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DIY Rocket Stove | Rocket Mass Heater Plans & Instructions

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Chilly? Why not make your own rocket heater?

A rocket stove mass heater or rocket heater, is a space heating system developed from the rocket stove, a type of efficient wood-burning stove, and the masonry heater. If you don’t have central heating and you don’t feel like shelling out your hard-earned dollars for ineffective store-bought space heaters, the rocket heater is a great DIY alternative. It can also be used to cook!


Materials Needed To Make a Rocket Heater


2 tall cans about, 6 inches across and 10 inches tall. (We used paint cans.)

1 piece of aluminum flashing, about 3 feet long.



Utility knife/box cutter/knife pliers

Tin snips


Permanent marker

Measuring tape


Supplies needed for DIY Rocket Stove / Rocket Mass Heater Plans

Step One

Create Feed Tube

Measure and then cut a piece of flashing that’s 8 inches long. Using the edge of a table or a square edge, bend the flashing into a square or whatever shape you want. This is the feed tube for your heater.


Measure and mark 8 inches of flashing.


Using your tin snips, cut the 8-inch piece of aluminum flashing.


Trim the flashing so that it is approximately 10 inches long. You can measure if you prefer.


Using a table or square edge as a guide, bend the flashing along the edge, so that it will fold.


Bend the flashing along the fold line you made with your square edge.


The flashing is now bent to form your feed hole and should look like this.

Step Two

Cut Hole for Feed Tube

With a pen, trace the edge of your feed tube on the side of the can you will be using as the base. Use your knife to cut the hole in the side of the can by pressing the knife firmly down and through the metal.  Once your hole is cut, fit your feed tube into the hole about  1 1/2-inches deep and adjust fit as needed.


Trace the shape of the feed tube on the can and mark it with permanent marker.


Use your knife to cut the shape of the feed tube out of the can.


Use your tin snips to easily remove the piece you cut through.


This may take a little work, especially if the can is thick. Use pliers, as the metal is sharp.


Insert the feed tube into the hole you cut.


You should allow a couple of inches of the feed tube to go into the can.


Step Three

Create Stand Tube

Stack your two large cans and measure the distance from the base to the top. You need to allow 1 inch for flow, so subtract one from the measurement of the total height. Measure and cut a piece of flashing from that measurement and roll into a tube. This is your stand tube.


Measure the two cans together to determine how tall your stand tube needs to be.


Cut a piece of flashing that is the length you measured.


Roll the flashing and make sure it fits into the can.


Step Four

Cut Hole for Stand Tube

Place your stand tube on the base of your top can. Then, trace and cut a hole in the base of that can the size of your stand tube.


Trace the stand tube, the cut a hole in the lid that size.


You will end up with a hole in the can that looks like this.


Step Five

Cut Stand Tube to Fit Feed Tube

Remove feed tube from first can and trace and cut its opening in the side of your stand tube. Replace the feed tube into the base can and fit the stand tube  over it. The fit does not need to be exact but should be close. Some gaps are ok.


After tracing feed tube, cut shape out of stand tube.


Put the stand tube back, running it through can.


Step Six

Cut Hole in Bottom Can

Trace stand tube onto lid of bottom can. Cut and remove that piece as you did the other hole.


Trace the stand tube and cut another hole in the can so it will fit.


Remove that piece so it looks like this, then put the lid back.

Step Seven


Put the heater together by stacking your two cans, placing the stand tube over the feed tube.


With the stand tube in the top can, place it into the bottom can like this, fitting the feed tube hole over the feed tube.


Adjust it until the two can fit together securely.


Step Eight

Cut Vent Holes

The top of the top can needs to have vent holes cut in it. Use your knife and cut a series of holes around the top edge.


Mark holes on the top of the top can for vents.


With your knife, cut out the vent holes you marked.


Step Nine

Stay Warm

Your heater is ready to use. Burn stove in a well ventilated area. Do not burn your rocket heater indoors. Children should use only with adult supervision.


Do not use anything galvanized in this process. Galvanized metal creates toxic fumes when heated. Wear gloves when cutting metal. The edges can be very sharp.


Your finished rocket can heater should look like this.

Want to see this process in action? Check out the DIY Rocket Heater tutorial online.


We are working on another video that shows you how easy it is to use your new rocket heater / stove and also a printable .pdf

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Check out DIY Rocket Stove | Rocket Mass Heater Plans & Instructions at



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Check out DIY Rocket Stove | Rocket Mass Heater Plans & Instructions at



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