Author Topic: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)  (Read 10509 times)

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Offline FlaMike

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My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« on: July 17, 2013, 06:06:29 PM »
Not sure why the term "stove," as it's just a single burner! But that's what it was called when I went looking for info. . .

I have build several different types, but the one I thought was a really great bit of engineering was the Penny Stove. Saw a lot of "reviews" and "test" on line. Sad thing was that many didn't build it right and then complained about how it worked, and more than one had no idea what the "penny" was for, so they left it out. If you haven't looked into this type of alcohol burner, the penny sits on top of a "tank" with a depression in it. There are some small holes in that depression that you fill the tank through. The penny is placed on top of the holes and a small amount of alcohol is poured into the depression as priming fuel.

When the fuel in the depression is burning, it heats up the tank, alcohol in the tank is vaporized and jets out the side holes, and with luck, ignited by the burning priming fuel. The penny not only stops the priming fuel from simply draining down into the tank, but also closes off those holes so pressure can build up in the tank. Being just a penny, it also acts as a pressure relief valve, should the tank pressure gets too high, preventing the tank from a rupture.

How's that for "over-explaining?" I'm sure most reading this already knows how it works, but it might be news to some.

Here's my little Penny Stove, along with a slightly over-built pot stand:



I didn't have much laying around handy to test the thing, so I swiped a stainless steel bowl from the kitchen. An ounce of fuel got a full cup of water to a boil in just about 4 minutes flat.



You might recognize what I was using for a wind screen for my initial test. The little Penny Stove does work very well. Even though I'll probably use the one I built later as my primary alcohol stove, the Penny is small enough to become part of the kit and be used as an extra burner, or something when all I want is a cup of tea or coffee.

The disc with a bale handle at the bottom of the pic is used to put the burner out. Handy, since the flame is very hard to see in the daylight.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL

« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 06:43:26 PM by FlaMike »
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Offline FlaMike

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Re: My First DIY Stove
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 06:10:09 PM »
Guess I'll follow up my own post!

That wind screen behind the Penny Stove, was this:



I know many here have made one of these. I'm thinking about building one about half again as large, as the larger size might be a little more useful. As it is, it's pretty good. But maybe in this case, a little bigger would be a little better.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
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Offline FlaMike

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Re: My First DIY Stove
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 06:42:26 PM »
OK, this is the last time I'll follow my on post.  :)

The design I kind of settled on is the "Turbo Cat II Stove." (Seriously, Google it, the instuctions web page will come right to the top of the list!) It uses a 3oz and a 5oz cat food can. (Cat food cans I have NO shortage of!) This one does use glass insulation in the burner, so the flame is generally quite visible, daylight or dark.

It all packs away in the pot:



The pot is the "standard" WalMart "grease pot," painted high-temp, flat black. I saved the insert that came with it, as inverted, it can be used as a steamer, or for baking. (No, really!) Now, a look inside:



Plenty of room for the wind screen/pot stand, simulated fuel bottle (got to find a good one!) and simmer lid, with room left over for other cooking stuff, including the Penny Stove for a second burner.

Here is the contents, all laid out:



The wind screen just clips together like round metal duct work, and the pair of rods form the pot stand when pushed through the 4 holes in the top of the wind screen.

The just barely visible simmer lid at the bottom of the pic is not the one I ended up using. This one pretty much just put the flame out. And when it didn't, what was still burning was too little to do the job. I ended up with one that had a single hole in the middle, about half the size of the burner hole it covered, and had a pop top tab turned out for a handle. (Made if from the top of a Coke Can.)

Wind screen in place with pot stand "skewers" inserted, Turbo Cat II burner ready to go:



Set up and working:



If you need to cut back on the heat output and extend the burn time, this burner gives you some options:



I'll likely have to re-attach the tabs that act as a stop for the air intake cover, as one is kind of loose. I used JB Weld to stick them on, I think I'll try something I found in an auto parts store sold for muffler repair. Should take the heat better.

But with the air intake covered and the improved simmer cap in place, I got a full 42 minutes of burn time on a single ounce of fuel. I had one cup of water in the pot, that long simmer heated it up enough to put it just under a boil, lots of steam and small bubbles on the sides, and kept it going like that.  Plenty long enough to make rice or gritz!  :)

Different heat levels and burn times can be had by adjusting the ring that covers the air intakes, along with using or removing the simmer cap. This is my favorite "camp stove" so far.

That does it for me! All typed out.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
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Offline BigHat

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 03:49:11 AM »
nice posts, thanks for sharing.
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Offline greyhound352

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2013, 04:56:18 AM »
Those are some great looking DIY stoves you have made Mike. In the first post that penny stove getting water to boil in 4 minutes is great!

