Instructables

Copper Fire Log Heater: Burns clean with alcohol!

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Step 1: Materials


Step 2: Marking Dots


Step 3: Filing Grooves


Step 4: Punching Holes


Step 5: Prepare The Pipe


Step 6: Soldering The Pipe


Step 7: Clean The Solder Joint


Step 8: Corking The End


Step 9: Cutting And Fitting The Cork


Step 10: Nearly Finished...


Step 11: Making A Simple Stand- Finished!


Step 12: WHY IT WORKS


mattccc4 months ago
found the instructibile on the web archive with images
http://web.archive.org/web/20100828162104/http://www.instructables.com/id/Copper-Fire-Log-Heater-Burns-clean-with-alcohol/
Morana1 year ago
There are no steps anymore. What happened? Just header, table of contents and comments. Where is the content?
nepheron (author)  Morana1 year ago
I am very sorry, but the content of the instructable is gone. It's a long story, entirely my fault. It was not able to be restored by instructables staff. I might eventually make a replacement.
shascho nepheron5 months ago
Please do!
This is one of my favourite ideas!
shascho5 months ago
If anyone still has this instructable
it would be great to see it re-posted!
cant see the picts...
zappenfusen2 years ago
Sounds like a great project. Why am I getting nothing but blanks for pages? Everything but the actual photo's. Anyone have an answer or cure? Have I been banned? My payments are auto deduct, what gives?
Zappenfusen
i getting the same, starts you wondering about the intrisical values of the website.
it's still not working? should fix it.
ckgarside2 years ago
Couldn't you use pearlite as the other 50% of the mix in the chamber to help evarorate the alcohol. I use that method for all my homemade burners and it lights up first time, no preheat required :)
_Scratch_2 years ago
I tried to make this, but didnt use copper end caps, just crimped the ends down... I failed horribly and almost burned my house down. I filled the log with acetone and lit it, but it turned out the crimped ends didnt seal, so acetone leaked everywhere, then the cap I used to fill it spilled, catching the plywood workbench I was working on on fire. So at this point I was scared out of my mind, so I took a spare rag, hoping I could snuff out the fire, but the rag soaked up the fuel and caught fire. I now had a flaming workbench, log and rag that I was swinging around, which incidentally caught the bottle of acetone on fire. I managed to blow everything out before it caught on the surrounding flammable objects, but it was rather close.
let that be a lesson to everyone... DON'T crimp the ends down!!!!
Even better, right next to my bench was a entire cabinet of chemicals, flammable ones.
Quinn Z.3 years ago
were is this thing
itsthatsguy4 years ago
i wouldn't worry about explosions, if the pressure got to hot then the cork would blow out (much like a spud gun) and leak flaming alcohol on the surface below =)
lol
Slicerr23 years ago
you can find here
http://www.sustainlane.com/reviews/how-to-make-a-copper-fire-log-heater/A4PWASUPRVANIR1HKQKU9DIQ2C9O
coppeis3 years ago
Your Instructable is broken
nepheron (author)  coppeis3 years ago
It's should be back online in a week or two. Sorry!
It's 2011, do you know where your 'ible is? I don't see it here. Nice headers for the steps, though.
nepheron (author)  bryan31413 years ago
The file is gone. I'm unable to delete this ible. Sorry.
your instructable is not been working for weeks
nepheron (author)  theexpert3 years ago
Hmm, I'll ask an admin.
I want it to be fixed! I want to make one for the holidays!
nepheron (author)  Saturn V3 years ago
I'm waiting for a response from an admin.
If you have any direct questions about the project, ask away! :)
im still having problems with it and i really want to make it all i can see is 1Matrials
I don't have any questions, but i do have something to say about it: This is a great idea, and it loooks really cool. I can't wait to make it!
Thanks!!!
meister3 years ago
What happened to this instructable? Nothing is here
rokkit4 years ago
is there anything i could add to the fuel to change the burn color?
nepheron (author)  rokkit4 years ago
I've thought about it before. Because it burns via alcohol evaporation you would need a colorant that evaporates with it. Probably non-existent v('_')v
Frag nepheron3 years ago
if you search the types of salts used in fireworks you probablly could find one that, if mixed with the alcohol, would burn similarly.
jrh065 nepheron4 years ago
 A bit of table salt should make the flame more visible, but other colors may be more difficult to achieve.
Boric acid for a deep green color. You can also use borax, which gives a more yellowish green.
Food Coloring of some sort in the Alchohol?
Munchys3 years ago
Can I use lighter fluid?
nepheron (author)  Munchys3 years ago
No, lighter fluid will probably be a very bad thing :)
It could explode!
boehmap3 years ago
What is the mat made of? Where can I find one? Thanks, great project, by the way.
nepheron (author)  boehmap3 years ago
The mat is a rubber mouse pad with the decal removed. Its special because it appears to be made of aerated vulcanized rubber or silicone. It will not melt and will only burn at high temperatures (I have burned it before. It does not release smoke, the foam structure just collapses)
Rubbing alcohol burns dirty (lots of soot and smoke). You'll get a clean, blue flame if you use HEET gas antifreeze (I think its methyl alcohol). Also, methyl alcohol doesn't smell and any spillage evaporates very quickly. You could use kevlar (aramid) cord wrapped a couple of times around the copper tube as a wick to absorb and burn some of the alcohol to preheat, allowing you to simply fill the log - spill some alcohol on the "wick" - and light it up. 

