Introduction: Beverage Can Camp Stove
Using a couple of empty beverage cans, you can make a lightweight and functional camp stove. Useful for survival situations, backpacking expeditions, or just impressing your pyromaniac friends!
If you are having trouble keeping the stove lit, you can make a windscreen for it as well.
Thanks to Sam for demonstrating the project for this Instructable.
"Submitted by Ace Monster Toys Hackerspace in Oakland, CA for the Instructables Sponsorship Program"
Step 1: Tools & Materials
* 2 aluminum cans
* blocks of scrap wood (one approx 3/4" thick + a few thinner ones)
* razor blade
* pushpin or two
* old Phillips screwdriver
* pliers, needle nose if you have them
* one penny
* liquid camp fuel (e.g. white gas or perhaps methanol -- isopropyl alcohol won't quite work)
Step 2: Make Beverage Can Cutting Jig
First, we want to assemble a jig for cutting the beverage cans in a straight line all the way around. In a pinch, you can just use scissors (that you don't mind getting dull!), aviation snips, a survival knife, etc., but things are easier if you get a nice clean cut.
The jig is basically a razor blade held into place onto the top part of a block of scrap wood with push pins/screws. You need two different thicknesses here: we used 3/4" for the burner (top) part and 1 1/8" for the body (bottom) part of the stove. Our piece of wood was 3/4" thick, and we had a few thin bits to put under it in order to get more thickness for the second part.
Be very careful with this part, and with cutting the cans in general. Metal can be very sharp!
Step 3: Cut the Cans
The next step is to cut the bottoms off of the two beverage cans to make the two parts of the stove. As previously mentioned the top part of the stove (burner) is approx 3/4", while the bottom part (body) is a bit bigger than that (approx 1 1/8").
Use the jig from Step 2 (or snips etc. as previously mentioned) to carefully cut the cans cross wise.
Use your thumbs to carefully push in the top part of the can to separate the metal where you have scored it with the razor.
After cutting the cans, burnish the sharp edges with a screwdriver, file, or just use sandpaper to sand them.
Step 4: Prepare the Burner
The smaller 3/4" tall can piece will become the stove's burner.
Using a pushpin, make six small holes around the perimeter of the base of the 3/4" can piece. Having them evenly spaced is nice and improves the stove a little, but it is mostly aesthetic. it is important for the holes to be on the side as that helps heat the outer can which then heats the fuel.
Next make the single center hole, make a pilot hole with a push pin and expand it with a screwdriver or whatever else you have to hand. it should be about a quarter of an inch in diameter, but bigger is fine too.
next, make larger holes around the edge one under each of the first six holes. a phillips screwdriver also works for this, but be careful not to make them too big. It is important not to disturb the top edge of the can, as that is what will make the seal with the second can. crimp the can edge to the inside at twelve evenly spaced points, one for each of the holes (this will also get the aluminum bits at the edge of the hole out of the way) and one in between each hole. A nice crenelated edge results.
Step 5: Assemble the Stove
We are now ready to put the two can pieces together. Insert the smaller burner piece into the larger body. with the bottom of the can facing upward. It is important to push the pieces together evenly.
Step 6: Prime and Light the Stove
In order for the stove to get working, it has to be primed with fuel. The idea is that the fuel gets heated up, which produces vapor which can then be lit.
First, put the penny over the large hole in the center of the burner.
Next, pour fuel in to the little cup formed by the bottom of the can (this area is used as an approximate measure here). Push the penny aside, which causes the fuel to drop down into the bottom cup. Leave a small amount of fuel in the outer rim which you will light to prime the stove.
Eventually, the outside of case is heated up by the burning priming fuel, which in turn vaporizes fuel inside the bottom cup.
After priming, the jets will fire up. The penny acts as pressure valve… (you could also use a nickel which will cause the flames to be higher, but the efficiency of the stove suffers). Periodically, the stove will "burp" the penny to release pressure inside the stove.
At this stage, look for leaks between the jets.. if the two pieces of the stove are not sealed properly, you may have to adjust the crimped bits and/or try again.
If you have to break camp in a hurry and want to burn off the remaining fuel, quickly move the penny off of the hole (with a knife or stick or something -- be careful!) and the fuel will burn off.
If you are using this in snow, you could cut another bottom can and use it to elevate the stove higher and insulate the stove from underneath.