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Ultralight Backpacking Stove Only 3/8oz. (video demo)

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This stove has been made many times by many people. I have made several of them and I use it as part of my Ultralight Kitchen so I thought I would show how I do it.

Here is a link to my kitchen kit (http://www.instructables.com/id/4-34-oz-Ultra-light-Backpacking-Kitchen-video-de/)

The best fuel I have found for this stove is HEET - Gas-line Antifreeze & Water Remover. It is about $1.50 a pint and it is 99% methanol. You can get it almost anywhere, gas stations, supermarkets, parts stores. So if you are doing a long trek and you make stops in town to re-stock, you can always fuel up with no problem. As far as energy, 1 or 2 oz can usually boil 2 cups of water.

To use the stove, pour HEET in to the center section and light. Soon the methanol in the external chamber will vaporize and start to escape from the jet holes. These streams of vaporized methanol will ignite and will continue to burn until the fuel is gone. Below is a demo of this.


 
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Step 1: Gather Materials & Tools

To build this stove you will only need 2 aluminum cans. Usually I use a Guinness can for the bottom section and a coke can for the top and ring. I have found that the Guinness cans are a little heavier and that they stretch better. In this instruction I use 2 coke cans. If you decide to make this stove I would suggest using a Guinness can for the bottom.

The tools you will need are as follows:

To score and cut the cans:
  • Utility knife
  • Large "C" clamp
  • Razor blade
  • Various pieces of wood to be used as spacers.
To help with stretching the can;
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Small piece of plywood
To puncture the jet holes
  • 1 push-pin
  • hammer
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Steelyard47 months ago

I'm making this in class.

Bron989 months ago

It was the fuel. got some heet an it works gr8!! puts out a lot of heat for its small size!! thanks for the gr8 instructable!!!

Bron989 months ago

hey i luv this stove! but i had 1 Q.... i am using prestone gas-line antifreeze and its 1st ingredient is methanol..... but wen i light it the flame is mostly yellow, different from your video.... and once the flames start coming out of the jets they all kindv half way join with the middle flame..... any idea what the deal is?

thatoneguydavid (author)  Bron989 months ago

not sure, it could be the fuel. Or it could be the size of jets/number of jets, or it could be that the seal between the inner ring and the rest of the stove is not holding pressure.

alryt thanks! i think it might be the fuel.....

I have found staples ork better than slits to jion the inside ring.

Instead of a JB weld and tape, I used a paper clip. Just thought that that would be a good cheap and simple alternative.
begnbezzy5 years ago
how cool whats the health risk in using HEET to cook on ?
I can't say for sure, but the risks should be minimal. HEET is simply methanol and people cook on alcohol stoves all over the world. Many boats have alcohol stoves as well. AAMOF, look at a bottle of denatured or solvent alcohol in the paint section of your local hardware store or home improvement center. They often say for use in marine and/or camp stoves on the label.
Sabata Sabata5 years ago
One more thing. Here is a list of international fuel names for reference.
http://members.iinet.net.au/~mbuckler/fuel/index.shtml
Cooking on methanol is no problem at all. Drinking it, however, is.
Oh cr*p! I used to fire breathe with methanol!!

NOW you tell me!!
If you used it for firebreathing, I can't imagine you swallowed much of it (it probably tasted foul anyway).

