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View Full Version : Alright Already... Alcohol Stoves.



Spice1
2005-08-23, 03:48
(Side note, I got an MSR whisperlite internationale as one of those ridiculous e-bay deals. I like it so far, but thats no longer on topic, cause I also built my first alcohol stove tonight)

So, I was walking home from my girlfriends, after wed just come back from whole foods where be bought fixins for our own instant trail foods. I stopped to hang out for a few minutes with Papa, one of the local homeless Vietnam vets who I often share cigarettes with and run small errands for. Hes been keeping up with my goal of camping out every week for the last month, and we got on to the topic of cooking. I mentioned simple alcohol stoves to him and his eyes lit up and he started talking about all the things he could do with one. Now, Papa lost a leg in the war, so his idea of lightweight is getting somebody to carry his blankets, I knew a simple can stove would be great for him
I told him how I was looking at making a bunch of them, and promised him my first one and my best one, the second best will be accompanying me on my trip.
I came home, bought a soda for my roommate and I and about fourty five minutes later, delivered a very simple sodacan stove to papa. Its a slow lighting temporary contraption, and it took me a a few seconds to show him how to use it, but papa has already used it to reheat fishsticks and is anxiously waiting for his next stove.
So, who wants to join me as I experiment with stoves in the noble quest to help a homeless Vietnam vet cook his own hotdogs?

Here are some designs I found, what other designs do you guys use?

http://www.pcthiker.com/pages/gear/pepsiGstoveinstruct.shtml -The one I built today
http://hikinghq.net/cat/cat_stove.html - Sgt Rocks very Own Cat Stove
http://www.csun.edu/~mjurey/stove.html - The Penny Alcohol Stove
http://wings.interfree.it/html/main.html - A whole mess of stove plans, most are crappy text file clippings though, hard to decipher.


I think Im going to play with the penny alcohol stove some in the next week or so. Tonight my goal is to pound two cans of kerns and cook a bowl of ramen before my roommate can. Im down to half a can left. Off to start punching. Lol.

-Spice

Any of you guys who use homemade stoves have pictures, or plans?

Lanthar
2005-08-23, 10:15
I've uploaded some of my favorite "to try" designs for homemade stoves here:
http://www.troop226.org/geardesigns/stoves.html

Also, don't forget to scan
http://www.zenstoves.net

Also, Rock has more than just the Cat here

Seeker
2005-08-23, 11:18
i've used the regular pepsi can stove, a tuna can stove with a built-in stand, rock's cat can stove, and rock's ion stove. ion is by far the smallest. i added a lid to rock's cat can stove, to simmer with. they all have their good and bad points, were all fun to make, and are all nice and quiet. my current favorite is the ion. i made it from two tiny V8 cans. i use a small (12 oz?) soda bottle for a fuel bottle, and use the cap to measure fuel with. my favorite non-alcohol stove is the MSR simmerlite.

the wings website is a good one, with some poor designs, some good ones. rock's got some good, readable, plans on his. very methodical, and it's easy to follow his directions.

Spice1
2005-08-23, 16:34
Yeah, I've liked rock's instructions, they are very well illustrated and easy to follow. Another good site I found but forgot to post last night is zen stoves.

Las night my roommate and I sat in the shop for about two hours. I made a 16 hole pepsi stove, and my roommate suddenly had a bit of inspired genius. He took about 3.5 inches of 3/16th" copper tubing and stuffed it into the burner hole deep enough that it dips into the fuel. He wrapped the tube along the uper ridge of the pepsi can, then stuffed the rest fo the tub into the burner next to the first, yet only about 1/4" in, allowing it to hover above the fuel in the chamber.

This stove lights FAST. The heat from the center flame warms the copper tube, which then syphons fuel out of the container, boils it in route, then spits it back into the chanber, already hot and now atomized due to the small capacity of the tubing. Now, If the stove stayed that hot, I think the tubing might melt, but we're definately going to experiment more on the design. I'll see if he will take some pictures for me to post on here.

