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View Full Version : Can stove ideas, and Maybe using white gas



JewDuh
2008-09-07, 02:38
I have purchased a couple of alcohol stoves and now I have decided that it is time to start building a few. I made a very simple one today, and it worked... Kinda. I don’t think it performed well, but I write most of that off as inexperience, but I decided that while I dropped my first attempt in the recycling and gathered some more cans I would try to go about this next try more scientifically. So I re-read everything Sgt Rock had written about the evolution of the Ion stove. I checked that against what several other websites said, and have come to several conclusions. (Which lead to more questions)(Wow this got long, if it seems way to long then skip to the "To Sum everything up" read that, and work backwards)

For conclusions it seems:
1. The fastest heating stoves seem to be central burning stoves (i.e. the original cat stove)

2. The most fuel efficient stoves seem to be central burning stoves (i.e. the Ion Stove)

3. The big difference seems to be the amount of fuel and air provided at a single time. (Give plenty of fuel and air, and it burns hot and less efficient, control fuel and air, and you can get very high efficiency)

4. The scientific data seems to say that the pressure building 'Jet' stoves are mostly hype often neither fuel efficient nor exceptionally quick, and for DIY they are much more difficult to get 'just right.'

The new questions that this has raised for me are:
1. (The easy one first) Is there a center burning stove that converts between fast burning and controlled burning?(I assume some sort of dampener would let you burn hot and fast one minute, and then burn very efficiently other times, and possibly give a 'simmer' option)

2a (Sorry, now for the tough one with all kinds of weird sub points) Why doesn't anyone make a white gas burning can stove?

2b. If not gas/white gas, then Kerosene or Diesel fuel maybe?

Everywhere I look online everyone says, 'Don't you dare use white gas or anything petroleum based in this stove.' The website that I built my can stove off of said that White Gas wouldn't get hot enough to boil water, and several others said that the stove would literally explode. I didn't feel adequately equipped to deal with a fiery explosion today, so I decided to come to those that know best instead(Biblical Proverb, in a multitude of counselors there is safety.) but all of these seems wrong to me for a number of reasons:

A. Gas and (pure) alcohol are almost interchangeable. I remembered something that my grandfather told me, (and he is an unquestionable source in this matter as far as I'm concerned, but if you want to disagree with him, you can tell the Cmd Sgt Maj Ret with almost 60 yrs of wrench turning experience… at your own risk) The Model T was actually the first 'Flex Fuel' vehicle. It could run on both gas and alcohol, it had a swappable carburetor that converted between the two. Since the carburetor controls fuel-air mix it seems that the big difference is how much air gets to the fuel at a time.

B. Gas is actually more energy dense then alcohol (Probably why flex fuel vehicles get worse gas mileage when they run on ethanol) If you believe Wikipedia.com (I trust my grandfather a lot more, but Wikipedia will do in a pinch) Gasoline has about 30% more energy per volume than alcohol (Speaking in generalities) and is about 6% lighter than the same volume of alcohol. Diesel is actually about 60% more energy dense than alcohol.

C. If point B is true then gas would be a better ultra-light option (Though I'm not nearly that ultra-light) you would need to carry less fuel, and the fuel you do carry is mildly lighter. Though, as a side note I don’t think that gas would work right in a side jet stove. Because they look like they have been designed with a very specific fuel-air mix to operate properly

To Sum Everything Up:
I think that a center burning stove that has some sort of a dampener should be able to be (1) Fast and hot burning on one setting, (2) Slower burning and fuel efficient on another setting, and (3) with some luck it would even give you the ability to simmer. To top all of this off (and if my science is on) this same dampening idea is just a control over fuel-air mix, so a stove with this mentality should be able to burn gas (White gas) and maybe even a lot of other fossil fuels, making them a much more versatile stove where any single fuel type isn’t guaranteed (You know, like when you’re in the woods, or just in case… September is national preparedness month after all).

