Intro: Copper Plumbing Alcohol Backpacking Stove
A compact alcohol wick stove made from copper plumbing.
I have cooked quite a few individual meals with this stove and have taken it backpacking. It is a little heavier than the ultralight stoves and It is not as powerful as compressed fuel stoves but I like the fact that it is durable, stable, refillable, and it uses relatively safe, clean burning alcohol; stored in the stove stand itself so I don't have to carry a separate fuel canister.
It is made from fairly standard copper plumbing supplies found at most big box hardware stores.
My personal motto: "If I can't find it at my local hardware store I don't build with it." I hate special order parts!
Step 2: List of Components
(1) Brass 3/8" compression fitting (compression ring and tube nut not needed) Ref. photo red box
(1) 3/8" brass "oil heater" cap
(1) #8 rubber o-ring
(1) fiberglass "Tiki" torch wick
(6) 3/4" copper coated steel pipe hangers
Step 3: List of Components Cont.
(1) 1" dia. copper pipe approx. 1" in length
(1) 1" dia. copper pipe connector fitting with internal stop (an internals stop is a formation at the mid-point of the connector that prevents a pipe from being inserted more than half way into the fitting)
(2) 1" dia. Copper "Stub Out" (It is a 1" dia copper pipe with a reduced 1/2" dia opening at one end and the other end is sealed. Purchased at Home Depot )
(1) 1" dia. copper pipe connector fitting without internal stop
Step 4: Assemble the Fuel Storage Chamber
1. Press the O-ring into the Brass Cap
2. Sweat solder the brass Compression Fitting onto the Stub Out . Instructions on sweating copper pipe fittings can be found elsewhere. It is fairly easy requiring lead free solder, flux, and a propane torch. I won't detail it here.
Important: Just make sure you sweat the fitting onto an empty Stub Out and without the Wick or Cap installed
3. install a "Tiki" Wick into the Stub Out. You will have to pinch it slightly to fit it into the opening of the Compression Fitting.
Make sure it is pushed all the way to the bottom.
4. Trim the Wick to be about 1/2" above the Compression Fitting.
Step 5: Adding Fuel
1. Remove the Wick and fill the Stub Out with Alcohol
Critical Safety Note
Only fill this stove with rubbing Alcohol! (Isopropyl or Ethyl) Both are sold at most drug stores.
(Ethyl is recommended because it will not leave soot on the bottom of cookware like isopropyl.)
NEVER USE PETROLEUM BASED FUELS LIKE LIGHTER FLUID OR GASOLINE.
Their explosive properties make them too dangerous to use in this type of stove.
2. Reinstall the Wick; pushing it down flush with the top of the Compression Fitting. This will allow the cap to be installed.
3. Screw the Cap and O-ring assembly onto the Compression Fitting.
Note: If you choose to fill the stove at this point, the cap should be in place for the remaining steps. Photos in the next steps are shown without a cap because they were done with an empty stove.
Step 6: Construct Base Legs and Pan Support Arms
1. Remove the sharp pointed ends of all (6) Pipe Wire Hangers. Cut about 1/4" off each end with a hack saw and lightly file the ends to smooth (two ends per hanger - twelve cuts total).
'Important: Make sure to remove the same amount of material from all hanger ends so that length of all twelve ends are the same.
2. Set aside (3) of the hangers at this point. They are the Base Legs and are complete as is.
3. Bend the remaining (3) hangers as shown in the bottom photo to form the Pan Support Arms .
The lengths, and angles are approximate. For each hanger, the resultant angle between the large looped end and the two short ends should be 90 degrees. The goal is to have the large looped ends horizontal (to hold a pot or pan) when the short ends are inserted vertically in the stove top.
Important: It is critical that the lengths and angles of the bends are consistent for all three hangers. You want all of these parts to be as identical as possible to ensure that a pot or pan place on the stove is level.
Step 7: Construction Complete
The hangers on the left in the picture below are the Pan Support Arms.
The hangers on the right in the picture are the Base Legs
At this point the fabrication of the stove components is complete.
The next steps detail the assembly of the stove for use.
Step 8: Installation of the Base Legs
1. Slide the Connector Fitting (the one without the internal stop) onto the tapered end of the Stub Out . Slide it on until it just starts to be retained on the full diameter of the stub out.
2. Insert the ends of each Base Leg into the Connector Fitting. Slightly squeeze the leg ends together to get all three legs to fit in the fitting. Note: the spring force of the leg ends will help to "self center" the the legs in the proper splayed position.
3. Place the stove on a flat surface an push down on the Stub Out to fully seat the stub out in the Connector Fitting. The leg ends will be trapped between the tapered end of the stub out and the fitting. This keeps the legs horizontal; preventing them from "folding up" and tipping the stove.
Note: The holes drilled into the sides of the Connector Fitting are optional, and are not described here. They were added to store the legs when the stove is disassembled. The photos on the last page show the base legs in the stored position using these holes.
Step 9: Installation of Connector Fitting and Small Pipe Section
1. Slide the Connector Fitting (the one with the internal stop) onto the Stub Out it should stay in place without soldering.
2. Slide the Small Pipe Section into the fitting. This will make the inside diamater the proper size to retain the ends of the Pan Support Arms.
Step 10: Insert Pan Support Arms
1. Slide each of the Pan Support Arms into the gap between the "flats" on the brass Compression Fitting and the Small Pipe Section
Step 11: Assembly Complete
At this point your stove is assembled and is ready to use.
Remove the Cap and light.
Step 12: More Photos in the Stored Position
These are some pictures of the stove in the stored position.
Hopefully you can figure it out from the shots.
Hint: Make sure the hole sets are offset verticallly so the when the ends of the legs are pushed in they do not collide with the ends from the opposing legs. Photo (3)
Note: An elastic "pony tail hair band" is shown holding the legs and arms together at the top.