Altoids/Sucrets Tin Stove W/ Pot Stand




Introduction: Altoids/Sucrets Tin Stove W/ Pot Stand

This instructable is devoted to how to make an alcohol-burning stove made from materials that would normally be thrown away, like an Altoids or Sucrets tin, a wire clothes-hanger, some cotton balls, pieces of a soup can, a wire grid, and more!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Here's what you'll need for this project:

  • An empty Altoids or Sucrets tin. I used a Sucrets tin that I found with my dad's old fishing gear, but an Altoids tin will work fine.
  • A small, empty bottle. Here I used an empty, 1.7 ounce shampoo bottle from a hotel.
  • An old wire clothes-hanger. (it can even be broken)
  • An empty soup can or biscuit tin lid. I used the ends of a Pillsbury biscuit container, which is basically the same as a piece of an aluminium soup can.
  • A piece of wire gridding or mesh. I used some wire gridding I found in my shed because I didn't want to cut up a strainer.
  • 8-10 cotton balls. This is one of the few items that is not reused from trash. :)
  • An elastic band. A rubber band will work fine, but I decided to reuse a band that broke off of my shoulder pads for lacrosse.

Six of these items were reused from trash in this project, all except the cotton balls.

You need very few tools to make the project:

  • pliers or multi tool
  • sewing needle and a small amount of thread
  • wire cutter (if you don't have it on your pliers or multi tool)
  • a Sharpie or other permanent marker

Step 2: Making the Stove

Using your pliers, take the lid off of the bottom of the tin. I had to bend back a little tab of metal on the lid to free it from the metal rod used as a hinge. Yours might be a little different, but study it and you'll work it out.

Take the wire grid and tin and trace the outside of the tin onto the wire, marking it with a Sharpie. Use your wire cutters to cut the grid or mesh to the size of your tin.

Next, take your cotton balls and lay them inside of your tin. Try and push them down to leave a little room between them and the lip of the tin. This is where your wire mesh or grid will go, and where your collapsable pot stand will rest when you pack up your stove.

Finally, take the grid or mesh put it on top of the cotton balls. You may need to trim it a little bit to make it fit, but DON'T TRIM IT TOO MUCH! If you make it too small, it won't want to stay in the stove. It should be just small enough to fit inside the tin but still large enough to get caught beneath the lip at the edge.

And that's it! Now that you have your stove done, we can move on to the pot stand.

Step 3: Making the Pot Stand

Take your clothes-hanger(s) (you might need two) and mark one inside length of the short side of the tin on the straight part of the clothes-hanger. Next, from that mark you just made, measure the inside length of the long side of the tin. Finally, make another mark the same length as the first length. The first mark (the point from where you started from on the first mark) is mark A and the last mark is mark D. Cut the wire at marks A and D. Next bend the wire at the other marks 90 degrees, to make a kind of large "U" shape. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT IT FITS INSIDE THE TIN. Otherwise, you won't be able to fit in inside when you pack up the stove. If it doesn't, tweak it a little until it does. Repeat this process two more times until you have 3 "U"s.

Next cut 3 rectangle strips from your soup can or biscuit tin as long as length AB or CD (look at the first picture for clarity) and about and inch wide. It should be fairly malleable, so use your pliers to roll it up. It should be tight enough to snugly fit when two "U" sides are pushed through it to connect them. Roll up all the strips.

Now you have finished the pot stand. To set it up, fit two sides of a "U" into one of the aluminium tubes and repeat with the other sides until you form a triangle shape. This structure is very sturdy if made correctly and will be able to hold any amount of food or water put into any sized pot. It fits around the tin stove like in the picture. You can also use the lid as a kind of pan if you need/want to. I would just suggest sanding off the paint (I don't know what kind of fumes it would release if burned off).

To collapse the stand and pack up the stove, take apart the pot stand and put the "U"s and aluminium tubes inside the tin while pushing down on the cotton balls. Put the lid back on and you're ready to go!

You're pot stand can also be used on a soda can alcohol stove, sometimes called a penny stove. However, this design allows it to be packed away in the Altoids/Sucrets tin into a nice, all in one bundle.

Step 4: Other Amenities for Your Stove

I decided that I wanted to add some stuff to my stove to make it more functional. First off, you'll need a small, 1-2 oz. bottle. I peeled away the label and then marked the volume of the bottle on the outside. I prefer a smaller, 1.7 oz. used shampoo bottle because it was very close to the size of my tin, so it packed up better.

As a final touch, I took a broken elastic strap, fixed it, and used it as a band to secure the lid of the tin and to also secure the bottle. I took an elastic strap that broke off of my shoulder pads and took off the velcro. Then I took a sewing needle and some thread and quickly sewed together the ends of the strap making a small band. The sewing job doesn't have to be neat, just effective.

A lighter can also be squeezed in next to the bottle so that you have everything you need to cook your meal in this nice, neat little bundle!

Step 5: You're All Set!

And that's it! You're all done! Now you can go out and conquer the outdoors on your next backpacking, camping, or fishing trip. Or, just set it up at home while marveling at your own handiwork made mostly from a multitool.

However you choose to use it, thank you for taking the time to read this Instructable and for making my Altoids/Sucrets tin stove and the accompanying amenities. :)

DISCLAIMER: I trust that my audience is all very mature and capable of making the correct, responsible decisions, but for the other 1% out there, it is good to remind you that fire is dangerous. I am not liable for any damage or injury caused by this stove. You did not buy it from me, therefore it is your own handiwork. Be careful, respect the fire, and you will have a marvelous adventure.

Please vote for this project. I gained a lot of experience while working on this project and making this 'Ible. I am hoping that by entering in these contests and possibly winning a prize, I will be able to take the experience gained and apply it to creating more and better projects and Instructables. Of course, a prize wouldn't hurt in that endeavor as well. ;D

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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    So you didn't try this out afterward (which I'm assuming from your response below to voltan)? Is it regular rubbing alcohol, or drinking alcohol? How long does it burn? (Like, long enough to heat something up, or do you have to keep pouring more in while it's cooking?) This is adorable - and that it actually works (?) makes it awesome.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi victorious,

    You are correct, I did not try this out afterwards. My parents have a thing with their son starting small cooking fires in their backyard so I was unable to try it out. :)

    However, in theory this should work. As I am sure you know, the stuff that actually burns is the alcohol vapor, or at least that's the idea. I have heard rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol is the best, and is what I have in my house.

    As for burn time, I honestly have no idea. To be a well-performing stove it should at least be able to heat 1 L of water to boiling in one burn before having to refill it. So three things would effect burn time:

    1. Type of fuel/amount of fuel

    2. Environmental Conditions

    3. Whether or not the cotton balls catch fire :P

    The cotton balls are used to soak up more alcohol and give it a longer burn time, but if they catch fire it probably won't burn as long. I have seen other 'Ibles use this idea, but others have some kind of stone that they use. I don't have access to this material and this was made to be built from scratch materials.

    Sorry that was so long. I hope this answers your question.


    4 years ago

    Really cool! Thanks for sharing!

    Would this also work with petrolium Jelly on the cotton balls?


    Reply 4 years ago

    To be honest I am not really sure. I have always heard of petroleum jelly and cotton balls as a fire starter, but I am not sure. It all depends on how the jelly reacts to the heat. I imagine that if it combusts, it will burn off and the stove won't burn for very long. If not, it might act like candle wax and make the cotton balls burn slower. However, in this design, the cotton balls are just a reservoir to hold alcohol. It is not supposed to burn that much from what I understand. The alcohol vapor is what is really burning after it evaporates.

    Hope this was helpful!