Author Topic: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?  (Read 15282 times)

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2008, 03:42:05 pm »
... And you can make your cooker yourself - witness the humble Beverage-can stove.  ...  I've tried to make one and it's not as easy as it sounds.  ...  Anyhoo, what I wanted to ask was whether anyone's built one of these babies?  ...

I guess it's no surprise to hear that in a moment of fettling I knocked up one of those from three lager cans I had lying around, just with a swiss army knife.  Wasn't a problem to make as far as I recall.

It fired up and ran "ok". 



I'll dig it out for photos when I get home, and maybe even try to boil a thimblefull of water.

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2008, 03:51:37 pm »
I've always used a small gas cooker with a remote pipe.  I've never been that happy with pots balanced on top of a gas canister, whereas with my cooker, it has reasonably wide legs that make it very stable.

It'll also take different sized cannisters from huge down to dinky.  The dinky ones are expensive, but when you want to drop the weight, they're worth using.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2008, 07:27:24 pm »
I've always used a small gas cooker with a remote pipe.  I've never been that happy with pots balanced on top of a gas canister, whereas with my cooker, it has reasonably wide legs that make it very stable.
As well as the better stability, remote burner stoves can be a lot better in cold weather.

If the stove has a pre-heat loop and sufficiently good control on the valve, you can run it with the cannister upside down so that you are feeding liquid gas to the burner. Then, if your cannister is 80% butane, 20% propane, that's what gets used and performance is maintained until the cannister runs out.

If you use an upright cannister, you are burning the gas that vaporizes in the cannister. Butane boils at -0.5C, so pure butane would be unusable in the winter. To avoid this, they add propane (boiling point -42C). The trouble is that the propane boils off faster than the butane, so by the time the cannister is half used, there isn't enough left, and the stove performance drops right off. You might boil half a litre in a couple of minutes in the summer on a fresh cylinder, but in the winter on a 3/4 used one it could be more like 10 minutes.

PH

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2008, 08:18:22 pm »
If you’re going for gas, have a look at the Jetboil.  I’ve had mine for around three years and I’m as impressed now as when I bought it.  It’s not the lightest or fastest, it’s just such a neat and easy package. As well as camping I use mine on day rides, when I used to take a flask.  It works fine without a windshield, though better out of a direct gale.  Because of the insulated cup/pan and it locking together, you can move it around or hold it, it’s brilliant for warming the hands as it boils on a cold day.  I couldn’t recommend it for cooking, the pan’s the wrong shape, for heating stuff up I haven’t seen anything I’d swap it for.  For coffee lovers you can get a cafetiere attachment.  There’s now a few other heat exchanger type stoves, the MSR one is apparently quicker and more efficient, it doesn’t look as compact though.

http://www.jetboil.com/Products/Cooking-Systems/Personal-(PCS)

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2008, 12:23:12 am »
... And you can make your cooker yourself - witness the humble Beverage-can stove.  ...  I've tried to make one and it's not as easy as it sounds.  ...  Anyhoo, what I wanted to ask was whether anyone's built one of these babies?  ...

I guess it's no surprise to hear that in a moment of fettling I knocked up one of those from three lager cans I had lying around, just with a swiss army knife.  Wasn't a problem to make as far as I recall.

It fired up and ran "ok". 



I'll dig it out for photos when I get home, and maybe even try to boil a thimblefull of water.

ok.  Lesson one.  If building a stove out of three cans of lager (having just emptied them) and without bothering about fire-proofing joints etc, don't then kick the stove around the garage for five months and expect it to work as well.


The stove.


In situ.  (Yes that is Mrs Nutty's best saucepan on the lawn... I'm soooo going to die**)


And on fire!


Considering that fire shot is a hand held 2 second exposure, I'm pretty chuffed.  I'm also annoyed that it missed the random flame out of the side of the cans.



From application of match to the "proper" ignition of the jets etc was nearly 5 minutes. >:(  I suppose this would be quicker had I bothered taping joints with fireproof tape.

From application of match to the saucepan of 250ml of water boiling furiously (I was going to try to follow David's criteria) was 15 minutes.    :-[

But I suspect that the time would be nearer 5 to 7 minutes had I used:-
 - Water starting at 10C instead of nearly 0C
 - A wind shield
 - A summer's night instead of a frosty one
 - starting from a hot stove instead of a cold one (i.e. repeated the experiment but by just changing the boiling pan for a fresh cold one)







** Amazingly there were no soot marks.  I might get away with this.

Jaded

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2008, 01:08:35 am »
Nutty!!

Watch out - I saw a puff of black smoke from the joint between the tins - I think the o-ring is faulty!

Oh No!

I can see a small flame now...



Arrghh! Too late



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Charlotte

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2008, 08:29:37 am »
 ;D

Nutty - that's great work!  For a five minute job, that's impressive.  Can I ask a few questions?

1. Is it just two bits of can with the holes punched in?  Or did you use a third piece inside the stove?

2. How did you get one inside the other like that?  I couldn't seem to get them to fit together without crumpling the inner one a bit and buggering up the seal.

