Picture of Pocket Sized Camp Stove (The Improved
This instructable actually came about through necessity. I love camping, and often go hiking in the woods. How often have you spent a day fishing, and wished you could throw some fresh fish into a pan right there on the dock?

For me, this always meant carrying a bulky, expensive kerosene or propane stove which themselves can be something of a pain to get warm enough to use.

There are numerous instructables here on how to make a "Penny Stove." However, there are a series of problems with the Penny Stove concept that need to be addressed. For instance:

1.) You cannot put a large pot on a penny stove without crushing it.
2.) Penny Stoves get very hot, so must be placed on something that will not burn to be used.
3.) Putting a Penny Stove in your pocket or backpack for a hike, it will get crushed fairly quickly.
4.) Penny Stoves are either difficult to light, or do not conserve fuel well.
5.) Penny Stoves are easily blown out in the wind.

As for the commercial "camp" stoves, the *only* ones I've found are either glorified penny stoves (with all the same problems) or require you to carry bulky, heavy, expensive canisters of propane or butane. (Or a mix of the two.) I never did get the point of spending $50 for a "3 oz stove" only to have to carry a 13 oz canister to use it for 1 hour.

Most DIY Camp Stoves I've been able to find use a separate wind screen that's generally a piece of aluminum that would get bent and banged up in my backpack, or no wind screen at all.

All of these issues have been addressed with the new and improved "Penny Stove" or as I like to call it, the "Pocket Sized Camp Stove." I do honestly prefer this over any commercial stove I've yet seen (and I've seen a lot). Better still, it was free. Even a cheap commercial camp stove starts at $30 and goes up quickly from there. I've seen less useful stoves selling for over $100. Considering that commercial stove fuel is also more than twice as expensive as denatured alcohol (calculated by burn time) and harder to come by, there's just simply no reason for me to purchase anything commercial.

While this isn't the size of an Altoids tin, and won't fit in your hip pocket, it will easily carry in a cargo pocket, or in the pocket of your backpack. I keep it in one of the smaller pockets of my ruck sack whenever I go hiking.

For $1.25, you can get a bottle of HEET, and numerous other fuels are even cheaper. (Though I'll tell you from experience, you'll get odd looks buying half a dozen bottles in the middle of the summer. I think the guy thought I was cooking meth.)

Compare this to the Esbit Stove that takes solid state tablets that burn (realistically) for approximately 10 minutes at $0.50 a piece. That's $3/hr, and it's not easy to come by.

While I haven't tested it, I'm pretty sure a $1.25 bottle of HEET (that can be picked up nearly anywhere, including gas stations) lasts me more than an hour.

My preferred fuel is Denatured Alcohol. (See the "Fuel" step.)

Finally, the problem I've had with solid state fuels is the time it takes them to heat up, the amount of heat they put out, and the amount of time it takes to put them away. This stove is ready to go in 1 minute, can be extinguished by blowing it out, or putting the measuring cup over it, and cools off in less than 3 minutes.

For a quick stop to fry up some lunch, this is my stove of choice.

If anyone has suggestions for improvements, I'm all ears.
Javin007 (author) 2 years ago
For anyone interested: It's been over three years since I've posted this 'ible. (And the response has been fantastic! Thank you all!)

To date, I still regularly use the stove that is in this video, and it doesn't seem any the worse for wear. I haven't even painted it or sealed it in any way. The rack pins have a small amount of rust on them, but other than that, it's still in great shape!
How is it holding up now?
Javin007 (author)  darman121 year ago

Still going strong! Haven't had to build a new one yet!

willsme16 days ago

OK, made two of these things that wouldn't light, UNTIL I noticed someone mention about "priming" it. Since I have no experience with burners like this, it wasn't until I saw in the video that one dumps a small amount of fuel into the windscreen after burner is filled, and it's the fuel in the windscreen that is ignited and burns and "primes" the burner. Shheesshh, such a simple point, and my only criticism of this is that I sure wish it woulda been mentioned sooner. I just wonder how many other people like me had their stove fail to light and then wonder what they did wrong! Otherwise, the instructions are great. Thanks for sharing this!

Javin007 (author)  willsme16 days ago
:) See step 17, section 11:

"11.) Dump small amount (will differ for each stove, experiment) of fuel into wind guard as primer."

Glad you were able to get it working! Where are you located so I can add you to the map?
aronzitti19 days ago

Hello guys, it proved a little difficult scheme.
Council to put the wool of steel, as was customary in the tanks of tanks


stoutmtc1 month ago

Love this instructable!

Do you have any recommendations for how to do a simmer ring for the stove? Seems like a can top with the middle cut out might work?

PtacoP3 months ago

Heet from the autoparts store is always under $3/bottle. Good ol' denatured alcohol. Great instructable, thanks!

kcls5 years ago
We just made one of these. We haven't actually epoxied everything together yet but we were so exited we lit it anyway. We lit it once during the day, but we couldn't see the flames so we decided to light it once it got dark out. The first time it lit fine with no problems. When we lit it again at night, I apparently put in a little to much primer and the whole thing exploded. Half the picnic table was on fire, but it was just the alcohol so that burned off quickly and no one and nothing was hurt, including the stove! we put it back together and lit it again (this time on a non flammable surface) and had a marsh-mallow roast over it. The five hour energy bottle worked like a charm, and after exactly half an hour, we were done. Thanks for this awesome Instructable!
Javin007 (author)  kcls5 years ago
LMAO @ "...the whole thing exploded...we put it back together and lit it again..." Glad to see everything worked out for you in the end. :D Can you describe the "explosion" as I've really gone to lengths to try and make this as least-detonate-able as possible. Was it more of a "fwoosh" of fumes lighting, or an actual "pop" of the stove?
kcls Javin0075 years ago
It was a little bit of both. The can flew across to the other side of the picnic table. it wasn't a design flaw, it was more because of the fact that I poured half of the alcohol into the wind guard. It was quite the explosion though, and it wasn't actually our picnic table. It belongs to the marina that we are keeping our boat at. The thing kind of burst into flame, spewing lit alcohol everywhere. The next time we lit it, we used almost no primer and it worked fine, except for one problem, where alot of flame was coming out of the hole that the penny was over. This could have been caused by one of two things: 1.by the fact that when we lit the stove earlier after we put it out we were putting our fingerprints into the penny while it was soft, possibly bending the penny, and 2. a defect in the can from it exploding. I don't think it was vent flame either because it did that the whole time
Javin007 (author)  kcls5 years ago
"alot of flame was coming out of the hole that the penny was over"

Generally, this is caused by the holes being too big, or too many, or the wind guard not having enough ventilation.  The stove works by heating up and vaporizing the alcohol into a gas.  If too much heat is channeled back to the stove, it will vaporize even MORE gas, making the flames even bigger, which in turn creates more heat, etc.  The end result is a small torrent of flame coming from underneath the penny.

Unfortunately, for each stove (windguard) the balance will be different.  You'll find you'll have to make numerous stoves with different hole configurations to find the one that's optimized for your rig.

That being said, it's not unusual for a small amount of offgassing to escape from the penny hole anyway.

I lit my penny stove a few times and found that tbs or so of fuel that I splashed to get it started was different every time because of the inconsistency of the splash. I now use a bottle cap. put some fuel in there and I find the heat is concentrated to that area thus lighting the burner more quickly and predictably. I put it so roughly 2/3 is under the burner and 1/3 is sticking out so that the flame shoots up the side of the can causing the vapors to burn as soon as they escape.

ac-dc2 years ago
You can make the epoxy structure thicker and stronger if you use it similar to how fiberglass is laid. That is, wet the surface with the epoxy then wrap some saturated steel wool around it. While this isn't as pretty for certain applications, for mechanical ones it is superior. Of course you could also use asbestos or equivalent heat resistant cloth, but don't snort the stuff since it is theoretically a hazard to your lungs if asbestos.

Steel Wool will BURN ! take some steel wool + D battery and instant fire starter. put a hot flame to steel wool like propane torch or lighter and it will go right up in flames. use proper temp resistant synthetic mesh or carbon fiber

Jaxton Maez7 months ago
Hey, this is awesome! I was wondering if you could light it without the primer?
usefulinsight made it!9 months ago

I didn't include pics of the pot holder and such.

WARNING: This stove blew up on me with first try. Luckily it was not welded together and the pressure just blew it into 2 pieces saving my body from shrapnel. I did singe all facial hair though and got one of the biggest scares of my life. I was very scared to try again because I didn't know what went wrong. Logically, if pressure built up enough to explode, one would think there's not enough vent holes. I doubled them (not shown in pic) and tried again. Now it works. These things demand a lot of respect.

I should add that at first I added paint thinner to the stove but it wouldn't light. I shook as much out as I could and then add methyl hydrate. not sure if this was actually my problem or not. For one, paint thinner is petroleum based, just like regular gasoline. For two, who knows what concoction formed when I added the methyl hydrate after. As stated,I did empty the thinner as much as shaking the stove would empty it. I'm sure there was some residual left over when I added the hydrate. So I really don't know if the stove actually needed more venting or just less operator stupidity. In one of the posters pictures, there are a certain amount of vent holes and in another picture there are double the amount. The video and pics of the working stove seem to show the stove that has less holes(by way of counting the number of output flames). So I am still a little confused as to what really went wrong but bottom line is be very careful.
Furthermore, upon rereading the posters warnings,I realized I broke 1 if not 2 of them.
For 1, I was stupid enough to stand over the stove when first lighting it. If I would have listened to warnings then I may not have had to shave the singe off of my eyebrows.
2, it's possible I didn't add enough fuel originally. Which would break posters number 2 warning which days not to attempt to light a stove that is nearly out of fuel..
I'm just trying to spell every possibility out that may have contributed to my explosion..any insight is definitely welcome..by the way, awesome build man. It does work really nice and is so much lighter and smaller than what I was previously using. Thank you
Javin007 (author)  usefulinsight9 months ago

*heh heh* I'm glad you didn't loose any body parts that wouldn't grow back!
So there's a good number of places you could've had trouble.

1.) "I should add that at first I added paint thinner to the stove but it wouldn't light."

Bear in mind that not all "paint thinners" are made the same. Some are Mineral Spirits, others are Acetone, or in the worse case, some are turpentines (and now you're playing chemistry when you mix them with something else). So be absolutely sure that what you're using is "Methylated Spirits" or "Denatured Alcohol." Often it will even say "Marine Stove Fuel" on it. Its primary ingredient should be Ethanol (alcohol) with some Methanol (another, poisonous alcohol) added to "denature" it. Note that "Methylated Spirits" are NOT the same as "Mineral Spirits" (aka: "White Spirit" in the UK).

2.) "For one, paint thinner is petroleum based, just like regular gasoline."

This seems to be your primary problem. You most definitely do NOT want a petroleum based paint thinner (most likely Naptha, or Mineral Spirits). That will be very explodey, but worse still, you never quite know when it's going to go since it has a very touchy oxygen to fuel ratio.

3.) "In one of the posters pictures, there are a certain amount of vent holes and in another picture there are double the amount."

Yeah, I did numerous experiments with hole counts/sizes to see which would give the most consistent flame with the most efficient use of the fuel. The 8 larger holes (thumbtack) ended up working better than the 16 needle sized holes. They also clog less easily.

Back on the fuel, you mention using straight Methyl Hydrate. I don't know one way or the other if the off gassing from pure Methyl Hydrate is worse than the off gassing from Ethanol, but to be on the safe/disclaimer side, I would recommend using only fuels that specifically say "Marine Stove Fuel" or something along those lines.

I'm fairly certain your explosion came from the combination of the Mineral Spirits (assuming that's what you used) and the Methyl Hydrate. The Mineral Spirits are petroleum based, and come in 3 different "flammability" grades, with the most common consumer version being the least flammable. I assume it wasn't properly vaporizing before, and then having a small amount in your can and adding the Methyl Hydrate, you significantly lowered the flash point, allowing it to go boom.

Without question, avoid the "White Spirits" as they are not alcohol based. I would only feel safe using alcohol based fuels in this stove.

I just looked and the paint thinner I used was Mineral spirits. I will take your advice and use Methylated Spirits. I did try the 99.5 % pure Methyl Hydrate I had on hand but after some reading, I'm kind of scared of it now. Pretty nasty stuff. I'd much more prefer ethanol that is denatured with a smaller percentage of Methyl Hydrate.

Good to know about the holes. I assumed they were my biggest problem and therefore I doubled them for more, but after reading your reply, I realize my original hunch may have been more accurate (petroleum based fuel = explody). What I have working now seems pretty good though but maybe I'll make another with less holes again to experiment. Just won't use paint thinner this time. I think your right about why mine exploded. Especially considering yours worked with less holes. My paint thinner is mineral spirits and that = petroleum based. That just spells disaster. I feel so stupid. I hope others can learn from my mistake.

Thanks again. If I do anything else, I'll be sure to show you.

btw, here's some more pics. One of the stove packed away in my MSR alpine 2 cookset. Fits in there nice with 3 (2oz) bottles of fuel. The other is of the stove on it's own with flame in the dark.

Javin007 (author)  usefulinsight9 months ago

Sweet! That's a nice cook set! I'm actually going to be taking the stove that was made in this 'Ible camping this very weekend. It's slightly oxidized from use, and there's a little rust on the pins/rack, but other than that, it's still working as well as the day I made it (and that was 5 years ago!). So you can look forward to many years of use out of it!

And don't feel bad. I did mention that you could find the denatured alcohol "in the paint thinner section" of the store, so it's an easy mistake. At least you weren't like some other person (who will remain nameless - no, it wasn't me) who put straight-up gasoline in it and ended up with a fiery ball of OMG.

Javin007 (author)  usefulinsight9 months ago

Thanks for the pics! It's always amazing to see other people building this stove. Where are you located so I can add you to my map?

Ontario, Canada.

When I tried drilling the 1/4" holes in the wind guard, my bit ran all over the place. Even after drilling 1/8" pilot holes for the 16 staggered holes, I have 16 different looking 1/4" holes. Oh well. For me, the most difficult part of the build was getting the 8 "thumbtack" holes in the burner. I didn't attempt these holes until the 2 can bottoms were fitted together, perhaps that made it more difficult. Brass thumbtacks didn't stand a chance. I went through 2 push pins to get 8 holes. The first one in a C clamp did 3 holes before breaking. Changed to a nail that made a bigger hole for 4 and 5. Pushpin number 2 I figured out that if I rotated it as I applied pressure, it was making progress. It got to the point that I was sharpening the point of the second pushpin. Then, the pin was spinning within it's plastic handle assembly. Once I noticed that, I held that portion in place with some needle nose pliers...Finally. 8 holes.

As other commenters suggested, I JB welded bolts to the inside bottom of the wind guard to hold the rack pins. I also used the paper folding method to keep my marks evenly spaced. I could use some practice using my dremel to cut cans. Even when trying to focus on the "down" ribs of the large can, I found my dremel cut-off bit wondering off the path.

