Introduction: Yet Another Penny Stove- Super Simple Mix

Picture of Yet Another Penny Stove- Super Simple Mix

After the earthquakes in Christchurch I became a little "survival", camper van with solar pannels, rocket fires and of course the penny stove.

Some of our locals were cooking on car bonnets over an open fire in the back yard..

I have fumbled around making these a few times and have come up with a new method to share.

This make it easy and nearly fool proof, construction time is less than a few minutes.

Step 1: Prep, Tools and Materials

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All that is needed for this is two cans (preferably the same), a pair of scissors, a blade and a dart.

Step 2: Rough Cuts.

Picture of Rough Cuts.

Use the scissors to roughly cut one can, leave it tall.

Step 3: Make a Flange.

Picture of Make a Flange.

This step isnt really necessary but I have included it.

Use the base of the second can to make a flange on the first can by inserting it on an angle and using twisting motion..

Step 4: Cut the Base.

Picture of Cut the Base.

Again use the scissors to cut the second can, this will set the height of the stove.

No exact measurements from me so a little trial by error is in order.

*HINT, keep it short or you will have trouble in the next step but no so short that the two can bases will coinscide whenpressed together...

Step 5: Jam the Cans..

Picture of Jam the Cans..

This is the cool bit, the IP.

There is a trick of making a coin go through a hole in paper that is smaller than the coin, this is the same principal.

Place the short can fully inside of the tall can at an angle and while it is in there, straighten it up.

If the short can is too tall this causes flaws like crimping of the inner can and these can tear the outer cans sides.

If you get it right the inner can may not easily press down as there is an airlock inside, no problem once the first hole is punched you will recieve a satisfying puff of air and then it is easy to press home.

Step 6: Tidy UP.

Picture of Tidy UP.

Rough cut the tall can to suit the inner base with scissors then make a clean flush cut with the blade.

Step 7: Use the Dart.

Picture of Use the Dart.

Use the dart to punch holes as per penny stove.

I like a slow burn so tend to go for 8 holes plus the middle filler hole.

Step 8: Time for a Cuppa.

Picture of Time for a Cuppa.

You can use as is or tidy up the rough edges with some fine sandpaper.

As noted im after a slow burn so I am playing with using a rivet as a plug for the filler hole to stop it burning from there..


Richard aka 'Joe_Doorman'

Step 9:


spark master (author)2015-09-14

Yet another in-Can-tion of the penny stove sans le cent ! (I used a self tapping wingnut screw instead of the penny on miner)

Got the bug for spirit stoves, go to <>, there is also an Italian site, sorry can't remember the url.

And for DavidB64 , it uses methyl alcohol or spirit. NEVER use any other fuel. Ethyl could be used, but is so expensive it is silly.

The use of other fuels like Gasoline , will explode and cover you in burning fule, blinding you and burning you alive while your scream in agony!

yep a no go on gasoline is in order

Sources for alcohol include paint stores, gasline anti freeze, , Heet is a popular one use the yellow bottle. The red bottle is isopropyl alcohol and should never be used. Isopropyl alcohol will soot up, stink and soot up everything.

DavidB64 is right though telling the fuel and a pot stand concept is very importan, and what size pot/pan/cup etc and perhaps what you cooked with it! Other than boiling water for tea, although in a crisis add more tea to the pot!

Wazzupdoc (author)spark master2015-09-14

Did an interesting experiment with various alcohols. The longer then carbon chain, the more energy produced, resulting in decreased boil times for a fixed volume of water. Methanol (1 carbon) took longest. Ethanol (Everclear 190 proof, 2 carbons) a little better. Didn't have any butanol (4 carbs), but iso-propanol (rubbing alcohol. 90%, 5-carbons) was best of readily available alcohols.

Great. Im wanting to do some analysis on the designs, say 20ml of fuel and with 1 liter of water in a standard pot. Let it run down and measure the final temprature.

Our 'meths' is $5.65 a liter in NZ dollars, not cheap, and if you are in true emergency conditions you dont want to waste it.

Unless they changed the law, NZ is the only country in the world that allows resident to legally distill alcohol. You can jusy make the stuff, it can be a mix of spirits as you will burn it. considfer it, it is doable. Grains make purer ethanol (drinkable spirit), fruits make a higher % of methanol with the ethanol.

check around you can find the laws and the still plans!, All other countries , (unless they have changed from 5 yeays back), do not legally allow people to make their oewn booze. Wine and Beer, Cider and Neade sure, but not spirits.

Wazzupdoc (author)spark master2015-11-12

Better to drink it. Ethanol (ETOH) only has 2 carbons and Methanol is toxic (don"t drink it). ISO has 3 carbons (more energy, poison, don"t drink it) and is relatively cheap for a short-term survival stove. The more carbons you add to the alcohol chain, the more energy produced in combustion. Octanol is almost gasoline (petrol).

Any suggestions on 'cutting' the alcohol? I have tried to mix it with a %age of canola oil. Oil isnt missable in meth but if you shake it up...

Idea is to use the alcohol as a pre heat/vaporise for the oil and to keep it burning.

