Saturday, May 24, 2008

How To Make a Pocket Stove from a Soda Can

Introduction: So I'm sure that all of you have seen some of the articles out there about making camping/hiking stoves out of a soda can. I look at them all the time, but they have one big flaw. Most of them don't have enough pictures, don't explain how the stove works, and have very vague directions. I am going to try to write an article that contains all of these things, and is easy to understand. The stove that I am going to show you to make can be used for camping, hiking, sitting around, making light, or just watching stuff burn.

Instructions:

  1. Get two cans. Make sure that they are empty and dry on the inside.


  2. Cut the bottom off of one of the cans. Make a smooth cut (I used a razor blade). The cut should be a little further up the can than an inch.


  3. Do the same with the other can.


  4. On one of the cans, you should crimp the top. Do this by gripping the can with a pair of pliers every half inch and twisting.


  5. Put the two bottoms of the cans together. The crimped can goes on top and inside of the uncrimped can. Press tightly to make sure that there is a good seal.


  6. Use a thumbtack to place a small hole in the lip of the upper can. The metal is fairly thick at this point, so it might take a little bit of force.

  7. Repeat this every 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch all the way around the can.


  8. Place a small group of holes (I used seven) in the center of the can that you just poked the holes around.


  9. Done
How it works:
  • The small group of holes that we cut on the top will be used for filling the stove. You have a few choices of fluid, but you can use any alcohol over 70%, or 140 proof. You can use denatured alcohol, HEET, or even vodka. Whatever works is fine, just don't use anything explosive like gasoline. I am going to use plain rubbing alcohol.


  • Once the can is filled, we are going to cover the group of holes with a penny and fill the "well" that the can makes with our fluid. The penny is used to make sure that the fluid stays in the "well" and does not go into the stove.

  • Carefully light the fluid that is filling the "well".


  • The burning fluid on top of the stove causes the metal that the stove is made of to heat up, which boils the fluid inside. When the fluid starts to boil, it turns into a flammable gas that starts to escape from the group of holes that we punched around the top. The flaming fluid on the top ignites this gas.


  • Once the fluid on top is used up, you end up with just the gas being burned that is coming out of the row of holes. This will continue to burn until the fluid inside runs out, or you cover with something and deprive it of oxygen.

  • Here are some pictures of the stove working: (sorry for the bad picture quality)



54 comments:

Anonymous said...

*claps* Yay a pocket stove. ^_^;;



I'm on a roll of first comments...

Anonymous said...

How do you light it?

Ryan C. said...

How long does it take to boil, cause the flame on top usually burns out before it boils for me...i think its escaping past the pennies

Anonymous said...

So I made my first one of these today, I Didn't cut it well so it leaked and it was slanted, I duck taped the bottom and it leaked less also it took about 3 fills of the top for it to start for me then it worked great (it was windy tho) Soon I'm gonna make my second one and I'll try to make a better cut.

Arie Moldvan said...

not a very good way to create this! use methonal (paint thinner) for a clean burning, efficient stove, seal it with high temp silicone, cut to whole top off, use a drill and a sewing needle. you know what, google search "alchol stove." thats how i learned to do it RIGHT. to works very well@!

hamish-fowler said...

Methanal is formaldehyde. Do you mean methanol (methyl alcohol)?

Anonymous said...

You do realize that the bottom of a soda can is reinforced with mercury right? If you get any moisture down there, you will form mercury vapor...

SarahAnn said...

awesome! can't wait to try it

Anonymous said...

mmmmm mercury vapor incapacitating
ahhhh

Anonymous said...

i think i used to much alcohol,or it spilled all over, because when i lit the top the entire can started to burn. o.o

ariverbiz said...

That is awesome... I really like your blog.

Anonymous said...

What penny 4,i tried it without the penny, it just had more flames

Anonymous said...

hey, I made my first one today but I don't really have anything to use as fuel besides maybe gasoline... lol... what things besides what was listed could I use??
can you use diesel???

syrhiz said...

Nice Idea! Quick and useful backpacking stove. its give a thumb up on SU!!

Anonymous said...

Can i use lighter fluid

Anonymous said...

ssssssuuuuuuuueeeeeeetttttt
this is awesome, i made a cup of lemon tea.

Anonymous said...

How deos the flame get air?

Anonymous said...

this is so stupid where the hell am i going to get a soda can?

Devz! said...

dude, this idea is genious, but wat if u run out of alcohol..... NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

infiel said...

you're brilliant.

Anonymous said...

lol out of alcohal NOOOOOOOO!!!! nice

pyroguy108 said...

could u get a large beer can and make a charcoal stove ??? :P oh and could u use hand sanitizer wit alcohol poured in B)

pyroguy108 said...

you can get a can of Monster and cut just below were you drink and fill it up with a pint of alcohol

also if you look hard they have quart bottles of 91% alcohol :P

Anonymous said...

or you can just drink the rubbing alcohol* and light your pee on fire.

*only if you want to go blind, of course.

Anonymous said...

Heres what i did to make the cut perfect:
get a sheet of paper and wrap it around the can, then mark out where you want to cut it on the paper. Unroll the paper and take a ruler and make the line perfectly straight and even. Then wrap it back around, tape it, then cut along to the line.
I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

put a blade in a book, place book and can on flat surface, rotate the can as you score a line along the side with the blade in the book. Continue about twenty rounds. Take the can out, cut deeper with the blade until you get through the metal. Crush down the metal along the unwanted side of the score to cleanly strip off the top half. Done :D

Sizegenetics Reviews said...

I Didn't cut it well so it leaked and it was slanted, I duck taped the bottom and it leaked less also it took about 3 fills of the top for it to start for me then it worked great (it was windy tho)

jadon said...

i made it too tall and got the sides wayyy hot knocked it over on accident and it turned into a fire ball for a few seconds i got lucky and didnt get burned

katty said...

I love the big stove specially because i like to cook all kind of recipe, how ever i prefer to have a reasonable place. Actually i saw a beautiful stove in a house that was published in costa rica homes for sale it was big and beautiful, i think i will go there because it catched my attention.

kimberly said...

wonderful blog!!! i really like the stove, specially the big ones because i think they are more comfortable for me and I feel identify with my stove all the time. Actually my boyfriend cooked for me once after to
buy viagra , then he gave me the surprise.

Anonymous said...

how it can help us

PenMonk said...

what are other things that you can use for fuel?

Anonymous said...

After two attempts, I finally got two cans cut perfectly. After messing with the amount of fuel in the cans, I found the butter zone and it sprang to life.
Just tried taking it outside to cook a pot of ramen, but it's too windy. Looks like this hobo is going hungry another night.

Nathaniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathaniel said...

i love it it is realy cool i am a boy scout and can use it a lot

Anonymous said...

wut about the lid????????????? do i close it?????

Marshall Hansen said...

This sounds like a great gadget...if you've gone camping without a camp stove but remembered to bring a couple sodas and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Just in case i do find myself in this situation, could I use a larger portion of the can for the bottom section and fill it up more to last longer? I realize this would take longer to boil but I would worry about the fuel not lasting long enough to actually cook something. Thanks

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hurst and son said...

thanks this really worked for the scout troop i help :}

Anonymous said...

thanks fot telling me how to make a poket stove i am going to show the scout troop i healp is going to love this

Anonymous said...

This is stupid.

Anonymous said...

To whoever said they reinforce soda cans with mercury, mercury is a liquid, AND it attacks aluminum making it as weak as wet paper.

peter said...

befict
befictso you can't have mercury in the bottom of an aluminium can.

Abbi Jordan said...

Warmer weather camping is a favorite for many people.One reason it’s their favorite type of camping is they know how to do it. Hot weather camping isn’t something that should be done on the spur of the moment.
Camp Stove

Potato lover said...

I like potatoes.

Potato man said...

I like potatoes.

Anonymous said...

dont use this one. it's not as efficient. this one is much better and sturdier. and more versatile

http://www.thesodacanstove.com/alcohol-stove/how-to-build.html

Anonymous said...

only gasoline will heat up enough to release anything dangerous

Anonymous said...

I ran into the exact same issue. The other materials were easy to come by, but after much searching I never was able to find two soda cans. I just improvised and used dip cans.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't get the bottom of it to light so it was just the top burning how do I light it

jimmy choo wedges said...

Fantastic story there. What took place just after? Good luck!

Bolu Nwachukwu said...

so cool

Bolu Nwachukwu said...

so cool

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