Regarding the thumbtacks, I took the old-fashioned brass kind, and crushed them in my needle-nosed pliers, so that the sides bent inward. Then with the thumbtacks gripped in the pliers, I put two fingers inside the can, one on each side of where the hole would poke through, and pushed the thumbtack through with a twisting motion from the outside. Worked really well (after going through the same frustration as the rest of you).

For my cooking stove all I have is a tin can slightly bigger than my stove cut about an inch taller than my stove then drilled in holes so it would be a windscreen, chimney, and pot stand. I also don't use a stand because the bottom of the tin can is enough protection that the ground doesn't burn.

keveldevel1 year ago
love it. read about it and 6 long hrs later I had my very own model just like yours. I did have to make a custom rack my pot was to slim for your design. I also made my wind guard a little taller. it works great. it really does. first try and I'm completely satisfied with it. it will be my sole cooking devise on our week long canoe trip. thanks man.
Javin007 (author)  keveldevel1 year ago

Awesome! I love to hear about people making it! Would also love to see pics!

gorth1 year ago
Good 'ible. Just a short note. Since you are using a pot rack with this setup you don't have to wait for the stove to heat up. Just put the pot on and don't waste the heat.
I like your design so much I've started constructing my own kit. I'm looking forward to testing this bad boy out in the woods to see what it'll do. So far I've finished the penny stove and am about to do the rack pins and wind guard. Tally ho!
astral_mage2 years ago
agian harbor freight tools has them. dont buy the 10.00 dollar specail uill spend more in gas returning it. get thier 20 bock unit .
I just built one of these I haven't tested it yet and all Ive built is the stove and measuring cup but the instructions are the best and easiest to follow!! Thank you so much for posting!!!!
brokenmedic2 years ago
I read all the talk about MSDS sheets and changes folks have made to this great little life saver. I have come to believe most alcohols are dangerous and I have seen people drink liquid sterno on many occasions, well enough on that I will be making mine just like you show, simple is almost always better.

I am about to make my first "Improved Pocket Sized Camp Stove" and I give you 5/5 rating after seeing your video and puppy. I just might make a change to fit my needs and will send you pic's of the results as well as my puppy.

Almost a professional prepper I guess, retired from public safety and now a disaster services worker supporting government communications when they fail thru ham radio, our motto is "when all else fails".

Our people ( many are retired ) carry go kits and the heavy MRE's since we must be self reliant and show up in area's that may be devoid of all infrastructure, meaning we're on our own. Now old and gray, I'm gonna use the much lighter freeze dried meals so I want to heat my water with a "home brew" stove, not a $150 stove made in China.

Most of our people are volunteers on fixed incomes, so I hope to bring this to a training session to let everyone see how great your little stove works with mostly recycled can's. If it's ok with you I would like to send them a copy of the download so they can gather up what they need ahead of time.

I had everything on hand including Denatured alcohol and the same refried beans which I am using as dip for my chips, minus the METOH Kudo's!
btw, I am curious, why no fiberglass, smell or melting?
Javin007 (author)  brokenmedic2 years ago

By all means, use it at your leisure!  I'd be proud to have the stove used in such a way. 

The reason for no fiberglass is that it's simply not necessary.  In some stoves, the fiberglass supposedly helps vaporize the fuel, or "slows down" spills (neither advantage did I see in my tests).  In mine, I saw precisely zero improvement, but did find that it took up space in the can meaning I had to put less fuel in it, so got a shorter burn time per fill.  As you said, "simple is better."  I've seen and tested literally dozens of different designs of the penny stoves, and found that the absolute simplest model worked the best. 

To be fair, there was ONE model that proved to give a very SLIGHT advantage.  It was almost identical but that the holes that are punched with thumbtacks here were instead drilled with a very tiny drill bit, on the top, at an angle that produced a "tornado" effect. 

This was great if you wanted to quickly heat a single (thin) cup of water, and increased boil times by nearly a full 40 seconds on average.  Still, for all the extra work, I determined it wasn't nearly worth the effort, particularly in light of the fact that it would not heat a pan evenly if you were trying to cook fish (which is where this all started for me in the first place). 

So yeah, long-story short (I tend to ramble) nothing goes inside the penny stove because there's no point in it. 
cege2 years ago
kilber172 years ago
This Thing Is Awesome!!!!!
teaquack2 years ago
I don't get the rig, I'm finding it hard to make and even harder to use
can you explain the wind guard better? pics would be great! thank you!
it was kid of difficult building the actual stove from the two can lids, they kept tearing (yes the cans were tearing) but i got it to work on like the 8 try.
Best instructable i have ever seen, i am going to make multiple of these for natural disasters that come about. thank you very much!!!! :)
what kind of alcohol is in the denatured alc.? my mom is a chemist so she can get me some without the poison!
it's methylated spirits in the uk fyi.
90%ethanol with 10% methanol to make it poisonous so no tax has to be paid on the ethanol.
thanks so much!

the natural impulse is to drink alcohol to get drunk

denatured it to mean drink this to get drunk and you will die

nuff said ?
do that, then you don't have to bring whiskey for drinking.
denatured = poisoned so people cant drink it
Javin007 (author)  Ben_the_Sci_Kid4 years ago
Chemist or no, there would be no point in having her get the stuff "without the poison." The entire reason the poison is added is so that you don't drink it. If your intention is to drink it, then just get regular alcohol. Otherwise, the addition of the "poison" (which is also a flammable liquid) makes no difference at all.
heetbeet2 years ago
Awesome instructable! I have to make one of these before christmas. I am from Stellenbosch, South Africa where we have wonderful mountains to climb on weekends.
SgtHawk2 years ago
Really great stuff, 007. Did you every contemplate a reflective windscreen skirt that covers the entire side of the pot from below the flame to above the pot top with about a 1/4-7/16ths of an inch clearance all around between the pot & relective skirt? I made one last night out of an appropriately resized large juice can and heavy aluminum foil with a 1/4-1/2inch air gap( insulation) between these two "skirts and used my infared temp sensor to take temp measurements all over. Significantly improved boil time. When at a full boil, outer aluminum skirt down low was temp(78F versus ambient 59F); upper was about 95F. Top of pot was around boiling of course, Very hard to measure bottom of pot or flame; got a reading around 650F but not sure what I was really measuring.

The point is, you, and about everyone else who has contributed concerning alcohol stoves here are, about 1000% smarter and more experienced with this than I am so I would appreciate your or anyones suggestions.
Please pardon me if this is not the appropriate place to post this.
Javin007 (author)  SgtHawk2 years ago
"The point is, you, and about everyone else who has contributed concerning alcohol stoves here are, about 1000% smarter and more experienced with this than I am"

I would beg to differ. Nobody is "more experienced" when it comes to doing actual real-world tests. Nothing is "more experienced" than a real-world (aka: clinical) test. Sounds to me that you've taken the testing one (or two) steps further!

I've very much been interested in seeing what the end result of a better reflective internal screen would do on the efficiency, which, realistically, is what this is all about. From what you've said, it sounds like you may have found a method to make this stove even MORE efficient by reflecting more of the heat to the target, which may in fact make the vaporization even that much more efficient! I'd love to see what you've come up with! Are pictures a possibility?

My end barometer in this has been, how long does it take to bring 2 cups of water to a boil? If your method is doing it in under 4-5 minutes, then you've clearly found a further improvement! Please share!

And let me know where you're located so I can add you to my map of "places people have built this stove!"
SgtHawk2 years ago
Spectacular overall job 007. The outer wire lock to keep it together is brilliant.
SgtHawk2 years ago
I'm a newbe and find this site and your particular instructions to be nothing short of outstanding. I do seem to recall from one of the hundreds of instuctions and youtube videos I have watched that freezing one can portion and heating the other allows them to go together easier.
Again thanks very much for one of absolute best of the best!!
donn223 years ago
Hey Javin just came across your ible yesterday.. Love it! going to be making one as soon as i get the right sized can together... got to make some allowances for can differences as im in South Africa and cans are pretty monotonous here. anyway i decided to make a stronger burner than the soda can version by using the bottoms of two deodorant cans. the walls are a lot thicker but the diameter is somewhat smaller so the hearing of the unit not so much a problem. what i want to know is there a higher chance of a spectacular detonation due to the thicker walls. everything is the same as the soda can version in terms of topping it up and the position of the jets. the deodorant version is hell of a lot more sturdy anyway. will try post a pic of the unit soon. comments welcome.
Javin007 (author)  donn222 years ago
South Africa! Awesome! I'll add you to the map!

One of the reasons I built this stove was to protect the fragile penny stove with a shell around it so I was able to stick with the super-light-weight penny stove for the main burner. This said, using the deodorant cans wouldn't necessarily increase your CHANCE of detonation, that would still be the same. But with the thicker walls and (presumably) tighter fit of the two halves, this would mean that any detonation that DID occur would be many times more VIOLENT. The soda cans of the penny stove are flimsy enough that a detonation will be primarily absorbed by the penny stove itself. Even then, in an early test, it was enough to blow off the bits of JB weld, and bend the wind guard enough that I had to toss the stove.

With the thicker walls of the deodorant cans the pressure from the detonation would have to build up to a much higher, more violent level to cause a rupture. I'd imagine that, being that the denatured alcohol isn't massively violent by nature, the thicker stove can MAY be able to contain the full detonation without exploding, but there's also a pretty good chance that this isn't the case. If so, the detonation with a much "stronger" penny stove would be exponentially more violent, possibly even shredding off shards of metal and going off like a small grenade. (Sounds extreme, but rapidly expanding gasses can do frightening things.)

If you have the ability (I'm not sure of your age or experience with this sort of thing) it can be tested like so:

1.) Heat up the unit as if it had been used
2.) Add a VERY SMALL amount of fuel to the penny stove
3.) Pack the stove up as in the video (while it's still hot)
4.) Shake it up to ensure that the fuel is vaporizing throughout the stove,
5.) Place it a VERY SOLID container (box with thick wood, or a metal barrel)
6.) REMOTELY detonate it. (Rocket engines on long wires work well.)

I'd have to do this 20-40 times in succession before I'd be confident that the detonation is contained safely, but even then, I'd probably still be a bit paranoid. You MAY have the equivalent of a miniature pipe bomb on your hands.

Personally, I'd stick with making the penny stove out of a weak soda can since I know for a fact that when/if it DOES detonate, the detonation is small (like a small firecracker) and primarily absorbed by the weak soda cans.

Best of luck to you! And BE SAFE!
Thanks so much for posting these instructions. Some friends of ours were prepping to thru-hike the AT about five years ago, and bought one of these online. I studied the exterior and after a case of cans, I got a working model produced. Your procedures, photos, and the comments of others made this so much easier. I made two last night. I'm using a Campbell's soup can and a tealight as a pre-heater (not that I guess it's necessary), but the height works perfect when building a wind-screen from a #10 restaurant can. My wife and do primitive camping, but usually within a 1/2 mile of the truck, so height isn't an issue; we like the self-sufficiency of DIY, and not being a slave to the propane or butane tank sellers (sorry Hank Hill). We were both amazed at how quickly and efficiently this design works. Thanks!

We're from Virginia, lived most of our married life in Texas, and now live in East Tennessee. My nephew, who's heading to Fort Benning like I did 27 years ago wants me to build one with him next weekend. This weekend ours will be heating soup on Bald Mountain in Western NC. Thanks again. G
Javin007 (author)  Tennessee Burl2 years ago
Thank you for your response! I always love hearing about people's experiences with the design.

It was actually an after-effect that the stove design did turn out to be so effective for ultralight backpacking. I'd once upon a time purchased one of those $100 ultralight (3 oz) camp stoves only to find out that I had to carry a 13 oz can of propane (love the Hank Hill reference, BTW) to get one hour of use out of it. So this "ultralight" $100 stove turned out to weigh a total of 1lb. and I had to carry a propane tank that was highly pressurized and just hope I didn't accidentally smash the mouth of it while out... For one hour's use.

With this stove weighing in at 6 oz. (4.5 oz. if you remove the unnecessary bits) then every half hour of fuel adds 2 oz. So for the same 1 lb, I could get 5 hours of fuel, or only carry as much as I need for the hike... With the fuel carried in robust, difficult to hurt plastic bottles that if they DO get punctured, the fuel simply evaporates.

For free.
Brockley4 years ago
Is there any way to open the can without using a new opener? Would using a hand opener side ways make the can open in the desired way? I don't want to go out and buy a new opener just for this preoject. Is there anything else that you suggest?
Eax5 Brockley3 years ago
Yes it would. I was curious and tested it out on a tuna can.
rushwiz3 years ago
Javin... It has been over 3 years since you shared this awesome instructable. Could you consider taking the many excellent ideas and suggestions, and your own improvements on your stove, and sharing a new and improved version?
My eight year old son and I are going to build this stove today! KEN
Javin007 (author)  rushwiz3 years ago
That's not a bad idea, actually! I'll tell you some of my favorites:
* Heating one half of the can while cooling the other to make the fit tighter.
* Painting the can with heat resistant paint.
* Adding nuts to the bottom to put the rack pins in, instead of drilling the holes. (Or rivets if you have them).
* Using a piece of folded paper to get evenly spaced holes.
* Add a pack or two of matches to tighten things up when it's put away.
I'm sure there's others I'm missing.
fatboy073 years ago
very nice! keep it up man! :)
surf4point03 years ago
Thanks for the stove, I made one and plan to use it all the time its great!
Just a note to those who may not understand the priming process: We don't want to light the penny stove directly (lol explosions, see below), so when we pour a little fuel in the "wind shield" and light that, it heats the stove from without, creating more vapors within it, and then lighting them. Priming is the safest way to light these stoves, and yeah, dont shake them, creates an insane amount of vapors.
mwarren_us4 years ago
Heating the bottom (to expand it) and cooling the top (to shrink it) makes this step much easier. Heating the bottom to at least 400°F (in a toaster oven) and cooling the top to 0°F (standard freezer temp) creates a 0.002 inch clearance making it much easier to slide the top into the bottom. You may need to use oven mitts!

While 0.002 in. might seem small, it's enough to greatly simplifiy the assembly. Here are my calculations... http://www.editgrid.com/user/mwarren/Aluminum_can_walls
Javin007 (author)  mwarren_us3 years ago
I thought I'd responded to this post back in 2011. O.o Sorry for the super late response. I just wanted to say I love this idea, and I'm going to try it the next stove I build!
acalacci3 years ago
Javin 007,

Thanks for a wonderful project for my sons and I to build! We built it the other day and have boiled water and heated up some chicken noodle soup on it. My fuel consumption results were greater than your instructions called for, but very good nonetheless. We got 22 minutes even out of 2 ounces of denatured alcohol at 68 F (indoors),

I have passed out ths URL to a couple of other handy fellows that I know, and I'm sure they will have fun with it as well.