oneshot
2008-09-08, 04:49
I well I don't pretend to know all there is about the difference between gas and alcohol, but I can say that I will NOT pour gas into my brasslite and light it inside my tent.:) Seriously though although the simmer ring on a brasslite will control the heat of the stove it only controls the air getting to the flame. From a safety point of view I would only use a gas stove that was manufactured to be used that way. pour one ounce of gas on a plate and pour an ounce of alcohol on another and light them both. Notice how much higher the gas flame is. A gas fire is also harder to put out once it gets going. IF you could burn gas in an alchohol type center burn stove the gas would burn up quicker and I'm not sure you would boil water as fast because the gas could be used up before the water came up to temp. I'm not sure about this last part though. My fial word on this is that I believe alcohol to be a safer fuel than gasoline. Good luck in your quest though.

Jack
2008-09-08, 10:43
> Why doesn't anyone make a white gas burning can stove?

Tons of them out there - Svea 123, for instance. Work fine, last long time.

Oh, you mean aluminum beverage can homebrews... Short story, material properties
of ABC not up to the job. Not saying it can't be done, just too much Darwin Award
potential.

That the venerable Trangia is still one of the more efficient alcohol stoves suggests there's room for improvement in soda can designs.

Jack

Jim Henderson
2008-09-08, 19:12
Can't say from specific experience but from an experiment my cousin and I tried back when we were 12 makes me not try experimenting with gas homemade stoves anymore.

Under gramp's watchful eye, he would have let up make a nuke if we had the parts, we created our first gasoline powered stoves. Essentially a soup can half full of sand and with gasoline poured in to dampen the sand but not reach above the level of the sand.

The stoves worked great for the first few minutes, but as the cans got hotter, the flame grew bigger and bigger. I roughly recall 3 feet of flame before we chickened out and snuffed the flames, it was rather difficult and spectacular. We decided at that point to save our allowances and buy a 123 or 8r respectively.

I would guess that without some sort of fuel flow control, a gasoline or white gas stove just burns faster as the container heats up. Since there are plenty of commercial very light weight gasoline stoves out there, I never felt the need to experiment any further.

I suppose if you put an adjustable "snuffer' over the flame ports you might be able to make a controllable gas stove.

However, I don't think a gasoline stove would be safe unless there was a sure fuel cutoff. Kerosene and alcohol stoves appear to be much more resistant to runaway combustion than gasoline so I am guessing that is why you do see alcohol can stoves and some simple kero burners but only fully controlled gasoline stoves.

Just my opinion based upon long ago experimentation,

Jim Henderson

Ray
2008-09-09, 10:56
To Sum Everything Up:
I think that a center burning stove that has some sort of a dampener should be able to be (1) Fast and hot burning on one setting, (2) Slower burning and fuel efficient on another setting, and (3) with some luck it would even give you the ability to simmer. To top all of this off (and if my science is on) this same dampening idea is just a control over fuel-air mix, so a stove with this mentality should be able to burn gas (White gas) and maybe even a lot of other fossil fuels, making them a much more versatile stove where any single fuel type isn’t guaranteed (You know, like when you’re in the woods, or just in case… September is national preparedness month after all).

Cat stoves can be damped by simply metering down the side air inlets. A sliding ring that covers and uncovers the holes can be made from various materials including aluminum foil. It's explained best by the Cat stove inventor (http://royrobinson.homestead.com/Cat_Stove.html).

Unpressurized alcohol / air mixtures can be flammable, meaning that if you get the fuel / air mixture right they will burn.

Gas / air mixtures can either flammable or explosive, meaning that they can either burn or burn, uh, really, really fast. So fast that you won't have time to fully appreciate the experience. So fast that it can ruin your day. Stuff goes ka-boom. Unpressurized alcohol does not go ka-boom. It's an important difference.

And the gas / air situation can go from flame to ka-boom with no warning. It could create a situation you really wouldn't want to deal with before coffee.

