Have you ever run out of gas and been stuck on the side of a highway just blocks from a gas station? Well no more! With Insta-Gas, which can be made for $20, that humiliating, dangerous experience is a thing of the past! You still may run out, but with your own small, safe fuel supply in your trunk you will never be stranded again. Our container,costing $20 in supplies, can be assembled in less than a half hour over two days, has survived a 30 mile an hour impact, and after rigorous fire testing a fire marshall on hand stated that the "safety factor is going to be a very very large number".
The container is composed of a basic Nalgene® water bottle containing the fuel, and an outer shell of drain pipe padded with fire retardant Great Stuff®. This combination has survived a 30 mile an hour impact, the standard for fuel tanks, and sustained only an insubstantial fracture on of the outer shell that did not create a fuel leak. Even in a fire situation which we created with the assistance of a local fire department, the container withstood direct exposure 1400 degree fire for 5 minutes while placed just 3 inches from the source of flame. After this, the outer shell was burnt, but the inner Nalgene® was still intact.
Our invention is not just a container, but also an alternate fuel, which consists of methanol and mineral spirits. This mix has a high enough octane rating to prevent knocking or misfiring of the engine, and a high flash point, meaning that the liquid will not vaporize fast enough to become a fire hazard.
First off, you need to gather the materials:
Fire resistant Great Stuff® (a type of expanding insulation)
9 inches of 4"diameter PVC pipe
2x 4" diameter PVC pipe end caps
A standard 1 liter Nalgene® bottle
Basic funnel for easy pouring
600ml of mineral spirits
400ml of methanol
Step 1: Making the Caps
To make the caps, you will need:
-Your two 4" PVC endcaps
-Lots of paper towels
WARNING: Great Stuff® is extremely sticky, so wear gloves and eye protection while using it. Also, it is practically impossible to clean great stuff off of a surface, so put down cardboard or the like while making the caps.
1. Place the caps upside down on a flat surface.
2. Apply great stuff in a small dome inside the cap, leaving plenty of room from the edges as it expands. Keep the great stuff away from the inside edge of the cap, as this will prevent the cap from working properly.
3. Repeat with second cap.
4. Leave both caps to dry undisturbed for 12 hours (overnight is recommended).
5. After the caps have dried, you may want to drill a small (1/4" hole) in one endcap through the plastic and Great Stuff®. This will make it easier to remove the cap as it prevents the container from forming a vacuum.
Step 2: Add Great Stuff to the Bottle
1. Place the Nalgene bottle on a small riser to raise it up about 1/2 inch. A cut-off piece of a paper towel tube works well. You should do this in a place where it can be left over night undisturbed
2. Carefully set the pipe around the bottle, leaving equal space all the way around between the outside of the bottle and the inside of the pipe.
3. Insert the Great Stuff ® dispenser straw into the space between the bottle and the pipe and apply the Great Stuff ® while drawing the filler out, creating a pillar of Great Stuff ® in the crack around the bottle. Make sure to stop squirting about an inch from the top to prevent it from sticking to the cap. Also, keep the Great Stuff ® away from the lid as it will glue the lid shut. Repeat this about 5 times radially around the tube
5. Leave the enclosure to dry. Moving the container while the great stuff is drying may cause undesirable shifting of the Great Stuff ®
Step 3: Creating the Insta-Gas Fuel
1. Pour a 60:40 ratio of mineral spirits to methanol into a sealed container and shake well to mix the two.
2. The liquids will gradually separate over time, but a quick shake before pouring it into your gas tank will eliminate this issue
This picture is of a fire marshal with our Insta-Gas can after it was burnt in a controlled gas flame, the Nalgene was not damaged; the fuel did not escape or contribute to the fire.
Step 4: Wrapping It Up
When the container and caps have dried you are nearly finished. Just put the cap with the hole on top, this is the lid, you can easily fill the bottle with your fuel, and put it in the back of your car along with a funnel for easy pouring. The Insta-gas can has been tested for impacts up to 30 miles an hour, and has also survived being run over by a car; it has also been tested by the fire department to withstand direct flame for 5 minutes. Nonetheless, it is wise to secure it in the back of your car away from the gas tank, to ensure maximum safety.