He also made a two resivoir stove which I laughed at for being totaly unpractical, but an interesting idea. Imagine an ion with no central hole, and instead, a penny stove type resivoir on top. The thing pecolates the fuel down into the bottom burner and creates a MASSIVE uncontrolled burn. (Flames narly two feet high, easily visable under full spectrum HPS lights (Almost like sunlight)) Because you only have a minimum of superheated fuel in the bottom. The stove heats the fuel chamber, which then used a similar piece of copper tubing to feed the actual stove. I would not recommend trying this stove though, since, IMO, a fuel resevoir above the burner line is just begging to explode.

I want to cook ramen, my roommate wants to reinvent the wheel. lol.

-Spice

Steinberger
2005-08-24, 01:49
This is personally one of my favorites. It is not as light as the ion but is very effecient.

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/photonstove/stove/HighPerfAlcoholStove.html

Seeker
2005-08-24, 02:12
i tried it... not comfortable with the pressurized system. noisier than the others too... scared the bejezus out of my daughter when i lit it... she calls it the 'whoosh' stove... pretty funny.

still, it was fun to make. just be careful... i've set a couple things on fire, not being able to see my stoves burning... took to testing them with the workshop lights off, so as to see the flames.

good luck.

dropkick
2005-08-24, 03:05
As you're building this stove for a homeless person and not a hiker I say "forget trying to make it light, make it sturdy and stable."
My suggestion (very old design):
Take a small paint can and stuff it almost to the top with either fiberglass or cotton.
Cut a circle of metal screen slightly larger than the top of the paint can.
Stuff the screen on top of the fiberglass/cotton making it slightly indented in the middle (easier to fill, less spills/splash, also makes a better flame pattern).
-This is the burner - the lid works to quench the flames and conserve the left over fuel.
Take a coffee can and cut it in 2 leaving about 1 inch of can attached to the bottom surface.
Using a pair of needle nose pliers bend u shapes into the 1 inch surface (like one end of a stove pipe).
Take the other end of the coffee can and cut it so that it is about 1/2 to 1 inch taller than the paint can.
Shove the ends together, secure with screws or rivets.
Drill or punch holes in the coffee can.
-This is your wind shield and pan support, and with the lid a container for both stove and utensils -

An old paint can works, but you can also often buy new cans from hardware or paint stores.

dropkick
2005-08-24, 04:42
Was dinking around with paint and made a drawing of the wind shield/pan support, just in case someone didn't get the idea from my explaination.

-actually I was just bored.

Lanthar
2005-08-24, 13:51
spice, you ABSOLUTELY have to post pics of the stove you made, especially the reverse percolating one... more fuel to the "atomic fireball" concept...

blackdog
2005-08-25, 11:57
Does it have to be a alcohol stove for that veteran?

Maybe an elbow (http://wings.interfree.it/html/Elbow.html) stove could be something else to try?

Spice1
2005-08-26, 23:06
Update on Papa.... He got busted his second night using the stove to cook some lamb. No worries, cop just made him put it out and move along, which they were doing anyways. He still has the stove. I've got LOTS of tools here, nearly a full maching shop, so I took some aluminum strapping, drilled 1/2 inch holes all along the top and bottom of it, then rivited into a circle to make a windscreen for him. (Made one for me too) Since it's so heavy duty, it works great as a pot support and is just small enough to fit into my aluminum mess kit. (I unfortunately made it too small to fit the plastic cups in the kit, but it works great in that new MSR aluminum kit I mentioned earlier. (Which weighs more, btw, than my aluminum kit AND my coleman peak stove put together).

I like the stove that Steinberger posted, I'll probably try to build that before I go into work tonight, now that the hangover from last night at work has gone away.

I just went looking for the percolating stove, but my roommate moved it off the fire table, so I'll have to wait until he gets home to get pictures of it.

