This is a basic "how to" on creating your own soda can space heater. Several videos can be found on the net, but none of them really provide a step by step guide. I put this entire unit together with about 10 total hours of actual labor. If you have a source of cans, lumber, and a old double paned window (preferably), you can assembly one of these yourself.
• 1 window, 46.5 " L x 23 " W (recycled/freecycle, double paned)
o The selection of the window will dictate the number of cans required for the array.
• For this size window, the number of soda/beer cans required is 72.
• 4 x (1 x 6) boards (not pine or poplar).
• Board Insulation
• Great stuff foam insulation
• 2 x 2.5 inch vents (bottom intake vents)
• 1 x 3 inch vent (top)
• 3 x 4" squares of screen material
• Metal Duct Tape (for can assembly and final sealing)
• 1/4" plyboard (for the back of the box) in this case the measurement is 2'x4'
• Black spray enamel (about 2 cans is sufficient for a 72 can array and painting the box. )
• 3 v computer fan.
• 3 v solar cell (s).
• brad nails
• Screw Gun
• Tin Snips
• Brad Nail Gun
• 2 and 5/8 inch hole bore drill bit.
• Hand saw or Circular saw
• Jig Saw
• Tape measure
Step 1: Cans and Manifold
Consume beverages. Yes, you have to drink all the beers/sodas to make this heater, though alternatively, you could collect them. Whatever the method, it is important that the cans are in fairly good condition, free from dents, cracks, or tears.
After you’ve collected the requisite amount of cans, you should sand the surfaces of the cans, both to remove the paint with sandpaper and to roughen the surface so as to make the paint adhere more easily to the can.
The cans are needed to assemble the metal heating tubes. The cans will be assembled end to end, so punch a hole into the bottom. Use the punched hole to make a series of cuts with the tin snips to create a baffle between each can. Also, cut or break the pop tops off the cans to make stacking better.
Once the cans are sanded, the array must be planned. Place cans side by side along the bottom board, leaving a small space between each can. Draw the outline of the cans on the bottom board to make the first manifold. Provide enough space from each edge to make sure the board will not break when drilling the can-sized holes. Use the 2 5/8 inch hole drill bit. Use metal tape to shore up the borders between the can holes as the drill will likely create thin walls between each can hole.
While you are drilling, you can drill the holes for the vents. The top of the box will house the single 3" vent. The 2 smaller vents go in the bottom of the box. You can set a square of screen material over the holes before you press the vents in, which will help to keep insects out of the heater when it is finished.