So we've been burning this heater for about four years now but finally got around to hooking it up to a thermal mass and giving it a good firing and a review. Sky Huddleston has done a good job balancing the needs of mass production with the fine tuning that lets rocket heaters burn so clean. You COULD build your own rocket heater out of mud and scrap metal and it MIGHT work as well but it would probably not be code approved as a woodstove and UL Listed in the United States like this one or give you the choice to burn pellets or wood scraps. This is a really good heater for the money. Check them out at rocketheater.com and they will give you $100 off if you tell them Uncle Mud sent you.