Don't have a bunson burner? Don't feel like paying too much for fuel? Parents don't trust you with a bunson burner? Have some alcohol to burn? Than build yourself an alcohol burner for about a dollar or even free!

WARNING!!! I am not responsable for any damage caused by this, even though it is pretty safe.

Step 1: Materials/Equipment

Most households will have all of the materials and equipment required to create this alcohol burner.

- A jar with lid, preferable a glass jar with a metal lid
- Alcohol, I used rubbing alcohol
- Paper Towels
- A drill bit, I used a 3/16 inch drill bit
- A drill or drill press
- Scissors
<p>Some safety issues need to be addressed about this lamp design.</p><p>I<br> made the lamp. But, it &quot;exploded&quot; in a fire plume at periodic intervals violently enough so that the glass jar I was using almost tipped over. I suspect the oxygen in the lamp mixed with the evaporated methylated spirit vapour I was using and when the flame on the wick burnt down low enough the heat caused the mixture to ignite and explode. The methylated spirits then began to evaporate again until the mixture was the right proportion of air-alcohol at which point it exploded again. This design is not safe unless you can prevent air leaking in through the wick hole. I REPEAT, the wick hole must fit very snugly and be soaked with alcohol to prevent further oxygen entering the jar and also to stop the wick burning too low down. Also I advise to keep the jar mostly full at all times to limit the amount of air-alcohol mixture that can exist within the lamp body, thus reducing the risk of explosion. Also the liquid <br>alcohol will diffuse faster up the wick and keep it from burning down <br>too low.</p>
Well... I did exactly like the steps, and it did not work. It only burns the alcohol a bit on the paper towel and the paper towel just burns. It's the second time stuff on instructables did not work. Looks like you have to be an american to do all this things.
Can I use a plastic bottle? Or does it have to be glass?
if you used plastic it might melt
Oh okay, I've only waited 2 years for a reply.
simple and it works two items to offer use yellow bottle of HEET or any methlye alcohol NEVER use rubbing/isopropal alcohol since they tend to soot up and smell even. If you can get AIRBRAKE LINE ANTIFREEZE, it is pure denatured (methly) alcohol . SLX brand alcohol (from paint sore) works. The same maker has a really nice , but more expensive mix JUST for babies like this, it has a higher rate of ethyl in it so more calories per burned oune, with no additives and is sold in a green labled can (paint stores/big box stores)<br><br>second alcohol stove never explode. Over heated they pop (shatter if glass) that is due to pressure. You then can get a fire ball, but alky stoves usually just burn up real fast if they pop open, and this is dangerous, especially in day light hours when seeing the flames is near impossible. <br><br>Coleman fuel/white gas/gasoline butane/propane stove cannister can be detonated rather nastily, not true of an alky burner.<br><br>like this article <br><br>see zenstove.net for more flammable fun, beware though you can die playing with fire , rather painfully. So I say play , but I mean use wisely for pleasure.<br><br>sparkie
would the flame ever reach the jar to make a potential explosion? Good Instructable Two thumbs up.
you can make a shim out of aluminum foil if you are worried. I don't think that'll cause an explosion though because it's not in an enclosed space
yes, the alcohol would not explode, it would begin to burn, but not explode.
&nbsp;works great<br /> it lasted like 5 hours on a small 10ml jar<br /> now I need to find a bigger glass jar with a metal lid
i have recently built a burner that is very similar to this and i am wanting to use it in a chemistry lab as a replacement for a Bunsen burner. i already have a screen to put the object to be heated on and all i need is a good stand that will not melt. please help. (also i would GREATLY prefer using stuff that can be found around the average house.)
ZHmm unless yoru a welder not much home-brew things can withstand hightemps... btu a &quot;Ring stand' as its called in science, is a cheapyholding device.<br />
oh if you want to make the flame visible, all you have to do is add salt to the alcohol. itll make it burn bright yellow =p<br/>
Cool, i actually was just looking 4 1 yesterday. ( i was going to melt salt to make sodium) do you think i could put a tin can bottom on top and then melt salt with it??? or not high enouf temp!?
how about you buy sodium or if you don't want to do that then you could dissolve salt in something other than water and then electrolosize. the reason you wouldnt use water would be that the sodium would react with the water and make sodium hydroxide also it would be a good idea to either not do it at all or do it in a super ventilated place with a gas mask because of the chlorine
Doesn't salt melt at like 4000 degrees centigrade?