I like the "elbow" stove. I always called it a rocket stove though. Made one when I was in college for my stealth camping up in Mt. Baldy. I don't think it would be effective for papa though. He literally owns nothing. A few blankets, whatever clothing he can wear or sleep on and whatever he keeps in his pocket. Here in my neighborhood, scrapwood isn't in as much supply as alcohol, and he'd have difficulties foraging and carring it, because of his prosthetic leg.

Thanks for the ideas, time to play....
-Spice

JAK
2005-09-01, 14:10
Yeah, I've liked rock's instructions, they are very well illustrated and easy to follow. Another good site I found but forgot to post last night is zen stoves.

Las night my roommate and I sat in the shop for about two hours. I made a 16 hole pepsi stove, and my roommate suddenly had a bit of inspired genius. He took about 3.5 inches of 3/16th" copper tubing and stuffed it into the burner hole deep enough that it dips into the fuel. He wrapped the tube along the uper ridge of the pepsi can, then stuffed the rest fo the tub into the burner next to the first, yet only about 1/4" in, allowing it to hover above the fuel in the chamber.

This stove lights FAST. The heat from the center flame warms the copper tube, which then syphons fuel out of the container, boils it in route, then spits it back into the chanber, already hot and now atomized due to the small capacity of the tubing. Now, If the stove stayed that hot, I think the tubing might melt, but we're definately going to experiment more on the design. I'll see if he will take some pictures for me to post on here.

He also made a two resivoir stove which I laughed at for being totaly unpractical, but an interesting idea. Imagine an ion with no central hole, and instead, a penny stove type resivoir on top. The thing pecolates the fuel down into the bottom burner and creates a MASSIVE uncontrolled burn. (Flames narly two feet high, easily visable under full spectrum HPS lights (Almost like sunlight)) Because you only have a minimum of superheated fuel in the bottom. The stove heats the fuel chamber, which then used a similar piece of copper tubing to feed the actual stove. I would not recommend trying this stove though, since, IMO, a fuel resevoir above the burner line is just begging to explode.

I want to cook ramen, my roommate wants to reinvent the wheel. lol.

-SpiceI wonder if some of those ideas might work for an ultrlight vegetable oil stove. Here is a site where they turn kerosene stoves into vegetable oil stoves. I think for ultralight it would be just 1/4oz to 1/2oz or uncontrolled burn, but I think some sort of preheating and shielding is neccessary as the vegetable oil gets very very hot.
http://www.jatropha.de/cooker/
http://www.jatropha.de/cooker/cooker-g.htm

Lanthar
2005-09-01, 16:00
I wonder if some of those ideas might work for an ultrlight vegetable oil stove. Here is a site where they turn kerosene stoves into vegetable oil stoves. I think for ultralight it would be just 1/4oz to 1/2oz or uncontrolled burn, but I think some sort of preheating and shielding is neccessary as the vegetable oil gets very very hot.
http://www.jatropha.de/cooker/
http://www.jatropha.de/cooker/cooker-g.htm

That looks incredibly interesting... imagine, no more alcohol, just buy olive oil and use it dual purpose...

Spice1
2005-09-01, 21:10
Okay, I'm up to 12 stoves now. Think I'm settling on side burners now, since my cook pots are kind of big. The roommate made one out of a single can, carving out the flat part with the pull tab and using that as the holder for the center ring. Looks like it might work well with a heinekin pot, but he needs to work on burner hyole spacing, since the thing doesn't light without a primer pan. I bilt the penny stove, and IMO it sucks ass compared to an open center side burner. I've also stopped using a hole punch to make weepholes, and am instead serrating the bottom edges of the inner ring at 16 points (1/2 inch slices straight up). Works really well, but I havn;t evaliated fiel usgae over the traditinal weep holes. Pictures will be up this weekend, but the roommate took apart the double burner. Want fun fireballs though, Stack your stoves with about .5oz in each one. Pillars of flame. LOL....

Application seasons starts today for my Farm interships. Everyone wish me luck!

