Friday, February 26, 2010

Soda Can Stoves; Alternate Title: Who Needs Eyebrows Anyways?

It was a slow day at work, actually slower than normal. I had a nagging problem with some of my outdoor gear. I had put together a daypack based on my Camelbak Mule (post next week, I promise). I wasn't happy with the fact that I had nothing to cook with in it. Lets be honest with ourselves, sometimes you just NEED that cup of hot cocoa out on the trail. So I had the brilliant idea to build a Soda Can Stove. Methanol, open flames and thin aluminium, what could go wrong?
I grabbed a few designs off the net, figured in my head what I wanted to use as a design, and started destroying soda cans. First, I needed soda cans. This made my children extremely happy because they got to have soda with dinner two nights in a row. Second, we marked them out, cut jets, and cut them open with scissors. The third step was to attach the pieces together and epoxy them. The final step was to fill them with Methanol and light them off.
From sodacanstove

I made several different designs, different heights, and different number of jets to determine what the most efficient stove. My conclusion was that it doesn't matter, they all boil a cup of 60 degree water in slightly less than four minutes. I did find that your jets should be smaller than 1/16 inch, and that you should have less than 16, 10 to 12 seemed about right.
But wait, SigBoy, you mentioned something about eyebrows!

I made one tall stove, epoxy'd it, cut the jets, filled it with fluid and lit the fuel. It burned for about twenty seconds before I heard a loud pop and I was suddenly on fire. As near as I can figure, the space where the two cans came together allowed alcohol to get trapped and create pressure as it heated. This pressure caused the two halves to separate spraying everything in a five foot radius with flaming alcohol. My pants were on fire, my shirt was on fire. I smelled the acrid smell of burning hair, and I came to the immediate realization that my goatee, mustache, eyebrows and hair was on fire! I quickly put myself out and inspected the damage. To save you the dramatic details, nobody will accuse me of having a uni-brow anytime soon, and I had to trim my facial hair down fairly short.

follow the picassa link on the center pic to find my the complete how to in pictures

1 comment:

Arthur said...

My friend and I made a few of those just to screw around. We used the bottoms of two cans pushed together and didn't bother with epoxy - just a nice tight slip fit worked just fine. We filled the inside of ours with fiberglass insulation to make them a little more splash/tip proof

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