I took a video of the first firing, but I'm sorry to say that it looks like it's too big to post. Just look at yours...it's the same!

Javin007 (author)  acalacci3 years ago
Just watched your vid! LOVE it!

To answer your earlier question: I'm in Virginia now, but when the stove was built, was in Maryland.
Javin007 (author)  acalacci3 years ago
Awesome! I love to hear about people building it, ESPECIALLY those that do it with their kids! Where are you located so I can add you to the map?
We're in Georgia, Vermont, USA. By the way, mine's not exacty like yours...I added nuts to the bottom of the wind guard like one fellow suggested, but lined up the first set with the TOP set of holes by accident, so I now have 8 nuts in the bottom! Little extra weight, but no problem other than that. Where are you located?
cryophile3 years ago
Awesome! It looks like this would come in handy if you were homeless.
This was a fun project to do, and made a great gift for my brother. A couple of differences in what came out of my garage:
1) I used a penny stove made from the 7.5oz Pepsi cans, not 12oz. It made a small tomato paste can usable for my measuring cup. Also, a box of matches fits tightly in the unit, greatly reducing rattling noises.
2) I added "leveling screws" to the pedestal, so if the ground isn't completely level, an adjustment can be made so the stove section is. In the future, I'm going to add a drop of JB weld to the screw tops, to make them non-skid.
3) I used two washers JB'd to the windscreen for the pot rack leg attach points - it works really well, I had about 4 pounds of water and pot on, held just fine.
4) for heating a sierra cup, I added some heavy gauge wires to the mix. They are notched using my Dremel.
Most of what I've described is visible in the images I've loaded.
Javin007 (author)  walkercolt443 years ago
I always love seeing people's builds of this stove! Especially the great additions they add to tweak it and make it better!

I've seen people making this stove literally all over the world now. In google's statistics I can see that almost every single country in the world has now viewed the video, and I get notifications from people worldwide that they have built it! The response has been way more than I ever expected! Thank you so much for the photos! Where are you located so I can add you to the map? ;D

I love your additions to the stove!
I'm in Southern California, Orange County.
orion33 years ago
Awesome stove! Just got mine finished. Instead of drilling holes for the rack pins, I JB welded small nuts to the bottom of the base can. After words, I was concerned that they might get in the way of the measuring cup once it was assembled but, it all fits well. Also, I used a 24 oz. tuna can for the base and riveted it to the lid instead of cutting the larger can down and JB welding together. I was a bet eager to try out the stove and didnt have any Denatured alcohol, so I used rubbing alcohol. (Not sure of the difference) I found the rubbing alcohol a bit hard to light at first (Hoping the Denatured alcohol works better). But I used a propane torch and soon got it blazing. Took a few minutes for it to settle down, then it started burning nicely. Had a problem with the fire staying lit for more then 10 minutes. (Again, could be the rubbing alcohol) I would then relight it with the torch again and it would take off again. I'm thinking the torch is heating up the alcohol in the can making it evaporate faster. All in all, A fantastic project and I plan on making more as gifts. A 10 out of 10!
I've found that the best feul for any alcohol stove is methyl hydrate. it's sold as a gasline antifreeze for about $10 a gallon, and is something like 99.9% methyl alcohol. it works amazingly well compared to other feuls, and MEC even sells it as feul for their stoves, so you know it must be good!
Javin007 (author)  14kurbili3 years ago
Methyl Hydrate is also known as "methanol." It's often added to ethanol (9:1 ratio of ethanol to methanol) to make denatured alcohol. Methanol is highly toxic, and can even be absorbed through the skin. Ingesting as little as 10 mL can make you blind, and 30 mL (roughly one ounce) will likely kill you. I would strongly recommend against keeping this in your house, particularly if you have children. Denatured alcohol is bad enough, with the methanol added and diluted, but pure methanol is downright dangerous. Even if you don't drink it, extended exposure to your skin can cause enough to be absorbed to destroy your kidneys and liver. I'm not going to tell you what to do, but for the purposes of my instructable, please know that I very strongly recommend against using it as a fuel source.
I just compared the MSDS sheets for methyl hydrate and denatured alcohol, and as it turns out, they both impose the same health risks. I'm not saying you're wrong about the dangers of using methyl alcohol, it's just that denatured alcohol isn't any better for you. now that i know the fuel I'm using isn't that great for me, i'll try to start using other types of less harmful alcohol. Thanks for the heads up!
Javin007 (author)  14kurbili3 years ago
All of this said, the "ideal" fuel for an alcohol stove would be pure alcohol (ethanol). Unfortunately, I'd much prefer to drink it. :P

It's also not as cheap as its denatured component.  This is why ethanol is denatured in the first place:  

Because companies can produce vast amounts of ethanol incredibly cheaply, there's an excess availability of ethanol.  In the U.S., though, if it's sold for consumption, Uncle Sam has to take his cut in the form of alcohol taxes.  Plus, only so much is going to be consumed by the public.  The extra ethanol is sold for other uses (paint thinners, gasoline supplements, etc.)  To prevent people from drinking it (coz again, the gov't wants its cut if you're going to drink it) they "denature" it by adding poisons.

It's quite likely that when we get ethanol based vehicles (it's inevitable) that they'll denature that as well, to keep you from drinking your car's fuel.

Creating pure ethanol is actually so easy that you can do it with some stuff laying around your house.  Assuming you don't want to ferment your own sugars, you can even distill the ethanol out of beer, wine, etc.  (Moonshine.)  Now, don't take this to mean that you can just distill anything with alcohol in it and call it ethanol.  You'll find the old-school moon shiners will pour off their first batch of alcohol from a batch because it's poisonous.  This is because of the following:

The boiling point of methanol is 68 degrees Celsius while ethanol's boiling point is 78 degrees Celsius.  This means it's possible to "boil off" the methanol while keeping the ethanol if the environment is perfectly controlled.  Would I ever do this to save a buck or two?  Not in a million years.  Don't know why I bothered to mention it, really...  But this lower boiling point (and thus vaporization point) is why methanol is so much "colder" when it evaporates than ethanol.  Because the evaporation happens so much faster.  (The lower the boiling point, the faster the evaporation.) 

Because in many types of fermentation a small amount of methanol (aka: wood alcohol) is produced along side the ethanol (grain alcohol).  The distillation will first vaporize the methanol making that first batch highly poisonous.

Mostly I'm just rambling right now because I'm partaking of some ethanol at the moment, in the form of a martini.  :D
Javin007 (author)  14kurbili3 years ago
Yep, you're right! The MSDS for denatured alcohol will be the same as the "worst" component in it. This is because the MSDS doesn't usually take into account the ratios of the chemicals in them.

Drinking 10 ounces of denatured alcohol (of course, talking about denatured alcohol that has been denatured with methanol, which there are some that are denatured with other chemcials) will have the same effect as drinking 1 ounce of Methanol (ie: high probability of death).

So yeah, try not to drink either one.  :D

For instance, look up the MSDS on polymethyl methacrylate, and then the MSDS on crazy glue.  While their MSDS's look quite similar, the polymethyl methacrylate is about three times more toxic than the crazy glue.  
Javin007 (author)  orion33 years ago
It's always so awesome to see people build this stove. :D Thanks a ton for the pictures!

I love the modifications you've made.  The riveting and using the tuna can could only make the build that much easier, and dare I say more stable.  Makes me wish I had a rivet gun.  I also like the idea of welding the nuts to the base instead of drilling the holes and using JBWeld. 

The rubbing alcohol is definitely your problem.  Rubbing alcohol is typically about 60% alcohol with the other 40% being water.  Denatured alcohol is 99% alcohol with 1% "additive" to keep people from drinking it.  (It's also used as "marine stove fuel".  Commonly used to fuel stoves on boats.) 

Your problem with keeping the rubbing alcohol lit is because the rig eventually cools down enough that the alcohol stops vaporizing.  You won't have this problem with denatured alcohol, and lighting it will be MUCH easier.  I even light mine with a flint striker if I don't have a lighter handy.
can you use 70 percent alcohol
orion3 Javin0073 years ago
Awesome! Just the info I needed. This is a great build and is extremely well thought out. I will be heading to the store for denatured alcohol ASAP! I am getting started on number 2 today. I'm going to make my wind guard just a tad higher this time to more easily accommodate the nuts. I only went 1/2 inch higher then the stove last time. It fits but , just barely. I need to invest in one of those fancy side cutting can openers as well. I dremmeled the last lid off. It's passable but rough. By the way, the pot rack design, imo, is just Genius! Super strong and very sturdy! Thanks a lot for this great instructable . If I stumble across any more updates I'll post them here. \m/
Fitwit3 years ago
Apologies Javin. I meant Javin. :-). I'm actually pleased with the 8 one inch flames. I heated 18 oz soup in 8 minutes tonight and it was too hot to eat. :-)
Javin007 (author)  Fitwit3 years ago
Wow, nice! That's almost microwave speed! (If you have a cheap old microwave like mine.)
Fitwit3 years ago
Jason- all went well but only getting 1" flames after priming ends. Probably hot enough to cook with, and probably no chance of a 'boom' but what should I alter to get longer flames. Used a push pin / thumb tack for my jet holes. Thanks !
aa_kim_4 years ago
how will i put off the fire after i finished using it/
Where exactly do we put the penny?
do i put it in before i connect the two pieces?
sorry if it's a dumb question
It goes on top of the whole. Watch his video to see it in action. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj5xZmXOZ8A&feature=related
jagr604 years ago
Wery good instructable!
Wow! I'd never heard of a penny stove before seeing this. Seriously wow :-)
Directions were great. Here is my contribution. We were on a several night trip so I just brought the HEET bottle. After it is unsealed, be sure to wrap then neck/cap area to reseal it. I have a ten foot length of Gorilla Glue tape wrapped around my emergency kit so I just cut off a length each night to seal up the bottle.

Instead of the fancy pot holder, I cut 4" pieced of coat hanger that I bent at 90 degrees. I then inserted it into an upper hole and wove it down into a lower hole. The first time I had to bend and play with them a bit to get them to sit firmly. This way I didn't have to walk twenty feet to the garage and find my epoxy. I also ended up with about six legs so the pots sit very securely.

Great post. Fun to make, Satisfying to use.
cmac cormac4 years ago
I finally got around to making my stove after reading your guide. Thank you for the inspiration. I actually made two, one a standard pressured penny stove, the second using a steel can (cat food ) base with an aluminium top. This second one is packed with fibreglass insulation and burns for about 35 minutes on a fill. (Yesterday my wife made jam on it as a test run!)

The standard stove fits neatly into a pouch for me to take on cycling trips. I use a metal mug directly over the flame, 15ml of fuel does a 500ml cup for me. I have a Trangia (Swedish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4l1JveEAdE) alcohol stove which is fine as it is a full kit but this little guy can't be beat for size and weight - but most of all for fun!
jbenfield14 years ago
To be honest, I've found the best use for a "penny stove" outside of immediate survival issues is to fill it with wood shavings and either gasoline or kerosine, until the wool soaks it up but isn't flooded, and using it to start a normal campfire when your source of wood is slightly damp. Another good tip is to mix in some petroleum jelly, basically making napalm with wood chips. It'll light even pretty wet wood in a fairly short time, but you definitely don't want a full can of the stuff, it is basically napalm after all.
jcg4 years ago
Does anyone know how hot this kind of stove gets? I was to make one out of brass or copper and then solder it. basically making a sturdier version, but i'm not sure if the stove will get hot enough to melt the solder (around 500 degree F, or 260 C), but i think not
Javin007 (author)  jcg4 years ago
If you're going to use brass or copper, I would be very cautious. One of the reasons this stove holds such little heat is the amount of metal (plus the metal being a tin or aluminum alloy) resulting in more surface area to dissipate the heat. If you're using brass or copper (both excellent heat conductors) they will be considerably thicker and retain more heat.

The JB Weld used in the stove is good for up to 500 degrees as well, and as of yet hasn't had any problems.  I would think if you were to spot-weld as opposed to soldering you would have 0 chance of a problem.  If you're stuck with solder, then I'd say your best bet is to just give it a shot and see where it goes.  

Finally, you have the added problem of most solders being lead alloys, which you absolutely do NOT want in a cooking utensil, even if there's little chance of them melting.  Lead in food is bad, mmkay?

So... I'd say if you can't spot weld, drop the money to get a food-safe solder, and even in THIS case you won't know if the heat retention will be enough to melt the solder until you've actually tried it.  

How sturdy do you need it to be?  Trying to use cast iron on the stove?  :D
To cut the cans, would it be possible to use a hacksaw instead of a Dremel?
The large cans? yes
The thin pop cans? no, they would probably get smushed
Darwinfish4 years ago
Very nicely done! I need to try this.

One thing though, with this step. Instead of drilling full holes, why not just make little divots in the bottom of the can, with a nail set or something?
xUNMERITEDx4 years ago
Great job!
JRick34 years ago
in your opinion, what is the easiest way to bend the hanger into the desirable shape? I tried needle nose pliers and they bent it with some effort but they did not turn out very good.
JRick34 years ago
Do you really need the measuring cup or is it more for everything to fit nice inside when it is all packed up?
handidad4 years ago
A very interesting build. I like the rack and method of supporting the rack pins.
A possible simplification of the pin nubs:
Instead of drilling the holes through the bottom, use a centre punch and create dimples. These should be able to anchor the epoxy the same way that the holes do.
The epoxy might not even be required if the ends of the pins are sharpened to a point and the dimples are deep enough.
I like what you are trying to do. I happen to be starting a business that will be marketing these soda can stoves in stores. I thought you might find what I have done interesting. I noticed all the same design flaws with most soda can stoves as you. I took mine a bit further in the area of efficiency by using a rivet nut to completely seal off the container and using more holes that are smaller. Seems to be a better fuel to air mixture for efficient combustion. I think you will like what I did for priming. With my stove design it allows for a mere 1 ml or less of fuel to prime. I have found denatured alcohol to be the cleanest and hottest. Also as far as measuring fuel I use a 10 ml syringe I get at the drug store for .25 cents and a small 4 oz fuel bottle. Anyway the site is: www.keyholestoves.com Check it out. Hope it gives you some good ideas. Keep on inventing!
Javin007 (author)  pastprimitive6 years ago
Wow. Used your method of creating the vent holes last night and nearly doubled my burn time on the same amount of fuel. Heat output was virtually the same too. Seems less fuel is just burned for the sake of burning. Great design.
Javin007 (author)  Javin0076 years ago
That last sentence didn't make much sense. I meant with my original design, it seemed to be burning much more fuel with no additional heat output. Using needles to punch the holes, resulting in smaller, more condensed flames, the same amount of fuel burned longer while putting out the same heat.
First of all fantastic instructable. I cant wait to build one this weekend.
Second, I know this ible has been up for a while so it may be too late to ask this but...
I notice in the ible you use the tacks to ouch 8 holes yet in the comments I see that you used the pin and drill press idea to punch more, smaller holes and it was more efficient. Should I stick to your instruction or go for the smaller holes?
The same goes for the idea of using a threaded stopper that I thought I read in the comments. Stick with the instruction or is it safer to switch to the rivetable thread?

