So what we have here is an easy to make mini alcohol stove aka the penny stove. This useful camping tool is small, versatile, and easy to use. It can run on any type of alcohol, but you might want to stick with denatured alcohol, ethanol, or HEET (methanol). There is no need to go to the store for this project as everything you need can be found in your house. These are super easy to make, I've completed 4 of them and broken 1 while making it. Hope you have fun with this!
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Step 1: Gathering the Materials
Here's what you'll need
- 2 aluminum cans (soda, tea, beer, etc.)
- Fiberglass (insulation) or cotton balls- Optional but reccomended
- A blade
- A pushpin
- About an inch high surface to rest the blade on
- Needle nose pliers
Step 2: Sanding the Can
Now you need to take one of your cans and sand approximately 1 1/2 inches of the bottom of only one can. 400 grit should be fine but nothing coarser than 300. Steel wool should also work.
Step 3: Scoring the Can
After you are done with the sanding, take your approximate 1 inch surface ( any size is fine, but the most practical size is about an inch) and place the blade on top of it. I used a shorter stove of mine that I already made for my surface. Put the can against the blade and the surface, and turn it. Do this about 3-6 times to both cans.
Step 4: Separating the Pieces
Make a slit with your blade into the line that you scored into the can. After this just press around the can on the top side. DO NOT PRES ON THE BOTTOM SIDE OR YOU WILL DENT THE CAN. You should have a 2 pretty cleanly cut bottom pieces by the end of this.The edges will be sharp so do be careful not to cut yourself.
Step 5: Crimping the Edge
On your unsanded can take your pliers and crimp the edges the can. Careful not to overdo it or else you will tear the can. At the end you will something resembling an unusually large bottle cap.
Step 6: Putting the Cans Together
After you have crimped the edges of the unsanded can, take the sanded one, put it on top of the crimped one, and push down gently but firmly. Be careful not to push all at once or the can might tear (it happened to me and I had to start over). The cans should fit pretty tightly at the end.
OPTIONAL- It is highly recommended that you either put fiberglass/insulation or cotton balls in the bottom can. This will soak up the alcohol when you pour it in so there is much less risk of it spilling, overflowing, and generally just setting other things on fire.
Step 7: Poke the Holes
Next, you take your thumbtack and your hammer. Poke a few holes in the middle (3 or 4 should be fine, they should be grouped tightly enough to be covered by a penny). After that, poke holes around the edge of the can. Space them about a centimeter apart.
Step 8: You Are Done!!!
You have finished your Penny Stove! Now all you have to do is light it. To do this take the lid of some kind of can for beans, tomatoes, or canned fruit (you can also use any other kind of tray but the can lid was convenient for me). Pour a little fuel in there and put the stove on top. Fill the stove with your alcohol and cover the middle with a penny. Now, just light the priming tray and voila!