Herkimer BOCES welding students build rocket stoves, market them

2022-04-24 07:42:23 By : Ms. Carrie Xu

HERKIMER – Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES welding program students learned during the class’ culminating project how to weld metals together to build rocket stoves, how to set the price for the product, how to market it and how to speak about it to others. 

A rocket stove is an efficient, portable hot-burning stove that can be used for cooking or heating.  

Seniors in Herkimer BOCES welding program instructor Mason Fisher’s class participated in the project. After students built the rocket stoves, priced them and planned the marketing, they gave a presentation to judges Friday, June 4, for a welding trade show in the lobby of the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Complex in Herkimer. 

The top three finishers – Sierra Miles, of Little Falls; Christian Stollach, of Mount Markham; and Joseph Reed, of West Canada Valley – received gift cards to Stewart’s Shops. 

Miles named her project “Miles Rocket Stove,” and her marketing slogan was “For all your camping needs.”

She said one challenge was figuring out how to get just the right amount of air flow in the rocket stove. The marketing aspects of the project also were valuable, she said. “You’re definitely going to use these skills. BOCES definitely teaches you public speaking.” 

The stoves are made out of metal with mesh at the bottom and can be filled with flammable items such as sticks, cardboard, sawdust and pellets. Air flows in from the side and helps create a flame that goes out of the top. When testing the rocket stoves, the class had 10 of them going for a few hours with just a small bundle of sticks, Fisher said. 

“They had a great time setting these off,” he said. “If you do it right, you get a really hot flame off of these.” 

Fisher started a version of the rocket stove project two years ago, but wasn’t able to continue it last year because schools moved to virtual learning due to COVID-19. This year, he brought the project back starting in early May and expanded it by collaborating with Career and Technical Education academic teachers. 

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CTE English teacher Sarah Crowe helped students with their marketing and presentation preparation, and CTE mathematics teacher Dennis Hooks taught students how to set a price for their projects. 

The students used blueprints and had to design, draw to scale and work on proper heat transfer during the welding process. They were able to use a computer numerical control (CNC) plasma table from the Advanced Manufacturing program to cut custom parts or logos for their rocket stoves, said Fisher.