In this guide I'll show you how to make an easy alcohol stove from an aluminium can/bottle.
I know... You are probably thinking "Yet another alcohol stove? Really??"
Well..I know that the internet is full of tutorials, videos and photos that explain how to make an alcohol stove but... Why not?! I decided to make an instructable too! ahaha
This instructable is inspired to the "budweiser aluminium bottle stove" but since here in Italy I found just glass beer bottles, I decided to make the stove using two empty spray mousses for hairstyles (which are made of aluminium too).
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Step 1: Materials & Tools
- 2 spray mousses for hairstyles (one for the stove, and the other for the crimping die)
- marking pen
- drill (with 1mm drill bit)
- rotary tool (with cutting wheel and 2mm engraving cutter bit)
- pair of pliers
Step 2: Prepare the Aluminium Cans
Since we are going to cut the cans, first of all we need to "dismount" them. You can easily do it using a pair of pliers.
As you can see in the pictures above, once you removed (or broken) the plastic spout, you just have to carefully lift the metal "cap" paying attention to not ruining the can. (Since we need just one "top part" of the two cans, if you ruin one, you still have another attempt)
Even if the cans were empty, you'll need to clean them because they still contain some mousse.
P.S. Save the clear plastic tubing for another project! You can never know when it will be useful!
Step 3: Mark the Cans
Now take a can and mark 2 lines all around it. The first one at 3cm from the top, and the second one at 4,5cm from the bottom.
On the other can we need to mark a line at 2,5cm from the bottom. This part will act as crimping die (Step 6 and step 8).
Step 4: Cut the Cans
In order to cut straight lines, I suggest you to use a cutting wheel mounted on a drill press.
In this way, you just need to spin the can pushing the flat side on the drill press table, while the cutting wheel will do the job. This is the simplest method to make straight cuts (photo #5).
(As you can see in the second picture, since my homemade drill press is not high enough, I had to cut the cans by hand about 2cm over the marked lines.)
Step 5: Make the Notches for the Fuel
Now you have to create 4 notches for the fuel on the small circle of the 3cm piece.
Since this part will go inside the 4,5cm piece, the notches are needed to allow the fuel to enter in the inside chamber of the stove.
I did them with my rotary tool using a 2mm engraving bit.
Step 6: Create a Crimping Die
As I said before, the bottom side of the second can is needed to create the crimping die.
It will be used later (Step 8) in order to roll the excess of the 4,5cm piece creating a nice (and not sharp) edge.
Since you need to enlarge its diameter you have to use a vise to push the 4,5cm piece inside of it. Before doing it, remember to drill a hole on the bottom, and to spray some WD-40.
Once you have reached the bottom (as in the 5th picture) you can twist the two pieces to separate them.
Step 7: Combine the Two Parts Together
Then use the vise to push the 3cm piece inside of the 4,5cm one (obviously with fuel notches on the bottom).
Once you obtained something like photo #4, you can take the junk part of the can used for the crimping die, to hammer and push the 3cm piece until the bottom.
At this point the stove is almost done. We still need to drill the holes for the fuel, but since the top edge is now sharp, we need to fix that problem using the crimping die created in the 6th step.
Step 8: Roll the Top Edge
Now we need to roll the sharp edges toward the inside of the can.
Spray some WD-40 inside the crimping die, put it over the stove as in the third photo and compress them in the vise.
As you feel it harder, stop and check the result. Don't press too much or it will break.
NOTE: If they don't fit together, like in my case, don't panic! You can easily fix that problem by hammering the crimping die over a spray paint can (photo #2).
Step 9: Mark and Drill the Holes
Finally we can drill the holes. I choose to drill 16 holes of 1mm.
In order to space them equally apart, take the circumference of the can thanks to a strip of scotch, and then divide that measure by 16.
As you can see from the second picture, the two pieces of the stove will create an internal chamber. The holes must be located at the top of that chamber.
NOTE: Pay attention to drill just the outside piece!
Step 10: Try It Out
Will it work? Try it to discover if you made everything correctly! ;)
As you can see from the video above, my stove works perfectly!
Pour some alcohol inside the stove, light it up using a magnesium fire starter or a lighter, and wait for the alcohol. Once it will reached the right temperature, it will evaporate inside the internal chamber creating fumes that will take fire creating 16 small gorgeous flames.
(In my test, 25cl of water boiled after 1 minute and 25 seconds using about 15ml of alcohol)
Step 11: Enjoy Your Handmade Camping Stove
Finished! After about one hour of work, it's so satisfying to see it working.
As you can see in the 1st picture in the past years I made other DIY alcohol stoves of different shapes, height and style, but I had always the same problem: their fragility. Indeed, since they were made out of thin aluminium, I was always worried to accidentally ruin them in my bag (and...yes! noticing that you've broken something that you made with your hands it's really sad).
This version instead is very strong and I can easily stand on it without problems (I weight 80kg).
Furthermore, since is quite small, it can be neatly stored in a bug out bag. It fits perfectly in a 35cl aluminium camping cup together a small bottle of alcohol.
Thank you for reading. ;)
Feel free to comment and ask if you need to know something!