I didn't see the CARBON MONOXIDE warning anywhere. Burning this thing in-doors, or even in a tent, could be dangerous. 
ch54 years ago
Thats so cool!
I will be making something along those lines soon for sure.
 what kind of alcohl
TheFawns4 years ago
Dude thats awesome!! i think im gonna go make one of these for camping :) all my friends are going to be jealous :D  
rosebud5574 years ago

Excellent!!  Would it work with other metals instead of hard copper pipe?
I have an oversize toilet paper holder, I think its silver coated over hard metal.
And can I use 50% alcohol and leave the cap open to let the water evaporate or can I use candle wax.?  Just trying to use what I have on hand...BTY Super Instructable!!

nepheron (author)  rosebud5574 years ago
The 50% really won't work. 50% means that it's half alcohol + half water, and water doesn't burn so nice.

Anything that isn't made of plastic or paper and can hold liquid will work. If its something that can't be soldered, use epoxy. Epoxy is much cheaper and easier to use than most people will think.

I'm glad you like my 'ible!
handprints4 years ago
This is so pretty!  I like the clean burning.  Much better than candles.  I love copper so I think much prettier than candles too.  We usually have candles going around the house at Christmas time, but most times they are scented which doesn't really work well when we're having Christmas dinner.  I think this will work much better!!

Can you light just one hole at a time?  If so, I think I'd like to adapt this to be a mennorrah (sp?) for my friend.


nepheron (author)  handprints4 years ago
You might want to make a different apparatus if you want only one hole to light at a time. They will just kind of light themselves, like a gas stove, when one one is lit. make one like I did first and you will be able to visualize how you may be able to make what you want.
thank you!
Chr1spy4 years ago
cool
be careful
would fondue fuel work
i put fondue fuel in a beer cap and lit it it alsted for a couple minutes
McGyver24 years ago
I noticed a typo in the last part of this, when you tell were to fill it up, Think should be thing in the sentance "The Whole Think will catch on fire".
nepheron (author)  McGyver24 years ago
Fixed! Thank you for helping me improve my 'ible.
No Problem =D
Great idea; although, I would like to know how safe the completed product is... Besides general fire safety, is there any chance of an explosion or a build up of dangerous gases within the pipe? Thanks for any feedback!
nepheron (author)  TheBeginning4 years ago
Not that I am aware of. The alcohol burns a couple millimeters above the pipe. The pipe doesn't get very hot. And you would certainly notice if there were any extra pressure (2 foot gouts of flame, in theory :/ ).
king_zilla4 years ago
does it matter if i only have one hole or not? or do I need to drill more? im just afraid if i light it with one hole its going to explode
nepheron (author)  king_zilla4 years ago
You could have one hole...but keep an eye on it. If you get 3 foot gouts of flame than you should probably have more than 1 hole.
oops (eyebrows gone) Three holes it is.
rosenred4 years ago
If you want to build this for the effect and not the function (ie a cool candle substitute) couldn't you drill bigger holes, use lamp oil and threads instead of alcohol?
nepheron (author)  rosenred4 years ago
yeah... but blue flame is way more awesome than yellow.
arhodes184 years ago
very cool fave'd +5
molusco4 years ago
Thanks for this idea. I think is great. I've just made a similar one. I made a few changes (basically because of the disponibility of the material) but the result is pretty good. The pipe is attached to the 'L' shapes with corks and the 'L' shapes are attached to the base with corks too, which are glued to the base. I didn't need any soldiering and the whole thing can be disassembled at any time. The burning time is about 10 minutes, but I think I could fill it with more alcohol for a longer burning time. I'm thinking about widening the holes to get higher flames and varnishing the base to a darker and redish colour (still wood).
P1030244.JPGP1030245.JPG
tjk94 molusco4 years ago
Wouldn't widening the holes make a lower flame because the gass would come out at lower pressure? But that looks awsome!
molusco tjk944 years ago
Not really. Not when the holes are SO small.

Can you see in the picture on the right (the dark one) three small flames and four bigger ones? Well, the bigger ones correspond to the biggest holes, and the smaller ones to smaller holes. That's a fact, now I'll try to explain it.

I'll try to give an answer, but I'm not sure wheter it's true or not :) What I think it happens is that the pressure in the whole thing is the same at any point inside it, so through the smaller holes the gas should escape at a higher speed. That would be true if the holes where big enough, but being so small, you have to take into account the friction loss. That is, the gas escapes easier through bigger holes than through the smaller ones as through the smaller ones the friction loss is much bigger than through the bigger ones.

That's my attempt to explain why it doesn't work like you said (cause it actually doesn't) but yours was a good thinking. I never thought about that before.

