Ultimate Penny Stove ( Camp / Backpacking Alcohol Stove )

Picture of Ultimate Penny Stove ( Camp / Backpacking Alcohol Stove )
This is the best stove I've made so far. I've made a lot of the stove designs from the internet and they've all come up short in one way or another. After trial and error, this is the best one.

     Main Features: Safety, Durability, Built in Pot Stand and Funnel, Wind Resistant, and Easy to Light with no priming pan.
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Step 1: List

Picture of List
The list of items you will need:

cooking spray can (PAM or equivalent)
metal knockout from an electrical panel or other metal disc
hack saw
permanent marker
fiberglass insulation (formaldehyde free is recommended)
metal snips
needle nose pliers
gutter crimping tool
drill and bits
jb weld

Step 2: Being an idiot

Picture of Being an idiot
Make sure the can is empty!

Cutting a pressurized can is stupid and I'm not responsible for you being an idiot.

As long as we're on the topic of being an idiot. Use a cooking spray can, not a spray paint can. I wouldn't want to eat anything cooked on a stove that had chemicals in it.

Step 3: Cutting the can

Picture of Cutting the can
Use the cap as a height guide. Set the can upright on the table and set the cap next to the can. Take a marker and by spinning the can mark the cap height from both the bottom up and the top down. This way the top and bottom will be the same size and you'll have a straight cut line.

Use a hack saw or a dremel tool to cut the can on the marker lines. Be sure to keep the cuts straight. You will need to save the cap and the middle section of metal for later use.

Inside the can will be some junk from the oil and a plastic straw. Clean it out the best you can and remove the straw.

DamianKillcannon (author) 1 year ago
Well, I've tried this stove out a lot in the last year or so. The things I found out about the real world trials with it include; 1. the wind shield and pot holder work but not as well as a manufactured, foldable one you might get from a camping supply outlet. 2. I don't bother putting the "penny" on anymore. I find the flame is too low of a burn to get my water boiling when I want a hot drink or a meal in the morning while hiking.

Other comments have mentions of steal wool. I've never tried it but there is also a product on the market called carbon felt. I've seen a few other stoves on the market that are using this stuff as a wick for a similar purpose in the design.
use steel wool here loads safer
jcksparr0w3 years ago
Am i mistaken or aren't there types of insulation that have chemicals in them? I wouldn't want that in my stove either. Anyway, great instructable! Keep it up!
steel wool!
DamianKillcannon (author)  jcksparr0w3 years ago
Not all fiberglass insulation is the same. You do want to make sure you know what you are putting in the stove. That is why I'm specific about using formaldehyde free insulation.
would zippo stuffing work instead of the insulation ?
try using steel wool
Yes, cotton works, but it chars faster.
Awwk then thanks
hjimmy2 years ago
Hi, good job!
I was just looking thru the back recesses of my desk drawer and came across a well worn 1943 steel penny. An idea flashed into my mind about a name change:
"Steel-Penny" stove.
It goes along with the steel stove concept, and removes the copper penny problem.
dude that peny depending on condition can be worth 5 bucks or so
SgtHawk2 years ago
Some excellent ideas. What a great comment on the penny. We all probably know what copper can give off but I think you are probably the first person to connect the dots when the penny is used on the stove. Well Done!
How much fuel did you put in it to last 30 minutes. Do you think a version about 1-1 1/2 inches tall would work for 10-15 minutes if full?

Did you ever consider or play around with a tight windscreen from below the flame to above the top of the Cup or pot with some sort of filler flap to cover between the top and bottom of the handle?
I made and tested a shade tree version out of a resized large juice can and HD aluminum with an 1/4-1/2" air space (insulation) between the inner juice can skirt and the outer HD aluminum skirt. The resized juice can leaves 3/8" all around between this reflective insulated skirt and the cup. Results were very impressive so I am trying to see how to make the stove as efficient as possible when I use it to heat water in a 750 ml to 1 liter aluminum water bottle. Any thoughts on this or any fuel efficiency improving ideas would be appreciated. Thanks for your time.
Regards and nice job,
onemoroni12 years ago
I made this, but can't get it to light, even shortened the height, but it just sputters and goes out. Using rubbing alcohol.
Try using heet, or denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol doesn't work very well. And I think the fumes are bad for you
DamianKillcannon (author)  onemoroni12 years ago
I'd be interested to see a picture of the one you've made. That might help me trouble shoot it for you. The only thing I can think of is that you're not getting enough air to the fire. If the pot stand doesn't have sufficient air flow then it will smother it. I ran into this a lot with some of my designs. Check this by removing the pot stand in a no wind environment. Let me know how you make out.
Thanks for your reply. I noticed something as I reviewed your instructable. I didn't drill enough holes and need to drill the smaller size. I just skimmed it the first time and thought I had it figured out. I'll rework mine to see if it works.
DamianKillcannon (author)  onemoroni12 years ago
cool. I hope that does the trick for you.
n0ukf2 years ago
"One more thing, don't use a penny on a penny stove unless you need to. Copper gives off some bad fumes when you heat it."

Most pennies are now made with a zinc core. Burning zinc fumes are a nasty health hazard.
lrwelling3 years ago
Nice design, looking forward to building it. FYI, Boy Scouts require an Off valve on stoves, so these penny stoves can't be used on official BSA events.
pedro ivo3 years ago
DamianKillcannon (author)  pedro ivo3 years ago
looks like you've got some fire going. Not sure why you have such big holes in the can? how long does this burn for?
This is some stove. Is this easier than just buying a good light weight stove? The insulation takes me back a little. I guess I could buy the insulation at Home Depot and make sure I get the right kind. This stove looks good and seems to work well. Joe from Backpack and Gear
You can buy the insulation from any hardware store, however I already had some from remodeling jobs. If you are going to get some make sure it doesn't have chemicals like formaldehyde in it.
malsonc3 years ago
While I'm not a big fan of alcohol stoves, Idid like this one.

One comment I have concerns the metal knockout called for in the materials list. I don't see it called out during the assembly of your stove. I believe I see it covering the hole where the valve used to be. Is that piece attached with JB Weld or just laid over the hole?

Thanks for presenting this Instructable.
DamianKillcannon (author)  malsonc3 years ago
I'm glad you liked it.

You are correct the metal knockout is covering where the valve used to be. This doesn't get attached to the stove. As with any "penny" stove you need to cover the fill hole when the stove is lit, but it needs to be free so that you can fill the stove.