.
I like the idea of a highly conductive aluminum tube as tuyere plug because it will help cool down the reaction zone when shutting down. The hole passing through the tube adds surface area and pathway to outside air.

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A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. John Keats.

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Thanks for the likes. Hopefully the internal insulation and the high temp engine paint will keep this from turning into a burnt mess.

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Burnt is Beautiful :slightly_smiling_face:

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