Thanks again for such a wonderfully thought out instruct able. My son just crossed into boy scouts and will be doing a lot of hiking with his new troop. I this this would be a great project for us to work on...as long as this style of stove is permitted.

Javin007 (author)  jalspach4 years ago
I hope it came out okay! Sorry I couldn't answer sooner. :/

I found that the "needle" sized holes work well if you're wanting a stand-alone penny stove, but for my rig, the heat transfer done by the wind guard makes the "needle" holes cause the whole system to overheat.  This results in larger flames, and lower fuel efficiency.  So far, the 8 thumbtack holes have served me the best (they're also less likely to clog.)

As for the rivet-able thread, I would avoid this.  The "penny" of the penny stove is to allow the system to self-regulate if it gets overheated.  If too much gas is vaporized, it will push the penny out of the way and vent instead of causing the stove to "pop".  As another user said, this would result in a "spewing fiery fountain of OMG."  Anything threaded would not allow the excess heat to escape from the stove.  

While the most likely scenario is that your flame jets would just get larger, and nothing else would happen (these are fairly stable stoves), you DO run the risk of actually boiling the alcohol and causing it to shoot out of the holes turning your stove into a small, wide-area flame thrower.  

In extreme cases, the two halves of the stove can separate, and then you really have a fiery mess on your hands.  So I'd stick with the penny vent.

Plus, it's just kinda neat.
Thank you for the answers.
We actually did not get around to building it this weekend so hopefully over the next couple of nights we will.
We are both excited to see it go!
Who knows, maybe after this weekends backpacking trip, the whole troop will be building them ;-)

Thanks again!
Yeah that was what I found.
Javin007 (author)  pastprimitive6 years ago
Since detonating my stove (test in step 2) I've been trying to come up with a more efficient way of fueling/burning. I too came to the conclusion that more/smaller holes was the answer, but I'm limited to the thumbtacks that I have, which make painfully large holes. I've also found the importance of the holes being evenly spaced, and even the direction they've been punched makes a huge difference. I'd love to know what you're using to make your vent holes. Your priming method is simply brilliant. I will have to implement this in my next stove since my last one was sacrificed to science. (But to be fair, I won't put it in this instructable, as that does make your product unique.) Now, I think there's but one more issue to figure out and the stove would be perfect. This is refueling. I'd considered maybe creating two SMALLER stoves so they could be swapped out/refueled, but this could be quite dangerous. The only solution that would make sense would be to somehow feed fuel into the stove while it's running. Unfortunately, I've yet to find a viable solution here, as JB Weld is only good up to 500 degrees F, and as you said, these stoves get considerably hotter than this. (Which is why I put the rack pin "nubs" on the outside instead of the inside.) I've experimented with tube-fed from the side (additional holes, more flames, unsafe) and even tried a wicking method from below (much, much fire). At the moment, I'm pretty much out of ideas on the refueling thing. Thanks for the comment, and great addition to the stove!
Sabata Javin0076 years ago
I've found that a plain ol' sewing needle works quite well for making the holes. Hold it about 5-6mm from the tip with pliers or a hemostat otherwise the needle may bend and/or break. I liked to make about 2 dozen holes in my stoves and got some pretty decent burn times using very little fuel. Unfortunately I've misplaced my old stove notes and can't give any specifics. BTW, I had one of my very first alcohol stoves blow apart on me several years ago. Luckily, I had only a very small amount of fuel (about a teaspoon) in it for testing, it was on cement and I'd surrounded the stove with a barrier, just in case.
Javin007 (author)  Sabata6 years ago
Yep. I've been doing experiments along these very lines. I've found that a standard penny stove doesn't quite work in this build. Read the newly added step (when I get it up there) to see the status.
Here is what I have concluded about detonating stoves. I have yet to have this problem once. And I believe it comes from too large of holes or an uncapped fuel fill hole which will allow oxygen back into the stove which will result in detonation. If you don't have these things it's virtually impossible for the oxygen level to rise to the point of detonation inside the stove. Unless of course you found a way to force oxygen inside.
Again, it's been several years since this happened so I'm going from memory here. I have a couple theories* but can't say for certain why the stove "popped." What I do know for sure is that the filler hole was closed off with a nut J-B Welded to the inside and a screw outside. Also, the holes were made with a small needle using the method I described above, so they definitely were not too large.

(*) Following some others' leads, I did not J-B Weld the two halves together. I also didn't bother to punch holes in the lower portion of the can as shown here almost halfway down the page.
Don Johnston's Photon Stove

I suppose that vapors and pressure built up but were not able to vent to the outer chamber and escape out the jets. Since the two halves were not epoxied together, they blew apart when the pressure got to a certain level.

Rather than only punching holes and trying the stove without glue to prove the pressure theory, I erred on the side of caution and punched holes and glued the stove as well.
I am glad to help. feel free to include the primer pan in the instructable as long as you give me some credit with a link to my site. I am not really after people who have time, desire, and interest in building the stoves themselves. So I am not too worried about it. I am marketing mostly towards physical retail locations and people who do not want to take the time to build. But thanks for the sensitivity. My secret weapons in producing awesome vent holes is a combination of 3 things. First I created a template by cutting out a bottom of a soda can right up against where it starts to bend inwards, and than cutting out the middle concave part. I than make 4 cuts up the inward wall to allow for expansion so it fits all the way down on the targeted soda can bottom. And than flange it out with a full can of soda. Then I create 24 holes. Here is the awesome simple part. I use sewing pins, the kind with the round nub of plastic, and than I snip off the tip so that it's about a half inch long. I then take this to a vice, other hard metal surface, and very carefully (as not to smash my fingers) I pound the non point end of the pin i just cut off. then I take this to my drill press and mount it in that with just about 1/8" sticking out. maybe a little more. The trick here is to put it between the teeth of the press, (Hence the pounding the non pointy-end flat, of course not too flat, we need strength) not the middle, as the middle typically will not accommodate such a small diameter shaft. Than you can go to town pushing it straight down into your target soda can, Hopefully it goes without saying... Don't turn on the drill press as you are doing this. And it will make beautiful small holes every time and without killing your thumbs. As far as the refueling issue, and exploding issue I have two solutions that I like. To avoid explosions I find that a rivet nut and a small thumb screw make a great fill hole. And the plus is that since you have a tight seal while running, and hopefully by now smaller holes:) combustion seems to have an impossible time happening in the stove itself. I haven't done a scientific study, but I believe the small jet holes for whatever reason just plain don't allow enough air in the stove at any given time to allow combustion as long as you have the fuel screw in when you light it. The only slightly dangerous experience I had was when I made my holes even smaller than what you saw, and the pressure built up too much and popped the top. I think it's that penny you use to seal your fuel hole, it just needs to be a tighter seal. You can pick up a rivet nut gun from harbor freight tools if you have one in your area for like $16-$25 bucks that includes aluminum rivets. I highly recommend the purchase. Such a handy tool. Now the refueling issue I believe has a simple solution. I think the real problem lies in not being able to transport your stove with fuel in it. Now of course I can't do that yet with my model either. but I am working on a that fits over the top of my stove, and puts a water-tight sel on it, effectively making it so you could top the stove off with fuel, cap it, pack it with you, and when you want to use it pull it out and light it up, burn as long as you want, and then blow it out, and recap it once cooled. Plus now you don't necessarily need a fuel bottle depending on trip length. My stove holds 2 oz of fuel and that gives about 20-40 minutes of burn time depending on lots of factors. So I find that more than enough time for me, but of course I could always make it an ounce or two bigger to extend the burn time.
Sorry, didn't catch the typo. I meant to say i am working on making a top, that will cap the stove off.
Javin007 (author)  pastprimitive6 years ago
As a side-note, a good place to find those rivet nuts and thumb bolts would be handy. I've been digging for awhile, and nobody sells them locally, and I can't seem to find a decent place for them online. I could see those being handy in a LOT of projects.
Javin007 (author)  pastprimitive6 years ago
All good info. Thanks for the usage! Will definitely credit you! (Gotta go buy me some push pins tonight.) As for the refueling, perhaps the new design will allow me to be more efficient with my fuel usage. I definitely couldn't get 40 minutes of burn time on a single fueling under the best of circumstances. I was still thinking, though, what if someone wanted to cook something for a good hour or two? Maybe they're making a stew in the woods? Refueling "in real time" would be handy, even though these things do rapidly cool off after being put out, and could be refueled and relit without much trouble (particularly with your primer method). I may be trying to invent a feature that just simply isn't much value added.
madhops06204 years ago
Just out of curiosity, is the lid of the large can (which happens to be attached to the bottom of the medium can) supposed to fit snugly into the large can (windscreen) after cutting? You specifically mentioned that the large can needed to be cut at one of the "down" ribbing spots, however, for my large lid to fit the large can, it needs to be cut at an "up" ribbing spot. If so it looks like I'll have to redo my windscreen but that shouldn't be too much of a hassle.
Javin007 (author)  madhops06204 years ago
I suspect that our definitions of "down" and "up" in this context are a bit different. By "down" I mean the spot with a smaller circumference. If you're not talking about the same thing, I'd be interested in seeing close-up pics of how you cut your cans (lid included) as well as glued the lid to your base to see what you've done. My suspicion in that case would be that the lid was glued on backwards.
We're in agreement on the definitions of "down" and "up" in the context of the ribbing of the can. My stove isn't completely assembled yet, the JB weld attaching the base to the lid is still drying It just occurred to me as I was typing this, though: is the lip of the lid supposed to be on the outside of the large can when all assembled? If that is the case then I feel like an idiot and I did everything correctly. I just assumed that it was supposed to fit inside
of the can. I guess I'll try that and see if it works. Thanks for posting a reply so quickly, by the way. This is probably the best 'ible I've seen on here, you've really done an amazing job. I'll definitely be recommending this design to some of my friends-- with credit to you of course! I can't wait to try it out when I go camping next weekend.
Javin007 (author)  madhops06204 years ago
Hrm, to make sure we're on the same page, re-check step 14, specifically image 3. The lid of the can should have been cut off using one of those can openers that cuts on the outside instead of the inside, then the lid gets inverted and glued. This should make it fit snugly on the OUTSIDE of the can.
rramos14 years ago
This is a very, very, very great and use-full invention, for campers and backpackers like me. I really, really like your pocket size camp stove. I will build one and will share it with my friends here in the Phillipines. More power . . . more ideas and God Bless You !
lounice984 years ago
:( production comes to a hault for some reason i thought i had my dremel in the house but its at the shop will continue friday and finish posting pics of the finish product, so far this instructable is very easy to folllow i appreciate the time you took to document the steps! Im very antsy to finish but I believe in quality so I dont want to cut any corners.
Speaking of the penny.... I'm working on mine today - it's the first penny stove i've made - I tested the core, and I'm getting flames up around the penny. What did I do wrong? I didn't let it burn long. When I saw the flames around the penny I got worried. Was I just too sloppy filling it?
Javin007 (author)  johnnypanic134 years ago
I'd really have to see pictures to be able to give you an idea. (Sorry for the late answer, I didn't get an E-Mail saying you'd responded.) If the directions are followed, (and I'm not saying you didn't follow them, but maybe that different materials were available to you) then this shouldn't happen. Very, VERY small blue flames from around the penny are possible, but shouldn't really happen. Fortunately, the point of the penny seems to be serving its purpose in that it keeps the stove from detonating. :)
I'm not sure what it was exactly, but the more attempts I made the less and less this occurred. My latest versions don't seem to have this problem at all. I'm still not sure why, too many variables in the mix. I tried different hole sizes in the middle, and different numbers of holes around the edges. I think that when I made that central hold a little smaller I quit getting flames around the edge of the penny (I keep a drill bit set aside just for my penny stoves now).

One other thing I've started doing that might account for it: after pouring fuel into that central hold, and covering it with the penny I wait a little longer before igniting it. That way anything I spilled evaporates off. That might have been the cause too.

I haven't had a detonation yet (fingers-crossed) but I had one tip over. The penny fell off and that central flame ignited. It was on a concrete patio so no harm was done, and it looked pretty cool. One nice long (about 2 foot) flame jet out of the middle that burnt out in 5-10 seconds.

I'll put some pictures up. I gave away my best ones at Christmas, but I'm determined pull together everything I've learned and make one more nice one just for me.

Thanks again, these have provided hours and hours of entertainment.
Javin007 (author)  johnnypanic134 years ago
:D It's always awesome to see someone building and enjoying the stove. I quite literally came up with the design one evening when I couldn't sleep. It was one of those, "I wonder if this will work..." things. Since then, I've seen videos of people using it in Brazil, Australia, Germany, and New Zealand. It's just so cool to see other people enjoying it! It makes me wish I was more inventive so I could come up with something else! :D
tjesker4 years ago
I built the stove and it works great except the top part of the stove sometimes pops off when I light it. The paint on the cans did not act as glue and stick the two halves together as mentioned in the directions. Any suggestions on how I can get the two sides to stick together? I get the impression I should not use the epoxy.
Javin007 (author)  tjesker4 years ago
Wow... I can say I've built literally several dozens of these and never had that problem. Maybe you could take some pics as you're building it? Also, where are you located? Honestly, there could be a different type of paint used in different countries. My suspicion is that there's something odd about where you're punching the holes and cutting the cans maybe? That really shouldn't happen.
Maybe I missed a step. One thing that confused me was in one paragraph it mentions using a hole punch to punch 8 holes and the next paragraph it mentions punching 8 holes with a thumb tack but it sounded to me like maybe the thumb tacks were just to make starter holes?. Anyway, I didn't punch any holes with thumb tacks. Was I supposed to?

I just went to the store and bought two cans of A&W root beer like in the instructions - maybe they will work better. Apparently not all cans are the same as I first tried two energy drinks from Aldi and could not cut them cleanly and then switched to two off brand tropical juice cans from Wal Mart and they cut easily with a razor blade but the the paint didn't glue the cans together. I am in North Carolina BTW to answer your question.
Javin007 (author)  tjesker4 years ago
Woah woah woah....

You need to read the instructions here very carefully.  The holes punched in the cans with the thumb tacks and the holes punched in using the hole punch are very, very different things.  Please read every step of the instructable and make sure you understand it completely before attempting ANY build.  You're clearly reading something wrong that I couldn't possibly make any clearer.