Thanks mate!
try building top pipe above it for oil fragrance
nepheron (author)  molusco4 years ago
Wow ! That's A SCULPTURE! Great job, that's too cool, Molusco.
Thanks mate! i'm glad you liked it, but the idea was yours! ; )
perhaps I missed this somewhere, but how do you light it?
danton7214 years ago
Sold doesnt will be lost in high temperature? <<
srhadaham4 years ago
anything more specific then "quite some time" for the length of time that it will burn, or do i have to build one of my own to find out?
nepheron (author)  srhadaham4 years ago
10 to 20 minutes.
guy904 years ago
Creates a nice effect :) This will come in handy when I'm assigned to create an atmosphere for valentines day lol
Now see if you can make that oil last for eight nights. Wait, you're not a Maccabee. Still, as copper firelogs go, it's very pretty. Now do some etchings on the side like flowers and branches and stuff. Maybey you'd have sellable functional folkart.
sharlston4 years ago
if i fill a altoids tin with 4 in 1 oil then made tiny holes in the top and lit it would it work?
it would probebly work, but after a while when the pressure builds up, some of alcohol would leak from the slits of the tin and catch fire so the sides of the tin would have fire comming out of it too
nepheron (author)  sharlston4 years ago
I would not be sure... I really have not thought of that. Try it and share your results?
Tombini4 years ago
Very clever idea! You have made one of the instructables that I have considered making good job! 5/5
instructors4 years ago
I wouldn't be suprized that if I came out of the hardware store with those supply's that the people at the hardware store would think that I'm making some sort of bomb. Great instructable, love the use of the ALL POWERFUL, and ALL FLAMMABLE Rubbing alchohol, the uses are limitless...
EmmettO5 years ago
Is this intended as a sort of stand alone mini heater? If it were used to warm logs as the title suggests they would of course burn and raise the temp of the alcohol. It is also quite likely that burning logs on top of this thing would cause the cork would burn and the soldered end would desolder because of the heat. I would suggest changing the name of this to "Copper Heater" to avoid confusion as to it's purpose. Otherwise, if I'm missing something as to it's intended purpose, let me know.
you took that way too seriously.
Hey, when I saw the title that's what I thought. I read through the Instructable and discovered thats not what it was for. Someone with less technical knowledge than me may try to use this to start a log fire. There are propane versions of what you have built here that are used to start fires. Just trying to keep people safe. We deal with a lot of potentially dangerous stuff here. It's important that every step is taken to keep people safe.
I see plenty of 'ibles that are or have the potential to become or are outright dangerous. They vary from combustables to chemicals that are very toxic and in none of the threads is any pre notice on safety and the elements of danger that exist in some of the 'ibles that the originator has neglected to address. If you using combustibles then proper care over their use should be maintained. For the purpose of this ible, I will demonstrate... Rubbing Alcohol is also Surgical Spirits and also Isopropyl Alcohol and also better known as IPA Rubbing alcohol is dangerous as it can combust easily, flash point of 12°c. -"- -"- has a boiling point of 82°c -"- -"- in confined spaces is dangerous from build up of explosive fumes. Symptoms of isopropyl alcohol poisoning include flushing, headache, dizziness, Central Nervous System depression, nausea, vomiting, anesthesia, and coma. Use in well-ventilated areas and use protective gloves while using. Poisoning can occur from ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin. Theirs a risk of fire, as with any 'ible that veres off from Health & Safety... if those stands used were to become unstable, they could catch fire and so on, you home or garage or garden shed is at risk. Its metal, it gets hot! Shall I stop?
It is a fire hazard if it gets knocked over. Alcohol would spill all over and catch on fire. Can it be stuffed with cotton wicking?
nepheron (author)  botronics5 years ago
Yes, you could stuff it with cotton except it would hold less fuel.
you could use fiberglass insulation (formaldehyde free). I use this in my alcohol stove.
nepheron (author)  EmmettO5 years ago
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nepheron (author)  EmmettO5 years ago
I meant no offense. It was intended to be humorous and not malicious. The comment has been removed and thank you for you feedback.
Or simply change the title to Copper "Fire-log" Mini-Heater so that people know it's a heater for heating a room and not for starting fireplace fires. I wonder if it would be feasible to create an electric coil you could place the "log" in to heat it up with the flick of a switch? I'm hesitant to sit with a torch on a very small pipe-bomb.
nepheron (author)  imbignate5 years ago
It is not a heater for heating rooms but actually a heater for heating marsh mellows, hotdogs, and such things like that.
So then it's an easy-to-use, portable alcohol stove? I really like it. It would be easy to bend the tube into a ring for a "gas-burner" effect. How much burn time do you typically get out of this volume of alcohol?
would it be possible to use heavy coper tubing and thus easily make all sorts of curved and complex whimsical shapes, or would it be too thin to be able to take the heat?
If you had a sufficiently large pipe bender, you could do it. For that though, you'd need a machine shop.
nepheron (author)  imbignate5 years ago
The amount of alcohol I used in this device lasts about 20-30 minutes (though 20 minutes is usual).
nepheron (author)  EmmettO5 years ago
I am afraid it is intended to only have a log shape and not for heating actual logs.
seandogue5 years ago
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Nice idea and cheap to do. Your idea inspired me to go further. I wanted to avoid scratches on the table top, so I used a couple of "T" fittings, made my legs, and used 90 degree elbows with end caps to stabilize the whole thing.