 I need to experiment with these stoves but I all ready have to many pots on the fire as it is.
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Offline FlaMike

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 07:41:28 AM »
Thanks guys. When you're the "new kid on the block," you know you're going to be covering ground that many others have already passed over. But you do want to let them know that you are on the trail.

I made several of the Penny Stoves before one worked perfectly. It was a learning process. But it was also a lot of fun! Once I actually start a process, I pursue it obsessively. Little bits of aluminum cans everywhere! But for once, I was obsessing about something that cost was not a problem.

Thanks for your comments,

Mike S
Spring Hill, Fl
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 07:54:21 AM »
That is a great post of some really good stoves. I'm a big fan of alcohol stoves and really like some of the ideas you presented.
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Offline Kikstand

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 08:03:36 AM »
Gave me some great ideas....thanks!

~~Dave


Offline Nature Boy

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 09:11:45 AM »
Nice setups....here are a few of mine...hope you don't mind....

My Nimblewill Nomad stove. I can use wood, my trangia spirit burner, esbit, or sterno in it and it works great.


Pot stand/wind screen for trangia made from a beef stew can and coat hanger....


A 'dome' alcohol stove....


I must have a dozen or so of different builds and types. My wife says it's an addiction. So far I have been very happy with the Nimblewill and it's versatility.

Sorry for the side track to the OP. Didn't mean to hijack.
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Offline FlaMike

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 03:44:46 PM »
Nature Boy, the more the merrier!

Nice work on the pot stand/wind screen for the Trangia. I like that one.

And thanks for reminding me that the Nimblewill makes a good base and windscreen for the Penny Stove!

I got the idea for my wind screen for the Turbo Cat II from looking at a section of duct work. Just a fold in the metal on one side that mates with a fold on the other side. Other designs had the thing laced together with a bunch of holes and some wire, or a number of tabs and slots.

I like the simple ideas best. Of course, the adjustable air intake cover could be done simpler, I suppose. But experimenting with these things is fun and cheap to do.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
There is no such thing as One True Way.

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 05:39:36 PM »
I love posts like these..  visuals of things homemade.   
On the very first picture.. the two wires for pot stand, how are they wrapped together?  Wire? or Tape of some sort?    And do you find them slowly seperating while your pot is on it and the wires are getting hot?

I'm still looking for that 'perfect' pot holder above my Trangia.. :)

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Offline FlaMike

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2013, 06:56:46 PM »
OK, this is a little embarrassing, I think the stand was bent from some steel rods from a box  of old model airplane parts. (Push rods.)  And the wire it is wrapped with might be the stuff sold as "pipe hangers." Well, maybe. I built this about a year and a half ago. Memory is only semi-functional.  :-[

On the other hand, no, the heat did not seem to cause any expansion of the wrap, the stand itself heated up mostly where the pot sits on it. The base and sides, much less. Used the same stand for testing several Penny Stoves, it worked fine.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
There is no such thing as One True Way.

Offline Dano

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2013, 08:54:14 PM »
Those all look really nice!  I enjoy playing around making pop can stoves a bit as well.  I have not made a penny stove yet, as the ones I've done all have open centers.  With the penny stove, have you made a decent simmer ring?  That's the biggest complaint on the open center stoves-not much on simmering.

The one that had such a long burn time- even though it didn't boil, it burned long enough to pasteurize water to make it safe!

Offline FlaMike

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Re: My DIY Camp Stoves (so far!)
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2013, 06:42:22 AM »
Not a lot of luck with a simmer ring for the Penny. Then again, it is truly a "pressurized system, the penny being the pressure valve. What allows my gas range at home to simmer is the reduction of fuel by turning a control valve. Can't do that with the Penny Stove. But you could do what can also be done on a gas range when you want to cut the heat way back, is to use a "flame spreader."

For the Penny Stove, this could be a disk cut from the same material as the stove, I'd use the bottom of a Coke can, cut so you could trim the sides down to form 3 or 4 short legs. Turn it upside down so it looks like a tiny, round, table. Bend and twist the legs so it will fit on top of the burner, with the bottom as high above the burner as it can get, but still fit under the pot stand.

This should cut the heat to the bottom of the cooking container quite a bit. I have NOT done this, but could probably put one together and post a pic, if my explanation is hard to follow. Can't do it for a couple of days, as my work week starts tonight. (Three 12 hr. shifts, 7P-7A.)

With the Turbo Cat II, I'd normally start the cooking at full throttle and when the boil  is full, then cut it back to the simmer.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
There is no such thing as One True Way.