OK I was only looking at the thumbnail of image three on that page. Looking at the big picture I now see the small holes on the bottom part of the stove (I think it's the bottom?) But if I put holes in the bottom won't the fuel leak out?
Javin007 (author)  tjesker4 years ago
Please tell me you're a troll... If not, you really shouldn't be playing with fire.
An answer to the question would have been more helpful than a wise crack. If you won't answer the question I guess I'll try it one way and then the other and see which works. The large picture does not have the large holes on the side so that creates the impression that the small holes go on the bottom part of the stove but that doesn't make sense to me as I would think the fuel would leak out.
tjesker tjesker4 years ago
Thanks for adding the word "top" to step three where it says to punch the thumb tack holes. That makes it crystal clear.
Javin007 (author)  tjesker4 years ago
Eh? I haven't edited anything. I'm confused.
lounice984 years ago
on this step here i actually marked the measuring cup as directed, but then instead of cutting where it was marked i cut above the mark and then folded the lip down, gives it a nice smooth finish and is good for those who dont have sand paper around the house
heres the pics
Javin007 (author)  lounice984 years ago
Nice! But did you fold the lip "in" or "out?" My concern is that if you folded the lip "in" your pour might get choppy, and leave some of the fuel in the cup?
lounice984 years ago
very very very very slow, lol i split the first one, but second one worked like a charm, used your technique and after every tiny fraction i let it sit a few minutes to stretch out a bit
lounice984 years ago
This by far is the greates and easiest (only read it so far) instructable for a penny stove, im gonna get started right away and after reading all the instructions and comments i cant wait. Thanks for the information will post pics as soon as im done.
Javin007 (author)  lounice984 years ago
Hooray! (I love seeing pics of people's completed stoves.)
I tend to agree with ERCCRE123. Get the rack and support pins all ready to go, and then attach the rack set to see where the pins will touch the bottom of the wind guard.

However, I have an alternate suggestion for securing the pins. After you note where the end of the pins touch, mark each spot with your pen, and remove the rack. Then, JB Weld or Stik a small nut (for use with bolts) to each point on the floor of the wind guard. When set, the rack can be reassembled and attached with the ends of the pins being easily inserted into the holes of the nuts.

As some of the JB product will probably ooze up into the hole, it might again be a good idea to wet or grease the ends of the pins and insert them into the nuts before the JB sets to make even more accurate placement of the pins. But the height, firmness and inner thread ridges of the nuts should make assembly faster and sturdier. Plus, you don't have to puncture the floor of the wind guard at all, thus preventing any possible leakage.
Javin007 (author)  WonderWidget4 years ago
I like this! I'll have to try that on my next build.
I'll have to try it on my FIRST build! Ha!! I'm going on a solo camping trip in May and got fascinated by your YouTube video, which led me here, even to joining and commenting. Loved some of the other remarks, too - I'll have to get a can of that Walmart Chunk Chicken now, I guess! I have all the other cans already to go, tho'.

I did also consider some other things, one that making the rack first might be best because the shape it has will dictate the length of the support pins. And the height of the wind guard will determine the rack's shape since it is also the clamp that holds the packed up unit all together. Then, I thought it may be a good idea to put 4 slight dents in the base lid and the wind guard bottom on the edges where the rack is centered when used as the closure clamp; in fact, doing that even before the rack is formed. So, wrapping the rack wire around the closed unit, lining it up with the dents, it would be held in place by those dents when latched and would not accidentally slip off.

Lastly, I wondered about a different, shorter sized shape for the pins, in which the straight end might instead be bent back up and then OVER the top of the wind guard's upper rim with a small, tight-gripping loop at the top. The pin would need to be threaded through the hole, then pushed all the way inside, the loop caught on the rim and the pin pulled back out to set it in place. I've used this cantilevered approach on other things, (I'm a real clothes hanger aficionado!) But, I'm not convinced it would be stronger (read 'safer') than your original design, AND I may just be overthinking it a bit much!! Sigh, it's a curse! ;-)

I do know I've got to try building one of these!! Thanks for considering my suggestions, and for a really great idea! Yours is by far the best version I've seen on the Net so far!
seabear704 years ago
For those interested, I made the windguard our of a 12.5 oz can of Great Value Chunk Chicken Breasts from walmart, and Bayer Contour test strip containers are just about the perfect size for a fuel measuring cup.

I wanna thank and salute the author, I made a number of mods to his basic design, but I think he'd recognize his work if he saw my stove.
tristin76124 years ago
That was great, I think that I will have to try that out. My wife says I'm not aloud to see neat things like that because she knows that I will HAVE TO make it. Also love the cameo of the puppy.
Javin007 (author)  tristin76124 years ago
*heh heh* Thanks! She's not nearly as round anymore, but she's still just as cute!
starplayer4 years ago
Just one question, when the fuel is running out the jets get smaller right? How long do they stay small, until the fuel ends? I think mine stay small for too long
Javin007 (author)  starplayer4 years ago
You did say that you made your stove a little taller than I did. This could explain the height of your flames. The stove works by those same flames heating the can, which in turn heats the fuel which causes it to vaporize.

With a deeper stove, you would be able to put more fuel into it. Thus, the fuel and extra aluminum from the taller can would act as a "heat sink" allowing more of the heat to dissipate before being able to vaporize the fuel. Less heat = smaller flames. As you run out of fuel, I wouldn't be surprised to see that the heat transfer drops, and leaves you with a small puddle in the bottom of the can that takes a bit longer to burn out.  

Short story:  I wouldn't worry about it.  The only time I'd be concerned is if your jets are putting out small, but forceful flames.  This can be a pressure problem and can end up in a "firey  OMG".

Yeah, I was guessing it should be because of the weight. Mine should be a bit less efficient then. But that shouldn't be a problem. Still haven't tested the boiling time though. Thanks for your feedback;)
can i use wine/nail polish remover?
will veneger work?
how to avoid burns?
can i use cotton for insulating?
Javin007 (author)  sreepradaramakrishna4 years ago
I think it would probably be best if you didn't play with fire.
HSonger5 years ago
I built and used one of these stoves for a backpacking trip a few months back and it worked very well. When making it I had a hard time getting water to boil very quickly and after doing some experimentation discovered that I needed a greater gap between the rim of the windscreen and the bottom of the pot to let the flame burn optimally. I adjusted the height by changing the rack pins to sit vertically instead of at an angle. The pins were made straight but I put two small 90 degree bends in them where they came out of the holes on the side of the windscreen and put my puddle of JB Weld at the rim on the bottom. This raised up the pot enough to nearly halve my boil time. The straightened pins with the dog-legs were sturdy enough for a full mess kit pot and still small enough to fit in the bottom of the can for collapsed storage. Also, I used denatured alcohol for fuel in an old peroxide bottle. I scavenged the top off of a bottle of dish soap and found it fit the peroxide bottle perfectly, eliminating the potential that I might lose the cap to my fuel bottle when I squirt the fuel into the stove.
Javin007 (author)  HSonger4 years ago
I'd be interested in seeing a pic of your assembled stove. Optimizing the heat output is definitely my goal here, so if you've found a height that makes it even better, I'd like to adjust my instructable. (Plus, I really like seeing other people's stoves. :)
starplayer4 years ago
Hey guys. I made the stove correctly, however, after three burns, it started to smell horribly, with a green flame. I'm guessing it's some sort of chemical in the paint or whatever, but it wasn't supposed right? I used coca cola cans. How do I get rid of the smell? It stayed in the can, and when I heat it, it smells bad again. wtf?
Javin007 (author)  starplayer4 years ago
What are you using as fuel? I've definitely never had anything of the sort happen, and I use mine all the time. And are you from the U.S.? I wonder if the cans may be made of different materials. And you were sure to clean it out completely?
Im using 96% ethanol, with 0.2% cetrimide. I'm from Portugal. yeah, it was cleaned. I didn't use soap though I though just water was fine to get ride of the coke. It smells really bad, a bit like rotten fish.
The smell went away. I heated the stove in the kitchen stove. It released and even stronger smell. Then overnight I think it went away. Stills smells like something,a bit like alcohol, but I'm guessing that's okay. However, the jets now are much smaller. Maybe my stove is too high? My stove is 4.8 cm high. Is it too high?
Javin007 (author)  starplayer4 years ago
The height of the stove shouldn't cause any problems. It's really got to be something that's getting burned. Is it possible that some soap was left in it? When you add the alcohol, it will break down *anything* that's left in the can and help burn it off as it vaporizes. Since your ethanol is 96%, you have an additional 4% of "something else." I'm not even sure what cetrimide is, but a google search says it could cause dermatitis, so I'd be wary of using it in a stove that could vaporize it and cause you to inhale it. In the U.S., denatured alcohol is 100% alcohol with methanol added (both of which burn off fairly safely). If you smell something, I would change your fuel. If your vents are getting clogged, I'd be very careful as you could "pop" your stove if the pressure builds up faster than it can be released.
Supposedly it is used as a anti septic, and it shouldnt be bad, as it is used in soaps and such: http://www.chemicalland21.com/arokorhi/lifescience/phar/CETRIMIDE.htm . However, it does lets a soappy residue behind in the stove. I'm was thinking normal anti septic alcohol would work but I guess not. Well, the price of the denatured alcohol is the same so... Thanks for your comments;)
kenobi4 years ago
Great, saw the video now. Good going! congrats on a very nice clear & useful instructable!
kenobi4 years ago
Sounds great, congrats on good idea & good presentation. Just one little bitty thing - The Youtube link doesn't work. I got response that you discontinued your subscription or something like that (din;t recall the precise wording).
Got another link for it?
Javin007 (author)  kenobi4 years ago
Wow. I have NO idea what THAT's all about. Contacting them now. Only videos I've ever uploaded are a small handful of ones I made myself of my stuff I built, so there's definitely no TOS issues here. Sounds like YouTube is just flat screwing up again.
kenobi Javin0074 years ago
Nobody's perfect. So please let me know when it's working.
Kenobi: It was working for me a few moments ago.
Great, great instructable Javin!
Javin007 (author)  kevmalone4 years ago
... In fact, I was unaware that the videos were even returned to working order until I got the E-Mail from instructables with your comment, Kevmalone.
Javin007 (author)  kevmalone4 years ago
Yeah, YouTube inexplicably closed my account and removed my videos. When I asked them "WTF?" they reopened the account and insisted that they couldn't restore the videos. When I pointed out that their removal of videos that have been gaining traffic, and therefor ad revenue was actually costing me money due to their own mistake (which they have yet to explain) suddenly the videos reappeared in my account. So good for them for straightening it out, but they didn't so much as send me an E-Mail when they closed the account, or when they fixed the videos. No idea WHAT that was all about.
dkop14 years ago
So it's essentially a rugged cas for an soda can stove? I'd never have thought of that......I'd probably have tried to weld a complicated and likely useless wire frame to it....lol. nice instructable
MXR7894 years ago
This is the best Penny Stove I have seen. No other stove is so simple and easy to "put the halves together". Great job. Your instructable is very easy to understand and fun to read. I have now made two of your stoves and in the process of making the wind guard. Instead of the "nubs" I am going to try and make a collapsable pot-stand out of the coat hanger that will fit inside without the use of any epoxy. I will post pictures when it's finished...if it works.
MXR789 MXR7894 years ago
I coud not find a large enough can, so I went with a pot stand-windscreen combo similar to the ones on zenstoves.net. It will work for any sized pot or stove as long as the height is right. (a priming pan is helpful/needed depending on the stove). Check out this page for instructions. http://zenstoves.net/PotStands.htm#WindScreen-PotStand
Javin007 (author)  MXR7894 years ago
I appreciate the information, but please do not post other instructables (links are fine, entire instructables with pictures are not) from other sites in my comments.
MXR789 Javin0074 years ago
These pictures are of my potstand-windscreen, that I took, with my camera. If there are too many pictures i'm sorry and will post less next time. (The idea of the potstand-windscreen is not mine, that is from zenstoves.net.)
Javin007 (author)  MXR7894 years ago
Can't wait to see what you come up with!
I love this one. I've played around with other penny stoves, and I'm looking forward to putting this one together this weekend (Just need to empty that can of refried beans). The only thing I couldn't find around the house were the wire coat hangers. Crazy. I caved and decided I'd go down to the local box store and buy a few, you can always use wire hangers, right? All they've got are plastic ones now. Does anyone have any leads on where you might be able to get good old fashioned wire coat hangers? Or is there any household item that would work as well? My favorite instructibles are ones that make useful things out of stuff you've already got laying around - so if i have to buy special wire at a hobby store it kinda defeats the purpose.
Javin007 (author)  johnnypanic135 years ago
If you have any dry-cleaning to get done, now would be the time! :) Generally, dry cleaners return your shirts on the kinds of hangers you would need. If you don't need any dry cleaning done, you can try going to the cleaner and offering to buy two or three hangers. When I've done this in the past, they've been glad to just give them to me.
i just finished my stove a little bit ago and bought some alochol yesterday, and it won't light.  i haven't made the wind guard yet, but made the actual stove.  Since i haven't made the windguard, i tried using it in my garage where the least wind was.  when i made it, i punched the holes pretty low because of my hole punch.  is there something i am doing wrong?
yeah...it exploded...i'm glad my face wasn't in front of it
Javin007 (author)  .happy.hippie.5 years ago
Oy.  Yeah.  Pretty safe to assume you did something wrong.  In the (now literal) hundreds of others that have built the stove, you're the first who's managed to detonate one... 
Javin007 (author)  Javin0075 years ago
Erm.  I didn't mean that nearly as snarky as it sounds when I read it...

If you can explain the steps you took to build/ignite it, maybe we could figure out what went wrong?
i followed the instructions on how to build it exactly. infact, i had my computer with me the whole time i was buliding it.  the only thing i did differently was that i punched the holes in the side of one can kind of low because my hole punch doesn't allow me to go very far.  when trying to light it, i tried lighting the individual holes using a match.  i poured my fuel in, put my penny on, and tried to light the holes.  is there something i did wrong?

p.s.  when it exploded, thinking back, i'm  pretty sure that i forgot to put the penny over the hole. but every other time, i did everything (at least i think) right
Yep, no penny over the hole will deliver a spectacular explosion every time.
P.P.S.  there's gotta be a first for everything...i feel a little honored that i was the first to explode mine :)
Javin007 (author)  .happy.hippie.5 years ago
:)  Well, the only thing I can think of is maybe you didn't put very much fuel in it, or tried to relight it after blowing it out or something. 

As for "trying to light the individual holes using a match" this won't work.  You'll need to use a primer by pouring a small amount of fuel around the outside into the windscreen as seen in the video.  

