Camping Stoves

As I adore camping and making stuff, It was only a matter of time before I made a camping stove. (Well, perhaps not, I’m a procrastinator.) After checking around, I put together a hodgepodge of instructions from these sites. (included for reference) wikihow, most useful site, and Zen stoves. Further, I decided to post how I made my still-untested beverage can stove. Here is how (I) made a stove.

The stuffI started with five soda cans (One of them full, but I didn’t intend to drink it afterwards), some aluminum tape, steel wool, a ruler, sharpie, several rubber bands, tin snips, a knife, a hole punch, some nails, and several pins.

The bottom of the stove

I first cut the bottom of the stove out of a soda can 1 in. from the bottom. This cutting is aided by running a rubber band around the can and marking a straight line in sharpie. This is also aided by your possession of tin snips, a sharp knife, and steady and muscular hands.

Dilators are evil

I had read that using a homemade can dilator would make the top of the stove fit inside the bottom can a lot easier. Since I didn’t intend to ever reuse it, I made it the crude and not quite so effective way. I cut a 1 1/2 in. section from an entirely different can and fit it over the bottom of my full can (of disgusting tonic water), being careful not to buckle or tear the edges (which I did anyway.) I carefully pressed this into my stove can bottom, sometimes at an angle, sometimes not, in an effort to enlargeThe bottom of the stove the can. I stopped when the stove bottom began to tear.

Next, I cut the top of the stove from 2 in. from the bottom of a can (Straight edges are good.)

I then marked burner holes 5/8 in. from where the bottom of the can bends inward. I spaced them 1/2 in. apart and made the holes with a small nail (making being sure that they were rather small). I placed air holes 6/16 in apart, poked with a pin in the angle between the rim of the bottom of the can and the top of the bottom of the can.

I hate cutting the bottoms off cans!

Finished top of the stove

Now the fun began. Somehow, trying to avoid damaging the pretty can rim, I got the bottom off my top soda can.

The next step, was to use all the pretty scraps of aluminum I had surrounding me to cut a 18X4 cm. piece (or roughly 7 14/16X1 9/16 in.) from a pattern I had taken from one of the sites I linked to at the beginning of the post (Zen stoves). This piece had 15 cm. (5 15/16 in.) between two slits that were cut on each end of the piece. Insert helps spread the heatOne slit cut half-way down on one end of the piece, the other half-way up on the other end of the piece. The piece slid together by these slits and I taped them down with aluminum tape.

I used the hole punch to make three half-holes on each edge opposite each other, so that the fuel could go between chambers. This piece was now cylindrical and would be used

Pretty insert in finished bottom.

to reflect the heat up to the burner holes between the outside wall of the stove and the cylindrical insert. I placed the insert in the bottom half. Here I should have inserted perlite to help absorb the fuel, but I forgot because we didn’t have fuel anyway. I fit the top of the stove over the bottom, cut a slit in the bottom edge of the top piece when they didn’t fit, crammed them together (gently) and secured them with aluminum tape.

Finished stove!

The stove takes several hours to make, and runs on denuded alcohol (which you can insert through the hole in the top, unlike perlite, which has to be between the insert and the outer wall.

It can be lit from the top, by getting a bit of fuel on the burner holes and holding a match to them. You will also need to hold whatever you’re cooking over it, as I doubt that it can support any weight. More importantly, you can put the stove out by placing an upside-down bucket/pot over it.

I have not actually used my stove, as I still lack fuel. However, I can guarantee it will work better than the camping stove that we tried to light for two hours before we succeeded.

6/19/11 UPDATE: I can now confirm that, when loaded with 91% isopropanol, and lit, the stove works rather spectacularly.
Notes: (1) The stove takes some time to get going; after about fifteen seconds, slowly lower the pan onto the stove. Wait until flame comes out some of the lower holes before setting it completely down, to avoid smothering the fire.
(2) Once lit, very little fuel is required to maintain a truly scary amount of flame. There should be a handle on whatever cooking implement you use.
(3)This stove requires some sort of a stand, both to prevent the pan from falling off and the stove from tipping over.
(4)If the stove tips over, and there is no perlite/insulation inside, all the fuel will spill out.
(5)It is next to impossible to blow the flame out. Have a pan ready for smothering in case the stove does tip over.

That’s all for now. Happy camping!

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