Most firebreathers I knew drank milk before they started, to line their stomaches.
OTAY seems clear tryin it Flea Mkts seem have overstock on the HEET see if I can find larger can to try. Anyone ever try cooking w different fuels on the ole fashion campstove by coleman ? You know the kind you pump the canister w a plunger then lite?
Coleman 2 Burner.jpg
Doko begnbezzy5 years ago
HEET is nearly pure Methanol. If you just burn it, it is OK. But Methanol IS A VERY POWERFULL POISON. IF INGESTED OR ABSORBED BY THE SKIN, LITLE AMOUNTS CAN CAUSE BLINDNESS AND MANY TYPES OF NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGES. An ingestion of just 10ml (10 cubic centimeters) will cause irreversible blindness in 50% of the population if not treated fast. In my oppinion, it is not a smart idea to mix methanol and anything used to prepare food (mainly if there are kids arround). The risk of contamination and/or incidental ingestion is just too big. I don't know if it will work in this case, but ethanol is almost harmless and generates nearly the same amount of heat.
thatoneguydavid (author)  Doko5 years ago
the risk of contaminating your food with the fuel you cook with is very low unless you are quite sloppy, so this warning for me is quite a bit over kill. If anyone is truly concerned i suggest you review the MSDS (material safety data sheet) for the product. it is readily available on line and will answer all of your questions and concerns. I my humble opinion, methanol is no more dangerous than Coleman liquid fuel and it has been widely used for about 90 years. (see its MSDS) As far as skin absorption it will not happen unless you put your hand in a bucket of the stuff. methanol evaporates much much faster than it would ever be absorbed by the skin. I have spilled it on my hands many times with absolutely no ill affect.
If the issue is methanol, one could simply replace it with ethanol. Everclear (or another potable GNS) is available for sale everywhere in the US except Pennsylvania, Washington, Oregon, and California, and would work as well as Heet.
Yes, Ethanol is a much safer fuel. It is so safe that I love to ingest some small amounts of it (beer is about 5% Ethanol...). I didn't mention earlier, but the main problem with Methanol is acidental ingestion. Ethanol and Methanol have about the same taste, and the first is component of all alcoholic beverages. People will not drink Coleman fuel, gas or kerosene. The taste and smell of this things are horrible and easy to perceive. But people will drink Methanol and think that there is nothing wrong. Think about a packpac, it is basically a big bag where a lot of things from food to clothes go mixed and shaking in your back for hours. The possibility of fuel leaking from the fuel bottle is very real, mainly if you use an improper bottle (I usually have simple water bottles for fuel). Imagine that some leaked Methanol soak slightly your bread or your dried meat. The taste of this mix is not so bad, the temptation of ingesting it anyway is not small for most of the people... Another posibility is that someone can get confused about botles and drink fuel thinking that it is vodka or some sort of moonshine. A minimum amout of Methanol swallowed will do horrible things in the body if not treated in the next 4 hours (and remember, you can be in a wild area very far from rescue). I live in Brazil and here there is a distilled beverage produced from suggarcane that has a taste very similar with pure Methanol, the Cachassa. Due to this, every year there are hundreds of cases of people poisoned by acidental ingestion of Methanol (mainly alcoholics that find bottles with methanol or people that try to make "moonshine cachassa" and end up distiling Methanol), any brazilian emergency doctor is familiar with this situation. So, just to be in the safe side, go with Ethanol. You don't have to worry if there is fuel leakages or even if any stupid friend prepare a drink with your fuel...
baneat Doko5 years ago
You know your stuff. I ask if naphtha (coleman's) will work in one of these stoves?
thatoneguydavid (author)  begnbezzy5 years ago
I don't have the credentials to say for certain, but alcohol burners are used for many applications so I would assume there is little risk. Does anyone else have a good way to answer this question?
.Hexx.3 years ago
Can I make the stove a bit longer for more burn time?
So do you just pour the fuel into the center hole?
yes, that all you do. it will do the rest when you light it.
5tinkymouse4 years ago
 12oz  guinness? or does it matter?

thatoneguydavid (author)  5tinkymouse4 years ago
To be honest, I don't remember.  But it does not mater that much.  You can pretty much use any to similarly shaped cans and be in pretty good shape.  The combination I described here is just what i have had good luck with.

Good luck
Radd284 years ago
Saples work better than the glue. One in the top about 3/16'' down and the same on the bottom but 3/16'' up. Use needle nose pliers to compress the legs of the staples to flaten  them after you staple and then just bend the staple top to comform with the radius of the inner circle. You are done and it's permanent and you don't have to mix the epoxy and you don't have to wait for it to dry.
trf5 years ago
A small hint....i have built 1 of these and a real nuisance in it is the spill of the fuel.It can leak alot through the jet ports. What i have done is added cotton swabs and packed them in.Pour the fuel into the cotton and it keeps it contained and it works just as well.
fn06afranci trf4 years ago
yeah i had the same problem so i cut off the bottom off another can and used it as a cap to stop it from leaking and to smother it to put it out
zimitt5 years ago
Thanks for this twist on the can stove. I love the open pit system better than the preheating type. I made mine without the epoxy. I cut the interior wall without cutting the can up the side so I was left with a ring 1.5" high. I then folded the ring to create a tuck to make it fit in the grove in the can bottom. This eliminated the need for gluing the edges. Then the whole thing fit together so perfectly and snug that I didnt need any further glue thanks to your exact measurements.
Thanks again for a great instructable.
thatoneguydavid (author)  zimitt5 years ago
I'm glad you were able to use my instruction as a starting point.  I hope you have a good time using it out on the trail.
junits155 years ago
Where did you buy your heet?
as you can see here www.instructables.com/community/i-have-to-be-18-to-buy-heet/  i had a problem.
thatoneguydavid (author)  junits155 years ago
i do not have the issue of being under 18  ..... maybe ask the guy that buys you beer to get you some...ha!  kiding.

Denatured alcohol works well too, you can get that at home improvement stores near the paint thinner.

good luck.
I think I'll have to do that, because i have bought acetone and al sorts of gluees at lowes without problems, I dont think they will wory to much about denatured alcohol.  I mean its denatured so I'm not planning on drinking any of that any time soon.
Zem5 years ago
Cool! I have one question though, wouldn't the stove warp a bit with the heat?
thatoneguydavid (author)  Zem5 years ago
it does not warp
Awesome, thanks!
chopstx5 years ago
i noticed the can is un opened in the last pic., how is that possible?
The can was simply never opened......
oh. whoops. lol
Thats why it "gets messy".
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