Don't compare fuels burning in open air to air and fuels injected into an internal combustion engine cylinder, with all due respect to the CSM. Different conditions, different results. That compression thing changes the situation entirely.

Gas does contain more energy than alcohol per unit weight, true. The key to using it safely is to meter it out very slowly and carefully converting it to vapor before burning. That requires a fuel container with some way to feed the fuel to the vaporizing area and a way to control the fuel flow. The various commercial gas stoves use a couple different approaches to the fuel container, liquid to vapor conversion and metering challenges but none of them use an open puddle of burning fuel approach because of that ka-boom thing.

JewDuh
2008-09-10, 03:27
I'm glad that everyone is trying to keep me from blowing myself up here, and I appreciate it. It's one of the reasons I came here instead of trying something stupid from the get go.

As far as gasoline exploding based on Fuel/Air mix, I don't think that happens without compression. I've burned a lot of open air gasoline, and it will definitly get out of control (I'm not a pyro... I swear), but I've never seen, or even heard of it exploding without the fuel getting trapped so that it can build pressure... That is why I though a DIY Jet stove would be a bad Idea.

I'm not specifically interested in White Gas stoves, but more in the multi/omni fuel Idea. That is why I suggested it. It's just that White Gas is everywhere, So Is alcohol.

I have always liked the Idea of using kerosine/jet fuel more than gas/white gas. It is less likely to explode, and has a higher BTU density (Diesel as well). and I'm still holding off on my experiments... (I don't make enough $ to waste it on ER visits) but I will figure this thing out. I hope

Jim U Said:

However, I don't think a gasoline stove would be safe unless there was a sure fuel cutoff.

and you got me looking around a little more. I found a link (http://www.newdawnengineering.com/website/stove/paraffin/). I like that you can just turn up the bottle, and the stove goes out... I think a remote gravity system like this could be interesting... Even in a DIY alcohol stove. This could cut back on the measuring and wasting of fuel. That could be worth the weight of a little tubing...

GGS
2008-09-10, 12:34
A jet stove is a low pressure stove. As fuel burns the stove heats and vaporizes more fuel, increasing pressure and forcing vapor out the jets. With gas having nearly double the energy density of alcohol there exists a possibility of the vapor pressure inside building quickly and unexpectedly. Even if this does not result in a violent explosion the stove could burst, dousing you with flaming gasoline.

Reading on some homebrew alcohol designs I have found testimony from a few where their alchy stove burst using just alcohol. Gasoline as fuel would make this much more dangerous.

I'm not saying a stove couldn't be properly designed to handle gasoline safely but I'd think that design would need to incorporate some features not found in a Cat or Pepsi can alchy stove design. Any of your "add an ounce of fuel to the stove and light" designs I'd think could be very risky with a fuel as potentially volatile as gasoline.

Skidsteer
2008-09-10, 20:06
Some "For what's it's worth" info:

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=11888

I would not stake my health and well-being on anything in this thread....

Jack
2008-09-11, 01:19
> As far as gasoline exploding based on Fuel/Air mix, I don't think that happens without compression

Not so. Containment makes it easier to obtain an explosive mixture,
but neither (compression nor containment) is a prerequisite. Fuel-air
mixtures do not detonate in internal combustion engines, by design
anyway - They burn. ("Deflagrate" is the technical term, as opposed
to "detonate").

If you don't mind the possibility of attracting attention, check out
"fuel-air bombs".

davesailer
2009-04-01, 21:34
A good resource would be your local fire department/fire marshal. They can give you the lowdown in practical terms, in a few words. They are used to explaining things like this, and have seen it all.

Short answer: gasoline vaporizes easily and can explode in unconfined spaces. Liquid fuel of any kind does not burn -- it is the vapor, mixed with air. Alcohol is not like this, though you could manage to explode alcohol with the right technique.

It's like the difference between black powder and smokeless powder.

