Introduction: Stove Top Baked Potato Cooker, AKA the Spudinator
This is my first Instructable so please bear with me.
I have seen a few of these online, effectively you can cook a couple of decent sized baked potatoes on your woodburner for free whilst also staying warm.
But buying ain't trying - so I decided to make my own as cheaply as possible using stuff I had lying around, I bought the hinges, handle and stove paint all for under £10.
After completing the project and admiring my handywork on top of the woodburner in all its matt black stealthiness, I decided that 'Stove Top Baked Potato Cooker' was a bit of a lame description and so the "Spudinator" was born.
I will now run through the steps I took to make the Spudinator, the choice of canister, hinges and latch are entirely up to you.
The project took around half a day, all appropriate safety measures were taken and all necessary PPE was worn, please stay safe and enjoy the project.
Steel canister - I have used an empty argon gas cylinder for welding
Hinges - I have used French door hinges which allows for a bit of movement when heating up the 'Spudinator'.
A handle - I toyed with the idea of a wooden one but the 'Spudinator' has also been used on a firepit.
Nuts and bolts for latch and feet.
Heat resistant stove paint.
4inch grinder with cut off blade and sanding lap disk - if you have patience you could just use a hacksaw.
Welder - I used a stick and tig welder, you could use nuts and bolts or self tapping screws.
Marker pen or pencil.
Step 1: Marking Out
As with most every project I undertake - always mark on a centreline.
This was an empty Argon gas cylinder for tig welding, the plastic base just happened to be the right height to mark the centreline all around the cylinder.
If you're not as lucky as me, you can cut a piece of wood to half the height of the canister and mark around with that.
Step 2: Cutting the Cylinder
Always ensure the cylinder you chose is completely empty.
As Argon is an inert gas there was no danger of fire, if you are using any other type of canister it is alway advisable to fill with soapy water to remove any gasses left inside before cutting.
For this I used a 1mm cut off blade in a 4inch grinder - you can use a hacksaw if you have lots of time and patience and no grinder.
Step 3: Adding the Hinges
When adding the hinges, only cut halfway through the canister before fitting them to ensure both halves will line up.
Firstly,, remove enough paint to ensure a good weld, I used a lap sanding disk on the grinder as this was powder coated and quite thick - again, if you have time and patience and no grinder you can use sandpaper.
Grind off any zinc plating on the welded area of the hinges as this will give off some pretty noxious gasses when welding.
Remember googles, gloves and facemask when grinding.
Secondly, spot weld through the screw holes of the hing onto the canister to fix them in place.
You could drill and bolt the hinges on if you don't have a welder.
Thirdly, grind, grind, grind - there's no such thing as an ugly weld if you have a good grinder!
Step 4: Cutting Cylinder and Adding Handle
When you have cleaned up the welded hinges, turn the canister over and cut through the rest of it.
Then remove the rest of the paint and file smooth the cut edges on the inside of the Spudinator - it doesn't have to be an exact fit as you want the steam from the cooking potatoes to escape, there is also the hole on the side to let the steam out.
The handle could be welded the same way as the hinges but I went for a nut and bolt for fear of melting the ends of the handle with the welder and It also looked nicer.
Step 5: Making the Latch
For this I used a 10mm threaded bar and nuts, again removing any zinc plating from the nuts before welding.
I used a scrap piece of threaded bar to line up the nuts for welding and cut a slot in one end so I could use a screwdriver to screw it out afterwards, I then used a slightly thinner rod to slide in between the nuts to form the hinge.
At this point, after much grinding on the hinges, I decided to switch to tig welding for a slightly neater finish and less grinding - again, if you don't have a welder you could use a prefabricated latch and bolt it on.
Step 6: Feet
The last thing you want is a red hot Spudiator rolling off the woodburner and heading across the floor depositing hot oil all over the place, so I decided to add some feet.
Starting off with the trusty centreline, I measured, marked and welded 3 nuts to the bottom of the Spudinator to ensure it sat safely on top of the woodburner - again, you could drill holes and put some bolts in instead if you don't have a welder.
Then a final sand and clean up and ready for paint.
Step 7: Painting.
I opted for a matt black stove paint to match the woodburner, you may chose to leave it plain or use a high temperature lacquer or a different colour. I originally left the handle bright Crome, but decided I didn't like it after all.
It's important to let it dry thoroughly and then 'bake' it for a few hours, on the woodburner to harden the paint.
It will give off a few fumes when curing so allow this to cure fullyand wash out the inside before putting any potatoes in it.
Step 8: Testing
First test of the Spudinator.
I added a little oil to the inside of the Spudinator and placed 2 large potatoes inside, put it on top of the woodburner and sat back and waited.............
Within 30 minutes there was a slight aroma of baking potatoes and a little sizzle of the oil and potato juices coming from the Spudinator.
I reached for the oven gloves and excitedly checked the temperature of the potatoes - I wanted to get above 60 C to make sure they were cooked and I didn't poison myself with raw potato on the first attempt.
2 1/2 hours later they were well and truly cooked!
Note to self - ensure woodburner is up to 200 C Before placing Spudinator on top!!
Second attempt, they were cooked in under an hour.
Step 9: Summary
A nice little project that cost very little, got rid of some bits and pieces from the workshop and gave me a bit more practice with the welder.
It looks good on top of the woodburner and I managed to get 4 large-ish potatoes in it up on end and buried it the ashes of my firepit, the paint held up well and cooked all 4 spuds in about 30 minutes.
I hope you enjoyed my first instructable
Please feel free to have a go and leave any feedback on the project.
Many thanks, Nigel B
Participated in the