Homemade Pepsi Can Alcohol Camping Stoves

Written by Monkeybrad on October 21st, 2008

You know I am always looking for the latest and greatest thing, but this time I decided to go back and construct an “old-school” homemade stove. Actually , I should give the credit to PPPorch for suggesting that we build these sometime, I had been thinking about it, and he provided the catalyst and he brought those surgeon skills to the table when it was time to start cutting, and FullCT kept us focused on doing a good job, not just doing a job. So thanks to both of ya’ll for helping me make my stove, I love the thing. I was so excited about it that I took it to dinner the other night to show everyone and then I decided to post to the GC.com forums about it, so here is a copy of that post:

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Last Wednesday I spent the evening with fellow Seth and Phillip building alcohol stoves, here are the results of the alcohol cooking stove construction and experiments. First of all, they were far easier to construct than I imagined, although it took us three hours to construct these three, I am sure that any subsequent attempts will go much faster. We spent a lot of time experimenting with different construction techniques, and we had to empty the Guinness cans first which took a little while. We followed the instructions found here, and only modified technique, not content.

and a shot of our work area with everything we used in the construction:

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I was pleased with the way they turned out, and the first time we lit one up it was breathtaking. At first it is not that impressive, just looks like a can of sterno burning, but as the temp rises and the alcohol vaporizes it suddenly jumps to life in a most satisfying way.

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and one more:

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Pretty cool, huh?

Once we had working stoves, we tested various fuels in them. This testing was decidedly non-scientific, but fun.
The stoves worked best on denatured alcohol, with a nice clean blue flame and no residue. The above pictures are a denatured alcohol burn.
Only slightly less effective was methyl alcohol, still a nice blue clean burn with no residue.
We then tried 190 proof Everclear Grain Alcohol. It works and produces a cooler flame with more yellow, but burned away with noticeable residue. It did take longer for it to vaporize and begin to cook, but once it did it was fine, it also has some medicinal purposes, so you have to take that into account.
Our last test was with Bacardi 151 proof rum. I can attest that it does work, although it takes a long time for it to vaporize and begin to flame out of the burners. It also produces a yellow/brown residue in the stove, on the other hand, it certainly smelled nice while it burned, and made everyone for miles around crave Bananas Foster.

This week, I constructed a pot stand out of an old hanger, but I am not thrilled with it, so I am thinking of building a tri-fold windscreen/pot stand instead.

On the whole these were a blast to build and I have bored everyone I know to tears by showing these off over the last week, it is just to cool when they begin to cook. I can boil 2 cups of water in less than ten minutes on about 1-1.5 tablespoons of fuel and it is super light. Great little project, and if you don’t want to take the time to build your own, I found a place online that sells them for $12.00, but I suggest going for the simple build, it is a lot of fun and very rewarding.

 

6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Alex says:

    I think these are the coolest things. I just started making them and have made 4 to date. I have one question for you. What brand of denatured alcohol did you buy that burns soot free? The brand I bought leaves large amount of soot compared to none from the HEET fuel I used. Thanks!

  2. Arief says:

    It’s a good idea. I made one and tested it. They work great, and are practically free.

  3. Ze Queen says:

    This is the first time I heard about these! So cool! Will definitely try this sometime

  4. MacGyver says:

    What is the yellow-handled Stanley tool in the first image?

Reply to Alex