Easy Single-Can Backpacking Stove

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Introduction: Easy Single-Can Backpacking Stove

70$ for a simple stove? That's outrageous! Well, here is a simple stove design made from only a single can. This stove is ultra-light, has a 0% failure rate in normal to extreme conditions, is dirt cheap, and runs on readily available fuel. Don't empty your wallet for something worse than what you can make at home! Without further ado, here is your stove.

Step 1: 1. Materials

To make the stove, you will need a few things.

MATERIALS
     -Soda can (Doesn't matter what brand, as long as it's aluminum.)
     -Optional: Aluminum tape (Not pictured)
TOOLS
     -Dremel OR X-acto (or similar)
     -Dremel cutting wheel attachment
     -Vise
     -Needle nose pliers
     -Marker

Step 2: 2. Cut the Top Half

To begin, You must start with the top half.
PICTURE 1
Choose a measurement to be used throughout your build. We used 3.5 cm. Draw a line around your can. This is the cut line.

PICTURE 2
Cut along this line as neatly as possible using your Dremel or knife.

PICTURE 3
Result.

PICTURE 4
Using a knife (a Dremel would be hard to use here), cut out the top of the can around the inside.
EDIT: According to SpinWard, you can also use a can-opener to cut it out (Which would be smoother). Thanks!

PICTURE 5
End result of entire step 2.



Step 3: 3. the Bottom Half

Now, you must cut the bottom half from the leftover can. For demonstration purposes, I have shown how to cut with an x-acto blade, but a Dremel will also work. Be sure to draw a line around the 3.5 cm (or whatever measurement you choose) line.

PICTURE 2 
Demonstrating how to set up the blade by clamping the blade in the vise.

PICTURE 3
Cut around the line you drew by rotating the can around the blade.

PICTURE 4
Result of Picture 3.

PICTURE 5 
Crimp the edge of the can by grabbing the edge of the can with your pliers and twist every 1/2 inch of so.

PICTURE 6
Result of entire step 3.


Step 4: 4. the Inner Wall

This inner wall is used to separate the fuel jets (where the fuel vaporises and cooks your food) from the inner chamber, where you put in the fuel.

PICTURE 1
This is what you are making.

PICTURE 2
Measure the same distance from the edge as you did the other parts and cut, as shown in picture 3. We use 3.5 cm.

PICTURE 4
Cut picture 4 in a straight line any where on the ring.

PICTURE 5
Fit the ring around the inside edge of the top half and mark a spot where the two sides overlap on either side of the ring, as in picture 6.

PICTURE 7
Cut halfway up each place where you marked the overlap, and fit them together, like in picture 8.

PICTURE 9
Cut three holes on the ring about 120 degrees apart from each other. These allow the fuel to flow to the fuel jets.

PICTURE 10
Place the inner wall around the lip on the inside of the top half with the holes facing up.

Step 5: 5. Put It Together

To complete the stove as shown in picture 1, put the bottom half inside of the upside down top half sub-assembly, around the outside of the inner wall. If the fit is not perfect, squeeze it together overnight using the vise. After you take it out, don't forget to poke holes! 18 holes is a good number to start with, but you can poke more or less depending on what results you want.

CONGRATULATIONS! You now have a fully functional, lightweight backpacking stove! Proceed to the next step to find out how to use it.

Step 6: 6. How to Use Your Stove

To use your stove, first fill it with the flammable fuel of your choice. I used 70% Isopropyl alcohol. I fill it about halfway so I don't flood it. Next, Use a barbecue-style lighter to light the alcohol. After you light it, it will look more like the last picture, with nothing coming out of the jets. After a few minutes, it will get hot enough to vaporize to fuel and look like the first picture.

EDIT: To make a wind shield/Pot stand, go to http://zenstoves.net/PotStands.htm

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    99 Discussions

    Just as a suggestion; it would probably burn hotter with Denatured Alcohol instead of hand sanitizer as it has a higher alcohol content and is made to be used as a fuel.

