Simple Solar Cooker





Introduction: Simple Solar Cooker

Solar cooking for the worlds poor.*

The aim of this project is to create instructions for a Solar Cooker that can be sent to developing countries. For this to reach the widest population the instructions must be non-language based and that it can be constructed with the barest minimum of tools, materials and skill.

The instructions should be as simple as possible so that they can be easily hand drawn and modified.

The cooker will use the curve of a hanging rope or chain which will be approximatly parabolic. (google catenary if you do not know why) This shouldn't matter as a catenary gets closer and closer to being a parabola the wider you stretch it and we are focusing on a pot, not a point.

The dimensions are important. Using a 4:1 ratio means the focus will be in the middle along the top of the cooker in line with the two ends which makes setting it up really easy. (See step three)

The materials could be anything from corrugated cardboard to plywood with aluminium foil to broken glass for the reflector.

I have not made this at all as I do not have the space (tiny london flat) and the required sunshine.

If someone builds and tests this cooker it would be great to hear about your experience and please make improvements!

I have placed this in the public domain, I want this idea to grow, mature and most importantly be used.

  • <HAL 9000 EDIT>
Or for recreational, less heroic purposes. I, for example, will be taking this with me to Burning Man '07 as a practical, green way of cooking my food. how about cooking hot dogs? you can use this where you may not be allowed to use a barbecue, and it requires no fuel or lighting. Instant heat!

Step 1: Measure Two Boards 4:1

If you can come up with a clearer way to show a 4:1 ratio, do so!

Step 2: Use a Rope, Heavy String or Chain to Trace Curve From Top Corners to Bottom

This really needs to be clearer.

The images needs to portray that you can use any heavy rope or chain and that it goes from one top corner to the other and reach the bottom.

It is also clear that there needs to be extra material for strength along the bottom.

Step 3: Cut Out Curve

Step 4: Attach Boards to a Base of Same Length But Width Can Vary

I've left the attachment method to the ingenuity of the builder as i cannot make any assumptions to what tools or resources the builder will have.

What I don't know how to do is indicate on the diagram that you can have any width to the base. Any Ideas?

Step 5: Cut a Flexible Board of the Same Length As Rope/chain in Step 2.

As mentioned by Hal 9000 you can use the length of the chain/rope in step 2 to measure the length of the reflector. This way your length will turn out perfectly, and you will have no trimming at all once you have mounted it to the cooker base.

An improvement to the diagram would be to draw it slightly curved to show that it is to be flexible.

Step 6: Glue Tin/aluminium Foil or Broken Glass/mirror to Board

Step 7: Attach Flexible Board to Curved Cut Out.

Step 8: Show How to Use

The cooker can be tilted along it's length and rotated so that the sun is always in line with the focus.

(I admit that the main picture of this project makes it look like the cooker remains on it's flat base)



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    If you combined the instructable for simple solar cooker with the instructable for a parabolic death ray would that make the heat more direct under the cooking pot? I say these two ideas, and thought, hmmm, I wonder if the parabolic death ray could be used as a solar cooker? Anybody have any ideas?

    You should use google sketchup for the drawings.

    I made the finished product in a few minutes.

    Picture 10.png

    How did it work and can you post your instructions. Thanks!


    I began experimenting with solar cookers with "compound" parabolic dishes this September. I found them to be far better than parabolics for what i did. My cooker gets 3 hours of collection with having to move the dish. I wonder is there an easy way to make the compound parabolic shape? I have now done the dome mold thing I suggested and it works really well. And i made an instructable and have a template for the compound parabolic dishes. Just in case anyone is interested. Brian

    Just a note that I did further testing and the dish I made was not much better than a parabolic dish. A better dish for unattended cooking is clam shaped.

    If you still wanted to show the base can be any distance apart, just draw a line with double arrows pointing along the base with an x on it. X is a variable in math and means whatever number, so it should be applicable.