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Any wood fire such as a campfire or hibachi benefits from a forced draft of air: speeds the process of lighting the fire, reduces smoke, burns damp wood with ease, burns wood down to grey ash quickly. I know it works because I built a hibachi with an electric fan.. the thing is a mini-inferno. Even
recall seeing a similar product, although it didn't turn up on a quick Google search. The problem with the electric fan is the batteries of course. So this idea is a wind-up fan that has a string & handle that you would pull to wind it up. (similar to the recoil starter on a small engine). Let it run & wind it up as needed. Its not rocket science, but it would sure beat huffing & puffing at a smoky fire.
(?) Olde Worlde Technologie
Scroll down a bit. [pertinax, Jun 18 2007]
||Attractive idea; do you think it would be more efficient than a pair of bellows?
||It's plausible and useful, but I think (existing) stirling motor powered fans are a better solution--they run off the heat of the fire and don't require any winding at all. Said fans are designed to blow the warm air around rather than provide fresh air for the fire, but they'd do the job with minimal alteration.
||Bellows are likely very efficient but require constant attention. The motivation behind a wind-up fan is that it leaves you free to attend other tasks (kindling, marshmallows...)
Stirling engine fans would be great but are expensive, and not much help in actually starting the fire.