3. What fuel did you use?  Just meths?

And by way of suggestions/observations...

(a) Did you score the cans whilst they were full or just cut them up when they were empty?  Apparently the former makes a neater job and reduces sharp edges.

(b) Did you use a pot lid or boil the water with an open top pot?  This could make a lot of difference to boiling times. 

(c) what about a wind shield/heat reflector?  Again, this can make a big difference I'm told.


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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2008, 10:50:08 am »
Jaded.  That's great  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D


;D

Nutty - that's great work!  For a five minute job, that's impressive.  Can I ask a few questions?

1. Is it just two bits of can with the holes punched in?  Or did you use a third piece inside the stove?
Yes there's a third strip of can inside there, cut from the middle of a third can.  It doesn't have a slot cut in it to allow it to cross over and interlock (as per many websites) cos I couldn't be bothered.  It's just held in place by being too long and dropping into the lips top and bottom of the cans (if that makes sense).   One problem is that when I put compression on the cans to lock in place that inner sleeve bowed outwards, reducing capacity of the supposed pressure chamber.  Mark II will have something else in there to stop that.

2. How did you get one inside the other like that?  I couldn't seem to get them to fit together without crumpling the inner one a bit and buggering up the seal.
Skill and patience  :P   Oh, and maybe a couple of offcuts to help guide it ;)


3. What fuel did you use?  Just meths?

Yup.  Tasted nasty so I burnt it.

And by way of suggestions/observations...

(a) Did you score the cans whilst they were full or just cut them up when they were empty?  Apparently the former makes a neater job and reduces sharp edges.
Ok, I know it's Grolsch cans, but wasting a full can???  Contents were consumed prior to fettling.

Holes were punched in a cmoplte can, and base removed from a complete can (so the structural integrity was sound) then the cans were cut down to size.


(b) Did you use a pot lid or boil the water with an open top pot?  This could make a lot of difference to boiling times. 
There was a lid on that pan :-[    I was hoping to have found the camping kettle (thin base) but instead had to use that pan, so a lot of heat would have gone into the pan base instead of the water.



(c) what about a wind shield/heat reflector?  Again, this can make a big difference I'm told.


Yeah, I know, but I couldn't be bothered as I wanted to bike fettle last night ;D ;D ;D ;D

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2008, 12:24:55 pm »
I bought some alcohol-based gel in a tin from Cotswold a couple of years back.

Simply remove the lid, fit into the slot in your Trangia (same diameter), or on the ground and light. Afterwards, re-fit the lid, shove in a plastic bag and back in the pannier. Worked fine  - don't know if it's still available, tho.

 I've also used a Trangia burner succesfully with pan mounts supplied with solid fuel tablets. I never leave unspent fuel inside: one leak and everything stinks  :(.
you soon get to know how much to pour in for what you're cooking

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2008, 04:36:51 pm »
Success! And I still have my eyebrows! :D

My third attempt at a can stove has worked.  It burns very hot, and blooms out nicely into a 20-hole burner.  I shall post pictures when I can get at a camera. 

redshift

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2008, 08:20:24 pm »
...reading with interest, and looking at the Trangia, and thinking about the C2C I'm doing in June...

Carry on chaps, I obviously have some catching-up to do.   ;D
L
:)
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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2008, 08:47:03 pm »
I'd go for gas rather than a Trangia, unless you want to be waiting a long time for your tea... ;D


Hmm.. Trangia with gas conversion currently winning the 'how quick can I get a cup of tea?' trials..

And losing in the 'how much weight do you really wan't to lug up all those hills in your panniers?' trials.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

andygates

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2008, 09:24:13 pm »
Two coke cans, one knife, and ten minutes later... feck, that's ugly but it WON'T GO OUT! And scores a 4:30 boil - not bad at all, aunty C, and as the MIT guys said, "a neat hack".

It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
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redshift

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2008, 09:28:01 pm »
Yebbut - you have to drink two cans of coke...
L
:)
Windcheetah No. 176
The all-round entertainer gets quite arsey,
They won't translate his lame shit into Farsi
Somehow to let it go would be more classy…

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2008, 09:40:14 pm »

3:50 boil, with windshield and lid



Constructed from 2 soft drinks cans scavenged from the side of the road (so I didn't have to actually drink the stuff).

1) On can 1, drill 6 small holes (0.5mm ish) around the edge of the base and 3 4mm holes in the centre of the base (under the penny in the photo).
2) cut off the base of can 1 with about half an inch of vertical can wall. Done by clamping a stanley knife horizontally against a suitable block of wood, and rotating the can against the blade until it's sufficiently scored through to just pull off the base section.
3) drill about 12 4-5mm holes evenly spaced around the top of the sidewall section of can 1 (as in the instructions). Using a pair of needle nosed pliers, bend the bits with the holes inwards to give a fluted edge to the section.
4) cut off the base of can 2 with about 1" of vertical can wall
5) put the can 1 section inside the can 2 section (the flutings allow this as a starter) and press down firmly. I used a whisky tumbler (Esso petrol station freebie, circa 1985) to do the pressing as it was reasonably robust and just the right size (about 1mm clearance all round inside the can2 section. Due encouragement with a block of wood and the gentle use of a mallet was required.

