The goal of this project was to build a solar cooker that can cook ramen noodles. Building this project will help people who rely on coal or other non-renewable heat sources that are not only a threat to the environment, but also to civilian health. We wanted to make the cooker's parts detachable, so they could be replaced and/or remade as needed, but still be strong enough to stay together in windy weather. You will need:
-1-2 large cardboard box es(we estimated ours to be roughly 16'' X 17")
-1 box cutter ($3-5)
-reflective tape or aluminum foil ($8.00)
- (if using aluminum as reflective surface) spray adhesive or some kind of glue (spray adhesive works best) ($10.50)
Light enters the solar cooker from the sun and is reflected off the back panel of the cooker and then upwards toward the from the bottom of the cooker so that all the light is concentrated toward the middle of the cooker where the pot will be sitting. The pot will be cast iron, and thus able to convert the light into heat and heat the water for the noodles.
Step 1: Pre-Assembly
1. Start at the front edge of one of the boxes. From the bottom, measure a rectangular panel 15" tall and 13.5" wide. Cut out this panel and put it aside. Do not discard the rest of the box
2. Cut the sides of the front panel missing the 15x13.5" rectangle, removing it from the rest of the box. Each side should be roughly 10" wide. Put it aside, do not discard the rest of the box.
3. Using the bottom of the box, cut a rectangle 15" across and 9.5" tall
4. Using one of the sides of the box, cut a rectangle that is 15" wide and eight inches tall, put these both to the side
5. Using the rest of the box, cut two triangles that are 13" across (the hypotenues should be 13") and 10" tall. The two base angles should be roughly thirty degrees
6. Cover all parts with aluminum foil or other type of reflective surface. To cover, have one person spray the surface with spray adhesive while another presses on the aluminum foil. If you are using reflective tape, just make sure all the cut outs are covered with aluminum tape.
Step 2: Assembly
1. Place six toothpicks roughly 2" apart on the 15 x 9.5 panel, the pointed ends of the toothpicks should be facing upwards.
2. Carefully place the 15 x 13.5 panel on top of the 15 x 9.5 panel, so that the two intersect at a ninety degree angle
3. Place four toothpicks along the 10" side of the two triangles
4. Place the triangles on each of the 9.5" sides of the 15 x 9.5 panel. Make sure the tip of each triangle is flush with the tip of the 9.5" side, there should be .5" at the bottom of the panel where the triangles stop
5. Place four to five toothpicks along the 13.5" side of the 15 x 13.5" panel
6. Place the "frame" ontop of the 15 x 13.5" panel
7. Adhere the two 10" legs of the frame to the sides of the triangle with the toothpicks. If needed, remove the toothpicks and press the two edges together while inserting the toothpicks
8. Place six toothpicks roughly 1-2" apart on the 15" side of the 15 x 8" panel
9. Adhere the 15 x 8" panel to the bottom of the 15 x 13.5" panel, overlapping the two triangles. If needed, put a bit of glue on the ends of the triangles where the 15 x 8" panel will overlap. This should give you your finished product.
10. The finished product should be put outside in full sunlight with the pot holding the water sitting on top. When not in use, it should be stored indoors and can be taken apart if needed
Step 3: Results
The cooker worked fairly well. It reached a temperature of about 99.5 degrees fahrenheit after about two hours of continuous exposure, plus an additional five minutes to actually cook the ramen. We would like to experiment with a box cooker design the next time for increased stability without needing a heavier object to keep it in place and for storing heat to cook things faster rather than needing sustained, continuous exposure to heat (in the form of sunlight) to cook things with more time.
Step 4: Tips
-BE GENTLE WITH TOOTHPICKS. They are great for keeping things in place, but they break easily. Do not get frustrated if you have to start overall several times
-Make sure the toothpicks are the same height once inserted; it makes for easier insertion and steadfastness
-Measure everything twice before cutting
-If our pictures were not clear enough, draw a blueprint from at least two vantage points before starting the entire project. It will be easier to create the final product if you can draw it and see it on paper first. It will also give you a visual of where all the parts are supposed to go
Step 5: Thank You
And we would like to thank everyone who chooses to try this project out, we wish you the best of luck.