Picture of Solar Thermal Cooker
You will now on embark on a journey to build a great solar thermal cooker under $25. Yes, under $25. By following this model, you will be able to create a super efficient cooker and make it for cheap. Besides all that, the time you will spend making this will be amazing. Also you will gain great building skills and money management skills. Finally, building this with a group of friends will make this moment even more special and tremendous. Just make sure you all work together and listen to each other's ideas and be nice to one another. Word of caution this will reach up to 1000 degrees fahrenheit. Overall, just have a good time and have fun.
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
The goal of this project is to built a cheap, yet effiecent way to heat up anything you want to cook. We were trying to accomplish to have the hottest cooker in the class and to see how hot we can get it, without spending too much. The maximum temperature will be close to 1000 degress fahrenheit, if focused properly. Anybody, who wants to build and have a good time, will really enjoy this project. In order to make this project you first have to get all the essential items to build it. Items you need to buld this project are:
1. One drill
3. A pair of scissors
2. A blade
1. 6 feet by 1 feet of reflective maylar
2.big piece of cardboard (any size you want, prefernece to be big). We used 7ft by 4ft piece of cardboard.
3. Two rolls of heavy duty tin foil
4. One can of adhesive spray
5. A pack of string
6. four googles
7. A box of gloves
8. A pair of ziptights
9. A roll of tape
10. One roll of reflective tape
The matierals cost about under $25. Most of the items are household products that can be found at the home. The items you do not have will be under $25 easily, especially if you are a good shopper. To make this project it will take about 2-3 hours and than 1-2 hours of improvement and to enchance it. This porject is fairly safe as long as you protect your eyes and be careful when you cut. You could find cheap materials by dumpster diving and also borrowing tools from friends you may have. With these in hand you are on the path of success.
cdltpx1 month ago

Add a mirror to the front, get a pressure cooker and paint it black then you will have the best tater cooker you ever had in your life. I am told that 15 min is all you need to cook taters in a pressure cooker. A big ass tater probably would be done around 30 solar cooking then again if it gets under full steam then use traditional cooking times for your altutude.

ysnipe3 months ago

Cardboard is a bit of a problem in that it is made of paper over a ridged layer, that means it will not easily bend one direction and will too often bend then fold if pushed to far the other direction. Your idea could be just as easily done using poster board instead of cardboard. The benefit is that it much lighter and will more readily bend in a uniform way.

abhijotsekhon (author)  ysnipe3 months ago

Thanks for the feedback! I will make sure to think of these ideas next time I make this project.

muhammajunaid3 months ago

Great project, thanks for sharing.

I always love such ideas which augment my thoughts and provide me the basis for thinking even further.

abhijotsekhon (author)  muhammajunaid3 months ago

Thank you so much!! really appreciate it.

Paulus443 months ago

Great project and just in time. In 6 days I have a project about Solar Cooking for missionaries from "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" (Mormons) and will use this cooker make a part of the project.

I have all made many designs, but never thought about this. Thank you again.

In the corners where the holes are I will at the back make some plywood with holes so the ziptights can not damage the cardboard.


abhijotsekhon (author)  Paulus443 months ago

Thank you so much for using my model! I hope you can imporve it and make it better, so that we can make a better cooking tool.

harveyo4 months ago

If in fact the cardboard will bend to form a parabolic reflective surface, the reflection will have a focal point. The degree of bend will determine how far the focal point is from the center of the parabolic reflector. You will find a spot that is extremely not. The more bend the closer the to the mirror the spot will be. too much and the cardboard breaks or looses it's shape. Good job.

abhijotsekhon (author)  harveyo4 months ago

thank you so much!!

altomic4 months ago

if you can get an old satelite dish and line that with tin foil....

abhijotsekhon (author)  altomic4 months ago

we did, but it was not as effective as this one.

kaeldra5 months ago
Great virtually free source of highly reflective material (it might possibly be mylar even idk)...chip bags. After you finish your chips cut the bag along the seems and open out flat. You'll need to wash them to get the oil and salt off but it comes off easy with dish soap. You'll probably need to cut the edges off. Even if you aren't big on chips yourself I'm sure you could get as many bags as you wanted for free from friends and neighbors. One man's trash, as the saying goes ;-)
abhijotsekhon (author)  kaeldra4 months ago

Thanks for the feedback!!

alienvibes5 months ago
One small suggestion... curve the surface before you apply the mirror film. This will avoid some of the creasing of the film caused when folding and also help support the final shape. Well done though.... good project! :)
abhijotsekhon (author)  alienvibes4 months ago


abhijotsekhon (author)  alienvibes5 months ago

we did think about it but by applying the mylar with the curve surface, there seems to be more air bubbles. I really appericaite the suggestion, maybe you should attempt it and let us know how it goes.

audreyobscura5 months ago

Great work! I'm curious what temperature you got your thermal cooker to...

abhijotsekhon (author)  audreyobscura5 months ago

we got it to 1000 degress fahrenheit on a 70-75 degress fahrenheit day. If their is a reall hot day 80-85 degress, we have no doubt this can hit 1,200+ degress fahrenheit.