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Home-Made Alcohol Stoves. Final Analysis.


Feb 12, 2006
i've finally nailed down the last variable. simmerring.

i can quietly bring one cup of cold tap water to a boil in 2 minutes and 45 seconds, and then simmer it for 15 minutes, on 2oz of methyl hydrate, a renewable resource. that works out to <22 cents per meal for fuel. i can build all the burners i can possibly use for about 30 cents each (+ labour). it takes about 1/2 hour to make a burner. the pot stand is made from the bottom of a coffee can and a piece of wire mesh. the windscreen is made from a cheap, heavey foil cookie sheet or roasting pan. the simmerring ring is made from a piece of soda can left over from building the burner. the pot and lid can be anything made of light weight aluminum. titanium pots are slower to boil but would work just fine. all the parts can be tailored to fit inside the pot. my entire kit is 5 1/2 inches round and 5 inches tall when packed. unfortunately, i have no way of wieghing it, but it is way lighter than my Trangia kit.

all the best;
here you go Hairy;
left to right. the windscreen, the pot with lid, the base and pot stand with the burner in position, and the simmerring ring at the far right. i stood a ruler up against the back of the pot for reference.


all the parts nest together and fit nicely in the pot with the lid on. this is the smallest pot in a set of three that nest together. when i'm out alone it's all i need. if there are other people with me i can take the entire set.

sorry if i'm sounding like a broken record with this whole alcohol stove thing, but it's something i feel very strongly about. it's a good, simple, inexpensive system that's clean and quiet, and uses a renewable resource for fuel. what more could you ask for?

Rev. DarenN;
Church of Trangia.
heya Darren,

Thanks mate. That is a stroke of genius.

Most of the places I paddle & camp are now national parks or declared wilderness protection areas. A fairly new concept here. Open fires in most places are banned and something like this might fit my needs nicely.

Again - thank you. :D
More Stove Results...

Hi Darren...here is another stove test result...

I stepped outside your parameters a bit for a more "real world" amount of water, 2 cups vs. 1 cup.

2 cups cold tap water in MSR Titanium kettle with lid and windscreen.
No additional time for stove warmup subtracted from results.

Penny Alcohol Stove see http://www.csun.edu/~mjurey/penny.html
- constructed from three cut up aluminum Heinekin small cans...

With titanium pot stand left over from an Ion stove I had purchased...

total weight 27 grams, just under one ounce for the stove and pot stand.
A few more grams for the windscreen, like yours, but lower.

Total fuel 20millilitres (1.4 UK tablespoons) of methyl hydrate.

I brought the water to a rolling boil in 9.5 minutes with a total burn time of 15 minutes, with the kettle sounding like a small steam engine...

I like this stove a bit, as I got to drink the beer!, and it seems to be very efficient, with a nice long burn time on not much methanol, sacrificing some time to do it...I suspect this is comparable to the TRANGIA as well, in boil time for this much water, but again much lighter, and somewhat cheaper. The simmer ring extends the time to over 25 minutes, but tends to get oxidized rather easily. This is a good solution for short backpacking trips of a few days due to the very light plastic bottle needed to carry the alcohol, and the negligible stove weight.

ok, i tested with 2 cups of water for an equal compairison.

'pepsi can' stove
aluminum pot with lid on
30ml methyl hydrate
no windscreen
cold stove
time to boil; 4minutes 15seconds
drop on simmer ring
simmer for 6minutes
total burn time 11:15 till flame out

This is interesting...your stove seems quite upscaled from my version...
I estimate that yours is consuming 2.69 mls per minute of meths (30ml/11.15 minutes)...whereas mine is using (20 ml /15) = 1.33 mls per minute...

So...your unit is producing twice as much energy per minute as the penny, producing almost exactly half the burn time...this makes sense. It seems that most stoves get about the same number of calories per ml of fuel burned no matter what their design - although you would think that the fuel/o2 ratio at point of flame would come into play - rich vs lean etc. ...so it's kind of tradeoff between fuel consumption rate, related to stove dimensions, and stove weight...a bigger stove seems to have a faster burn time at the expense of stove weight to some degree. I'll have to play around with "height above stove of pot", and pot metal type as well. Thanks for the comparison. Perhaps you can show me how to make a Pepsi at the spring get together on Portland, if you are going.
Chris_Hvid said:
Perhaps you can show me how to make a Pepsi at the spring get together on Portland, if you are going.

Might be a good idea for a sort of 'stove-making clinic'! If Coke cans may be used in place of Pepsi, I might be able to supply a few. :wink: And I have a feeling there will be a few empty beer cans before the weekend is over. :lol:
You guys bringing your pholtovoltaics to plug in the Dremel tools? javascript:emoticon(':lol:')

On further thought the Pepsi stove seems to be about the same weight weight as the penny, and they are both pressurized stoves so the main difference seems to be the "inner wall" of the Pepsi, which must radically increase the boil rate of the fuel...I'd like to check out one of those..
Mark_Schilling said:
Chris_Hvid said:
You guys bringing your pholtovoltaics to plug in the Dremel tools? :lol:

I'm sure I can figure something out... :wink:

guys guys guys! tsk tsk!!
i use no hydro-electric or photo-electric energy when i build a burner.
tools used:
-"Stanley" knife. to cut the bottom out of a can.
-punch made from a tiny drill bit. to make the burner orifices.
-heavey scissors. to cut the cans.
-marking pen. obvious.
-ruler. also obvious.
i've developed a couple of tricks to make marking and cutting easier and more accurate. i'd be more than happy to show off at the get-together. 8)

Mick brought over a kitchen scale last night and we weighed my stoves.

Trangia 27-2. 1040 grams, 2lbs 1.5oz. yikes! that heavey.

pepsi stove solo kit. 325g, 11.5oz

pepsi stove multi-person kit. 600g, 1lb 5.25oz. equipment wise, this would compare with the Trangia kit. but at nearly half the weight.

i changed my pot-stand and got my best yet, 1 cup, boil time. 2:25!!