I also used my dremel tool with a wire brush to polish the tube to a mirror finish. I also upgraded to 1 inch pipe. I'm working on another one now that is square, with the copper leg mounts I mention above. May also make an octagon shape after that. This device certainly has started many conversations at my home, and many have learned from me I found it on instructables on the internet. Kudo's to ya.
nepheron (author)  seandogue5 years ago
I like your idea... Thanks! -Nepheron
i think i would dissolve some glue i time but not that much that it would be a something to worry about
hurten5 years ago
Could you make it out of something a little heaver like Black pipe (gas line pipe)? I know it would be harder to cut the burner holes, but the ends are threaded making it easy for those who don't have the means to solder. This type of pipe might not give as much of a finished look, but it would be good for people who live in apartments to use on their balcony.
They make an automatic centerpunch just for this. You push it down until the punch clicks and it makes a small dimple to hold your drill bit. 4 dollars at most any hardware store. Just ask for a spring loaded center punch.
thats what i use and even with tiny bits (even some smaller than 1mm) it doesn't walk if you take it slow and use a good drill press and clamp. i think i got mine for $1 at a yard sale though.
stvargas5 years ago
Burnz-o-matic also has propylene gas that solders in seconds. Takes the hassle out of soldering and it gave me more confidence when I do need to solder.
tevers945 years ago
Couldnt you have it corked on both ends, because i dont feel like soldering
nepheron (author)  tevers945 years ago
You could.
i thought so. thank
hemmikarl5 years ago
why not just using the alcahol and some whick on the bottom to preheat?
ANDY!5 years ago
Hey! did it warm your house much? It's not for me much but I can cook marshmallows with it!
nepheron (author)  ANDY!5 years ago
It didn't really warm the house with any great speed or efficiency. I left that to the ancient forced air THING in the basement. As for marshmallows...It works great for those! S'Mores for everyone!
conrad24685 years ago
I built a bunsen burner using the same principle i thank u for the inspiration! I used methyl alcohol (BURNS WAYYYYYY TO FAST) it took me 40 minuets to boil 500 mils of water! Because it burns too fast i attached a gas line of sorts to a hole larger than the burner holes and the other end to the menthanol bottle even with that it still took me 40 mins
michoi5 years ago
add a speaker to it and make ut a rubens tube lol.
Has anyone tried any other fuel besides the 91% alcohol instructions call for ? I cant seem to find 91%, just 71% alcohol from the drug store.
nepheron (author)  rickmillerdenver5 years ago
Do you live in the U.S.? If you do, try wall*mart or a hardware store. If you go to a hardware store look for "lacquer thinner". Make sure It's pure alcohol lacquer thinner, though!
theblasto5 years ago
I'm wondering if there would be any huge issue with just making two cork-type end-caps, to avoid the soldering altogether. If that's good enough for one end, why not both?
nepheron (author)  theblasto5 years ago
I'm not quite sure how to phrase this comment so I will try the best I can...

The direct answer to your question would be "yes, It would work".

The reasons I did not just cork both ends is as follows:
I only needed one end to use as a fuel inlet.
I like to solder...why not solder one end?
It was supposed to resemble a finished product... no need for extras holes.
Solder joints look nice.
I wanted to show people that soldering is quite easy and practical.

I hope that helps :)
-Nepheron
i got an question about the soldering when it stays on verry long and then it would overheat could the soldering melt?
its probably a storage issue. When copper is heated it expands makeing the joints very tighter. When cold and say stored (upright for example), then there may be a possiblity that it could leek?
vhcl5 years ago
I have use in the past JB weld in the construction of soda can stoves, with excellent results, I think you can use it for this project also. My two cents. And by the way very cool idea!
nepheron (author)  vhcl5 years ago
Good idea! Thanks.
Benediction5 years ago
I didn't read all the comments but how do you snuff the flames out if you don't want it to burn for a long time?
nepheron (author)  Benediction5 years ago
Just blow it out and let it cool off.
HAL 90005 years ago
This is really cool! it's like a classy and chic version of the soda can stoves, but it shares the same low cost allure. i wonder if you could use, like the soda can stoves, a small dish/bowl/tray of burning alcohol underneath it to prime the pipe, rather than a blowtorch. that way you could light it with just a lighter or match. again, sweet idea. alcohol really puts out the heat. try using Denatured alcohol. It's ethanol (drinking alcohol) with poison added so that it is no longer drinkable and not taxed. its sold as a fuel for stoves on boats because it burns so clean. i got a one gallon can for about $4 i think. should be more cost effective than using rubbing alcohol. look with the solvents at the hardware store.
nepheron (author)  HAL 90005 years ago
Yep, I will look into getting some denatured alcohol.
How large of a log could one do? What is the scale on this. I know that you are using alchohol but would lamp fluid work as well, the kind that goes in the slate lamps that use a hollow glass base?
nepheron (author)  partyone5 years ago
Not sure I know about using the lamp fluid you're talking about... and I really don't know how large you could make one of these. Search 'firestone' on Instructables to get something you could scale up.
would a soldering iron work? or does it have to be a torch.?
yes it needs to be a torch. a soldering iron wouldnt have anywhere near enough power for that. a small propane torch works just fine though.
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nepheron (author)  seandogue5 years ago
This device does not get hot enough to melt a solder joint. In fact you could pick it up with bare hands (not recommended) and you would probably be fine.
Cyto5 years ago
Have you thought about perhaps gimbaling (not sure if that's a proper word) the pipe portion so that it can't fall over? With the alcohol container portion being cylindrical it would be unlikely to splash out as well if it got bumped around (accidentally I hope). Maybe the stand could me made out of nonflammable materials as well? (For safety)
brewtendo5 years ago
dude, this is cool!! i love stuff like this, thats why you won, because people like this kinda stuff, i love the explanation because some people make stuff like this but never know why it works, so basically you did your homework on this, i like that. congrats, hope you win the epilog contest too.
nepheron (author)  brewtendo5 years ago
Thanks! I'm glad you like this as well as the EPILOG entry. -Nepheron
lil nicky5 years ago
i was just wondering what do you win
nepheron (author)  lil nicky5 years ago
I win a 35F sleeping bag (35F is lowest the temperature in which it operates) Some stickers A tee shirt And a patch -Nepheron
rds19555 years ago
How long will the cork stay in place? If any Alcohol seaps into the cork over a period of time, won't the alcohol dissolve the super Glue adhesive?
nepheron (author)  rds19555 years ago
I don't think that super glue is alcohol soluble. I've never had a problem either.
Nice job man. Congrats on the win. gotta make one soon. did you notice you posted the same pic twice on step 11? and could i just use the file to cut a little opening or that wont work?
nepheron (author)  illdoyourdrugs5 years ago
Oh, ahaha. I didn't even notice that! There were supposed to be 2 DIFFERENT'' pictures on that step but I must have uploaded the same one twice. I'm sure using only a file would work, but it may take longer :) .
nepheron (author)  nepheron5 years ago
Hmm, something strange happened to that reply.. aliens?
shortone5 years ago
I'm so glad you won! You deserved it :D can't wait to try this
nepheron (author)  shortone5 years ago
Thanks! Did you see my new instructable that uses fire as well? It's in the EPILOG challenge if you want to see it.
OK I'll take a look :D
looks neat but dose it work
nepheron (author)  nate stangle5 years ago
... did you see the video?
nepheron (author) 5 years ago
Yay I won! Thanks for all your votes, I could not have done it without you! -Nepheron
shortone5 years ago
I love it!!! Voted and favorited. :D I do have one question though....how does the burning affect the environment? Is it pretty clean or what? thanks
nepheron (author)  shortone5 years ago
Thank you! It burns pretty clean... It does release a small amount of carbon when the alcohol burns though (VERY small amount... much less than a candle)
Does it give off much light. I just love this project!
nepheron (author)  shortone5 years ago
Gives off as much (or more) light than a candle.
I think that the supports should somehow be attached to the log, so that rotation cannot occur. That would improve the safety of the thing, you don't want to start a fire by spilling fuel!
nepheron (author)  SoDDiggerCpl5 years ago
Yeah...It needs feet of some sort! The paper things that hold this one upright was temporary. I'll make a nice copper set of feet for it in the future and maybe post some pictures here. :)
mattias law5 years ago
is it necessary to file then use a pin for the holes or can you just use a drill by the way is that the gerber winchester multi tool i was thinking of getting it for my friend how is it looks good im adding 1
nepheron (author)  mattias law5 years ago
You could just drill the holes... hole size is VERY important. Make sure the drill you are using is around 1 mm in diameter.

