Where Can I Buy a Bi-Metal Draft Regulator?

Modern and vintage hand fired coal stove are similar to a wood stove and in some cases can burn either. They need to be regulated and fed by hand usually every 12 to 24 hours depending on your usage. They require no power to operate making them ideal for rural settings with long power outages.
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JRLearned
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Post Wed. Aug. 07, 2013 8:42 am

I purchased the Harbor Freight 90 Amp MIG Welder and attempted a weld with it. I joined two pieces of 3/16ths x 2inch flat bar together to make a 4 inch tall piece. In theory this type of plate would serve as the side wall on my draft box. The results.... A beautiful Jackson Pollock representation using steel as a medium :D It isn't a pretty bead by any stretch of the imagination, but suprisingly strong.

I learned a couple things:
1. Welding is harder than it looks, of course.
2. Welding is fun!

I found a few potential issues/mistakes with what I was doing that I need to test and practise with:
1. The garage circuit I was plugged into was 15 amp so I don't think I was getting enough heat out of the unit to really melt and fuse the wire. Running an extension cord to the spare 220 outlet in the next room (2nd living room used to be a kitchen) and using only one leg of it would get my welder on a 110V 50 Amp breaker. If I'm still not getting the heat with an extra 5 amps, then I think I'll return the unit and get the next size up or maybe something that runs on 220V.
2. Get a spot light on the piece so I can see what I'm doing with the visor down. It was too dim to see where I was aiming.
3. Practise

I posted a few pictures of the process. My planned design thus far is to bend a piece of 1/8th sheet metal to the curve of the stove. This will serve as a mounting flange. In the outside corners of the flange I will drill 4 bolt holes and bolt the flange to the stove, using some thin stove gasket between the flange and stove wall. Then to this curved plate I will weld some side walls, bottom, top to form a box. You can see the white line where the sides box would be cut at an angle for the flapper door. I'm not sure yet what the correct hole size should be for draft, relative to all the uncertainties about the weight of the flapper door, the tension of the spring coil, the amount of travel in the spring coil, etc. So, I'm planning to either start small and work up to a larger hole as needed, or come up with a spinner style adjustment.
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Sheet metal curved to the shape of the stove.
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Welder
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Cleaned it up a bit
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The concept...

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Aug. 07, 2013 9:44 am

JRLearned wrote:1. The garage circuit I was plugged into was 15 amp so I don't think I was getting enough heat out of the unit to really melt and fuse the wire. Running an extension cord to the spare 220 outlet in the next room (2nd living room used to be a kitchen) and using only one leg of it would get my welder on a 110V 50 Amp breaker. If I'm still not getting the heat with an extra 5 amps, then I think I'll return the unit and get the next size up or maybe something that runs on 220V.
I don't think running it off a different circuit will help. If the welder needed more than 15 amps it would have tripped the breaker. SO, If your welder draws less than 15 amps, it will still draw less than 15 amps on the 50 amp breaker. Your welder (or anything electric) only takes what it needs. As a matter of fact, if you run a lengthy extension cord your welder will have LESS power to use because of line loss. 8-)

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Post Thu. Aug. 08, 2013 9:33 pm

I returned the 90 amp welder and exchanged it for the 170 amp model at harbor freight. What a difference! This one has no problem getting penetration into the steel plate. In fact, I had to turn it down because it was burning in too deep. I've got a picture of a scrap piece I welded. You can see what's starting to look like a half decent bead...maybe not, but way better than w/the 90 amp model.
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Post Thu. Aug. 08, 2013 10:00 pm

Here is a snippet I came across where someone was wanting a source for a bimetallic coil spring for a stove and a stove manufacturer replied...
More than likely the bimetallic coil spring on your stove was unique to that model. Speaking for our products, each spring we have used since 1977 is specific to the model. The overall length, number of coils, the temperature at which they are baked (to create memory), width and material thickness are again very specific to the model.

You may wish to name the manufacturer and see if anyone has the part you need. Without specific original manufacturers data for the spring in that model, it would be risky to just put a new spring in the stove. Doing so could create a hazard or possibly just poor performance.
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Post Thu. Aug. 08, 2013 10:52 pm

McGiever wrote:Here is a snippet I came across where someone was wanting a source for a bimetallic coil spring for a stove and a stove manufacturer replied...
More than likely the bimetallic coil spring on your stove was unique to that model. Speaking for our products, each spring we have used since 1977 is specific to the model. The overall length, number of coils, the temperature at which they are baked (to create memory), width and material thickness are again very specific to the model.

