Introduction: Make a Soda Can Stove

About: I like making food and trying food!

In this Instructable I show you how to make a soda can stove. There are many different ways to make one but I think this version is very unique and works well. Also it is made from smaller aluminum beverage cans so it takes up less room, which is a positive if you are doing any hiking or backpacking.

Here is a video of the whole process and testing, the written instructions with pictures follow:

Step 1: Materials and Tools

This stove is slightly different from the traditional pop can stove in that it doesn't use regular soda/pop cans. You will need 3 cans to make this stove. I am using Perrier beverage cans but Red Bull cans will work as well.

You will need:

  • 3 Beverage Cans (like the ones in the picture)
  • Drill and Drill Bits(1/32 or 0.7mm or 0.8mm)
  • Sharp Utility Knife
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Needlenose Pliers

Step 2: Removing Paint From One Can - Optional

Using a scouring pad remove the paint from one can. It's easier to do with a full can as the pressure will keep the can from crushing. This is purely for aesthetics and is optional, this can will be the outside of the stove.

Step 3: Marking and Cutting the Can Bottoms

Take a sharp utility knife and cut the bottom out of the two cans that still have paint on them. Score around the bottom concave seam. Go slowly, you do not want to cut all the way through, just deep enough to make the aluminum thinner at the seam. Once you have a deep score in the seam, push the bottom into the can, it should pop right out.

Using a marker, mark each of the cans all the way around measuring from the bottom of the can. 45MM for the can that has the paint removed. The cans with the paint still on them and bottoms removed mark them at 32MM and 8MM.

Step 4: Inside Wall

Using a utility knife, cut around the 32mm can, then take scissors and cut around the line that was drawn earlier. Using a fine tip marker, mark 16 equally spaced lines around the can, they don't have to be exact. A good way to do it is by doing 4 quadrants at a time and then marking between each of those lines. Using a file with an edge or a similar object with a sharp edge, crease each mark by pushing on the file against the can (see pic or video). Next using a pair of scissors, cut 1/4" slits at the end of the can on each of the creases. Bend all the cuts inward.

Step 5: Burner Ring

Next take the can with the 8mm mark and cut it out, you will be left with a small ring. Using a 1/32" or .7mm or .8mm drill bit drill eight holes around the ring. You may need to experiment with smaller or larger drill bits depending on the cans you use. This is the burner ring.

Step 6: Stove Body

The last can with the paint removed will be the body of the stove, cut it out like the previous two cans.

Step 7: Assembly of Stove

Using the top of the discarded cans, push it down into the opening of the 45mm can. Be-careful as the discard can is sharp, you can always use an uncut can as well. This is to open up the top of the can to make the assembly of the stove easier.

To assemble the stove, take the inside of the stove and insert it into the outside can. Don't force it, just work each side down at a time. Using the top of the can again, push the inside wall down so it is evenly seated. It should sit nicely in the can, now take the burner ring and insert it into the body of the stove on top of the inside wall. You want a good seal between the inside wall and the burner ring, so again use the top of a can to push down on the inside wall and burner ring.

There should be a lip that is above the burner ring if everything fits correctly. Fold it down over the burner ring, work evenly around the can, don't try to force all of it at once. You can use some needle nose pliers to help with the folding. Use the top of a round bolt and burnish the creases down to ensure a tight seal. If you have done everything correctly the stove should have a nice seal where the burner ring meets the wall and the lip should be folded over tightly, this is important as it allow the stove to build pressure when it is lit.

If the inside wall is bulged inward, gently push the wall back out, you want to have a nice even seal at the bottom where the slots were cut earlier. The stove is now finished, next let's test burn it.

Step 8: Testing

I am using methyl hydrate for the fuel but denatured alcohol will work as well. Be careful when pouring the fuel and lighting as alcohol burns with a clear flame in daylight and any spills could ignite and you may not see them. Pour a few milliliters for a first test run. Once the stove is running the only way to shut it off is to smother it by covering it with a metal container.

Use a long BBQ lighter to light the stove. It will take a few seconds for the stove to reach operating temperature and to build pressure. Once operating temperature is reached, the jets will start producing a nice strong flame.

I boiled a cup of water in about 2 and half minutes. With 30mls of fuel the stove burns for over 10 minutes!

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