The tool is actually a Guidesman Multi tool thingy. It was very cheep and works great!

-Nepheron
gluless5 years ago
I've seen little tabletop "fireplaces" in catalogs and couldn't see paying the $$ for what they are..this one is so clever and really sculptural. I love the look of the copper and the flames would just seem to glow--I am definitely doing this one. You got my vote!
nepheron (author)  gluless5 years ago
Thanks! Maybe you could even make a better looking one?
btop5 years ago
This is really good. It looks like an actual product. Brilliant table piece.
nepheron (author)  btop5 years ago
Thanks!
SolidStar5 years ago
Would it be possible to add more holes or make it longer?
nepheron (author)  SolidStar5 years ago
I am not really sure... can't see why it wouldn't work though.
dsouthar5 years ago
Very Nice! I plan on using one of these to heat a boiler on a model steam engine. Much less expensive than buying fuel pellets or using a gas burner.
nepheron (author)  dsouthar5 years ago
Oh great idea! Speaking of steam engines, I have always wanted to make a teeny one...
lyzyrdman5 years ago
Alot better than those soda can stoves. Good Instructable!
This is nice, except I think I will use it as a fire starter in my fireplace.
qwertyboy5 years ago
I made one, except i'll use it as a mini camping stove. it uses denatured alcohol.

Cool, I might make one of these. How do you stop the alcohol from coming out the side?
nepheron (author)  qwertyboy5 years ago
HEY that is very cool! I like the 2 row hole design. NICE JOB!
Marsh5 years ago
Is it just mine, or does this thing only burn for ten minutes?
nepheron (author)  Marsh5 years ago
Hmm... I got between 20-30 minutes for mine (I would say 20 minutes is about normal). Is your pipe 3/4 inch diameter? A slightly smaller diameter would effect the fuel capacity.

