Soda Can Stove




Introduction: Soda Can Stove

Stove made out of two soda cans, aluminum beverage cans.  Used for backpacking, camping or just for fun.  Runs on an alcohol fuel.

Step 1: Materials

2 Soda/pop cans aluminum beverage cans
Drill - 3/32 inch drill bit
Utility knife, x-acto knife

Tips- start cuts away from measurement lines on can, cut off the excess can then cut close to the line
Note: Take caution during construction and use of the stove.  Cutting aluminum cans will create sharp edges.  Open flame during use will be hot!

Step 2: Drill Holes in Bottom of One Can

Drill 16 evenly spaced holes at the bottom of one can using a drill and 3/32” drill bit. This will be the top to the stove.

Step 3: Cut Main Opening in Can Bottom

Cut the main opening by cutting out the center of the bottom of the can using an x-acto knife. 

Hint: Go over the area with the knife a few times before cutting all of the way through.

Step 4: Cut Bottom of Can of Can

Cut out the top by measuring 3/4” from the bottom of the can (the can bottom with the holes in it).

Hint: Make a hole to start with using the x-acto knife, then use scissors to cut the can.

The second picture shows what you should have so far.

This will be the stove top.

Step 5: Cut Bottom of Stove

On the other can, measure and cut 1” from the bottom.  This will create the bottom of the stove.

The second picture is what the bottom of the stove looks like.

Step 6: Cut Inner Wall

Cut a 1 3/8” wide strip from either can.  This will become the inner wall of the stove.  You may want to cut a larger piece from the can then trace out a rectangle the correct width. 

Step 7: Put Inner Wall Together

Fit the strip to the inside groove of the stove bottom.  Cut slits on both ends of the strip to hold the piece together.

Step 8: Cut Fuel Slots in Inner Wall

Cut 3 equally spaced 1/4” by 1/4” slots in the inner wall.

The second picture shows the final inner wall

Step 9: Fit Stove Together

Place the inner wall inside the bottom of the stove, with the fuel slots on the bottom. Place the top of the stove over the top and bend the rim to fit inside the lip on the bottom piece.

Hint: Cut small slits in the top of the stove to assist in bending it to get it inside the bottom.

Be careful to not put any holes or large tears in the bottom of the can, as this means you will need a new bottom.

Step 10: Final Prodcut

For a bare metal finish use steel wool (#0000) or something similar to remove paint of can.  #0000 leaves barely noticable scratches in the surface. 

To use: Fill middle opening of stove about half way with fuel. Take caution when lighting.  Light in the large, main opening.  Burns about 10-15 minutes.  Allow all fuel to burn out before storage.  To heat a pot, stabilize pot over the stove using rocks as a stand.

Fuel                                                        Where to Find
Denatured Alcohol                 Hardware Store paint section
Pure Ethanol                           Liquor Store
pure Methanol                         Hardware Store paint section
(Wood Alcohol)
Fuel Line Antifreeze               Convince Stores & Gas Stations Methanol based, HEET Yellow Bottle
Rubbing Alcohol                     Drug Store

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17 Discussions

Hi mate. I made a pop can stove this afternoon and when i lit it, the jets around the edge put out flame but the center did also. Is there something i did wrong? I think the inner tube cuts may have been a little rough so could that be the problem?
Thank you

Now this looks professional and safer than most I've seen. I am encouraged to make this one. I would have liked to se a picture of it in use with how to use fuel ratio.

I've made four different alcohol stoves based on different instructables, and this is by far my favorite. The others are harder to light, requiring you to hold a flame to the outside of the can to get the alcohol hot enough to produce fumes. After testing them all out, I threw the others away and am now making a bunch of this version to give to my family and friends for their camping packs and bug out bags. Excellent instructable!

AWSOME could save some ones life

great, it looks like a trangia burner, but much cheaper. tony

Side note, especially about the 'Open flame during use will be hot' statement, Imagine, hot enough to melt the aluminum itself! I put one of these inside an old Sterno stove frame, and put the disc I scored out of the 2nd can bottom, on top.. Within a minute, the piece which was about only an inch from the top of the cans, melted and fell into the center well.. so yes, it DOES produce enough heat!

nice finished look for something made out of trash. We are ready for the post nuclear apocalypse lifestyle!

1 reply

Actually, I had mine ready to go when Hurricane Sandy blew through New England.. Thankfully, never needed them.. but the southern sections got hit pretty good.

Great! if you did this with a couple of Fosters cans or even bigger two hieneken mini kegs, wow this is complety scale able.

1 reply

I did the same with a pair of "Steel Reserve" cans someone dumped near a bridge riser, (while out Geocache hunting.) The only drawback, is it doesn't really add more heat.. But it is still do-able. I still can't quite perfect it enough to post, but the soda/beer can size is possible with just a single can, simply scoring out the center disc of the top.. I imagine the Foster's can version would be about the size of a standard marine alcohol stove.

I can't quite get a clean-cut on the prototypes I've been trying to make, but the whole can stove with the open top, can also be made with just a single can, by cutting the top end about the same distance as from the bottom, but carefully using a knife point to score along the inside of the top, inside the flat with the opening, and using a strip of the can side not used, as the catalyst. (to carry heat from the top, down into the alcohol.) It's the scoring part that I keep mucking up.. sometimes too much, sometimes too little, and it ends-up tearing, which pretty much ruins the end to be pushed into.. But, just scoring the inside of the top, inside the center rib, does work just as well as using a 2nd can bottom.

This is the first "can stove" that I felt I could effectively build/use. Great design! I haven't tested it yet, I'll have to do that in a little bit. But here's a pic!

1 reply

Well done Instructable! Every step is easy to follow. Needs be Featured!