Speaking of fuel, what kind of fuel did you use?
i got it working (the second one i built) by using denatured alcohol, and it worked pretty well, but it didn't burn very long.  it seemed like i put plenty of fluid in it, but i might have not put enough in. any other tips?
Javin007 (author)  .happy.hippie.5 years ago
Did you build the whole rig, or just the penny stove part of it?  If you just did the penny stove, then there may not be enough heat retention to keep your alcohol vaporizing.  There's no reason you shouldn't get between 25-30 minutes per 2 oz. 
i built the stove, and the wind guard, but that's all
Javin007 (author)  .happy.hippie.5 years ago
Odd that it doesn't seem to have a decent burn time for you.  Could you take a picture of it and post it?  Maybe we can see something that isn't quite right.
Where I come from, figuring out how to blow something up not ment for blowing up is a good thing XD
sabr6865 years ago
hey great stove, i think it's the best designed and functioning one I've seen around. I appreciate the work you put into developing it. I made one last night (took me a little longer than I thought, being the first time and all) and I can't wait for the JB to cure so I can fire it up. I put a very small notch in the bottom of the wind guard so the rack would be trained to hold the package shut tight. Just Dremel'd it. I guess that's a new word. You know what I mean. I also left about 3" of coat hanger onto the end of the rack to replace the extra bit of wire used for the handle, with a little triangle at the end for grip. Just a little personal modification. Well done, and thanks for the jumping off point! I love this kind of stuff, especially when it's well thought out and constructed.
Javin007 (author)  sabr6865 years ago
Sounds like some great mods! Could we get a picture to see how it turned out?
I will try, though I'm not real tech-y in that regard.
tibbaryllis6 years ago
I do not have any pictures with me but I've had luck with the refueling. In my designs you insert a needle in the bottom of the stove (such as a basketball needle) this needle fits through a hole in the bottom of the wind guard. Its connected to a long* piece of small tubing. **** For starters I recommend in the 5 foot range so you arnt in detonation range if you do it wrong. The end of this tube has a large syringe (like a basting/injection syringe) Fill the syringe with your alcohol and use that to initially fuel the stove (this is important, you dont want air trapped in the tube) then refill the syringe and push a little extra fuel in so as to clear any bubbles in the line. Now step away from the syringe and prime and light your stove. It should be burning like normal. When you want to add more fuel, done a leather glove (for safety) and SLOWLY SLOWLY SLOWLY SLOWLY inject more fuel from a safe distance. As long as you dont back off pressure from the injection system there is no air to cause the system to blow up, and the tube is not hooked to the syringe or the needle permanently so any sort of explosive reaction is likely to push the tube off. The only piece that needs to be permanently affixed is the needle into the stove bottom as so it cannot easily fall out and so that it does not create an extra inflow of air.

Extreme caution needs to be observed until you completely understand the refueling process as everything that can go wrong can go wrong. I've even had one instance where fire did manage to travel back up the tube (was a short tube) but the syringe had come loose so it effectively sprayed fire... user beware.. With a large enough injection needle (some turkey ones are pretty large) you can effectively refuel the can enough to keep it running for days... now you can mini slow cook roasts or make slow cooked soups in the woods... You can also use the technique you used to make your pot stand to make a rotisserie. Make them about.. 3x taller and form loops for a pin to go through - using this method I've made rotisserie dove breast and a mini morel kabob...

Great idea. Obviously reserved for the "know-what-you're-doing" iblers. While we're at it, you could always put a valve between the syringe and the needle to act as a fuel cut-off, thus making it a bit safer. You could really take this a long way if you wanted to. I like the simplicity of the original, but add-ons are so cool, it's hard to resist!
that sounds like a good idea, but intead of injecting fuel could't you inject fuel initially to clear out air bubbles then have another line connected to the syringe in a container so it pulls of of that source?
smssilent5 years ago
I made one, and it worked great! Used it sporadically throughout the week just to test it, and it worked great. Then I accidentally figured out how to detonate it. I used it yesterday and then blew it out and let it sit over night. When I went to it today, I shook the can to see if there was any leftover fuel in it, and there was so I poured some primer fuel and lit it. Almost instantly it exploded ripping a bigger hole in the fuel port and spraying liquid fire everywhere. Moral of the story: Do not shake the can then light it!
I think it's cuz some of the fuel vapor ignited because you left it out and because you shook it. You probably want to clean and dry the stove before and after every use.
Javin007 (author)  theawesomeninja5 years ago
Yep! This is precisely how I detonated one of my first test stoves. Added a small amount of fuel, shook it up a bit, and brought a flame near it. "Fwoosh!" Except mine was still in the "compact" mode at the time, and held together with the wire hanger. Totally bent the hell out of everything, and shot the JB Weld "nubs" off.
wow. no shrapnel?
Do you have to use epoxy
Javin007 (author)  SasquatchKid5 years ago
No, any heat resistant method of getting the little dents to put the wire frame pins in, and attach the lid to the air gap can will work. I just found JB Weld the easiest and cheapest method. (I tend to keep a ton of the stuff handy.)
so i dont have to ok i will make th pot holder so it stands on the surface
Javin007 (author)  SasquatchKid5 years ago
Hrm. I'd be interested in seeing how you do this?
Well for the top i did what you did and at the end i made some feet. for the square i did what you did
Thanks for the great ible
bbaar5 years ago
One of the best and complete instructables I've seen. I just started to overnight on my bicycle and intend to make one just for morning coffee.What a Godsend. Thanks for a great practical stove. bbaar
TarzanJr5 years ago
Hey i have a question can the top of the can be on the outside and have the little hole things  be on the bottom of the can?
Javin007 (author)  TarzanJr5 years ago
So I think I finally figured out what you were asking (and while I've got the flu, no less!). During the assembly, you're wanting to know if the "top" of the stove has to be on the "inside" or if you can reverse that part, correct? The reason you wouldn't want to do this is you could end up with leakage out of the bottom of your stove if it isn't air-tight. I have on occasion seen a small amount of flame come out from the seam at the top of the stove, which means it didn't seal correctly. If this happens when the fuel is coming out of the bottom, bad things can happen. The fuel could eventually fill up the priming pan (especially when it's under pressure when the stove's lit) and to use "JustDan's" phrase, you would end up with "a fountain of nightmare-y OMG." The only real reason you would want to do this would be for aesthetics, but I don't believe the trade-off to be worth it. Even if it's a 1 in 1000 chance, that's still much, much more than a 0% chance if the bottom of the can is left intact, and on the outside. With a little sanding and high-heat painting, I think you could get the aesthetics you're looking for easily enough.
Javin007 (author)  TarzanJr5 years ago
Can you clarify the question? I can't tell which step you're talking about.
what he's asking is if (before you put the holes in the top can) if you could flip it over and poke the holes so that the seam where the cans come together would be on the bottom
SO i'm new here and hope it's cool to answer a kind of old question, in someone else project...(GREAT job BTW) My guess is he's talking about the jet holes in the top of the stove...

Holes (jets) are in the top since this stove burns vapor. If you try to jet it in the bottom it will quickly become a fountain of nightmare-y OMG, if it will hold fuel at all! (also a very good reason NOT to over fill these things...) I have made them with both the outside can on the top and on the bottom with little difference noticed between the two.

If you don't use JB Weld, put your seam up so any gas that leaks out will create useful heat. If you are going to add the fiberglass wrap some use to help preheat make your seam at the bottom and hide it  behind the fiberglass wick.

Also I reccomend carrying an extra so when johnny stumble foot wrecks your stove you can insult his mother and throw it at him instead of trying to choose between eating raw broccoli and rice or start that protective coating of pitch on your cook set.*

*yes wood guys, I know you can rub soap on 'em
TarzanJr5 years ago
How old do you have to be to buy denatured alchol cause if their is an age limit then i need to know lol
Javin007 (author)  TarzanJr5 years ago
I'm not sure that there's an age limit with it, but if you have to ask the question, you'd most likely want your parents to give you a hand with it.  This stuff can be INCREDIBLY dangerous if not handled right.  Do keep in mind that it has poison added to it so people don't drink it.  I can't imagine getting it into your mouth, or long-term exposure to the skin is too healthy.  Then there's the flames.  They can do bad things, too.  Fortunately, you don't have the drastic danger of kerosene or gasoline.
no i was going to ask my son to get it but i  didn't feel like sending him down their for no reason if he couldnt pick it up...

anyone can buy it in most places,
 Father of the Year, 2010
Javin007 (author)  Lance Mt.5 years ago
*heh heh*  I don't know if sarcasm was intended here, but I actually think this is a wonderful thing.  A father that's giving his son some involvement in the development of what could be a great camping tool and experience.  My own father involved me in such projects (with proper supervision) and they're among the greatest memories I have.
Although it was sarcastic.. Yeah, your right. It is, and there should be more of it. My father has always had little projects, or some development that i've joined in with and they are my favorite moments.
Javin007 (author) 5 years ago
Okay, so it's been almost a year since posting this instructable.  Not only has the response been INCREDIBLE, but Google has actually asked me to start adding ads to the video due to the popularity.  (I've made almost $6!)

Seriously, thank you all for making me feel so good about this post.  I wish I had the time to answer all of the comments, but my mundane job takes entirely too much of my time.  Some of the comments I've actually added to the 'ible for their incredibly good ideas.

To everyone else who has taken the time to answer the questions in the comments that I never was able to get to:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You've all answered them even better than I could have. 

In closing, I would LOVE to see other people's versions of this stove.  I found one video on YouTube of someone in Australia having made the stove and posting a video of it in use (and they gave me credit for the design even!)  It was one of the neatest things I've experienced!

I think it should be obvious that I never intended to make any profit on this design, but rather came up with something I found very useful and decided to share.  Please share your pics of your stoves in return!  I find it incredibly satisfying to see other people creating stoves with this design and using them!

Thanks for everything!

ERCCRE1235 years ago
 I think you should drill the holes after you make the rack itself. I don't think the 1/2" toward the inside will be the same for every rack and rack pin set. You might have to finish building the whole stove set, make the rack, and put the rack pins the same way and mark where to drill the holes. Finally, apply the JB stik and put the rack on the rack pins to make sure the pins and holes fit perfectly.
Spin180Pro5 years ago
Thx for the tut! It took me a few tries to have success with building the actual stove/burner. I didn't mind since consuming the products inside the required cans (all in the name of R & D, of course) was quite enjoyable.

I was excited to try it out with some 91% isopropyl from the medicine cabinet only to find that there was none. A quick run to my local sundries store provided a test fuel and some stuff to clean the wounds acquired while handling the sharp edges.

The isopropyl burns yellow but it's a great test run. Maybe the denatured alcohol will burn more efficiently. I am looking forward to completing the exterior components.

This is a very fun project.

Your tut is very clear and you have obviously done plenty of experimenting with the design. Very well thought out and
Lance Mt.5 years ago
 Mine works perfectly. 
Its a present, thanks

 -Cheers, Chris
 I used some solder to bind my rack together. 
Javin007 (author)  Lance Mt.5 years ago
 *heh heh*  I suspect when it's lit, the solder isn't going to hold up for too long.
Has so far.. I'll tell you when it breaks. When.
Lance Mt.5 years ago
 More posts. Would a tuna can suffice in-place of the 'small' can?
Javin007 (author)  Lance Mt.5 years ago
 If it fits, I don't see why not.  :)
Jalien215 years ago
 I just made my stove, and am super pumped about how well it works. I had to bend out my rack pins (and number them so they go in the right spots) to get them to hold the rack flat, but it works really well and still holds plenty of weight. should I be concerned about a small flame around the penny?
Javin007 (author)  Jalien215 years ago
Nope, that's pretty normal.  Might try a different penny (maybe that one is ever so slightly bent?) to see if you get a better seal.  When it's normal venting, the penny will usually rattle a little, but a little flame is nothing to worry about.  
 hey, yeah. you know what? you were totally right. actually, upon investigation, the penny was charred in such a way that it was clear that it had been bent a little bit. i found a shiny new one, and it burns even better. thanks again for the documentation!
Do you really throw a penny into the stove?
If so, where do you put it in there?
[This is the first instructable about a Penny Stove that I've read, sooo...I'm not really sure what's goin' on with that part. Sorry. C: ]
The penny covers the fuel-fill hole and is not just a novelty.

The weight of the penny is perfect to act as a safety valve as the heat from the stove generates the vapor that burns.  It also seals the hole for starting.

With the penny in place, a couple of tablespoons in the 'cup' around it heats the whole apparatus to start the alcohol liquid-to-vapor trick

It is this vapor that will allow a pop-can stove to burn for nearly an hour on a half-cup of denatured alcohol.
Evan6065 years ago
What is the point of the coin?
i want to tank u for the wind screen and heat gaurd....this is exactly wht i have been looking for...i love the overall design and thank u for this instructable i love it....faved and 5 stars
telboyo5 years ago
in the UK denatured lcohol is called Methylated Spirits and is colo(u)red purple. If you can get hold of the industrial version it is clear and does not have the additive that makes it unpalatable, it will still make you blind if you drink it
telboyo5 years ago
Note that I have discovered that while a hole punch does win against an aluminum can, it does not fare so well against ferro cans.
amungal5 years ago
I am not a camper so I don't know if or when I will ever use something like this but I found the idea of it quite intriguing. I really apreciate the obvious time and attention put into this instructible.

Very well done. Bravo and thanks for a very informative piece.
Javin007 (author)  amungal5 years ago
:D  Thanks!
winster2446 years ago
can you use lighter fluid?
Javin007 (author)  winster2445 years ago
To clarify, by "lighter fluids" I'm assuming you mean the kind you'd put on charcoal, or even Bic lighter fluid.  Obviously anything more volatile would be a major no-no in any situation.
Javin007 (author)  winster2445 years ago
I would strongly recommend against using lighter fluid, kerosene, gasoline, etc.  MOST lighter fluids won't burn without a catalyst (ie: a wick) and anything else just increases the danger exponentially.  You could, however, create a wick-style stove to replace the penny stove and still use the same rig, though my experience has been that they don't burn particularly efficiently, leaving soot on your pots and not getting as hot.
knektek5 years ago
can i keep your puppy?
PKTraceur5 years ago
"I really shouldn't justify your trolling with a response, but let's try...  1.) It's lightwieght 2.) It's compact 3.) The base is specifically designed as an air-gap to keep it from burning/melting the surfaces it sits on. 4.) Attempting to use the windbreaker as the pot holder (ie: a single tall can)  would negate 1, and 2.   5.) The "extra can for added weight" is an optional measuring/pour cup depending on how you purchase your fuel.  (This should be obvious if you're trying to shave off every ounce for ultralight hiking.)  A lot of time, effort, and thought has gone into this project.  I'm all about constructive criticism, and having taken some, have even modified this design to better it.    Your trolling is not only completely rude and childish, but your statements were utterly pointless and ignorant.  -Javin
As a PS:  If you honestly believe you can come up with something better, by all means, please do so and post your instructable.  That's what this site is all about, and would be a far more constructive use of your time than your passive-aggressive trolling."

