|Home Made Beer Can Stoves and Such
A beverage-can stove is a homemade, ultra-light portable stove. The simple design is made entirely from cans (typically
soft drink or beer cans) and burns alcohol, typically denatured. Countless variations on the basic design exist. Pepsi-brand
aluminum cans are often used because they have a bottom shape that lends itself to securing the stove's inner wall, and
because of this the stoves are sometimes called Pepsi-can stoves. The stove weighs 0.4 oz (10 g) and will boil two cups of
water in five minutes with two tablespoons of fuel. Total weight, including a windscreen/stand can be less than one ounce
(30 g). Due to the low weight compared to some commercial stoves, backpackers can reduce some pack weight with this
stove, which makes this design popular among ultralight backpackers. This advantage may be lost or reduced on hiking
trips that feature longer gaps between resupply stops, however, because the stove is less efficient and requires more fuel
than alternatives such as Esbit tabs, especially when cooking for more than one person.
The basic design dates back more than one hundred years. It consists of a double wall gas generator, a perforated
burner ring, and an inner pre-heat chamber. A similar design was patented in 1904 by New York coppersmith J.
Heinrichs. Trangia has been selling a commercial version of the design since the 1950s, Safesport marketed a stainless
steel stove in the 1990s. Interestingly the Trangia stove burner is made from brass, even though all the other associated
parts that come with it are aluminum. A plastic bag is provided for the burner so that when packed away the two dissimilar
metals do not develop corrosion.
In the unpressurized open-top design the double wall acts as a gas generator, transferring heat from the flame to the fuel.
This effect enhances combustion, producing more heat than other passive designs. The inner wall also creates a
convenient preheat chamber for starting the stove. Once the fuel has warmed up, its vapor will travel up the hollow wall,
pass through the perforations, and form a ring of flame. Vapor also rises from the center of the stove, but will pass
through the ring of flame for efficient combustion, as long as a pot is over the stove. Other pressurized designs aim for
efficient combustion through closing off the fuel chamber after filling or filling through the gas jet holes.
The stove is made from two aluminum can bottoms. An inner wall is cut and rolled from can material. A ring
of holes is pierced into the top with a pin. Parts are glued with high-temperature epoxy or sealed with
thermal foil tape. Total height is less than two inches (50 mm), though dimensions can be increased to hold
more fuel or decreased to take up even less space.
The choice of aluminum has several advantages: light weight, low cost, and good thermal conductivity to
aid vaporization of fuel. Alternative construction materials have been used, including stoves made of tin
cans such as cat food tins, tuna cans, and juice cans—the basic design is very similar.
Windscreens/stands can be fabricated from tin cans, cut to size and with ventilation holes added.
Each stove is designed for one or two people. When used to cook larger meals (greater than 2 cups (0.5
l), it is less efficient than a more powerful stove that delivers more heat to a pot. This is because a longer
cooking time is required, during which more heat is lost to the surroundings. A more powerful,
pressurized version is shown below.
To use the stove, a small amount of fuel is poured into the stove and ignited. The pot is then placed
above the stove, on a windscreen or stand. The flame is small at first, only burning from the inner
chamber. Once the fuel has warmed up, requiring about one minute, its vapor will pass through the
perforations and form a ring of flame. Enough heat from the flame is passed to the fuel to maintain full
combustion until fuel runs out.
The stove should not be re-lit unless it is fully cooled, otherwise flare-ups or explosive combustion (in the
case of a pressurized design) may occur.
Heat output: ~4800 BTU/hour (1400 W)
Time to boil 2 cups (500 ml): ~5 minutes (<2 tablespoons (30 ml) of fuel)
Time to boil 4 cups (1 l): ~12 minutes (<3 tablespoons (45 ml) of fuel)
Burn time: ~9 minutes with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of fuel
Burn time (full): ~30 minutes with 5-6 tablespoons (75-90 ml) of fuel
Comparison to other stoves
The stove can outperform some commercial models in cold or high-altitude environments, where
propane and butane canisters can fail. Ronald Mueser, in Long-Distance Hiking, surveyed hikers on the
Appalachian Trail and found that this stove was the only design with a zero percent failure rate.
Fuel usage (by weight) is about fifty percent greater than a butane/propane stove. Can stoves weigh
less than an ounce, compared to three ounces for the lightest gas stoves. Many commercial stoves also
require special fuel canisters, adding to overall stove weight. No such canisters are necessary in a can
stove; denatured alcohol can be carried in virtually any lightweight container, such as a plastic soda
bottle. The weight advantage of the beverage-can stove is diminished by the greater fuel consumption
(especially on longer hikes), but may still be offset by their reliability and simplicity.
Other attributes of the beverage-can stove are its nearly silent operation and suitability as an
emergency backup. Denatured alcohol is a relatively environmentally friendly fuel that doesn't leave
soot, though it is toxic to drink. (Pure ethanol is rarely used as stove fuel, since it is usually subject to
liquor tax.) Denatured alcohol is commonly available at camping outfitters and hardware stores. These
stoves operate well on 90% isopropyl alcohol, marginally on 70% and not at all with 50%.
Unsealed alcohol stoves are inherently dangerous, since spilling is possible and the fuel burns with a
nearly invisible flame. Trangia offers an anti-flashback fuel bottle with auto shut-off pourer.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alcohol stoves are a breed of their own. All the way from simple homemade can stoves to expensive
historical recreations, alcohol stoves are the most popular stoves with the do-it yourselfers and the ultra-
light hikers. Alcohol stoves will burn nothing but alcohol, which oddly enough even the best multi-fuel
stoves won’t. There also one of the only stoves that can be built from as little as two soda cans.
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Here Are A Bunch Of How To Videos All About Stoves, Thanks To Google and You Tube