In this day an age of lightweight backpacking, many hikers are turning to alcohol stoves because they are super-lightweight, inexpensive, simple to use, and alcohol can be shipped in bounce boxes along the the trail. Since most commercial backpacking stoves have an integral pot stand, someone who uses an alcohol stove needs to provide one. But the same criteria for choosing the alcohol stove in the first place must also apply to the pot stand-windscreen too.
Most manufactured pot stands and/or windscreens are designed to fit a variety of pots and stoves, making them versatile at the expense of stove efficiency. But most lightweight backpackers use one pot and one stove. Having a stand that elevates the pot to an optimum level above the stove, and a close fitting windscreen that provides adequate air flow while blocking wind and limiting heat loss, reduces cooking time and more importantly, reduces fuel consumption. This translates in less fuel weight to carry.
Step 1: My requirements for a pot stand-windscreen
1) lightweight and inexpensive
2) sturdy, stable, and functional
3) sized correctly but collapsible
4) ease of construction
1-Lightweight and inexpensive: Aluminum roof flashing is cheap and readily available at most hardware stores. Aluminum angle is also available at larger hardware/lumber stores. I had thought of using galvanized flashing but decided that aluminum would still be strong enough, saving weight. Various designs had me bending the flashing to provide pot support but I decided against it because of the difficulty in cutting and bending correctly.
2-sturdy, stable and functional: The pot stand uses a very stable 3-point leg design. The aluminum angles provide superior strength while the flashing helps with alignment. There is enough clearance to allow for optimum air flow while also protecting the flame from the wind.
3-sized correctly but collapsible: I only wanted a 1/4 inch gap around the pot to keep heat loss at a minimum. But I also wanted the pot stand to collapse small enough to insert inside the the pot for transportation.
4-ease of construction: Several of my early concepts were one-piece designs that filled all the requirements except ease of construction because they utilized too many cuts and bends in the aluminum flashing. Using the aluminum angle increases the weight, but also increases strength and ease of construction, an acceptable alternative.