1: Its still heavier than the regular penny stove with a coat hangar pot holder. I think your pot holder looks awesome, and seems to hold quite a bit, but still requires the large can for a base.

2: Eh. For what it gives you, yes, I agree, it is compact.

3: You can always wait for the stove to cool off. Also, you can just press some aluminium foil into the taken down stove to save weight. I would find that the extra can, (can top?) would hurt more than it helps.

4: It doesn't necessarily have to negate number 1.  You could always cut the can down a bit, or cut it in half.  

5:I misunderstood the use of the measuring cup. I thought it seemed unnecessary  to have the tin measuring cup and the 2oz. 5 hr. energy bottle. Was that simply for demonstration purposes in the vid, or would you actually carry both?
Trolling? I'm sorry if you took it that way, I meant no disrespect. I was just wondering what the measuring cup was for. 

Yes, I actually am working on a stove that would use the tin cans but would be smaller, lighter, and if I'm lucky, even more efficient. 

(Can you repost my original comment? I've forgotten what I typed, and wish to see what made you think I was trolling.)

Javin007 (author)  PKTraceur5 years ago

I didn't remove your comment, so am not sure how to return it, or my responses.

As this seems a bit more constructive conversation, I'll tone down my venom a bit.

1.) Yes, it's naturally heavier than the penny stove, as this is primarily a rig to go around a penny stove, for the 5 reasons listed on page 1 of the instructable.  I have never argued that this was for ultra-light-weight camping, though I would personally be happy carrying the extra 6 oz. for the tradeoff.

2.) Agreed.

3.) You seem to have missed the point of point 3 all together.  The original penny stove heats up considerably.  If you were to attempt to use it indoors (plastic tent base) to heat up some coffee on a nasty morning, you would melt through the base of your tent (not to mention the fire hazards).  Placing it on wood can scorch black rings into the wood.  It becomes dangerously hot.  By introducing the air-gap design, it's perfectly safe to hold in the palm of your hand while burning, removing any chance of damage to the surfaces the stove is set upon.  This was a huge desire for me.   

4.) Try it, and you'll see for yourself that it's not feasable.  The weight of the additional length of can to double as your potholder is more than the weight of the hanger pieces used as the pot holder.  Additionally, it makes your potholder taller.  To place the pot holder too low on the flames is utterly inefficient.  Try it.

5.) Personally, I don't carry the measuring cup to be honest.  It mostly gets in the way since my 5 hr. energy bottles already do the measuring for me.  However, the "discovery" of the energy bottles came considerably later than the development of the stove.  I used to carry the fuel in small plastic bottles, and doing a measured pour was sloppy at best, dangerous at worse.  The measuring cup with a pour spout (never did try the squirt bottles, as squirting flammable alcohol just seemed scary to me) allowed me to measure precisely, and pour precisely.  Now using the 5 hour energy bottles, I just toss two in the pack for each day I plan to be out. (Breakfast/coffee, and Dinner).

I do honestly wish you the best of luck in coming up with a smaller, lighter, and more efficient stove.  To win me over, though, it would have to have a base that's only slightly lukewarm to the touch when in operation, it would have to be sturdy enough to hold a pot without being a fire hazard, and it would need a minimum 30 minute burn time. 

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your 'ible!

kennan5 years ago
You might consider blowing one up on video as an entertaining cautionary tale.
Javin007 (author)  kennan5 years ago
:D  I would, but after I built my last one (I've made a few dozen) the Girlfriend told me I wasn't allowed to make anymore.  :/  She was tired of seeing dead tin cans laying around, so I don't want to destroy my last good stove, since I use it. 
jacksteal45 years ago
I am in the posses of building one right now =]   I made the wind guard and the stove itself and fired it up just to see how well it works..... It works like a charm!
I cant wait til i have time to finish it! thank you so much you earned 5* and a sub
Making the pegs and peg holes is really hard but at the second attempt i think i got it. The trick was to wet the pegs when you put them in so it didn't stick to the epoxy. The only problem with it is that it is hard to tell how deep the holes are. All i have left now is part of the base and the pouring can. Thank you sooo much again this stove rocks!
Javin007 (author)  jacksteal45 years ago
Oooo, good tip!  Gonna add it to the 'ible.
i live in st. louis MO and i am planning on biking from stl to kansas city (and i guess back) and trying to spend as little money during the trip. so camping and using this stove would be amazing.  i'm building one this weekend
Javin007 (author)  .happy.hippie.5 years ago
Awesome!  I really wish I could talk people into posting pics of their stoves.  :/
hamsey1255 years ago
 sweet rig man its awesome
juanoporras5 years ago
man let me tell you... this is awesome!!! I am going to build mine right away :P totally awesome. thanks for sharing.
Romanader5 years ago

A note on fuel: Everclear! I used 190-proof and it worked so well. No soot on anything, and after it burned out there wasn't a trace of residue or leftover fluid in the unit; burned dry! A hip-flask of 190 Everclear (in colorado) is only $10. Cheap, pure and common as a liquor store! Not all states carry 190, I think the alternative is 150-proof, but I'd imagine it's still darned decent stuff. Very nice clean flame, hot, scentless, convenient.

Nice! I like this stove, it's compact and sturdy. 5 stars. Also, would 70% isopropyl work, or would it be better to buy denatured alchohol?
Javin007 (author)  PyroManiac966 years ago
You definitely want to go with denatured alcohol. While 70% would burn, it's the additional 30% that doesn't and gets left in your stove that I would be worried about.
Alright thanks
Coltrabagar5 years ago
Now this is just a nifty little rig.  I never would have thought of it. 
Tetrafish5 years ago
To evenly space the holes you could wrap a strip of paper around it, mark it's (circumference) length, then evenly divide them... usually by folding in half, then in quarters, etc. for an even number of holes. Then re-wrap the paper around the can and hold it steady to mark the places to puncture.
or just fold the paper into 16 or 8 parts...... thats what i did
Javin007 (author)  Tetrafish5 years ago
You COULD, but that would make entirely too much sense. Great tip! Will definitely use it in the future!
Mhbaben6 years ago
This is great. I'm pretty new to instructables, and this is the first penny stove I've seen so I'm glad I started with the best. I'll make one this weekend.
Javin007 (author)  Mhbaben6 years ago
:) It would be interesting to see people post pictures of theirs.
LCsDad Javin0075 years ago
I might just DuraCoat mine in a sweet olive drab or go the opposite direction with a 'hazard' orange...
Never thought of making it a showpiece!! Thanks!
TarzanJr5 years ago
at first i thought that the wind gaurd was much taller in the video then the picture of it sideways... when you are showing the holes you might want to show a comparison of the small medium and large cans after they have been cut so that they know what the end results look like.
Javin007 (author)  TarzanJr5 years ago
:)  I'd thought about that, but as I posted the measurements in as many formats as I could, I thought it'd be overkill.
Great instructable, a thought , these are pressurised so getting fuel in MUST be under pressure as well. a valve and tube with a squeese bottle and valve at the at end would theoretically work. An outer wall with space would let you add water which would cool it and let it burn at a slower rate (simmer)The tapped rivets you want used to be sold everywhere now hard to get (aircraft parts today), that is due to new window/door techniques, which no longer use them. you could JB weld a nut inside the stove, just wax/oil the bolt and get a tiny amount inside the thread of the nut, then put inside the thing before assemble (so if you mess up you haven't done all the work yet), then after its dry and ready complete assembly. Use brass nut bolt for ease of use later(no oxidation)
Javin007 (author)  spark master5 years ago
You know, I had not even CONSIDERED the fact that they're pressurized, thus a delivery system would have to counter that pressure.  I can't believe that didn't dawn on me.  Either way, I've pretty much given up on the refueling on-the-fly idea, as I've found there's virtually nothing I can't cook (while camping) that requires more than the 30 minute timeframe.  Even with couple of the disposable aluminum pans I've managed to cook ribs for 6 hours so they're falling off the bone by coming along and replacing the fuel whenever it runs out.  (The heat in the pans is sufficient to continue the cooking until I refill.)
Zachattack15 years ago
I've been waiting 4 the JB weld to harden for a couple of days. I just noticed that I forgot to put the hardener on!  ;-P Oh well, no harm done. I fixed it and it should be done by tomorrow morning! :-)
any can opener will work except the p38s an p50s you just turn the opener 1 quarter turn.
I really suggest just getting the new one that cut at the VERY TOP SIDE of the can and it i comes out easily i tried the hand ones and stuff and the it is pointless to try them cause then you have a possibility cutting your hand when placing stove in the wind gaurd and stuff.
junits155 years ago

What purpose do the holes around the inside wall of burner serve? 

Javin007 (author)  junits155 years ago
I'm not sure which holes you're referring to?
the ones on the area of the can that is pushed into the other
junits155 years ago
Oh, and if you are still having trouble making evenly spaced holes try this template form www.zenstoves.net
(template for 12 oz. cans only)
Wow -- you did an amazing job. I'm impressed and inspired. (Nice pup, too.)
Briguy96 years ago
Now it's not 5-hour energy, but 30 minute energy.
wascogrrl6 years ago
Just wondering why a wet/dry Erase? Wouldn't a sharpie work just as well?
Javin007 (author)  wascogrrl6 years ago
No, because if you're anything like me, your spots will be in the wrong place the first time you put them on the can. I tend to have to erase and readjust quite a few times before they're evenly spaced. I suppose for the inside of the Wind Guard, the sharpie would work fine.
LOL Yeah, I'm probably like you so now I TOTALLY understand the need for a wet/dry Erase pen!
No need for a wet or dry erase marker. The same alcohol that you will use for fuel removes Sharpie ink like magic from a non-porous surface.
BUT its a bit more easier to just wipe it with your finger than cleaning it with alcohol.
Ortzinator5 years ago
You should be very careful how you use the clamps on the square, you don't want to bend it.
r-shippy5 years ago
Great vid have been playing with the penny stove myself and must agree with the idea of small jets and more of them and correct spacing and direction . I have a full wind guard that covers halve the pot and find it works like a chimney. keep up the good work people!!!
V-Man7375 years ago
The amount of detail you've put into this is admirable. 5 stars and favorited.
D.L.H.6 years ago
This can come in handy if my stove every gets broken.
swimmer956 years ago
so you put the alcohol into the can
pieman126 years ago
also wats the point of the penny
provides a block for the fuel hole, so its not a jet. also helps when the stove has too much pressure; the penny will lift and release the alcohol vapours, preventing an explosion.
pieman126 years ago
very good unfortunetly i have a very short atention spa... ooh, a survival kit
pla76 years ago
Finished my stove yesterday, and tried out a few times already. Awesome awesome awesome instructable. This thing is very conveniently, works smoothly, etc. Nothing in the guide itself was too confusing either. I'm tempted to make another one of these that's a bit smaller -- for example, starting with a Redbull can stove...
pla76 years ago
My pins were unable to sit on the bottom of the windguard as close to the edge instructed, so I've arched their backs a bit to see if that works out.
axial6 years ago
GWESTMOR6 years ago
Great instructable just a not you might want to paint the stove with grill paint to keep it from rusting
Javin007 (author)  GWESTMOR6 years ago
That's actually a great idea! It would make it considerably more aesthetically pleasing, too.
Alex Pop6 years ago
Very nice one and very efficient, but can you tell how stop the fire/light off? and if it`s possible to use the residu of fuel for an other time? it`s a perfect one.
Javin007 (author)  Alex Pop6 years ago
Unfortunately, no, I haven't worked out the quirks of storing the fuel for re-use. As for putting the flame out, you can just place the fuel cup over it, or blow it out fairly easily. The remaining fuel will have to be dumped out, though. :/
bylerfamily6 years ago
I am now the 60th person to vote for this.
Javin007 (author)  bylerfamily6 years ago
w00t! Thanks!
noahh6 years ago
Hahah. Nice Powerthirst reference there. 5/5 and voted.
Javin007 (author)  noahh6 years ago
LOL! Good catch. I now know you were thorough.
5/5 and you got my vote
same you got my vote
Javin007 (author)  PyroManiac966 years ago
w00t! Thanks!
globguy6 years ago
dude this is totally awesome
Javin007 (author)  globguy6 years ago
Thanks! Plz 2 do teh vote!
arirang7776 years ago
The lower half of the burner has the usual "hump" found in the bottom of all pop cans, thus, reducing fuel storage space. Does it has any function at all or it can be flattened for more burning time? Great Instructable, Javin. you got my vote. I like Andrewlj's attitude of sharing his little secrets as well. Good sportsmanship.
Javin007 (author)  arirang7776 years ago
The bottom hump could certainly be flattened for storage space, but I would then wonder how much additional heat would be transferred to the alcohol, producing more vaporization, in turn producing larger flames, in turn producing more heat, in turn producing more vaporization, in turn producing larger... you get the picture.

I did a *lot* of experimenting with different sized vent holes and different positions of them to determine the ideal (for this design only, I want to be clear) hole size/count. If anything, the "Wind Guard" is too good at retaining the heat, and the large 8-hole count was the best we could do considering the high heat retention (and thus high vaporization).

I would worry that if you were to flatten the bottom of the can, the additional surface area touching the wind guard would allow for more of the heat to vaporize more of the fuel causing an endless loop that could destroy all life as we know it. Or at least, it would be considerably less efficient.

As time goes on, I'm still playing with different vent designs as I know there has to be a way to make them even more fuel efficient (three cases of cans dead, and counting) and I think I'm on the verge of a breakthrough. I'll keep ya posted.
Briguy96 years ago
tsk tsk tsk. If you would have read the rules of the Pocket Sized Contest it says (to quote it exactly):

"If you have to describe the pocket the item would fit into, it's not pocket-sized. So those big baggy cargo pants pockets are out."
Javin007 (author)  Briguy96 years ago
True, I read this after the fact. However, as some users (as you can read in the comments) HAVE made this small enough to fit in a hip pocket using this instructable, I'll let the voters decide if it's worth a slight bending of the rules.
Briguy9 Briguy96 years ago
Although I do love the 'ible itself, and I give it 5 stars. Alas, I cannot vote for your ible.
woah at first i thought it was a can but that is AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!
Jaxxner6 years ago
YAY! third one to vote for this!
evilkidjr6 years ago
I followed our instructions except the actual stove is like 2.3" and its ridiculously fuel efficient, i put in about .5 cm of 91% isopropyl and it burnt for about 17 mins and is still going strong(the flame nvr turned blue tho
keep in mind that different fuels will burn with different colours. I have drippless candels that burn green, pink, and purple.
Javin007 (author)  evilkidjr6 years ago
Awesome! I'm trying denatured alcohol now, and after filling it with several ounces didn't have time to stick around to watch it burn out. :D I'll have to try again later.
dlfynrdr6 years ago
Maybe I missed this, so I apologize in advance. You warned against storing gas in the stove, so how is the best way to put the flame out and repack it? Or do you recommend just letting it burn itself out? That way seems to waste a good bit of fuel.
Javin007 (author)  dlfynrdr6 years ago
This was my reasoning for the measuring cup. I haven't found a good method of packing the stove with the fluid in it (though andrewlj mentioned that he's working on one). By using the measuring cup, you can at least predict within a certain degree how long the flame will burn, and once you know how long it takes to heat your coffee, or cook your meal, you'll waste little gas.