How much alcohol did you fill it with? 1/2 full? 3/4 full?
Marsh nepheron5 years ago
I used 1/2" and filled it as full as possible. about 80%.
nepheron (author)  Marsh5 years ago
Do you have trouble preheating it? Does it bubble alcohol through the tiny holes? Is there alcohol left after it burns itself out? I might know what the problem is...
Marsh nepheron5 years ago
Here's a pic...
http://www.instructables.com/file/F6XBHXSFQCTO1XK/
There's no alcohol left when it burns out. I pre heat by spilling some alcohol on the tile and lighting it up. If I use too much, the flame gets to be about a foot tall and then it burns out really fast.
nepheron (author)  Marsh5 years ago
hmmm... Are you using 92% alcohol? You must be though... anything less will not light... I guess I don't know why yours only lasts for ten minutes. Your copper log does seem a bit shorter than mine but other than that I can't see why it burns for such a short time.
Very cool. I can't believe I haven't looked at this yet. What a great idea! I hope you win. I've already got a sleeping bag, and I want a t-shirt.
nepheron (author)  Mother Natures Son5 years ago
Thank you!
Estwald5 years ago
Using some of the same copper pipe, cut a 5cm piece in half length wise. Then using a large half round file file groves crosswise in the center of each piece, test fitting the pipe till it rests in the groove without gaps. Place the pipe in the stands and solder in place.
TR!5T4N5 years ago
wow pretty cool
jeff-o5 years ago
Can I use a small diameter drill bit instead?
nepheron (author)  jeff-o5 years ago
Sure, go ahead. But make sure the diameter of the drill bit is very close to 1mm. Also remember than on a round pipe drill bits will want to walk. I suggest filing a small groove or notch in the pipe to help the bit catch.
It shouldnt walk if you use a bench drill and clamp the copper pipe.
A drill bit that small will walk even if everything is clamped down - it's thin enough to be flexible.
Marsh jeff-o5 years ago
I filed the notches first and the drill bit didn't walk at all.
StanW jeff-o5 years ago
If there is an electronics store near you, get a bit designed to drill printed circuit boards. They are very sharp and won't walk if you take it slow. They are also easy to break so they are best used in a drill press of some sort. It is possible to use in a hand help drill, but take it easy and don't flex it or it will break. Just my two cents worth.
jeff-o StanW5 years ago
Oh, that's what I do. I have the small drill bits (in a few sizes) and I use a Dremel tool in the official Dremel drill press stand.
Even with copper? Not in my experiences, just take it slow at the start.
Yep. It happens quite a bit when I'm drilling holes in PCBs, making circuit boards.
Not sure it would matter, but how often do you sharpen your bits?
It does matter if you use sharp bits. And, a sharp bit certainly walks a lot less, though it still happens (in my experience)
jeff-o nepheron5 years ago
Okay. I wasn't entirely sure if the groove was important for the operation of the lamp.
nepheron (author)  jeff-o5 years ago
Oh no, the groove is not at all for any other purpose than the manufacturing.
if you want to use a drill bit you can file a groove like he said or use a punch and lightly tap it enough to make a small dent. i will give the drill bit a start point then you drill a clean hole
Yeah, that's probably what I'd do.
gizmosass5 years ago
When I first saw the picture, I immediately thought of using one or more(?) in my woodburning fireplace, just for the effect. Often no time to justify lighting a fire and leaving the flue open all night. Lot cheaper than buying an alcohol fireplace. The fireplace would be a safer place if some goes wrong, too. Thanks for the idea!
qwertyboy5 years ago
do you think that if i used a cork on both ends, it would work? because i don't want to buy a torch just for a 5 dollar project.
nepheron (author)  qwertyboy5 years ago
I would say it could work. Just be careful when you are preheating. even though the alcohol get only to about 207 degrees F doesn't mean than some parts of the pipe are much hotter and may burn the cork.
thanks, i used JB weld. i love that stuff...
Try some modeling cement (I think a popular brand is JB Weld), according to Wiki, it can withstand a constant 260°C or 500° F, so i dont see why that wouldnt work.
pualcohen5 years ago
i love it im so making one its awesome
My friends and I tried some stoves similar to this several months ago but we gave up on them for several reasons.. I had called them "pipe" stoves because they looked alot like pipe bombs.
Here are some URLs to the YouTube tests I ran along with one test from someone I think of as a stove artist.. Hope they help;
benniblueyes stove
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQi365cks-I
My pipe stove
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woRSQiE5yyw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdOGznRbJkM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3EoUnMFJVU
cool idea! perhaps you could add some sort of a "sheath" to prevent the alcohol from leaking if this were stored upside down. Also what about attached legs that fold up? good luck
JenniHusker5 years ago
This is going to look fantastic in my Asian themed living room. Thanks!
Ood_friend5 years ago
This is a beautiful option of instead of candles for a decorative piece. I wonder if someone has taken your design + the pipe tracing screensaver and made a bundle of flaming pipes. I would call it ball-o-flaming-pipes Definitely like it.
NONKIMONO5 years ago
1. Alchohol HAS carbon in it...otherwise it wouldnt be alchohol. 2. The color of the flame is determined by what is being what is being burned and the temp. 3. The Nu-Salt idea may work depending oh how soluble the salt is in the alchohol, meaning if the ionic disassociation strenth of the Nu-Salt is higher than that of the alchohol then it wont dissolve in the first place. Also the vaporization temp. of the individual ions in the solution will determine if it will burn off or not.
nepheron (author)  NONKIMONO5 years ago
I fixed the alcohol flame color/ carbon content error.
adolfhitler5 years ago
That looks very interesting! I like it.
i like this ible its very well illistrated and all steps are clearl and understandable but i do think it would be nice to include a brief section about how it realy works this way people understand why it works so well and about how if the size of the whole is to big it might actualy go pop. if you want any wants just let me know and ill write up a small section about it
nepheron (author)  disturbedreaper5 years ago
I think that is a great idea! I will post a "why it works" as the 12 step.
great did you want me to write some stuff up for you. i just thought of something if the hole was to big and so that the vapors from the fuel didn't evaporate fast enough air would seep in until it got to the right concentration then pop and if that pop was to powerful to let out of the holes quickly then it might shoot the cork out and since it uses an explosion of fire as a propellant then it is a simple fire arm so what im saying here if this i mis-designed properly then u are making a gun
nepheron (author)  disturbedreaper5 years ago
The alcohol can't burn inside the container... so if the mix of air inside the chamber was right for a bang than you still need an ignition source. Also the right concentration of air and alcohol gas is certainly very specific and probably a vary rare occurrence (if ever). If the corked end did blow off it would be very unlikely to reach a damaging velocity. The pressure might not even be sufficient to push the cork off and may just bleed out through the holes.
yea i understand but it is still possible if it is "mis-designed properly" it uses fire to propel an object so its a firearm and yea the chances of it happening are so remote without precision engenereing
wow u out that up fast
put*
This thing is very cool but can I use square copper pipe (i don't see why not)
nepheron (author)  dudejetfighter5 years ago
Yeah... using square pipe would work fine I suppose. I have no idea where to get it though :)
crazybree5 years ago
Would heat gun work to preheat the log?
nepheron (author)  crazybree5 years ago
I really don't know how hot a heat gun could get. If the heat gun can get up to at least 210 degrees F than it will work great. 210F is about the temp of very hot water, or just before it boils.
qwertyboy5 years ago
i would vote for this, but i don't know how. great project, thinkijg about making one
nepheron (author)  qwertyboy5 years ago
Voting isn't actually open until sometime in February. You can rate it with the star things on the upper right side of this page.
oh, well i gave it 5 stars anyway
nepheron (author)  qwertyboy5 years ago
LOL thanks :)
timmy1234s5 years ago
sort of looks like a rubens tube
dontno5 years ago
Nice Ible. Just got a thought. Why not add a few 1/2" elbows and tees and make a burner for cooking, or you could use 1/2" flexible copper tubing and make a round one.
nepheron (author)  dontno5 years ago
That's a good idea!
izzy darlow5 years ago
I have a few questions: 1. have you tried burning denatured alcohol in this thing? (could be cheaper than using rubbing alcohol) 2. If so does it work? 3. Have you considered designing in some sort of sliding damper to produce varying flame output?
nepheron (author)  izzy darlow5 years ago
1. I have heard that denatured alcohol burn with an almost invisible flame. Great for practicality but no visual effects.

