I Made Some Stoves (and I liked it)

Back when I went on the Wednesday night hang, Mr. Gossamer Gear was showing off his rolled aluminum alcohol stoves (BIOS) made by www.minibulldesign.com.  They were pretty cool and I was fascinated by the rolled can.  You can watch how they are made by looking at MBD’s YouTube channel.

I watched a bunch of videos and tried making some stoves.  I know look at aluminum cans in a completely different way.  Sadly, I am more interested in the can shape than the contents.

Here is what I made (no instructions provided, just look on YouTube:

1 “Ultimate Alcohol Stove”.  These are made from a Coke can (or Pepsi, if you are so inclined.

Ultimate Alcohol Stove

Ultimate Alcohol Stove

Ultimate Alcohol Stove.  This one has 32 jets

Ultimate Alcohol Stove. This one has 32 jets

3 x “Bud Light” stoves.  These are made from the Bud Light aluminum bottles.

Bud Light Stove #2: Relief holes only at the top

Bud Light Stove #2: Relief holes only at the top

Bud Light Stove #2:  This one has elevated supports at the top.

Bud Light Stove #2: This one has elevated supports at the top.

Bud Light Stove #3:  Notice the uneven roll.

Bud Light Stove #3: Notice the uneven roll.

Bud Light Stove #3:  Two relief holes drilled in the inner wall down low, and two near the top.

Bud Light Stove #3: Two relief holes drilled in the inner wall down low, and two near the top.

2 x Inverted Neck Stoves.  Not sure what to actually call these.  I made one from a sunscreen can and the other from a Coors Light aluminum bottle.

Sunscreen Stove

Sunscreen Stove

Sunscreen Stove:  Notice the inner wall is too short.

Sunscreen Stove: Notice the inner wall is too short.

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

Coors Light Stove

All stoves (except the “Ultimate” one) have jets drilled approximately 1 cm apart and 3/4 of an inch from the top of the stove. The “Ultimate” stove has 32 jets.  All jets are 1/16 of an inch in diameter.  I did not use any JB Weld on the inverted stoves, but probably should have.

After building them, I decided to do a comparison.  The test went as follows.  Use 1/2 ounce of 99.99% Methyl Hydrate to heat tap water as much as possible.  Record times to prime and until the fuel had run out.  Measure beginning and end temperature of the water. Ambient temperature was approximately 12 (C).  Same pot was used.  It was cooled with tap water and re-filled with 2 cups of water.  Any water on the outside was dried off with a towel. I ran the video camera to capture each test.  There was no wind.  I used a normal household thick bottomed pot and not a fancy titanium camping / hiking pot.  I expect temperature increases would have been more significant with a thin titanium hiking pot.  I have not weighed any of the stoves.

Results:

Stove Starting Temp (C) Final Temp (C) Time to Prime (sec) Time to out of Fuel (sec) Temp Change Seconds/ Degree
Ultimate Stove 16 67 40 376 51 6.6
Bud Light #2 Stove 13 48 41 160 35 3.4
Coors Light Stove 12 65 39 264 54 6.0
Sunscreen Stove 15 75 29 289 60 4.3
Bud Light #2 Stove 14 65 36 249 51 5.9

Video Evidence:

Observations / Conclusions:

The Sunscreen stove produced the highest increase in temperature, and did it relatively quickly.  This was a bit surprising given that I built it wrong (the inner wall does not touch the bottom).  Perhaps this is due to the smaller diameter resulting in more heat directly on the bottom. I am not sure what happened to Bud Light #2.  It fizzled out pretty quickly and produced the lowest temperature increase.  I probably should have re-run the test of this stove.  Maybe the video will show what happened.

The Coors Light stove performed better than I expected.  It is still burning off the internal layer of stuff.  This stove is not as rugged as the Bud Light nor Sunscreen stoves.

During the test I could hear the Coors Light stove “gasping” for air.  I likely need to file some groves in the rim to allow air in as the fuel vaporizes.

I am going to try and re-make the sunscreen stove as I think it is the best size and seems to hold promise.  I also want to make one of the Andrew Skurka style “Fancy Feast” stoves and try it.  I’ll compare it to one of the stoves from this test.

If you want a simple and relatively indestructible and inexpensive alcohol stove, just make one.  If you want one done “right”, buy one from MBD.  Or, if you really want an awesome stove, get a JetBoil.  I have the Sol and it will boil 2 cups of water in well under 2 minutes.  But, I can’t make one of those.  Might post some video of the stoves burning.