Unfortunately, at this point I either let it burn out, or blow it out and dump the excess alcohol, then let it sit for a bit to evaporate any gasses left inside. With andrewlj's method of creating the vent holes, I'm currently experimenting with one to see if I can make it blow up. So far, so good. It seems there's a limited size of hole that the flames can actually pass through. Hopefully if I can get the girlfriend to drink enough soda over the weekend, I'll redo the instructable.

(Funny how this started out being made so you could build it out of garbage, and now I find myself shopping for food based on the can it comes in.)
Sabata Javin0076 years ago
"I find myself shopping for food based on the can it comes in" So I'm not the only one... ;-)
That isn't normal??
"By using the measuring cup, you can at least predict within a certain degree how long the flame will burn" So, does anybody have a burning timetable for "Heet"? Or will it be different for each stove? I guess you just have to play around with it.
Javin007 (author)  dlfynrdr6 years ago
Unfortunately, there's no timetable you can work with. The same amount of fuel can burn for 8 minutes in one stove, and half an hour in another. I will be adding another step with my experiments and findings. This means the stove used will be the determining factor in how long the fuel will last. As a side note, I'd recommend denatured alcohol as an alternative. I found the Heet left an undesirable smell behind. The denatured alcohol does also seem to burn hotter.
Oh, almost forgot, Excellent Instructable!! I am going to be making one this weekend.
evilkidjr6 years ago
what are the side holes for
Javin007 (author)  evilkidjr6 years ago
If you didn't cut the slits in the can, you wouldn't be able to get the top can into the bottom can. However, if you just have the slits, since aluminum cans tear so easily they would continue to tear all the way to the top of the stove. By punching the holes in the can, you will stop the tearing where the slits reach the holes allowing you to push the cans together with the shims.
minimalista6 years ago
VERY NICE!!! Excuse me but a alcohol stove how much time it takes for make boiling a cup of water? thanks bye!
Javin007 (author)  minimalista6 years ago
This will completely depend on the heat generated from the stove (which I'm currently doing experiments with.) Generally, if it's JUST the single cup of water, it would only take a few minutes.
A few like 3-5 or 5-10 minutes? I think could be nice understand how much time it takes for make boiling 1L of water, like a parameter for compare the different models.. Bye
Javin007 (author)  minimalista6 years ago
Once I get the new video up, I'll include the exact amount of water and time it takes to boil.
almightygun6 years ago
well i didn't have the luxury of doing this under a testing environment. i was refilling mine while it was still hot and ca boom. so just some advice. be careful when reloading if it is hot.
evilkidjr6 years ago
sorry im fairly new to instructables, how do i vote for your entry?
Javin007 (author)  evilkidjr6 years ago
You can "rate" it in the upper right-hand corner. I believe we'll have to wait for the contest to vote. 17th maybe?
already rated 5 of 5 btw check out my 'ible mini grapple gun http://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-sized-grapple-gun/
btw i also love JB stuff, i have like 4 packs of jb weld in my workshop, unfortunately, i cant find jb stik anywhere
Javin007 (author)  evilkidjr6 years ago
Try checking out my forum topic on where to find JB weld. The same places usually also sell the JB Stick.
_zAp_6 years ago
just curious (i know you are reworking this too) what are you using inside your penny stove? i.e. cotton/rayon balls, insulation, perlite etc....
Javin007 (author)  _zAp_6 years ago
I use nothing inside of them. This will be clearer on the rewrite as I'll take you step-by-step through the actual stove construction, but it is nothing more than two can bottoms with holes in them.
esp096 years ago
what type of fuel do you use and what do you put in the penny can cotton balls? fiberglass? nothing? thanks doing an excellent job this thing is awesome!!!!
evilkidjr esp096 years ago
As of now he uses HEET as fuel and has nothing inside.
esp096 years ago
excellent job cant wait to build mine!!!! thanks!!!!!!!!!
Mattrox6 years ago
I made a couple penny stoves and noticed the a easy to light if you put a bit of insulation fiber-glass inside the stove
Javin007 (author)  Mattrox6 years ago
I tried the fiberglass / cotton / yarn / paper towel stuffings and none seemed to make a significant difference for me. While they did light *slightly* faster, you still had to hold the lighter against the metal until they heated up quite a bit. The idea that I was going for with priming them is that they could be lit with a flint striker, which works when completely soaked, and never runs out of fuel.
You might try drier (sp) lint.
Is that Blu Tack on the side??? If so, thats really dangerous.
no its jb weld stick. maybe if you actuly READ the instructable you would know.
Javin007 (author)  quazzamuhaha6 years ago
Perhaps you should read the instructable. It says what it is on the side.
markdcoco6 years ago
We use to make these as kids many years ago. We used a different fuel source. We would cut cardboard into strips to a height just below the top of the can, roll it fairly tightly, and put it into the can. After that we would melt parafin wax and pour it into the can until about 1/8th inch of the cardboard remained exposed. Once it all dried you could pack it and never worry about your fuel leaking. At the camp site, just light the cardboard and you end up with a giant candle flame hot enough to heat most anything, that seemed to burn for hours and cost nearly nothing. Just an alternative.
shwa6 years ago
Cool, thank you and Andrewlj for inspiration,you got my vote;)
Javin007 (author) 6 years ago
So many comments, so few votes. :(
Excellent project... I've always wanted to build one of these and now I'm motivated to do it. One question I've been wondering though is how does one extinguish the stove safely? I thought maybe cover the whole thing with a pot, but that would damage the pot. Maybe cover it with some kind of cloth? But I'm not too sure about that either. Do you just have to wait til all the fuel burns out?
Javin007 (author)  bubblewrap746 years ago
The alcohol can be pretty easily blown out, but if I don't feel like getting my face close to the flames, I just put the pour cup on top of the stove. It doesn't take long for any residual alcohol to evaporate from the pour cup so within minutes, it's perfectly safe to use as the extinguisher.
juanangel6 years ago
Great idea and use of those liquid metal things. The only sugestion is that you should add the address to make the stove (Step 3 #4) to make it easy to those who have no idea of what or where to look for. For step 7 , #4, just drill a hole the size of the wire and with a hard piece of metal or the dril bit bent it outward. Now you can fit the pins without adding weight or width to the can.
Javin007 (author)  juanangel6 years ago
Hrm... On this one, you've given me another idea... Perhaps four small holes in the bottom of the wind guard to set the pins in? The idea is to keep the pins from tipping over. I believe that just might work, and would actually shave off about an ounce. Good idea.

For steps 3 & 4, I will be rewriting that section soon to show a design similar to those at http://www.keyholestoves.com/ (with his permission, of course). I've found his design to be the best yet. Easiest to light, best burn time, and good heat output.
guy906 years ago
Thanks for the upload- I can do with making my stoves stronger for when i'm out and about
Arbitror6 years ago
Awesome job! It looks good, and I'm guessing it functions great too! Five stars! ***** And if you don't mind, can you send me that "Learn how to make this at: Instructables.com" image? (from your video)
Javin007 (author)  Arbitror6 years ago
Thanks! The "learn how to make" image can be found here: www.Javin-Inc.com/instruct.png
Thanks! =)
drj1136 years ago
Brilliant effort - Very clear - Thank you!
awang86 years ago
How do you put the coin in the middle of the stove when there's huge flames everywhere?
J@50n awang86 years ago
just throw it in the middle its bound to land right where you want it!
Javin007 (author)  awang86 years ago
I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier... Since you're using the overspill to heat the stove, you can actually place the coin over the hole BEFORE you light it.
Very Nice Design and Cool Video
sanidpv6 years ago
very good project
mvhunt6 years ago
Very nice project, I like that you've made it sturdier, both for transporting and for cooking with a larger vessel. Using the JB Weld was an excellent idea.
Best mini stove at Instructables. My opinion.
Javin007 (author)  Crimson-Deity6 years ago
:D Thanks!
Jaxxner6 years ago
Do I have to use fiber glass in this like the other stove?
Javin007 (author)  Jaxxner6 years ago
No, I've seen those stoves that do it, but I'm not sure why they use the fiberglass. The alcohol vaporizes at a fairly low temperature, and it's the vaporized alcohol you're burning. Other than taking up space in the can, I don't know what the fiberglass is for. It would remove volume that could be used for fuel, and as air is a better insulator than fiberglass, I can't imagine an insulation use for it. My theory is that they once saw someone using the fiberglass as wicking in an oil based stove, and when creating their own got the two confused and ended up with a hybrid. Of course, it's completely possible that they know something I don't. The stove that I use is very simply put: the bottoms of two aluminum cans stuck together with some holes in them. There's nothing more going on with it.
If moved the HEET could slosh around, or pour out if tipped. With the fiberglass, this is reduced however not completely avoided. This is my theory.
Javin007 (author)  pudi.dk6 years ago
Ah, could be some sort of anti-spill mechanism. Good call. Still, as I live in an apartment, I don't have the option of knocking out a wall to snag some. ;)
Lennyb's explanation sounds very plausible too; in some stoves a wicking effect is desired, but in yours it is not needed.

Nice ible btw.
lennyb Javin0076 years ago
good instructable well thought out. i made a cat stove that used fiberglass and tried it without . the burn time was shorter and not as smooth. yours is a self pressurizing penny stove so the fibreglass would serve no purpose and may even cause it to stop working. in a cat stove design the wicking serves three purposes. 1, it slows the burn down so you get 10 minutes per 1.5 ounce fill (as opposed to 6 or so without) 2, it keeps the burning fuel at the same height during the burn. 3, and it prevents spillage
Thx.I'm glad I don't have to punch a hole in the wall now.LOL
shilohjim6 years ago
Finally, a practical easy to make windscreen/pot stand for the many soda can stoves out there. I have a few of the penny stoves and few of other designs also. Now I need to get started on this project. Thanks
Stew26 years ago
+5... I love these alky burners. Built a few for kicks this winter, though I never had much luck with the pressurized design... I might have to give it a shot! Their simplicity makes them addictive! Excellent ible, and I like how it all stacks together, will have to watch my recycle bin for appropriate cans :)
Javin007 (author)  Stew26 years ago
Yeah, I have to admit that we specifically made Mexican food that night so I could have the pieces to make it. :)
Try denatured alcohol in the paint section of your hardware store. That is what works best for me and my simon stove. Yeah I know the simon is heavier because it is stainless, but everything I need in a back packing stove.
Javin007 (author)  alaskanbychoice6 years ago
I'll definitely have to try this. The HEET does have a slightly offputting smell. Whatever the remaining 1% ingredients are, the odor is a bit on the stink side.
Jaxxner6 years ago
I'm so gonna vote for this.But a quick question do I need to use fiberglass in this?
Javin007 (author)  Jaxxner6 years ago
Oh, and as a side-note, <3 Fallout 3.
WereCheetah6 years ago
its a very good idea but you took away one of the most important parts of the penny stove, its light and can be made in under 15 minutes at your next town.
Javin007 (author)  WereCheetah6 years ago
This is still light, but definitely takes more than 15 minutes to make. This isn't intended for the traveling hobo (as I assume he doesn't have a laptop and wireless access point) but more for the avid camper/hiker who has always looked for a decent, hot, small, light stove that's better than Sterno, and has a dozen perks over solid-state fuels like Esbit Stoves.
still bit to heavy for me, but I am going to try and incorporate a pot holder into my windscreen with this same idea now.
Javin007 (author)  WereCheetah6 years ago
It weighs in at 6.25 oz. This could be further cut if you wanted to eliminate the measuring cup, but even at this weight, it's a full ounce and a half lighter than my Nintendo DS (which also goes with me camping... Yes, I'm 32. :/ )
can you list the exact diameters of the cans you used
Javin007 (author)  pineapplenewton6 years ago

Big (Pinapple) Can = 4.25"
Medium (Enchilada) Can = 4"
Small (Mushroom) Can = 3"
baggot6 years ago
You must have very big pockets! I would re-title.
MajikMan6 years ago
Hey - that's a nice take on the windscreen/pot stand issue that seems to come up with can stoves. I tried to get coat hanger to work, but without luck, so cudos to you for finding a way that looks really stable. To offer some constructive criticism, I think there are perhaps a couple of unnecessary components to your design. it's nice to have a priming pan, especially when it gets combined with a wind screen, but I've really never found it difficult to find a surface that won't burn if I leave my can stove on it - moving some duff aside is never a big chore. I use chopped off bottom of soda can as a heat barrier with my current setup (much thinner and lighter than a tin can, and packs into the stove neatly), and have never had and issues with setting things under the stove on fire. The only other thing I would question is the measuring cup. I would imagine that most people transfer their fuel to other bottles before hitting the trail - I use generic squeeze bottles from target because they're clear and easy to make markings on. Regardless, it seems like unnecessary weight in your setup. Whether the bottom of your stove stays cool or not, you should NEVER cook inside your tent - that shouldn't even be a consideration in stove design. No matter how precisely your cup can pour fuel, there are way to many things that could go wrong that I would never have a flame inside a small backpacking tent. As I said though, I really like the thought you've put into potstand/windscreen design - can't wait to build a similar system. Thanks!
Javin007 (author)  MajikMan6 years ago
Thanks for the comments! The original design of the cup was to actually be usable as a small impromptu coffee cup, but it eventually wasn't practical. I did like having it to put the fire out with, though, so ended up keeping it, and then using it to transfer the fuel. If you already have your fuel in an easy-to-use squeeze bottle, then the cup could certainly be eliminated. Not only would this reduce the weight, but the overall height of the device could be cut down a bit too!
The priming pan is used for when the weather is cold. Because when the alcohol is cold, it lets off less vapors (which are the flammable part) so you put a fuel in the primer pan which is easier to light, which will warm up, or prime, the fuel inside the stove.
lemonie6 years ago
There's a lot gone into the design of this & the video shows it really well. Worth a competition prize I'd say. L
Javin007 (author)  lemonie6 years ago
;D Let's hope so. What is the process for voting on the competition, anyway?
I assume you did enter this into the Pocket-Sized Contest? After the entry date there will be a vote button on entries, all of which will appear under the contest page. L
Javin007 (author)  lemonie6 years ago
Ahh, okay. Yes, I entered it. Here's hoping for some votes!
Javin007 (author)  Javin0076 years ago
As a side note, I'm more interested in seeing the "winner" banner than the actual prizes. :D Though the laser etched Leatherman would be pretty wicked.
Born_to_die6 years ago
Neat, can't wait to make it!