The general idea is that you cover the 2 central holes with the penny, and fill the top with meths and light it. Once the stove has heated up enough, the penny then lifts to allow the bulk of meths to drain into the inside, and falls back to seal the big holes enough to generate a little extra pressure to get decent jets out of the small holes.
In practice, I don't get enough heat transfer back into the base, so this version works better if I prime it with a little meths in a tray underneath and ensure there's a decent windshield to keep the heat in. I'll put the 6 jets a little closer to the edge in version 2 when I get round to making it.

donpedro

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2008, 11:59:07 pm »
The issue I have with gas is that it's very hard to know how much is left in the canister and if I should bring a extra. Sure I could weigh it but then I have to get new scale so the pile of half full canisters is growing.
Petrol and MFS are great as fuel are available everywhere. But they cost much more and would be overkill for this type of trips if you don't chare one.
I have stoves of all kinds but for weekend's I think a light DIY alcohol stove would be perfect.
Build your own, try it out before, learn it's drawbacks and be done with it!

Stove Tests that include DIY stoves:
http://www.thru-hiker.com/articles.asp?subcat=2&cid=38
http://hikinghq.net/stoves/weight_time_compare.html
http://www.bicycletouring101.com/CampStoveOlympics.htm
With a alcohol stove that have holes on the side there is no need for a potstand:
http://zenstoves.net/Stoves.htm
DIY Woodgasifier stove are fast once set up:
http://www.garlington.biz/Ray/WoodGasStove/
My all time favourite stove:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svea_123
Fits with a cookiepan windshield in this pot:
http://www.campersgear.com/Primus-Solo-Stainless-Cookset.html

[img height=480 width=640]http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mrwizard/object/svea123.jpg[/img]
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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2008, 12:19:21 am »
With those boil times you have posted, I see Mark II needs to be fettled asap.


I have no lager in the house.




Shall I try it with scotch bottles?

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2008, 04:37:24 am »
I made one a couple of years ago, almost exactly the same as Andrew S's. It works, burns with nice jets for ages but I've never cooked with it as I usually camp with three kids so we need much more power. I may post photos if I get sufficiently motivated this evening, but I can't light it for testing as I gave all my remaining meths to my neighbour to light his barbeque.

Charlotte

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2008, 02:09:44 pm »
I've done it!!!

After a good few awful attempts, I finally built a stove worth keeping.  It's a two-piece penny stove; the most basic design you can make.

I discovered some interesting things with the previous version:

1. Both cans must fit together really tightly or you loose pressure and hot meths pisses out the sides.
2. If you have the outside can over the top, any meths that does come out, goes into the priming tray
3. More jets = more of a blue flame

Here's the experimental model:



And here's the one I shall be bugging out with at the weekend:



It boiled two cups of water, one after the other and burned for 12 minutes on 30ml of meths.  Dead impressive, I thought.



And here's the evidence.  Ver' nice  :)



(spot the geeky MSR Ti mug...)


Tonight I shall be building a pot stand out of a coat hanger and a wind shield out of a heavy duty tinfoil turkey roasting dish.

Later on, I shall experiment with more efficient ones to take to America this summer.
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2008, 07:19:23 pm »
Nice stove! I like the flame size as well - mine burns with a rather large flame.  And I love the silver polishedness too. 

What are you using as fuel? Methylated spirit is £2.15 for 500ml at my local handyman supermarket, which is expensive and smells horrible.  I've been experimenting today with screenwash, but despite all the 'flamable' warnings it won't even catch fire. 

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #45 on: June 10, 2008, 10:01:39 pm »
I've got a paraffin stove that my grandfather made at home ;D

My own commercial version is brilliant - would knock 4 mins 30 into a cocked hat.

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #46 on: June 11, 2008, 12:24:00 am »

So is this Bavaria 0.0% alcohol stuff drinkable then?

Wowbagger

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #47 on: June 11, 2008, 12:28:39 am »
Well you can clearly burn it...
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

David Martin

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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #48 on: June 11, 2008, 08:57:29 am »
I've got a paraffin stove that my grandfather made at home ;D

My own commercial version is brilliant - would knock 4 mins 30 into a cocked hat.

Maybe I should rephrase the challenge.

From packed and cold, heat 200ml of water to boiling point from ambient.

Paraffin would take a wee bit longer then.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #49 on: June 11, 2008, 09:13:58 am »
Happy to give it a go. Confused about the rules though - 250 or 200ml and ambient or 4 degC? In the garden, obviously.

I'd expect a paraffin pressure stove ("Primus") to be much faster than a Trangia. Where it loses out is time to assemble the stove, and the need to carry two fuels, but those aren't counted in your challenge ;D