Rocket Stove

Introduction: Rocket Stove

The biofuel rocket stove aims to tackle the problem of sustainability that we face today, on a small scale because we believe that acting locally will benefit us globally. It is becoming increasingly important to reuse and recycle our resources and so we have come up with a stove that uses materials that are relatively easy to find within close proximity of modern-day living: i.e. tin. Tin can be found in packaging of certain foods such as canned fruit, legumes and sauces. However, if tin is not accessible it can also be replaced with other materials (preferably other types of metals such as tin or steel) due to the simplicity of the stove and therefore the stove remains usable to many different communities. Furthermore, we used biofuel to power our stove as again that is accessible, easy to find and comes in many different forms. Most importantly, our goal was not only to create a stove that uses recycled materials but also to create a stove that does not require electricity, which again allows this stove to be replicated by many communities including those who do not have access to electricity or to those who cannot afford gas powered stoves.


  • 1 Large aluminum tin can (used for canning food or sauce)
  • 1 Medium aluminum tin can
  • Can opener
  • Pop rivet gun
  • Pop rivets
  • Metal shears
  • Duct tape
  • Pliers
  • Sheet metal hole punch
  • Hand drill
  • Center punch
  • Biofuel (dried straw)

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Step 1: Collect Materials

Obtain 1 large and 1 medium aluminum tin can. We used recycled tin cans from our dining halls. The cans previously contained pasta sauce and pickled peppers.

Step 2: Trace

Using a marker, trace the outline of the medium can onto the large can.

Step 3: Drill & Cut

Drill a hole around the center of the circle that was traced from step 2, then use metal shears to cut from the hole to about two inches away from the outline.

Step 4: Punch Holes!

Next, using a sheet metal hole punch (use size that allows for an inch leftover between the hole that will be created and the outline), punch a hole within the outlined circle.

Step 5: Fitting

Use a scratch paper to trace about an inch of the large can then cut. Tape the cut out onto the medium can and trace it on both sides (this step is to allow the medium can to connect to the large can with as minimal opening as possible). Make sure that the two outlines created are equidistant from each other/ are parallel; the medium can will not fit the side of the large can if this is not done properly.

Step 6: Cut Outlines

Using the metal shears, cut the outline traced on the medium can. Check to see if it fits around the large can. Trim excess material if necessary.

Step 7: Lines and Tracing

In the large can, use a marker to create lines from the hole to the outline traced. The lines should be .25 inches apart from each other.

Step 8: Cutting & Plying

Next, cut along these lines up to the outline using the metal shears. Then, using the pliers bend the “tabs” created by this process outwards.

Step 9: Let's Put It Together!

Fit the medium can into the hole created on the large can, make sure that the “tabs” fit inside the medium can. Secure the two cans together temporarily using duct tape.

Step 10: Drilling and Using Rivets

Clamp a scrap wood on the bench clamp to help with the next steps. Use center stamp to create a dent on the medium can, make sure that it is positioned so that a “tab” is right beneath. Then using the hand drill, drill a small hole to fit a rivet into. Again, make sure that hole is centered relative to the “tab” underneath the medium can and that drill goes all the way through. After the hole is created, insert the rivet using the pop rivet gun. Repeat these steps for all the “tabs” to make sure the two cans are secured together.

Step 11: More Holes!

Next drill small holes above the large can then use the metal hole punch to have a nice clean medium size hole; holes should be 2 ⅜ in. apart. The holes are for air flow (fire needs oxygen).

Step 12: All Done!

The process of devising a plan for a project and being able to actually implement it was incredibly interesting. Throughout the project we faced many difficulties and lumps, however, being able to get past them and creating a product that was able to achieve our ultimate goal was incredible. It was a genuinely an inspiring experience as it allowed us to realize that we spend so much time talking about ideas and plans for the future, but often those plans are just plans. Just some words and sketches scribbled on loose leaf paper. Yet, this process allowed us to realize that if you allocate enough time and effort you can produce something that can have an impact on your local community and communities internationally. As Capra discusses in his book Hidden Connections, businesses are like living beings, but we realized through this process that we should also look at products as living beings. Products do not progress in a entirely linear manner, however we are motivated by the “ desire to secure unprecedented financial gain”, thus, we look at products and businesses as “machines for making money”. However, we should reframe our thinking and look more at the elements within our ecosystem in order to reduce the amount of lumps and produce products that are sustainable and accessible. Overall, we our content with our final product and believe that it has changed our outlook on the way in which we address problems of sustainability.

Hope you have fun making this biofuel rocket stove, and let us know if you are able to come up with any solutions to some of the problems we faced during the process. Thank you!

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    2 Discussions


    1 year ago

    First of all, thank you for posting this instructable. It shows how to make a contained fire stove that can be used in almost any environment and is dirt simple to make. Making stoves of this kind was a hobby of mine for several years. It has been a fascinating hobby that I miss (I can't continue because of where I am living now). So don't be afraid of exploring other possibilities. There are a couple of things that must be pointed out:

    The cans you are using are not aluminum cans. They are tin plated steel cans. I noticed also that you didn't show sturdy gloves in your making of the stove. Without gloves even if you are careful you can donate more blood to your project than you would ever want to.

    Also there are other more efficient designs out there to explore. Some with near smokeless capabilities. And don't forget the wood gasifier stove. My favorite was the one I used to make my tea every day. My fuel of choice was junk mail. I hope you get as much enjoyment from this hobby as I have over the years. Take care.


    1 year ago

    Cool project, and nicely executed. Thanks for sharing the details!