Solar Powered Stove Using 100% Recycled Materials





Introduction: Solar Powered Stove Using 100% Recycled Materials

This is an exercise in recycling and alternative energy use. I used a discarded 62 inch satellite dish and used CD's to create this along with materials that I had laying around. Nothing was purchased for this project.

Step 1: Making the Base/stand

I did not have the base, so I made one from 3" ABS plastic pipe inserted in the ground about 18". I then filled it with concrete and re-rod for stability.

Step 2: Attaching CD's

I used a combination of 1/8" X 3/4" fender washers and #4 by 3/8" machine screws for most of the CD's and a tube of leftover silicone adhesive to attach the outer 2 rows. If you have a fiberglass dish, you would simply use the silicone adhesive for all. The CD's were procured from a high school. They were obsolete. The pre-recorded read only discs seem to last longer and produce slightly more reflectivity than recordable discs.

Step 3: Making the Cooker

This unit did not come with the receiver. I estimated the focal point using the existing supports for the original receiver. All the parts were things I had in the garage. I also happen to have a welder. Depending on what type of cooker you decide to use will dictate the type of support you should fabricate. I used a 10 x12 wire cooker but you can use anything you have. It must swivel though.
You adjust the distance from the focal point to change temperature and to allow use of different cooking vessels.

Step 4: Aiming Device

Using the original dish adjuster is perfect for aligning the dish. I believe that this is a 24 volt DC adjuster. I only had a 12 volt battery available. It works but is slower.

Step 5: Getting the Alignment With the Sun

I used a sheet of paper under the dish at the point where it swivels. There is a round opening in the center of the dish. When the sun makes a nice circle in the center you are real close. The final aim is based on observing where the reflection of sun hits the cooker itself. Do not tighten the bolts that allow the dish to swivel on the base. You will use this for following east to west. The electric tilt adjuster is used to fine tune the position of the dish in relation to elevation of sun
north- south.

Step 6: Testing the Temperature

These pictures show a temperature of 400 degrees. This is adequate for my uses. In an earlier experiment I had CD's covering every available square inch of the surface of the dish. It produced over 800 degrees. More that I needed for cooking. Do not try to retrieve anything from the focal area without a leather glove on. If that didn't come to mind right away then you maybe shouldn't try this.



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    83 Discussions

    This instructable reminded me of this:

    Has anyone tried using the CDs in a box-type cooker? I'm wondering how the reflectivity compares with tin foil for that purpose. I have a LOT of old CDs, great idea to use them! (My only reservation with the dish for cooking is that I have cats that might try to check out an open stationary dish system, and i wonder about wildlife also - birds, squirrels.)also other Q - has anyone tried using the dish concept for water heating? I'm trying to imagine a circulating system to storage in the water heater tank, or something. ?? Thanks for the ingenuity!

    Last summer, I made something similar - but different. My goal was a solar cooker, only instead of an old dish and CDs, I busted up a rather large wooden pallet for the 3x3's it was made with, built a crude frame and mounted a huge Fresnel lens from a 65" projection tv. However it turned out to be something more like lemonie's Death Ray idea - in the mid day summer sun I had it at about 2100-2200 degrees Fahrenheit at its most focused point. I tried cooking a hot dog under it and even with the food well away from the most focused point, it still turned into charcoal. So I switched gears and started melting pennies.

    17 replies

    Great idea using the lens from the TV! I think I'm going to plunk around a recycling center and see if they let me take one.

    By chance was that a frozen hot dog? If you put a hot dog that is frozen in a microwave it turns to charcoal or an ash like substance.

    I don't know what kind of hot dogs or microwave you have, but I used to microwave frozen hot dogs all the time. I would par-cook about 100 of them them on a really hot BBQ grill to get a nice dark exterior, then freeze them so I could enjoy a hot dog that tasted like it was from the grill all winter long. Right out of the freezer and into the microwave for 90 seconds, and they were perfect.

    A hot dog is just meat. People microwave frozen meat all the time. It doesn't mysteriously flash into ashy charcoal. There's no reason why it should, unless you're talking about microwaving for a very long time - well past the point of it being very hot. In that case, almost anything with fat in it will turn to charcoal, given enough time, and it doesn't have to be frozen before hand.

    If you put the microwave on thaw you can usually cook a frozen dog. But if you put it on high with continuous high energy it will turn into a disaster. It will not have any moisture in it at all and will crush into a powder with ease. Try it.

    I'm telling you, I used to do this all the time. Frozen dogs wrapped in a paper towel right into the micro. I must have done it 100 times. Maybe wrtapping it in a paper towel makes a difference, or maybe the brand of hot dog makes a difference, I don't know. They were, perhaps, a little dryer and slightly more "rubbery" than non-frozen hot dogs cooked in the microwave, but I never had one "crush into powder" on me.

    I'll take your word that it can happen under the right circumstances, though. Do you have a theory for exactly what's happening when they turn into "powder"?

    I lol'd at this "So I switched gears and started melting pennies" I love when something you build turns out to work just way to well for what you want to use it for practically so it then a case of lets see what damage it can do.

    I would love a Fresnel lens to play with, but in Ireland there is just not enough sun shine to validate the expense of lens.

    You should try reflecting the focused light onto the bottom of a case iron pot or skillet with a mirror.  Check out greenpowerscience on youtube.

    try scotland its even colder, but just after its snowed there will be a bit of sunshine ,try then (Still to make one so not to sure).

    Its too cold out now, but my future plans with this beast is to use it to power a solar oven to bake fresh bread.

    Simple alternative for expensive lens prepare sandwitch of plain glass on one side other side convex glass or glass dish fill gap with water , you can have bigger lens.

    Where can I find a large fresnel lens? I don't need one that large and I would prefer to spend less than 50 dollars.

    Keep on the look out for when someone throws out a large projection tv. The front screen is a huge fresnel lens. Thats where I got mine.

     Try a company that makes the lenses for Stop Lights, most of them are
    Fresnel lenses,  fixed to keep people from jumping lights, At least in Chicago

    search craigslist constantly in the free section and wait till someones getting rid of a projection tv. free lens dude.