-Spice

Lanthar
2005-09-02, 10:04
Okay, I'm up to 12 stoves now. Think I'm settling on side burners now, since my cook pots are kind of big. The roommate made one out of a single can, carving out the flat part with the pull tab and using that as the holder for the center ring. Looks like it might work well with a heinekin pot, but he needs to work on burner hyole spacing, since the thing doesn't light without a primer pan. I bilt the penny stove, and IMO it sucks ass compared to an open center side burner. I've also stopped using a hole punch to make weepholes, and am instead serrating the bottom edges of the inner ring at 16 points (1/2 inch slices straight up). Works really well, but I havn;t evaliated fiel usgae over the traditinal weep holes. Pictures will be up this weekend, but the roommate took apart the double burner. Want fun fireballs though, Stack your stoves with about .5oz in each one. Pillars of flame. LOL....

Application seasons starts today for my Farm interships. Everyone wish me luck!

-Spice


I assume you are meaning set two sideburners on top of each other and light?
:elefant:

Spice1
2005-09-02, 23:56
Nope. Any kind of alcohol stoves. (And not just two) Since the heat form the stove below it boils the fuel in each stove, every stove will burn. So far we've done three and the flames were licking into our vents. (Did I mention we have a "fire area" in our shop? Oh, and that my roommate, the mad scientist is also a pyro?) Don't try this at home, unless your home is a giant concrete bunker.

JAK
2005-09-03, 07:26
That looks incredibly interesting... imagine, no more alcohol, just buy olive oil and use it dual purpose...It is interesting I think.

My biggest concern though, and I think this is enough to disqualify vegetable oil as a camping fuel, is that it get just so darned hot. Think of the times we have been splashed or nipped by a drop of burning alcohol or touched a hot alcohol stove. Now increase the temperature of the hot liquid from 170F to 570F !!! I don't think I really know or else I keep forgetting just how hot this really is.

Kea
2005-09-06, 01:55
As a side note, what temp does alcohol burn? I could probably look it up, but that wouldn't be as fun as asking you stove guys. :)

dougmeredith
2005-09-06, 09:19
Think of the times we have been splashed or nipped by a drop of burning alcohol or touched a hot alcohol stove.

Does this really happen to most people? Maybe you just need to be a bit more careful. :)

Doug

arctic rambler
2005-09-08, 14:14
My 19 Y.O. son started his SOBO thruhike on July 11 and he is almost to the Maryland line. He has been using a "mini-zen stove" that I made from plans from www.zenstoves.com . It has worked well, but over time the jets and the can seems have melted/opened up. It was somewhat complicated to make since it has an inner wall. I have sent him two side burners that I made from instructions from the same site - the "supercat" and a v8 can mini sideburner. Both of these were really easy to make and I will be interested in his field report. I have also built the old-style ion with the hardware cloth stand. All of these stoves boil a pint in 5 - 6 minutes. All require no separate pot stand. The side burners are easier to build and lighter, but do not seem to use fuel as effeciently as the jet type stoves. My one compaint about all of these stoves is that I have not been able to figure out how to simmer with them - especially without using a separate pot stand. Can you pros give me some hints on simmering?

dougmeredith
2005-09-08, 14:47
My one compaint about all of these stoves is that I have not been able to figure out how to simmer with them - especially without using a separate pot stand. Can you pros give me some hints on simmering?

Take a look at the Brasslite stoves. They use a simmer ring. I believe they have DIY plans, but for the price, I found it easier to buy one. I have only used the simmer a couple of times (usually just boil water), but it seems to work well.

http://www.brasslite.com/

Doug

Seeker
2005-09-08, 18:01
i was able to simmer with the cat stove simply by cutting out a small circle of metal from the bottom of a can, slightly larger than the hole in the cat stove top, and made a hinge from a brass paper fastener... open-flame... closed-off... partway open-simmer...

only thing was that you had to be careful about the potstand, as it sometimes got in the way of swinging it open all the way, but it worked pretty well. i guess a slightly larger potstand would have solved it.