2. I have not yet tried it but i suppose it could work. I would be afraid that it may burn too hot and overheat the unit causing it to SQUIRT burning alcohol.

3. That is a good idea but I have yet to find a use for a damper other than putting the flame out. If you used denatured alcohol and it burned too hot than a damper could be of use for controlling the flame size and heat output.
Leon Close5 years ago
Just a safety note, if the tube tips over while burning, the evaporation will continue, forcing liquid fuel out the holes. This would probably catch on fire and make quite a show. I suggest soldering on some legs made from thick copper wire. That would keep with the simple, copperish aesthetic. Nice idea.
nepheron (author)  Leon Close5 years ago
YEP that's a good idea. I ran out of time to put on some legs on but I have thought about making some.
Hmmm. First off, this is awesome and I'll totally be fabricating one myself sometime soon. I was just pondering whether or not you could add anything to the alcohol that would produce a different coloured flame, reminiscent of burning Copper Sulphate in chemistry lessons. Obviously whatever you added would have to evaporate with the alcohol...
nepheron (author)  Legolutionary5 years ago
The more I think about using the Nu-salt to change the color of the flame I tend to think it may not work. The alcohol would evaporate and leave behind the Nu-salt in crystal form... But I know it works when the alcohol burns without being in gas form BUT WAIT doesn't only the alcohol gas burn and not the fluid itself? We need an expert here!
Not an expert, but my opinion....since alcohol burns cool, that is, if it is on you hand and lit, the alcohol itself does not heat up, I would tend to think you are correct and that it would burn away, and anything dissolved in it would precipitate out. A candle is different, all the contents of the melted wax are drawn up into the wick and burned, so color flames on candles is possible.
nepheron (author)  Goodhart5 years ago
OK that's a good way to put it and you're probably right. Colored flame in a candle WOULD work except that the carbon in the candle wick burns bright yellow and pretty much blots out any other colors produced by burning chemicals.
Well, what really makes me mad is that, early in the year, last year, I was thinking about doing an ible on how to make birthday candles that were different colors; and although I never got around to getting the chemicals together, what do I find in the stores a couple of weeks ago? Birthday candles that have different color flames arrrrrgh. I could kick myself for not moving faster...
8bit Goodhart5 years ago
Do it anyway. It doesn't matter if you're first.
Goodhart 8bit5 years ago
No, it doesn't as far as in here is concerned.... *sigh*
nepheron (author)  Goodhart5 years ago
cool!
nepheron (author)  Legolutionary5 years ago
OH yes you can! Here's how to get a purple flame:

Put the alcohol you intend to put inside the log into a bowl. mix in Nu-salt until no more can be dissolved. pour the alcohol into the copper log and go!

Nu-salt is made almost entirely up of potassium chloride. Nu-salt can be purchased anywhere that sells normal salt. Google Nu-salt for some picture to help you find it in a store.
I am on a low-sodium diet, and I have some potassium chloride! Yay for me! It also comes in other brands.
how do you light it? I'm not experianced with alcohol :)
kretzlord5 years ago
Great idea! I have a possible improvement though. If you want this to act as more of a heater, black pipe would radiate heat better than the copper does, though it would take much longer to pre-heat.
pyro1975 years ago
How hot does the pipe get? Could you use Gorilla Glue instead of soldering the cap on?
see what effects the alcohol would have on the gorilla glue, ie dissolving it.
nepheron (author)  pyro1975 years ago
I have not ever used gorilla glue for something like this and can only give an educated guess. I can't see a reason why it wouldn't work ... just try not to give the glue joint direct heat when preheating the alcohol. :)
nepheron (author)  pyro1975 years ago
The pipe does not get that hot at all. You could, in fact, hold it in you hands while it was at full working order without getting seared or seriously injured ( you could get a minor burn if you hold/touch it for more than a second or 2). Rubbing alcohol boils at 207 degrees F so the copper log will not get much or any hotter than that. Be sure to see if gorilla glue is not alcohol soluble!
TopCatTC5 years ago
Seen something similar to this on Youtube the other week.
Have a look at benniblueyes alcohol fueled stoves, this guys a master at making all kinds of alcohol stoves....

