Introduction: Sun in a Box

About: 17-year old machinist and inventor. Sometimes joined by best friend Hubert, the drone

Recently, I've started taking an Environmental Sustainability class and we had to create something useful out of recyclable materials. This was my original idea, however, I couldn't do it due to the lack of reflective material we were allowed to use. My idea was to create an enclosed area, where heat could be trapped and then reflected back into the box. In this case, a water distillation could be created as well as possible ways of creating a solar oven. This is especially useful if someone has issue when outside camping or even can be used as a basis for clean water in developing countries since it majorly uses common objects.


Step 1: Gather Your Minions!!


A box( it can sincerely be any box of a rectangular or square shape)

2 pieces of wood( 1foot by 2in by .5in)

A piece of wood 1 by 1 (height doesn't matter)

2 Water bottles (one seltzer and another regular one(like Poland Springs))

Zip Ties(Get a bag, they are wicked useful)

Plastic Wrap (A rolls)

Aluminum Foil(A roll)





Let's go capture the sun!!


1. Take your box and decide which side you want facing up. Cut the lid off your box. This will be where the magic happens, essentially where the sun rays occur. To think of this project, think that you're making an oven. All the heat occurs within the box and is transmitted from the outside

Next take your pieces of wood( the one-foot ones) and trace the width and one inch deep. This will be the slots where you place the wood. See pictures for reference

Step 3: Make Your Frame Part 1

1. First, gather the materials needed for this section. This includes all the pieces of wood mentioned in the materials section.

2. Take your one-inch piece of wood and align with the edge of the longer piece of wood. Draw a line. Repeat for both.

3. Drill Hole.

4. Take your one-inch wood and align with the edge of the slot you made in the previous step. Draw a line and drill hole approximately in center(doesn't really matter, as long as its close). Drill to other holes on either side

4. Using zip ties, attach the pieces of wood to the box. Repeating on both sides, loop one piece of zip tie through the hole of the box and the piece of wood; tightening so it sits on approximately a 45-degree angles. To secure the wood, loop the zip ties through the other adjacent holes, tightening until it can sit on the angle by itself. See pictures for reference.

5. Cut off excess material.

Step 4: Create the Distillation Unit

1. Take your seltzer bottle and cut it in half.

2. Drill a hole through the top half of the seltzer bottle. Then loop a zip tie through it.

3. Drill holes on opposite sides of the box, one inch down from the brim (not the sides with the wood), and loop the zip ties through both sides; then take another zip tie and connect, leading to tightening.

4. Place the bottom half of the seltzer on the bottom, directly beneath top half.

5. Take the regular water bottle and place inside

6. All should be directly beneath the top half of the seltzer.

Step 5: Cover!

Take your piece of plastic wrap and cover the top of the seltzer bottle. This will help trap heat inside and create a full circuit.

Step 6: Bring on the Sun!!!

Take your Plastic wrap and create a cone that reaches and rests on the wooden beams you created earlier.

Despite the fact it looks messy, don't be afarid to use several seperate sheets. In the future this will allow you to the bend the aluminum into different shapes to more directly focus the beams of sunlight throughout the day.


I tested by product by mixing water with salt and placing it in the normal water bottle. Then I left it out in the sun during a hot day. Later on, I returned and found that indeed the water had evaporated and trickled into the bottom part of the seltzer. However some did trickle out the sides, so perhaps in the future this can be revised to have a bigger bottom container. If any of you guys revise my design, please share

Happy inventing,


Solar Contest 2017

Participated in the
Solar Contest 2017

Outside Contest 2017

Participated in the
Outside Contest 2017