How to make your own DIY beer can stove

Matt Derrick

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#1
So I'm going to be demonstrating how you can build your own ultralight alcohol powered stove using only a beer can and a pair of scissors! I'll be bringing enough materials for up to ten people at a time can follow along with me (more, if you bring your own scissors or multi tool).

After building our stoves, we'll light them up and show you how to safely use them along with tips on storing your new portable stove without making the rest of your gears Mell like alcohol!

If you have any questions or input, please reply to this thread!

 
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#2
we have this exact method in our packs me and my friend, but it took almost 20 minutes just to boil a small cup of water on it. every time we put the stainless steel cup on the fire it would almost always go out we had to end up holding it at the top of the flame where its the hottest in order to get a small boil going. wonder where we went wrong with it. not enough ventilation maybe? we was using 90% alchohol aswell
 
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#3
Awesome idea for a workshop Matt! :) Went on a small trip with a good friend a few days ago and I carry only one but as we were two we brought another pot and dumpstered an empty aluminium can and made it. Using 99.9% pure methylhydrate, 6$ CAD for about 1 liter. Lasts for many meals. I use a cup to extinguish it and store it so that it keeps its shape when sitting on my bag, throwing it, etc.
 
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#4
we have this exact method in our packs me and my friend, but it took almost 20 minutes just to boil a small cup of water on it. every time we put the stainless steel cup on the fire it would almost always go out we had to end up holding it at the top of the flame where its the hottest in order to get a small boil going. wonder where we went wrong with it. not enough ventilation maybe? we was using 90% alchohol aswell
I find that if there's any ununiform parts it doesn't stay lit well. Consider poking holes with a tack around the top instead of crimping half of the can. I always have a hard time getting all the ridges uniform, so it burns unevenly and goes out easy. Also, you've probably thought of this, but making some sort of wind blocker helps.
 
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#5
we have this exact method in our packs me and my friend, but it took almost 20 minutes just to boil a small cup of water on it. every time we put the stainless steel cup on the fire it would almost always go out we had to end up holding it at the top of the flame where its the hottest in order to get a small boil going. wonder where we went wrong with it. not enough ventilation maybe? we was using 90% alchohol aswell
The fire's gonna go out for one (or two or three) of three reasons.

1. Not enough air supply. Fires aren't the smartest things around, and sometimes once you close off that big open hole in the middle with your pot, your fire is going to continue to burn up and out of every hole until it suffocates itself! Ideally some of those crimped channels will invert from air pressure and start letting air in, but it may not happen, especially if you fill up your can with a fair amount of alcohol (will require a greater difference in pressure to push the air through and under the fuel)

The simplest solution is like Lily said, poke 4-5 1/8" holes around the top of the side of the can, underneath the rim. Air will be able to flow in through those and your flames can fill all the channels they feel like!

2. Not enough temperature. Fires are delicate things, and when you light your alcohol fire it's got so much surface area to burn! It'll stay lit easily, but as soon as you cover the top all of a sudden it's only burning out of the channels, and if your alcohol is not hot enough it won't have enough energy in the system to keep it going. It'll putter out pretty quick.

The solution here is to let your stove burn without the pot on it until you can see the alcohol boiling. As soon as you see some bubbles in the bottom of your can you should be good to put your pot on and the fire will continue to burn since it won't take as much energy to ignite the already hot alcohol. This shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes of open burning.

3. Too much wind. Again, fires this small are super easy to blow out. You'll want a wind screen around your stove. I just use a few feet of tinfoil folded over for some integrity, and wrap that sucker in a circle around my stove! The closer you get to the size of your pot the better your heat efficiency will be, but be sure not to suffocate your fire with a lack of air!
 
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Matt Derrick

Matt Derrick

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#6
we have this exact method in our packs me and my friend, but it took almost 20 minutes just to boil a small cup of water on it. every time we put the stainless steel cup on the fire it would almost always go out we had to end up holding it at the top of the flame where its the hottest in order to get a small boil going. wonder where we went wrong with it. not enough ventilation maybe? we was using 90% alchohol aswell
i was going to answer this, but everyone pretty much already did. i'd try to poke more vent holes on the slant before the lip of the can.

also, for anyone attending the workshop, i'm going to have all the materials on hand so that everyone should have a 100% working stove by the end of the workshop (while supplies last). of course, if you'd like to bring your own materials (scissors, cans, tupperware) that would definitely be helpful!
 
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#7
I was lucky enough to see a rough demonstration of this method at the RTR 2017!!
From the most renowned DAD of all DAD's! ;D Though, I would really love to be able to make one along side you as you went over instructions once more* Kinesthetic learner here..
 
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#8
I made mine from a Tecate beer can in San Cristobal de las Casas. I cut the can in approximate thirds, put the center section on the inside for an inner wall, cut out the top, and poked holes around the rim with a leather needle. I didn't measure anything but it works fantastic and I use it every day. I also salvaged the top cross piece from my isobutane stove and set that over the can with my pan on top of that. I can make four cups of coffee in about ten minutes using 90% rubbing alcohol. I'll try and remember to take some pictures of it when I make my coffee tomorrow.
 
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#9
this is great. i was thinking of lugging a propane tank around but after seeing this it could easily work in place. that little stove could double as a dangerous little heater.
 

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#12
I am a big fan of the alcohol stove, I typically will always bring one durning the fall and winter months. I always bring my hobo stove as well.

Alcohol stoves are awesome when waiting at around a rail yard in the fact you can be a lot more stealthier when lighting one up. Unlike my hobo stove that can draw a lot of unwanted attention due to the smoke and flames.

I certainly recommend having one. Carrying the alcohol around in your bag can be somewhat tricky if you don't have a good container for it.
 

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#13
Mine is made of a larger can, one of the Foster's cans. I put mine in a sterno folding camp stove
sterno-candlelamp-emergency-response-kits-70145-64_1000.jpg

or put a little grate over it to give it more room for air- I love what pcflvly did with his! With the sterno stove, I find that I have a problem with it getting too much air and being a little too hot for some things (boiling water is quick!) so I use the metal part that folds up to set on the top of the can to control the amount of air and flame getting through.
 

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