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=hQi365cks-I&feature=channel_page

Nice job though :)

Tom
nepheron (author)  TopCatTC5 years ago
WOW that is cool! My burner is just like his! I have never seen that video..so.. we must think alike :)
Did you look at the others he has out there....there are some really interesting designs illustrated.
Learndy5 years ago
Nice! That's how I like DIY: easy making - impressive result. No expensive tools needed.

However, I have a small drill at home. Will try to drill the holes instead of filing + pinching them.
--
Airspace V - international hangar flying!
http://www.airspace-v.com/ggadgets for tools & toys
If you plan on using a drill to make the holes instead of filing them like Nepheron done (neat solution btw) drill your hole BUT just before the drill pokes right through stop and finish of the hole with a pin/neddle & small hammer. Tom
nepheron (author)  Learndy5 years ago
if the holes are drilled make sure they are very close to 1mm in diameter or it either won't light or burn too hot.

I have a drill press and decided not to use it because not everyone has access to such a thing...

:)
CameronSS5 years ago
I'm guessing that this doesn't put out nearly enough heat to be an effective heater, but it has potential as a small burner...i.e., boiling water, toasting a marshmallow.
nepheron (author)  CameronSS5 years ago
For it's size it does put a good amount of heat into the air above it. Perfect for marsh mellows or even a hot dog!
nate1215 years ago
this is a great instructable it makes a great visual effect good job 5/5
=SMART=5 years ago
wow Thats Cool !
darus675 years ago
Nice. This works on the same principle as many of the home made, alcohol fueled, camping stoves that can be found around Instructables. The pure denatured alcohol that was suggested may burn too clean, thereby making the flames nearly invisible. That is fine if your goal is to make heat. If your goal is to make an appealing visual effect, then it may not be ideal.
nepheron (author)  darus675 years ago
OK, that's is helpful to know. Pure/denatured alcohol is a faint blue color when burned and rubbing alcohol has a little carbon in it that makes it have yellow topped flame.
foobear5 years ago
interesting idea. What is it sitting on top of? What is that black pad it's on? Is that some sort of fireproof or heatproof thing?
nepheron (author)  foobear5 years ago
It is actually sitting on top of a mouse pad with the holographic design pulled off. It has a rubber/foamy/gripping like texture and is melt proof and fire proof.
nepheron (author) 5 years ago
I ate lunch today with it in front of me... It does have an attractive aesthetic to it. It is one of the coolest thing I've made in some time :)

MARSHMELLOW TIME!
this looks great! do you think that this could be recreated on a larger scale to replace the traditional wood burning fire?
nepheron (author)  mynameisjonas5 years ago
Oh certainly! You must under stand that the alcohol needs to bee hotter than 207 degrees F for it to turn into a gas and burn efficiently. If it was larger you may need a better way to preheat the alcohol to 207 degrees F than using a micro torch XD.
This is very cool. I would glue those supports (or solder something on there) so it can't roll ever.....my big dog or munchkins would probably bump the table and away it would go.
nepheron (author)  robbtoberfest5 years ago
AHAHA... I would have to agree with you on that... flaming animals are never a good sign for the neighbors.
wow! this is nicer looking, cleaner, and probably warmer, than any candle. I'm gonna have to make me a few of these.
nepheron (author)  falcotheimpaler5 years ago
Most DEFINITELY WARMER than a candle.

Be careful though!
:)
basscadetz5 years ago
i wouldn't use rubbing alcohol. it doesnt burn clean. use denatured alcohol, available in the paint section at any walmart. it even says on the can, "made for marine stoves"
nepheron (author)  basscadetz5 years ago
when I said clean I meant smokeless. Denatured alcohol may burn too hot or vigorously. I will look into it sometime though. :)
Padlock5 years ago
Maybe add some really thick wick to the holes. That way when it tips over the alcohol doesn't spill out and catch fire, burning your house down. I like the design, though. This is defiantly one of my favorites.
nepheron (author)  Padlock5 years ago
The whole reason this works is because the alcohol gas is burning, not the liquid itself. I preheat the log to make the alcohol boil and evaporate. the gaseous alcohol is burnt on the way out of the tiny holes. If I used a wick it would become much like an oil lamp and burn the alcohol fast and inefficiently.

It would work fine if there was oil in the log instead of alcohol though.
:)
benthekahn5 years ago
Perhaps adding some fiberglass insulation inside the tube would increase the evaporation rate making it light quicker? Maybe some cotton?
nepheron (author)  benthekahn5 years ago
Oh yeah, that makes sense... I will try it tomorrow and see. The cotton should provide more surface area for the alcohol to evaporate (I think) Cons: The cotton or insulation would make boiling the alcohol take longer (pre heating the log is need to start the burning)
camintmier5 years ago
Good instructable. How long do the flames normally last till it needs a refill?
nepheron (author)  camintmier5 years ago
When it is just over half full ( about 3 table spoons of fluid) it will run for maybe 20-30 minutes in an optimum environment.
nepheron (author) 5 years ago
Don't Forget to rate this instructable!
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