I haven't tried "diluting" iso. I have tried using hand sanitizer gel (ETOH) with hexamine saturated into it. Hexamine is the solid fuel used in solid fuel stoves like the Esbit. Haven't tested the burn to temp time, but it dissolves nicely and ignites readily. Check out Hexamine in the Merck Index. Great ref BTW. Worth the salt.

spark master (author)Wazzupdoc2015-09-14

Every place I have read about them (for many years now, over 8) iso alky makes soot, and stinks, but perhaps there are differences in additives from maker to maker. I agree that Everclear is better, the alky tax in the usa makes that ludicrous to use. meth spirit is cheap enough, non explosive and gets the job done. If you have acess to a NASCAR fuel seller, they run meths (pure) as additive and is way cheaper then my method (HEET, Yellow bottle).

If you are going to soot a pot, then burn wood. And if times are tough you may need to so build a Rocket stove as well.

Thanks fer the reply though I disagree on what is usable. As far as butanol, is that even available? These are things you can put together fast and fuel is easy to get. It the stinky brown stuff hits the whirley bird thing I would use isopropyl, but absolute last resort only

I have only found that the stove 'stinks' when it is running rich ie the fuel isnt burning efficently.

Beyond the actual stink of the fuel itself that is..

And the taste, it gets onto your hands so becarefull to clean after filling.

I have also found that the taste can get into your food, seems that the alcohol is very fond of water and will leach into it.

Getting them to burn properly helps here no end.

Wazzupdoc (author)spark master2015-09-15

I never saw soot, smoke or stains in my setup. Used 90% iso-propanol from the drugstore.

If you are concerned about the apocalypse,
maybe building a stil and brewing your own fuel is the best option,
along with some bio diesel for the truck..

My latest is made from 1
liter beer cans for a little more girth, it is fantastic, slightly hard
to start but I can rest the teapot directly on to and its more stable
than the normal sized cans.

It doesnt use the pop rivet or a penny.

Besides the tea pot, I also fry on them..

using a syringe to fill as you can be very accurate with fuel supply
this way. Possibly you can get away without the filler hole like this by
injecting into one of the jets.

Will update with new photo of the max sized can and a new, easier method of building..

Stay tuned.

I woulkd lkove to see the thing sounds very very cool. I read a good part of "the Pentagons Brain" story of Darpa. read the first 30 or so pages. Then relax you won't feel a thing if the nukes fly. I am thinking more along the line of natural disasters.

Mark 42 (author)2015-09-14

I always wondered what the hole in the center is for.

The hole is for fuel filling, its annoying too. I have been playing with smaller jets for a pressurizer stove but the filler will always leak even with a penny or rivet plug, its a big hole otherwise its very slow to fill.

Thinking of making a 'one use' penny which is pre-filled at construction and has no filler hole..

You can use a syringe with a large gauge needle to fill the stove. A "Basting Syringe and Needle" are ideal.

A screw of some sort would be good.
Maybe a large screw for the filler hole.
One of those crew in plugs for an electrical conduit box would be cheap enough.

Pem is the wrong word, maybe a rivnut, they use them in sheetmetal inserted like a pop rivet but its a nut..

bohannan007 (author)2015-09-06

so much to learn before the collapse comes. And I thought all you needed to know was zombies needed a head shot.

slo5oh (author)bohannan0072015-09-07

Making these is very handy IF you have liquid fuel that can be used in these. If you have a few dollars and want something similar but far superior google the RUCAS alcohol stove. Similar design but made from 2 water bottles so it's WAY stronger and the holes are perfect so it creates a great flame.

When the zombies get here it might be better for you to learn how to make a hobo stove, or rocket stove as they use wood sticks instead of alcohol. Or just learn it ALL!! :D

Xriva (author)slo5oh2015-09-13

agreed water bottles are better, but I can't find metal water bottles anymore - at least here in the US

Problem I find with the water bottle stove is the internal part (top of bottle thats inverted and inserted) is slightly redundant. Apart from spillage issues there is no point to this part when the pot sits on top of the stove. May as well just have a cup with jets in the side.

Really need a low alloy vessel with a screw on lid.

Have been making tin can burners, they are stronger and run cooler (heat transference to the fuel is less than alloy), but beware of the heat retained in the steel when the stove gets bumped as you get a burst of flames.

Mark 42 (author)Xriva2015-09-14


spark master (author)slo5oh2015-09-14

go to

if you're gunna buy one, see Minibulldesigns

I do not think he makes this type anymore he has newer, better designs.

the Rukus is just another alky burner (excellent to own), but you can make similar for the cost of two returnable beer cans and 3 pop rivets. Winter is coming in the northern climes and HEET will be on sale soon, buy a few 4 packs and keep them around. Individual bottles are great for keeping your fuel water free.

Be aware most alky stoves will boil water in the same amount of time. I tried 3 homades against a couple of surplus swedish army kits and they all burned in about the same time. And unless you need that water STAT, it reaslly does not matter. For survival situations you should have 2-3 different stoves with 3 fuels ready to go, with cook sets.