A pressurized white gas stove does not allow flame to approach the fuel. Fuel is kept in a tank, separate from the oxidizer (air), and metered out in a thin stream that gets vaporized at the flame point. Burning the flame faster will not endanger the contained fuel because there is for it to get to the fuel. Flame can't burn inside a fuel line. Even a spark inside the tank would have no effect because the tank has way too much fuel vapor compared to the oxygen that happens to be there.

One night I was home studying when the whole place shook. I thought a car had run into the building. A few minutes later there was a fire truck out front. My neighbor had thrown gas onto a pile of leaves and twigs. Then he tossed in a match. From his perspective there was just a big woof!, but for everyone in the neighborhood there was a shock wave. It could have been a lot worse. Every year people are seriously burned by exploding charcoal lighter, even though that is much safer than gasoline.

Be safe.

For the fun side of ultralight stoves, you can also see my book "Fire In Your Hand" (not to be taken literally) http://tinyurl.com/5mm5j6

JAK
2009-04-06, 17:09
Good points about gasoline and white gas not needing to be pressurized to be explosive. That said, pouring a small quantity of gas into a small open container in the open air and lighting it would be pretty safe. I would be more concerned about carrying it around, especially in summer, not that it can't be done safely. I do alot of experimenting with beeswax and vegetable oil, and they aren't explosive, but are more dangerous than alcohol or gasoline in another way, which is that they can both get wicked hot and still be liquid. All fuels have risks, so I think its best to go with the devil that you know.

chimpac
2009-04-11, 22:29
I would like to make a suggestion that may prolong your lives, think about wood it's safer and free.

I need a stove inside the tent out of the wind. In winter I consider a chimney and stove a necessity. I have seen experienced backpackers with their summer equipment cooking in the snow with their mitts on, thats to rough for me, and I don't think they do it very often.

The only light 2 man size outfits on the market I could find are Kifaru and Titanium goat which are expensive and missing some important features I wanted.

I have made several different size outfits and they usually are under $100.00. I use them all year round.
I use a tarp,my chimney is the center pole. No chimney on the market today can bear weight. My tapered chimney sections are joined with a butt sleeve joint and have a top carrier,and a base that sits on a stick to bear the weight of the tarp. The lightest chimney to date is 2.25'' x 40'' and weighs 1 pound.

The tarp with chimney center pole is shade in the summer or nailed down tight in bad weather

The stove is a coffee can mounted vertically on the chimney. It has an internal baffle to make the fire burn hot and slow, make the cooking surface hot and eliminate the need for a spark arrestor. weighs 1 pound.

There is a grate and draft door in the small end of a cone shaped bottom cover to burn one or two pieces of wood like a little blast furnace or burn a full load of wood from the top down like a gassifier.

GGS2
2009-04-18, 18:57
Gasoline is quite a lot more dangerous than alcohol, for a few reasons. First, it evaporates easily into a dense, combustible vapour that can hug the ground. Second, its energy of ignition is low, meaning almost any source of spark or flame or even glowing embers can ignite it. Put these all together, and you may understand why there are rules about turning off the car engine and not smoking when fueling your car. A friend of mine from MO learned this the hard way a few (many) years ago. He was working on his car in an open garage. He had the gas tank opened up to work on it, I think it was the fill pipe. He was under the car doing something when there was a whump, and suddenly he was fully engulfed. Suffered third degree on about half his body. Very uncomfortable. The ignition source was a wall outlet that either sparked or overheated. The gas vapour flowed across the floor in a combustible mixture and got ignited when it reached the outlet. Outcome: a lot of scarring, skin grafts, many years of recovery, and lucky to be alive.

This kind of burn event is called deflagration, which is a very rapid burn, not a detonation. Gasoline does not detonate unless confined and then only when the conditions are right. Detonation in a car engine cylinder is the cause of knocking, generally undesirable. However, deflagration, which burns all the mixture with the right amount of fuel and oxidizer in a very short time (about the time required to say "whump!") will feel like an explosion in a confined space, or nearby where the overpressure is felt as a vibration or shock.

While you can arrange an alcohol deflagration, it takes much more work. Alcohol is much safer for open flame stoves. I would not try to make a home-brew gas stove. I would feel too much like a bomb disposal tech.

We all know the stories of the gas-pump jockeys who put out their cigarettes by tossing them into a bucket of gas and the like. You can do this if you like to play russian roulette. Not me.

GGS
2009-04-20, 21:50
Oh man, I didn't need to hear that... Guess what part of my car I need to work on? Leaky gas tank... And I have to cut the strap bolts to get it off...

Nearly Normal
2009-04-28, 13:08
My wife ran over a screw drive once that bounced up and punctured the tank. Time she got home most of the gas had leaked out. I parked it on a hillside to stop the leaking and patched the hole with JB weld in place.

warraghiyagey
2009-05-03, 19:50
My wife ran over a screw drive once that bounced up and punctured the tank. Time she got home most of the gas had leaked out. I parked it on a hillside to stop the leaking and patched the hole with JB weld in place.

Are you sure it wasn't Keanu Reeves practicing for the movie 'Speed'?

chimpac
2009-05-24, 13:11
I am planning a trip to Las Vegas by car using I-15, leaving june 1. I will

stop on the way to meet anyone who wants to make their own stove from a

can (coffee, paint, 5 gallon). Make arrangements by P. message

all the best, Arlen

ran90
2009-06-09, 01:18
So yesterday my friends and i made a soda can stove...well you can make alcohol explode, and we did. All of us have 2nd degree burns on our legs... i wouldn't mess around with stuff like that. The stove i would think is safe would be the very basic cat stove.

with the cat stove you might be able to burn the gas MAYBE. Really you can beat stuff like the msr pocket rocket and fuel. I have never problems. Another thing is sterno...i know its on the slow side but its everywhere and fairly safe. In a pinch the basic cat stove will work.

I might try the white gas in basic cat stove, but...maybe not.

happy camping

atraildreamer
2009-06-17, 16:44
I might try the white gas in basic cat stove, but...maybe not.

Do you have a deathwish??? :albertein

Get your affairs in order and your life insurance paid up.
These stoves were never meant to be used with gasoline :ahhhhh:
...just alcohol...usually methanol.

GGS
2009-06-17, 23:39
So yesterday my friends and i made a soda can stove...well you can make alcohol explode, and we did. All of us have 2nd degree burns on our legs... i wouldn't mess around with stuff like that. The stove i would think is safe would be the very basic cat stove.

with the cat stove you might be able to burn the gas MAYBE. Really you can beat stuff like the msr pocket rocket and fuel. I have never problems. Another thing is sterno...i know its on the slow side but its everywhere and fairly safe. In a pinch the basic cat stove will work.

I might try the white gas in basic cat stove, but...maybe not.

happy camping

What soda can stove design were you trying to make?

warraghiyagey
2009-06-18, 09:19
So yesterday my friends and i made a soda can stove...well you can make alcohol explode, and we did. All of us have 2nd degree burns on our legs...


http://media.ebaumsworld.com/picture/bdanleaman/NaturalSelection.png

ran90
2009-06-18, 19:22
Well what happend is the small explosion split the two halfs of the can appart. The fuel in the can was sent out onto my leg. My friend grabed the hoes to put it out but knocked over the 12oz bottle of heet with the hoes...and well thats how all three of got burned. The bottle of heet became a rocket... found it on the other side of the yard.
Went to San Diego and the burns healed nicely in the salt water.

Yeah i dont plan on messing with white gas, ever. Though i will try the simple cat/tuna can stoves.

Ray
2009-06-18, 21:11
I do so much like the idea of using a garden hoe to put out your friend's burning legs.

Quick thinking there.

warraghiyagey
2009-06-18, 22:41
It's like watchin a bunch of retards tryin to hump a doorknob. . .
http://www.ladyrattlerathletics.com/PatchesOHoulihan.jpg

ran90
2009-06-19, 14:43
Ha ha you try to be as safe a possible but something that can go wrong will.
Anyway I got all the parts needed for the tuna can, just need to make one and ill compare to the 7oz sterno cans.

The friend who stoped droped and rolled got the worst burns.

JAK
2009-06-21, 13:09
This keeps getting better. :)

I'll have to remember not to stope and drope next time I'm on fire. I'm like you though ran90, so I try and stick with non-pressurized stuff, and keep my feet and head and other appendages clear when using my hatchet. I've managed to defy natural selection 47 years now, so there is hope for you. Sooner or later we are going to inherit the earth, or so I've heard. Keep hiking.

warraghiyagey
2009-06-21, 13:11
Ha ha you try to be as safe a possible but something that can go wrong will.
Anyway I got all the parts needed for the tuna can, just need to make one and ill compare to the 7oz sterno cans.

The friend who stoped droped and rolled got the worst burns.

Just kiddin with ya, hope you're healin properly. . . .:beer:

ran90
2009-06-22, 12:42
everything is well, colorado is awesome! My friend got married up near pinny lake. Beautiful spot!

No worries i know most people just joke around.

warraghiyagey
2009-06-23, 12:05
everything is well, colorado is awesome! My friend got married up near pinny lake. Beautiful spot!

No worries i know most people just joke around.

So what's your trailname. . . 'Hotlegs'?

http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-laughing013.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org)

Gaiter
2009-06-24, 01:28
So yesterday my friends and i made a soda can stove...well you can make alcohol explode, and we did. All of us have 2nd degree burns on our legs... i wouldn't mess around with stuff like that. The stove i would think is safe would be the very basic cat stove.

with the cat stove you might be able to burn the gas MAYBE. Really you can beat stuff like the msr pocket rocket and fuel. I have never problems. Another thing is sterno...i know its on the slow side but its everywhere and fairly safe. In a pinch the basic cat stove will work.

I might try the white gas in basic cat happy camping



Notto busrt your bubble, but I managed to set my legs on fire with a super cat stove... Of course it was more an issue of order of operations

warraghiyagey
2009-06-24, 02:07
Notto busrt your bubble, but I managed to set my legs on fire with a super cat stove... Of course it was more an issue of order of operations

dork. . . .

Gaiter
2009-06-24, 09:43
dork. . . .

Takes one to know one:beer: :beer: :beer:

warraghiyagey
2009-06-24, 09:57
:biggrin::bath:

ran90
2009-06-25, 23:00
Maybe thats a good trail name haha
Hotlegs...ill think about it

Got the cat stove down, i just want to find out how much fuel i am using, i use a little over 5 water bottle caps full, still more than the posted...but it works
Burns for 5-6minutes

Gaiter
2009-06-26, 09:26
Maybe thats a good trail name haha
Hotlegs...ill think about it

Got the cat stove down, i just want to find out how much fuel i am using, i use a little over 5 water bottle caps full, still more than the posted...but it works
Burns for 5-6minutes



5-6min? Are u using a supercat? I never really measured out how much fuel mine uses but with the supercat I fill it up little over half way btn the botttom and bottom holes and that's enough to have a couple cups of water burning in a couple of minutes... Also I use an older than me aluminum pot, tried the k-mart grease pot once it slowed down my boil time, went back to the aluminum it's only a gram more in weight and twice the size of the grease pot, but I think it held the heat better
Also anything larger like a liptons side I would fill fuel up to the bottom holes and let it go, stir it a couple times and wrap the wind screen tighter once the fuel is out, give it another minute and it's good to go

vamelungeon
2009-06-28, 21:44
For the gas tank leaks- You can rub a bar of soap on a small hole in a gas tank. Gas won't dissolve soap. I made a temporary repair to a tank that lasted over a year this way.

While white gas is easily available, I have to ask if the small gain in efficiency and light weight is worth the risk over using alcohol, which is as easily available or perhaps more so.