You may wish to name the manufacturer and see if anyone has the part you need. Without specific original manufacturers data for the spring in that model, it would be risky to just put a new spring in the stove. Doing so could create a hazard or possibly just poor performance.
Interesting snippet. By the same measure, since they claim coil spring is very specific, that would make it consistent in its behavior. And, potentially easier to tune a draft box and chain to. I'm sure the manufacturer is talking about putting a new coil into an existing, pretuned case and box/chain setup. Modifications to the stove or other mechanisms to accomodate the new coil were out of scope.

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Post Thu. Aug. 08, 2013 11:11 pm

Anyone know what angle the draft box on the hitzer, or any other assembky like this,is cut to? Looks about 22.5 degrees to me.

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Post Fri. Aug. 09, 2013 12:08 am

I don't know the angle...but, I do know that is a piece of 4"x6" tube steel and with 3/8" wall thickness.

What is Hitzer's price for that item? You would only need to do the string and pencil trick for the radius cut, as *franco b* was saying earlier. :idea: And no welding required. ;)
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Post Fri. Aug. 09, 2013 7:50 am

McGiever wrote:I don't know the angle...but, I do know that is a piece of 4"x6" tube steel and with 3/8" wall thickness.

What is Hitzer's price for that item? You would only need to do the string and pencil trick for the radius cut, as *franco b* was saying earlier. :idea: And no welding required. ;)
What's wrong with welding? 8-) It's a fun new skill to develop. I'm sure Hitzer only charges 30-40 for their tube, but think of this more as an experiment.

...I dream of reaching a point where I fabricate my own coal stove :idea:

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McGiever
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Post Fri. Aug. 09, 2013 8:32 am

Nothing wrong with aquiring new skills. :)

Have you concidered the welding hood that has the auto darking lens? Harbour Freight sells them.
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Post Fri. Aug. 09, 2013 9:25 am

McGiever wrote:Nothing wrong with aquiring new skills. :)

Have you concidered the welding hood that has the auto darking lens? Harbour Freight sells them.
I am definitely thinking about it, because I've had a heck of time trying to get enough light on the piece to see what I'm doing. Even a a flood light is not enough for a #11 lens. It would be worthwhile investment for sure.

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Post Fri. Aug. 09, 2013 11:36 am

How much was the 170 amp welder? Does it run on 220 volts?

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Post Fri. Aug. 09, 2013 1:54 pm

Lightning wrote:How much was the 170 amp welder? Does it run on 220 volts?
$199.99 advertised, though I think I paid $10 less than that for some reason when I got to the register. I'll have to check the receipt. They did an exchange, so I just paid the difference between the two.

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Post Mon. Aug. 12, 2013 10:41 pm

The Daka thermostat arrived. Looks good, simple. It'll mount easily to the stove. Also below is the start of my first prototype draft box. I kept the box small and shallow in depth to line up with the coil spring.

One note here: welding is still NOT EASY... but still fun.

I think I need to try a better brand of wire as was previously suggested: maybe something from home depot. What I got from harborfeight doesn't seem to melt smoothly. There'll be a lot of grinding to clean it up. Turn it up a bit and you blow through the metal (220v=lots of power), but turn up the wire speed and you get blobs/popcorn. Turn the power down and you get no penetration and too much splatter. I'm thinking aside from my lack of welding skills, the wire may not be right.
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Post Mon. Aug. 12, 2013 11:13 pm

She's lookin good JR--lil small circles on that weldin stick:) Once ya start movin with the flow---keep going--you're doin just fine with it. :)
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Post Tue. Aug. 13, 2013 9:00 pm

dcrane wrote: The lil piece 0 crap at harbor freight will work fine (buy Lincoln wire), it wont be clean (but you can grind it up clean). These are not structural joints that take load so it would be a good first project for you ;)
Lincoln wire! Waaaay better! Got some decent results tonight on a piece of scrap using lincoln wire from H.D. :up:

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