Instructables

Altoids Tin Alcohol Stove

Picture of Altoids Tin Alcohol Stove
I've seen this all over the internet, and decided I would make one myself. There isn't a whole lot of variation that can be done to the design, and this is pretty much a direct copy of the stove design found here: http://www.backpacking.net/makegear/altoids-stove/index.html
This is a cool idea, very cheap to make, and I think it needs more coverage, so here it goes, my first instructable, how to make an Altoids tin camping stove!
 
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Step 1: What you need:

Picture of What you need:
Materials:
A mint tin, for this one we're using a rectangular Altoids tin.

A section of fine metal mesh, windowscreen works great.

Some perlite, which is cheap, and easily found at most garden supply stores. I've heard you can substitute fiberglass insulation for the perlite, but I have not tried this and cannot confirm.

Tools:
Some shears or other tools to cut the metal. Heavy-duty scissors should work fine.

A ruler to measure the tin and screen.

A permanent marker to mark your measurements.

Optional:
Some sandpaper to remove the paint from the tin.

Step 2: Measuring the tin and screen

Picture of Measuring the tin and screen
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Before you cut the windowscreen, you need to measure the dimensions of your tin. Obviously, a square tin will be easier to cut for. The Altoids tin we're using happens to measure a little under 9.5 cm x 6 cm, but if you cut the screen at those dimensions it should fit. Mark your measurements with a permanent marker on the windscreen.

Step 3: Cutting the screen

Picture of Cutting the screen
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Use your metal cutting instrument to cut along the lines you just marked. You will need to trim the corners slightly to fit the rounded corners of the tin. I trimmed the corners 1 cm diagonally. Trim the rest of the screen accordingly to fit.

Step 4: Filling the tin

Picture of Filling the tin
Fill the Altoids tin with perlite, as close to level with the top as you can. Try to get the largest chunks of perlite.

Step 5: Fitting on the screen

Picture of Fitting on the screen
Now, push the screen on to the stove. Fit the corners under the rolled edges of the tin, and once you get it in it should be in there for good. Once that's in, you're ready to go!
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Biopyro5 years ago
I wouldn't want to cook mini sausages in the alcohol fumes directly. Fibreglass should work fine, it won't melt or burn, and will stop the alcohol spilling
isrlear Biopyro5 years ago
Do not use fibreglass! Most fibreglass contains formaldehyde, and it will burn and possibly get into whatever you're trying to cook.
In the USA, formaldehyde is BANNED in the manufacture of fiberglass. Fiberglass (USA) contains only fiberglass, which is finely spun silicone (sand).
txadams Tampaguy2 months ago

Good info to know but as was seen in sheet rock from China during the housing boom I wouldn't trust fiberglass until I know for sure it was produced in this country.

Silicon :-)
Thanks for this info.  I didn't know this and I thought fibreglass was the best thing to use.  Is there a way to find out if it has formaldehyde in it?
Fiberglass NEVER has formaldehyde if you live in the U.S.A. Fiberglass is actually perfect. Double check your sources ( even me :) before you trust them.
(I realize how delayed this comment is) Alcohol stoves are pretty common for campers, so I don't imagine this would be any different.
Can i use anything other than perlite or vermiculite? I really dont want to fork over $5 for 8 quarts of the crap when I only need 4 ounces. Maybe I'll ask around if I can have a cup of it.

Use the rest in pots for plants. Perlite works great to give more space in the soil to prevent root rot. Works great for a hydroponic project also.

use fiberglass insulation, has a much much much greater surface area thus working better as a wick.
Using the insulation instead also makes it way lighter.
i wouldn't want to try fiver glass i have seen/tasted what happens when it gets to hot
Why are you eating fiberglass insulation (you said that you tasted it, unless you mean tested)? And unless your alcohol burns at 2075 degrees (at which point the Altoids tin would probably also melt) you shouldn't have any problems :)
we had a fire at a job site, the smoke was so thick you could literally taste it
I wouldn't use vermiculite. There are concerns with vermiculite containing asbestos
cindi59 xd12c3 years ago
Vermiculite is now tested for asbestos. So not a problem to use it.
if you have extra altoid tins and all the excess fluids n perlite, make a few extra stoves? give em to friends who go hiking, may need it in an emergency since winter is coming and who knows what happens, heat is very valuable. or sell them to other folks for 5 a piece and make a profit lol
civiloutlaw3 years ago
I can't personally recommend using the window screen wire mesh as it melted upon first test. It melted even faster when exposed to direct flames.
You didnt use fiberglass window screen did you?
A metal window screen melted? I'm a bit surprised. Perhaps try one of a thicker gauge, or of a metal with a higher melting point.
n0ukf2 years ago
Make sure your metal mesh is not galvanized. Burning zinc fumes are a nasty health hazard.
n0ukf n0ukf2 years ago
BTW, how do you not put out the flame when you put a pan on the stove?
you need a pot stand, which will hold it about 1-2 inches above the stove
Everclear is another alternative, or any cheap vodka. Since they are grain alcohols they won't make you sick if you accidentally spill it on food that you may be cooking, plus their fumes, in my opinion, smell better. Great idea for the stove! Thanks for sharing!
kc8hps2 years ago
I've also used epsom salt instead of the perlite.
tazsapp2 years ago
how hot does it usually get?
knektek3 years ago
can you use methanol?
Anything that evaporates quickly and is flammable should work just fine. I.e.
Heet or isopropyl alcohol, methol, and Denatured alcohol.
Late comment ftw :D
great ible but could you use rubbing alcohol instead?
It doesn't burn all the way so you might have residue on the perlite, but you could use it.
carlpogi_113 years ago
this is awesome i think im gonna do this
John-43 years ago
This So cool. I made one but I had Three layers of mesh two were the kind you used but the top one was a stronger mesh that the squares were 1 cm squared. But I soldered the mesh to the tin. But I use lighter fuel because it has a bigger flame.
pretty sweet invention
liammk5 years ago
to make the flame visible add table salt to the alcohol, note that it should be about half a teaspoon of salt to one cup of alcohol
Wouldn't the salt make the alcohol burn less efficiently?
yes, but unless you are running a lab test on efficiency, the difference should be negligible. plus, being able to see the flame is very handy.
______3 years ago
try lash oil
spark2FLAME3 years ago
will vermiculite work as well? or is it just perlite?
YotaTruck4 years ago
Is there a version of this stove that will let you top it off while it's running?
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