Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DIY Alcohol Stove-The Tuna Can Stove

A little over a week ago I reviewed the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove. At that time I told you that there is a DIY version of the stove, and that I will show you how to make it. Here it is:

Start with two cans, one smaller than the other. For the small can I have found out that a tomato sauce can works very well. For the larger can I am using some canned chestnuts, but any two cans will work as long as when one is inserted in the other, there is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch separation between the walls. The original designs were made from tuna cans or cat food cans, giving the design its name.


Take the larger can, but do not open it. Your goal is to cut out a hole from the top, center of the can, about 1 5/8 inch in diameter. To do this, take a knife with a sharp tip (a Mora #1 works well), and using a hammer, make a series a small holes, outlining the cutout. Then using the same knife and hammer, cut through the material left between the holes, making for a one large cutout.


What I like to do in order to get a smooth edge, is to cut out the hole an 1/8 of an inch smaller than I need it. I then take a pair of scissors or sheers and make small cuts towards the desired location of the hole in 1/8 inch increments. I then fold those tabs down and in, making for a smooth surface.

The next step is to turn over the can and made another centered hole on the bottom, this one being 2 5/8 inches in diameter. I use the same technique. Here you can see the tabs folded in. On the bottom hole I do not fold them all the way in, so I can adjust them to give me a better grip on the smaller can which will be inserted here. If your small can is of a different size, make this hole smaller or larger as needed so that the small can fits securely. (When measuring the size, account for the fact that the lip of the small can will be removed.)


Then, drill eight half inch holes on the bottom side of the large can. This is all the work you need to do on the large can.


Here you can better see the folded tabs I was talking about earlier.


Now take the small can. Open it and remove the contents. Cut down the small can, so that when it is fully inserted in the larger can, the top of the small can touches the top of the large can. Then drill out a eight 3/8 inch holes on the top side of the small can. As an alternative, you can just cut the small can about a quarter on an inch lower than the top of the large can. This way when the small can is inserted in the large one, its top is a quarter of an inch below the top of the large can. Both methods will work well.


Insert the small can into the large one. Use the tabs on the bottom cut to make sure the fit is secure.


This is how it should look from the bottom.


Here you have the completed stove. The theory is that air will enter through the holes on the bottom of the large can, travel in the space between the walls of the two cans inside, come into the stove through the holes in the top of the small can, mix with vapors from the alcohol that is stored in the small can, and create a flame, which in turn heats the stove and creates more alcohol vapor. No priming or preheating is required for this stove.


Here you can see it in action.


The stove, as I have made it here weighs 2 oz. It is one of the best designs I have found. It burns very hot, and if speed of heating is what you are after, this is a very good, solid design. With these particular cans it will hold up to 4 ounces of alcohol. That is quite a bit because the chestnut can was rather high. A shorter can of the same diameter would have worked fine.

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