View Full Version : Atomic Alcohol stove from Minibull Designs

2005-10-03, 03:01
Not a full review! Just some comments


Made by: John Austin, dba Minibull Designs (www.minibulldesigns.com (http://www.minibulldesigns.com))
Address: 362 Smith Rd., Corina, Maine 04928
Telephone: (207) 278-2400
email: tinny@minibulldesigns.com

I have owned a few ultra light alcohol stoves for about 3 weeks, including the Westwind Trangia, Etowah II (junk), Minibull Trek 2, and a few other $5 soda-can stoves which I bought on Ebay. All will produce heat to varying degrees, since alcohol is flamable. All stoves have their idiosyncrasies and some are fussier than others.

The array of soda-can stoves (http://www.minibulldesign.com/fs2.htm) [x10!] at Minibull Designs (http://www.minibulldesign.com/) leads me to conclude that a chart or table comparing stoves by weight, by type, boil time, fuel capacity, cold weather suitablity, etc., would make selecting a stove easier. Minibull's cutting edge alcohol stove designs are better than most of his amateur competitors, probably because he tools up harder, doesn't get stuck on bad designs, and simply spends more time creating. You can't go wrong with any stove from Minibull designs, and prices range from $5 to $25.

Included are a stove, pot stand, and windscreen, a great package for rank amateurs (me) who want to a cook on backpacking expeditions, but don't know much about it. Just add alcohol and light 'er up! It performs well, and consistently boils 2 cups of water in less than eight (8) minutes. BTW, minibull designs makes a side burner alcohol stove (SITH) that needs no pot stand, and is nearly identical to this. It works better at colder temps, but heats a little slower. I paid $25 + $3 postage for this stove; a more reasonable price might be $20.

The stove package includes a wonderful little two-legged pot stand, and a serviceable aluminum windscreen. The whole shebang, stove, windscreen, and pot stand, fits compactly into my small mess pot. The cute little pot stand is probably sized to elevate cooking pots to the optimal height above any soda-can stove for best thermal heat transfer.

This stove fires up quickly, I think, because the priming or pre-heating is to the side, closer to the reservoir, not from the top. The stove will not prime (pressurize by pre-heating) without lighting the side wick. Just igniting the alcohol in the top dish will not start the stove. It will simply burn for 40 seconds, until the small amout of alcohol is gone, and then go out. I found I could extinguish this stove by simply snuffing out the flame by placing a nonflamable, flat object on the top. Since this is a pressurized top firing stove, the jets starve for oxygen, and the flame goes out instantly.

One caveat: Moving a lit stove, even slightly, will cause the liquid inside to slosh around and contact the jets, causing a 12-18" flareup. It's not a big deal, but it is quite surprising!

But if the filled stove isn't lit, that same gentle shaking of the liquid is also an express way of wetting the exterior fiberglass priming. It's manly, but messy, wastes a few drops of alcohol, and is for serious alcohol stove jocks only. It gives the maximum burn time of about 35+ minutes and preheats the stove fast.


1. Remove the thumbscrew. Pour fuel down the fill hole into the reservoir until it overflows. Replace the thumbscrew. If about 1/2 teaspoon of alcohol is not in the dished top of the stove, go to step 3.

2. Dip your index finger into the alcohol and wipe it off on the fiberglass wick on the side of the stove. Repeat until the top is nearly dry.

3. Gently wiggle the stove to allow a little liquid alcohol inside to spew out of the jets and collect on the top of the stove, or just let it run down the side of stove to moisten the fiberglass wick. Repeat step 2 until the priming wick is wet. I find that tilting the stove back and forth also causes the fuel to run down to the outside wick.

4. Move at least 6' away and set the stove down. Wipe your hands dry. Fire it up! Lighting the wick heats the stove fuel reservoir. Heated alcohol fumes are forced out the little pinhole jets and those ignite from the wick flames. The wick extinguishes, due to lack of fuel, in about 20 seconds. The stove blossoms into a yellow and blue flame for 5 seconds, and then into a consistent blue flame, suitable for cooking.

SGT Rock
2005-10-04, 17:52
Sounds like a cool stove. The pot support come with that? It doesn't look like Tinny's normal design.

2005-10-04, 18:12
Sounds like a cool stove. The pot support come with that? It doesn't look like Tinny's normal design.
The $10.00 pot stand is included. I liked the compact, minimalist design. Easy to setup (just spread the ribs). You can also custom order these pot stands to fit any size backpacking stove or cooking pot you want.

2005-10-23, 01:28
Well i got the first atomic that tinny built its great also the elite them two are my favorites. Before i found his web site i was making them little diff. i got 20 or so the ones i made. Some good some bad i got most of tinny stoves they are the best.Now for a hint how to get good pot stands go to the dollar store get those candle holders that about 3 in. round 3 to 4 in. hi just cut out things you don't need also the instance burner take the glass out makes nice stand