melt 97.72 °C, 207.9 °F ... boil 883 °C, 1621 °F that is just plane sodium, so probably just a bit more for table salt, but you deffinatly can melt it in a pan.
it's actually way way way higher than just sodium, salt happens to be pretty damn stable on it but it melts at 801 degrees centigrade this means that it's within the reach of many of the toys sitting around the house, a craft torch would do it, I'm just after torching a penny and turning it red, get it glowing red hot and dip it int water, works with sterling anyway... basically your best bet is probably a really powerful butane torch or a burner such as this but more powerful, try some of the stove designs there's one that runs by capillary action and is likely to do the job, just burns alcohol aswell... remember that you'll have to do this in a safe place as half of the salt will suddenly be a poisonous gas floating around you...
Its not that tough to reach 800° and change to melt NaCl, the problem is doing it without carbon crud, and reactions with atmosphere is you want to do anything useful.. Vacuum, or inert atmophere setup if you can build that to withstand the heat.. Its actually possible to both melt, and electrolyse salt with the same electricity source, but a well engineered cell would be far superior..
Yeah, even a simple hood with Co2 in it would give you a much easier time of it...
well ya in no salt melts at a higher temp. but it doesnt matter cause you would already have a hot enof flame.. and ya i no you have to do this in a safe place, because i said it many times....
Lol did a good one earlier with a craft torch which would definitely be hot enough to do the job, I found out that it's hot enough to cut aluminium aswell, thin stuff just gets destroyed... As for melting the salt it would be alot of effort to use something like that, I would be going towards a hyped up stove of some description
well. ya the best thing is a mini propaine stove or even oxy-ace. welder.
Yeah it's not about peak temp so much as heat output, you need lots of energy put in to the salt to melt it all rather than little bits at a time...
try a lot more about 600 degrees C more. just google ho to make it, it its called a downs cell
Melting salt will not isolate sodium-you just get melted salt.
You can melt salt?
yes, sodium is actually a Alkali metal :-) witch without chlorine to stabalize it, it blows up in water ( sodium= Na Salt: NaCl) the Cl is taken out by getting a molten pool of salt then running a dc current threw it :-D!! <br/>
yes! salt is cheap, and amazing! :-D
Have you ever done that?
yes. but it took me 4 ever, because i was using a small mini torch to melt the salt :-P Its best with a portable propane stove (or bunson burner)
dood. lol i just wanted to melt the salt so i could run 12v current into it to <em>fog</em> out the chlorine (((((VERY FRIGGEN DANGEROUS))))!! because i used to use my blowtorch which used an anus load of butane to run. heh<br/>
I've tried melting salt with a blow-lamp (probably when I was your age, and definately for the same purpose). Don't bother trying, it's tough. L
Well, since the energy density of butane is much higher than alcohol, you are going to need more alcohol than butane to get the same amount of heat out. I'm guessing that you will end up spending the same amount, but I'm not sure that this burner will get hot enough-I think you are going to need a blue flame for the temp you want.
Remember them old kerosene (and paraffin variants too) lamps? (Really hard to get hold of now, :-( (note to self: do not use brackets and smilies as much as you do... sorry!)<br/><br/>They were great and never, EVER failed to do anything they were supposed to do. Cheap to run aswell, both fuel and wicks. Good ol' days. :-)<br/><br/><strong>On topic</strong> however...<br/><br/>A chimney (I believe(correct me if I am wrong)) will help to keep the flame more stable and slightly away from the top of the jar (depending on it's construction of course) that way you can have the wick acting just as it should without the heat being quite so close to the construction of the burner/lamp/candle (the hot thingy okay? lol) you could even put fins on it so the fuel chamber and main construction were cool aswell which would decrease the amount of fuel lost to vaporisation, though with heavy oils and solid fuels (like butter as above -- madness, brilliant idea!) some heat generally tends to ease the vaporisation via the wick.<br/><br/>I'm not sure what the proper naming for it is, but I have some frying oil and an old Zippo wick (they have copper strands in to keep it straight in the lighter, when they burn they form big round lumps of copper once it's melted and deformed), once left burning for long enough, the wick becomes exempt from use and the oil itself starts to burn on it's own, once the ceramic dish and oil have heated up to the point where it begins to burn readily.<br/><br/>I think a smashed matchstick (so it's all fibre-e) also would work as a good wick for thinner liquid fuels, like wax, for oils (and solid fuels) a thinner, more porous wick works better.<br/><br/>Think I might go and make some sketches of a new candle for my room, an &quot;invisicandle&quot; running on Meths I think. Utterly pointless (but it'll give me something to do with old tin cans and bits and pieces), 'cos the flame is essentially invisible (meth flames tend to have a hot, blue burn your fingers type nature), but I could light incense, burn my brother and what not with it at least. :-P<br/><br/>I think i've jabbered crap-talk for long enough lol.<br/><br/>Peace out, my fellow tinkering brethren. :-)<br/>
