Monday, October 15, 2012

HOMEMADE ULTRA-LIGHT BACKPACKING STOVE




I came up with this project last year when I was helping a boy scout leader plan an inexpensive gift for his troop. This design is a perfect light weight solution for short backpacking trips for the minimalist. I love this kit because everything you need is self contained and it's very sturdy. With a little tweaking you will be able to balance the efficiency and power to out preform many high end stoves. The instructions below shows you how to make a stove that can boil a cup of water in 3 minutes with half an ounce of fuel. I believe this could be further improved with a little tweaking of the ports and a windscreen which would make a great light weight addition.
 

SUPPLIES


 THE BUILD
Measure a length of hardware mesh to fit inside the large tin.
Cut the wire with the prongs extending past the length needed. This will allow you to bend the sharp points inward locking the circle and keeping the edges more smooth so that you don't get cut when handling the mesh.


Punch eight holes along the top rim of the small tin lid and 4-7 holes around the inside ridge of the lid. I actually angled mine inward to concentrate the jets to the center. 



The version pictured burned 50 minutes, but does not show the additional inner holes that I recommend for most cooking applications. Experiment with an unsealed tin and adding holes in various locations on the burner. You will see how even small modifications affect boiling time and fuel consumption. Try to find the right balance between power and burn time for your purposes and how much fuel you plan on taking.

To create the fuel port on the stove you will use a drill to make a pilot hole for a small rivet . Make sure the lid will close when the rivet is seated flush with the top. Its important to get your burner holes set before this step because it will be difficult to hammer once the rivet is inserted. After the pilot hole is drilled insert a rivet and crimp it down. This took a little practice for my first few. Mainly because the aluminum rivets are cheap and easy to mess up. Once you can thread the screw in and it fits correctly we can seal the tin.



Mix both parts of JB weld together per the instructions. Use a paper plate and plastic knife. Everything it touches will be ruined. Apply the compound to any gaps around the outside of the rivet on the underside of the lid. Be careful not to get any on the screw or fuel port hole. Next apply it around the inside lip of the lid. Seal it thoroughly or fuel will leak out as it begins to boil. The stove will be ready for use in 15 hours once the compound has cured.

When you test your stove BE CAREFUL! It will be very hot and may ruin or melt whatever you place it on. Take proper safety precautions as you would with any open flame. Also, be careful with the alcohol. It will strip the lacquer right off of your table. I guess I should also mention... NEVER EVER DRINK THE DENATURED ALCOHOL it is toxic. There, you've been warned!

FIRE IT UP
Set the burner on the large lid. This will serve as your priming pan. Fill the port hole of the stove with fuel. Save a small amount of fuel to prime the stove. Place the fuel port screw back and set the hardware cloth inside the large lid. This ring will serve as your pot stand.

When you are ready to light the stove pour a small amount of fuel on the large lid to prime the burner. You don't want to waste fuel, so it will take a little practice to find the right amount to get the fuel inside the stove boiling.

Once you put the priming fuel on the lid place the pot filled with water on the stand and light the stove. You will want to be prepared because the alcohol evaporates very quickly.

If you have any questions or improvements leave a comment on our Facebook page. We would love to see your version and hear how it worked.



4 comments:

  1. Stumbled on this while looking for homemade alcohol stove options that are sturdier than a soda can. Cool project, I can't wait to try it?

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    1. Thanks, I loved the coke can stoves like the penny stove as well. I came up with this one because the soda can stoves are so flimsy I thought it might get crushed in a pack. I also wanted a set that was small light and self contained. I cant wait to hear how it comes out!

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  2. What kind of rivet is that?

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    1. They are threaded rivet nuts. The link in the supply list will take you to the example that I used, but it was extremely cheap and I can't recommend anyone buy it. I had to take the first one back and the second one was just as bad! It will work if that is your last resort, but I wasn't happy with it at all.

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