And you should boil water and have tea, coffee and coco monthly , just to get used using them in easy times.

DownAndOutInChristchurchNZ made it! (author)slo5oh2015-09-09

I have made a few fires, they are fun... Back in the scouts days I did the Hobo stove but with internet/make/instructables I have done the rocket fire thing. Photos are of the Downdraft Bottle Rocket that lives in the van. Starts and rund on LPG but will burn anything that you throw at it. Plan is to make it go on waste vege oil... Firebox goes past 500c, top of bottle is 150-300c (baking potatoes..) and the exhaust, which is throught a piece of radiator hose and alloy tube only gets to 67c. It has a copper coil in it for water heating, iit gets 20 liter of water to 70c in about half an hour..

Ill learn it all, as you say,

aaxiss (author)bohannan0072015-09-06

with a match, lighter or if your hardcore you can rub 2 sticks together. lol

DavidB64 (author)2015-09-14

A bit more info is needed. What kin of fuel should be used, how's it filled, how to seta pot on it. As s the time spent watching its wasted.

Plenty of info on the net, we have methylated spirits over here (denatured alcohol), kerosene should work, this 'turgo' stuff I was given would probably explode in a pressurizer, DONT USE PETROL!!!!

I put this build up as its an 'easy to make' method..


justins16 (author)DavidB642015-09-14

HEET automotive water remover works great. Or any kind of alcohol.

spark master (author)2015-09-14

Ok so I replied below to a comment, but here is thought. If you make this or any other stove, take the time every month (or better once a week) to use them. Make coffee, tea, coco or just hot water. You need to do it enough that you know how well or not it will do what you plan to make. I used 3 at a tome on a trip to Boston, from NYC and made coffee tea and two 2 jumbo egg fried egg sandwiches with ham and spinach using a Tfal 1 egg wonder pan, homemade dome lid , camp pot, and espresso pot (just friggen use regular coffee), My kid who was travelling with me was quite amazed.

But I practiced that meal about 10 times, At least. And using pot in a pot with three rocks stand offs made a corn bread cake big enough for two, with apple pie filling , all on a trangia alky stove.

I do not think I would do the apple filling on the road unless 1) I practiced about 5 times, 2) I had good access to water to clean up 3) conditions were right.

practice practice practice go there , the mother load of booze burners

hp5551935 (author)2015-09-09

slick...that is one of the easiest and simplest ways to make one of these I have come accross....NICE!!

bravoechonovember1 (author)2015-09-06

Cool! Now you don't have to waste a penny! :)

By the way those are pop riverts real rivets are solid and you need an air gun to use them

The pop rivet is just used as a plug, remove it when filling..

whoops! I guess I didn't read the whole thing sorry!

It was too slow filling and making a larger filler hole makes it burn hot even with the 10c piece. hence the 'plug'.

I actuall have not fired the rivet one yet, have to wait for pocket money to get some meths.

Hope it works.

buck2217 (author)2015-09-06

You drink VB!!? You Traitor, what's wrong with Speights! :-)

I drink godfatfer. These were out of the trash in the trailer park, endless supply.. I have finally made the move to linux so appreciate the GNU joke. This is also a Visual Basic punt. As a NZ music pun I had to choose between Rheineck and VB.

..Headless chickens/Chris Knox, 90's era.

You tube tall dwarves 'bodies live' and stunt clown was produced after Headless won the NZ rock awards, sponsored by Rheineck.


hackspace-siegen (author)2015-09-06

How do you light the stove?

Carefully fill it with meths, depending on the size of the filler hole it may take a bit to drin in to the stove and over fill it slightly so there isa pool of fluid on top where the rivit goes, light the pool.... I tend to place this stove inside of a low tin can like a tuna can to take care of spills. you can light the excess spillage too. The stove runs on evaporated meth not liquid.

Once it gets up to temprature (you may hear a bubbling noise) it should be up and running.

If the jets on the side are not burning once its warm, these can be lit also, I use a chopstick wet with meth.

Bonus about the tuna can is I have a second tin can that is used as a snuffer (red tomato sauce can in pic) it fits inside the tuna can but over the penny stove., if things get out of control or you have finished cooking just place this can over the penny stove to extinguish it.

Anothe idea is to use two tuna cans, like in the pic, top off one and bottom off the other so they fit together. Make air vents in them and use the penny as a 'burner' you will get flames burning out of the vents in the tuna can.... Its easy to boil a kettle on this.

Air flow is key.

I have had success with placing a metal cheese grater over the stove once its going, this increaces airflow and makes a great heater for the van if im out of LPG (it has happened)... Can smell a bit but It is instant heat, so much more BTU than LPG.


Please excuse my spelling and key miss hits, NZ is UK English..

CyberR (author)2015-09-06

I knew there was an easier way!! I've made quite a few of these and tried all sorts of techniques getting the 2 halves together but I never thought of this one. Brilliant!!!

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-09-06

Nice stove design.

About This Instructable




Bio: Down and out in Christchurch NZ doing not much in our post earthquake city. Puppy Linux!!! fav band, Skinny Puppy. I hold a Post Grad ... More »
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