"Remember them old kerosene (and paraffin variants too) lamps? (Really hard to get hold of now, :-( (note to self: do not use brackets and smilies as much as you do... sorry!)" Sure do. I've got two. There's a whole store in Brisbane, Australia here dedicated to them :D. They are really good when the powers out or for more subtle outdoor table lighting :D
my mom has about a half dozen of them.
Alright for some eh?! I discovered a site a while back that sold them, was interesting having a shoofy about, none too cheap mind, still there are always ones at car boot sales -- and antique shop for the more.. wealthy. hehe. Your lamps look just like the ones in the antique shop across town/down the road, bloody dear they were, that is why they aren't sat on my mantelpiece. Glad to see there are still some in circulation, across the drink too, in Australia.
Ahhhhh, We have a BUNCH of those type of lamps. Actually you can buy them new at Walmart. They look just like the old ones except they are plain (nothing fancy), they're really cool except with older oils they can stain your walls. My grandparents did this in thier house and it turned the walls a mild yellow color. I think you can remedy this problem with a new type of oil that is smokeless and it supposedly doesnt do that. :) Ive think I've babbled enough.
You're right, a chimney would add safety here.. A chimney does promote heat rise via the venturi effect.. Its an important aspect, and should be addressed on any lamp intended to burn long periods.. The writer said the alcohol cools the glass.. True, and false.. You're dealing with a travelling liquid/vapour line, and that can draw O2 into the vessel as the level falls (granted I've never seen a BLEVE [base level evaporative vapour explosion] in an application like this.. More than high heat, glass dislikes rapid temperature transitions.. There will be a drastic one at the vapour line after prolonged usage.. There are bottle cutting methods that work on the same principle that could hurt us here.. Best idea is to work with these in some kind of fireproof vessel that can be covered easily should it break.. Alcohol fires are pretty harmless if they're contained, and you don't panic, but if they aren't contained, or you panic, they can get out of control REALLY fast.. Its like when you bust a pen and keep realizing that there is ink everywhere you wouldn't expect it to be, but instead of ink, it will be nearly invisible fire..
Ok, these mystery tags really annoy me.;. Base Level Evaporative Vapour Explosion.. I can't even use scientific notation without this site thinking I'm trying to change my damn font..
@ !andrew_modder!: anybody that took high school chemistry class, knows that it is impossible to melt salt to get sodium. it is possible to melt and boil salt, but is impossible to seperate sodium (by human means of just heating it)because it has an ionic bond between the chloride ion. Na+ + Cl- -> NaCl in other words, you might be able to get pure sodium out by the means of NaCl reacting with a metal like Cesium, because of the greater affinity, thus creating CsCl and Na+. have fun boiling table salt!
A tip is to buy a really cheap Petrol lighter from ebay (as cheap as 50p) and take the wick out of that its quite long and will do the job better
this is awsome! would it work if i used a metal container and a wick instaid?
Okay, I like the idea of this. However (and correct me if I'm wrong), isn't this essentially a molotov cocktail? I hope I'm not giving anyone any evil ideas here, but I'd HATE to see what would happen if, say, the cat knocked this thing off the counter while it was burning and the bottle broke- the flame hitting a pool of quickly vaporized alcohol would be quite a sight to see. So yeah, nice idea, but if I get around to making one I'll do it with something less prone to breakage... unless I'm expecting to have an unfriendly encounter with the riot police. ;0)
This isn't technically a Molotov cocktail. Molotov cocktails use gasoline or another flammable liquid so it ExPLODES on breaking. Alcohol just burns...unless it vaporized, in which case it's a fuel-air explosive O.o
if you have a higher concentration would the alcohol burn faster and hotter. and also what do you achieve when you put salt in a pan thats sitting over a fire

About This Instructable


66 favorites


More by guyfrom7up: Stylish Battery Belt Cloth Covered Earbuds How to Solder in 30 Seconds
Tags: Alcohol
Add instructable to: