Saturday, April 14, 2007

Great balls of fire!

I tried making the Penny Stove today. I didn't have a Heinekin can so I tried to jerry-rig it using soda pop cans. The first time I tried to light it, a ball of flame exploded out of it and threw the penny halfway across the kitchen and singed my feathers. After that, I couldn't get the #$%@ thing to stay lit.

Because of this failure, I decided to turn it into a Trangia-style open-center burner with liner. But when I went down to my garage and fetched my Dremel tool to do the cutting, the power switch finally died (it had been on its way out for a while). Sigh. Oh well, the thing is 15 years old and I've used the stew out of it over those years, so it was about time it died. So off to Wally World I went to get a new Dremel tool along with some epoxy (don't fuss, Wally World is the closest place that stocks them and with gasoline at over $3 per gallon I'm not going one inch further than I must!), then off to the grocery store to pick up some drinks (to get another supply of aluminum cans to chop up) and frozen pizzas (for the next round of pizza testing).

So now I'm going to build a Photon Stove, but using the penny valve rather than a screw. Hopefully I won't have another explosion...

-- Badtux the Singed Penguin


  1. Also known as a "beer can stove", and I've found that pure ethanol works better as a fuel.

  2. Any of those cans are so damn light and weak that I wouldn't even bother trying to make one unless I used a heavier material. I would screw it up just packing it round unless I had a container to put it in.

    I'm an old country boy and outdoor surviver, collect a little wood, light a fire and I'm in like Flinn.

    Or I just use the single burner propane stove that I've used for years.

    But then, I don't back pack other than day trips, so I don't give a damn about the weight I'm packing around in my camp trailer or boat.

  3. BBC, I have a container to put it in. It's called a "cup". It has a lid held on by rubber bands. The pot-holder (a round loop of hardware cloth several rows high tied together with baling wire) plus the stove fit perfectly in this cup.

    The final stove is double-walled so it is slightly stronger than the soft drink cans it was built out of, but I'm still not satisfied. I'm going to try other kinds of food cans and see what I can do with them. But the base of an aluminum can is perfectly shaped to make the burner for a home-made stove, just punch holes in it in the right places for the jets and add a filler hole in the middle and voila. So the burner is still going to be an aluminum soda can no matter what other kind of can I come up with.

    - Badtux the Engineer Penguin


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