Introduction: Portable 12-inch Charcoal Stove

This charcoal stove was originally designed as an alternative stove for people living in rural Nicaraguan communities.  This small stove can be placed on top of a traditional Nicaraguan wood stove, giving the user the capability to cook with charcoal instead of wood.  Since charcoal is cleaner burning than wood, this change can have a positive impact on the user's health. 

The charcoal stove is presented here as an inexpensive and portable alternative to a traditional barbecue grill..

Please leave feedback about your experiences with the design!


Step 1: Gathering Materials

Time: Once you have collected the materials, making a stove takes less than 3 hours

Materials:
1. Sheet metal (10"x10' hot dipped galvanized flashing from Home Depot works well)
2. Wire (14 gauged galvanized wire from Home Depot works well)

Tools:
1. Shears or scissors
2. Pliers
3. Ruler and marker
4. Hammer and nail
5. Work gloves

Step 2: Measuring the Cutting Sheet Metal (Time: 45 Minutes)

In this step, you will mark and cut the sheet metal according to the template. In this step and others, don't worry if your pieces are not perfect: Sheet metal is very forgiving.

Be careful: The edges of the sheet metal can be very sharp.  Use gloves!

Full instructions for marking and cutting:

The stove consists of two pieces of sheet metal, the "large piece" and the "small piece".

Large piece:
1. Using the scissors, cut a 10"x28" piece of sheet metal.
2. Along both long edges, make a mark every 4".  When you are done, each side with have 6 marks.
3. Place a ruler or square edge so that it spans between opposing marks.  With a marker, draw in the first 1.5 inches and the last 5.5 inches.  Leave the middle 3" section unmarked.
4. Cut all marked lines
5. The piece now has large flaps along the top and small flaps along the bottom.  On each large flap, make a mark 0.5" from each side and 1" from the top.
6. Use these marks to guide you to cut the corners off of each flap as shown in the template.

The following steps are similar to the previous ones except that you will be cutting a new piece.  We'll cal this second piece the "small piece". You will use the same techniques as before but pay attention because the dimensions are different.

Small piece:
1. Using the scissors, cut a 10"x21" piece of sheet metal.
2. Along both long edges, make a mark every 3.5". When you are done, each side with have 5 marks.
3. Place a ruler or square edge so that it spans between opposing marks. With a marker, draw in the first 1 inch and the last 6 inches. Leave the middle 3" section unmarked.
4. Cut all marked lines
5. On each large flap, make a mark 0.5" from each side and 1" from the top.
6. Use these marks to guide you to cut the corners off of each flap as shown in the template.

Step 3: Folding the Sheet Metal (Time: 10+10 Minutes)

In this step you will bend the metal so that it is ready to be secured with the wire.  Pliers help with these steps.

1. For both the the large and small piece, crease between the flaps so that the piece starts to form a circle.  Bend the small flaps towards the center of the circle and the large flaps towards the outside.
2. On the small piece, bend the top half inch of each large flap towards the center of the circle so that they form a 90 degree angle.
3. On the large piece, bend the top half inch of each large flap away from the center of the circle so that they form a 90 degree angle.
4. Cut a 2" piece of wire.  Bend the piece in the middle so that it forms a "V".
5. Bend the large piece so that all but the last half-inch of the first and last flaps overlap.  Use the hammer and nail to make a hole through the overlapping flaps, half an inch from the upper edge.
6. Insert the wire through the hole and close the "V" to pin the flaps together.

7. Repeat steps 4-6 to pin together the overlapping bottom flaps.

8. Place the small piece inside the large piece so that the opening in the small piece straddles the pinned flaps of the large piece.

Step 4: Securing With the Wire (Time: 30 Minutes)

1. Cut a 42 inch length of wire.
2. Make a loop out of the 42" wire.  Loosely secure the ends together by folding the last inch of each end.
3. Put the loop of wire around the stove from the bottom and arrange the wire so that it is to the inside of the inner flaps and to the outside of the outer flaps.
4. Secure the wire in place by folding over the tabs.  You may have to extend or shorten some tabs to make it fit together well.  You may also want to pull the wire tight to close any gaps between flaps. 

Step 5: Making the Handles (Time: 5 Minutes)

1. Cut two 12" pieces of wire
2. Bend each piece into a semi-circle and secure the ends onto the large wire loop to either side of opposing flaps.

Step 6: Making the Grate (Time: 10 Minutes)

1. Cut three 6"x1" pieces of sheet metal.
2.  Arrange the pieces on top of each other and use the hammer and nail to make a hole through the middles of the three pieces.
3.  Use a "V" of wire to pin the pieces together.
4. Fan out the three pieces and place in the bottom of the stove.

Step 7: Making the Grill (30 Minutes)

1. Cut three 14" pieces of wire.  These three pieces will form the support of the grill.
2. Spend some time to make sure that the pieces are completely straight (the straighter the better).
3. Fold over the last inch of each end of the pieces.

4. Cut a 19" piece of wire. This wire will form the inner ring of the grill.
5. You are now going to mark a series of six 2" spans separated by 1" spans.  Using a ruler, make marks the following distances from one end of the wire:
1", 3", 4", 6", 7", 9", 10", 12", 13", 15", 16", 18"

6. Cut a 28" piece of wire.  This wire will form the outer ring of the grill.
7. You are now going to mark a series of six 3.5" spans separated by 1" spans.  Using the ruler make marks the following distances from one end of the wire:
1", 4.5", 5.5", 9", 10", 13.5", 14.5", 18", 19", 22.5", 23.5", 27"

8. On both the 19" and the 28" pieces, bend the one-inch sections so that they form "U"s. 
9. Bend these two pieces so that they form hexagons with the "U"s at the corners.
10. Place the three straight wires across the hexagons and clamp the "U"s closed around the wires.

11. Bend the ends of the straight wires around the rim wire of the stove.  This secures the grate to the stove

Step 8: Using the Stove

Congratulations!  You have finished making your charcoal stove!

To use the stove, sit it on top of of a few pebbles. This keeps the bottom of the stove above the ground so that air can flow through the system.

Place charcoal in the basket of the stove.  As you cook, you can replenish the charcoal in the basket.

Good luck!

Comments

author
Lectric Wizard (author)2013-07-03

Please be careful with galvanized steel around heat. It can give off fumes that can make you very sick. The galvanizing is zinc & when burnt it is toxic. If you get a headache leave the area immediately. You should use this outside until all traces of zinc are gone or not use galvanized metal at all. CHEERS!

author

if you wait till you get a headache, you've already been poisoned fairly seriously(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_fume_fever).

If it's a home depot or Menards... go for the painted steel rolls. A bit more pricey, and the paint will still burn off, but at least it's only MILDLY toxic.

As a last resort(and ESPECIALLY in poor parts of central and south america, where this is intended to be used...accounting for the general lack of reliable/affordable/available healthcare) Set the stove outdoors, downwind, away from people and livestock, load it with kindling, and build a small fire around it. This should burn off the toxics at a RELATIVELY safe distance.

author

Obviously ! just saying to leave so you don't get more toxins ... Plain steel is the best & should be fairly easily obtained.

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