View Full Version : My soda can stove project, Part I

2005-05-01, 00:57
I posted on the technical support forum a few days ago asking some questions about building stoves in general. But what I really wanted to do was talk about stoves especially with people who've built them, so I'm moving it over here.

Surfing varous sites, I decided that indeed I want efficiency, but decent boil times. My altoids stove boiled the two cups of water in 8 minutes, and my mini-ion (V8 can style) did it in 12.

So, I started trying to figure out what stove I had made so far balanced speed and efficiency the best. (let me just say, I'm not sure I got there yet because I haven't tested enough yet - but one of them really blew me away which got me all psyched and the wife really isn't that impressed so you folks get to hear it.)

I started measuring out amounts of alcohol, and I really couldn't get any of my little stove prototypes to boil 2 cups of water on 12ml of alcohol. They all went out before the boil started (although my pressurized 12-oz soda can stove ala Don Johnston's High Performance Alcohol Stove
AKA Photon Stove ) was almost there after about 9.5 minutes when the flame went out.

I'd tested my smaller V8 can version a few days ago and got a boil in 6 minutes (on more alcohol) but I thought that the height of the pan off of the top of the stove was a little high (I'd flipped the wind screen/stand over -- it was originally made for the altoids stove).

So this time, I made a hardware cloth stand the right height and I thought I'd see what I could do with 1 oz (2 Tbsp, 24ml) of alcohol (including priming).

I was so impressed, I flipped. The water was boiling in just under 4 minutes -- but I'll call it 4. The burner continued to burn for another 3:15.

I don't know about you, but... that sounds pretty good to me. 1 oz per meal, and that's more than I need assuming I only need to boil water. Need to try it with 3/4 oz.

The minor differences between this and the photon stove are that I JB Welded the burner to the bottom of a regular soda can for a priming bowl. The priming bowl did not work well with smal amounts of alcohol, and it worked too well with larger amounts, so I twisted a rope of fiberglass and ran it around the ring. 1cc does the trick.

Hey, man, this is fun!

Now, how will it do when the water is 40 degrees and I'm at 11,000 feet in the Rockies this summer? :smile:

SGT Rock
2005-05-01, 07:39
I have something like that in my shop that someone sent me sometime before I deployed but I never got around to testing. The only difference I can tell by looking at it is the priming. This one I was sent is primed by putting fuel in the top curve instead of the bottom tray. I would guess that the bottom tray probably primes better.

On playing with the Atomic Fireball I have found that 1cc is the best overall measure of alcohol for priming, just like you have.