    6 replies

    I can say for sure that I used 70% rubbing alcohol in the one I made and used a thermal image camera on it, the camera only goes to 518 and as you can see in the photo the white hot area is sure to go well about 518F. Oh and the flames are all blue when using 70% denatured alcohol.

    First lighting on left, after jets have ignited is the second photo.

    If you want to see other fuels in thermal I will be able to when i return from Afghanistan and have access to them.

    IR_0039.jpgIR_0055.jpg

    Here is another option for campers. Get a small metal can of coffee, empty and squish full roll of toilet paper inside, you want it to fill the diameter. Now saturate with the 70% to 90% rubbing alcohol put plastic lid on until ready to use for a long lasting burner... also using a large coffee can, metal of course turn upside down and punch three holes near the original "bottom" of can. On rim cut a 2X3 inch notch. You now have a flat surface to cook on over a small fire, or even better yet one of these mini cook stoves! Plus if you did not want anyone to see your fire this would do the trick!

    Here is another option for campers. Get a small metal can of coffee, empty and squish full roll of toilet paper inside, you want it to fill the diameter. Now saturate with the 70% to 90% rubbing alcohol put plastic lid on until ready to use for a long lasting burner... also using a large coffee can, metal of course turn upside down and punch three holes near the original "bottom" of can. On rim cut a 2X3 inch notch. You now have a flat surface to cook on over a small fire, or even better yet one of these mini cook stoves! Plus if you did not want anyone to see your fire this would do the trick!


    Thats a cool picture. According to what other people have said, 70% Alcohol is much colder than 90% or Denaturated.

    Here is another option for campers. Get a small metal can of coffee, empty and squish full roll of toilet paper inside, you want it to fill the diameter. Now saturate with the 70% to 90% rubbing alcohol put plastic lid on until ready to use for a long lasting burner... also using a large coffee can, metal of course turn upside down and punch three holes near the original "bottom" of can. On rim cut a 2X3 inch notch. You now have a flat surface to cook on over a small fire, or even better yet one of these mini cook stoves! Plus if you did not want anyone to see your fire this would do the trick!


    Here is another option for campers. Get a small metal can of coffee, empty and squish full roll of toilet paper inside, you want it to fill the diameter. Now saturate with the 70% to 90% rubbing alcohol put plastic lid on until ready to use for a long lasting burner... also using a large coffee can, metal of course turn upside down and punch three holes near the original "bottom" of can. On rim cut a 2X3 inch notch. You now have a flat surface to cook on over a small fire, or even better yet one of these mini cook stoves! Plus if you did not want anyone to see your fire this would do the trick!

    I made one and put my pot over it and used it as a stand and stove setup, but the flow of oxygen seems to be restricted, is there any fix for this?

    I've made a couple of these before. definitely do not need a dremel. my dad is really into backpacking and found this a couple of years ago.
    tip: add house insulation (the pink stuff) inside the wall of the stove. it is inflammable and absorbs the alcohol.

    3 replies

    Yeah, one of my earlier designs had fiberglass init so you did not need to drain the stove every time you pack it up. That would be nice, but any where you add the insulation in this design would not work well.

    The glass wool insulation is a good safety feature. It does not have much effect on the burning but helps prevent spills of burning fuel if you happen to knock your stove over.

    flammable and inflammable mean the same thing. i believe you mean flame retardant or fire-proof

    why do u have the giant hole in the middle....mine has 3 holes from a pinprick. harder to light but it looks cooler when it burns

    best way is put a slightly larger can over it. That starves it of oxygen, therefore snuffing out the flame.

    Well, you have some options. You could blow it out if you are trying to conserve fuel, pour water on it, or let it burn out.

    This alcohol fire is too small for it to matter what you put on it. Also, I wouldn't recommend that you put dirt on your stove.