PDA

View Full Version : Penny / Pepsi Can cooker



Cobweb
19-03-2008, 10:02
So I needed a cooker for when I can't have an open fire, I trawled the net looking for something I could buy as a cooker and I even had a look at the hexi's but they weren't for me. I couldn't get the tablets locally and it looked like it could become pretty expensive very quickly... Not my style.

It needed to be cheap, have fuel locally and not run on wood. I remembered reading about the pepsi/coke can stove and how it was based on the trangia design. I had cooked with a trangia before and I quite liked it, simple easy and pretty quick so I went on a mission to find some plans.

Google is my friend. :D

I found the site where the can cooker had been posted but unfortunately the site had expired and the plans were no longer there. :( It was a sad moment.

I got fed up looking for the plans on other sites and as it was my day off I went over to youtube and started watching bushcrafting vids as you do, and on a whim I typed in 'can cooker' and do you know, a whole bunch of vids popped up!
Most of them were under 30 secs of a stove working but a couple showed how to make it.

I don't have any fancy electrical power tools so the cooker I finally made was an amalgamation of various cookers...



http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/mjphoto/pennycooker_0172.jpg


It has an inner ring but I don't think it needs it as it's not tight in there so doesn't help create the pressure. The stove itself is two cans cut with scissors and the holes are punched in with a thin panel pin and a solid hammer.
Putting the two cans together was a little difficult and the one can bent, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

The can also needed a priming pan (a priming pan is a shallow dish that contains a splash of fuel and the cooker. The fuel is lit and heats the cooker up to create pressured gas which is lit automatically from the burning priming fuel, the burning gas then keeps the cooker hot and the pressure up until it runs out of fuel. Burning the pressurised gas conserves fuel and allows a hotter flame, greatly reducing boiling time.)

I tried using a baked bean tin, but the fit was too tight and the fuel wouldn't light, I tried adding holes but that didn't work either. I looked through the kitchen for a wider tin and came across a tuna tin, it was perfect. After a bit of trial and error I added three holes to the edge of the tin and it lit like a dream while being protected from the wind! Good :)

I needed something to hold the billy away from the top of the cooker, I tried some chicken wire but that just crumpled when I set a full pan of water on it. The vids showed a square mesh like wire but I didn't have any... apart from the grill rack... bye bye grill rack... Hello pot stand!

For your viewing pleasure:


http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/mjphoto/pennycooker_0170.jpg
TL: Primer pan
TR: Pot Stand
BC: Cooker

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/mjphoto/pennycooker_0176.jpg
Assembled stove and fuel.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/mjphoto/pennycooker_0182.jpg http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/mjphoto/pennycooker_0184.jpg
Lit and cooking

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/mjphoto/pennycooker_0188.jpg
Medium sized billy with 1 mug of water.
Three mins to roiling boil. ;)




Thank you for reading :)

andy_e
19-03-2008, 10:13
Nice one Cobweb, another great DIY build there ... cheers.

bushcraftbob
19-03-2008, 11:23
How long does meths last for then - does it burn for a quite a while???

LazySod
19-03-2008, 12:17
Nice build and pics, i've made a few of these and think they're great.

David.s
19-03-2008, 13:32
Looks good, been meaning to try this or ages.

John Fenna
19-03-2008, 14:59
Looks very effective - and I love the photos of the boiling water and flames - difficult things to get good shots of and yours are very "painterly" artistic - crackers!
If I can ask a question (without seeming to dis your efforts and start flame wars...) why do you cover the holes in the centre?
I have seen this done before and do not understand why - would they not add flame/heat/speed to the cooking.
OK, I realise that they are your filler holes but does that stop them being used as burn jets as well?
I fancy having a go at making one of these burners, small enough to fit in a hexi burner stand (hexi as primer - any thoughts?) and I am scouring the lanes for uncrushed cans....
Great little article - keep up the DIY!

andy_e
19-03-2008, 15:08
Are the holes in the middle not covered to make a crude pressure valve? So that the gases are forced out the jet holes and not the middle, unless the pressure builds up too much.

Glen
19-03-2008, 15:59
If I can ask a question (without seeming to dis your efforts and start flame wars...) why do you cover the holes in the centre?
I have seen this done before and do not understand why - would they not add flame/heat/speed to the cooking.
OK, I realise that they are your filler holes but does that stop them being used as burn jets as well?
I fancy having a go at making one of these burners, small enough to fit in a hexi burner stand (hexi as primer - any thoughts?) and I am scouring the lanes for uncrushed cans....
Great little article - keep up the DIY!

When I make mine I don't cover the inner holes, I also make them higher up the sides so that there's a little well of meths sitting on top to help in priming.
IIRC the originalk Penny stove has a large(r) central hole but with small ones I can't see much point in covering, as you say they work as extra jets.


Smallest I've made is with 2 tea light cases, surprisingly strong for the material used, more practically a RedBull sized can as a top and a ToastToppers can as a bottom works well. There's a few threads detailing them used in crusader cookers ( but I'm at work now and don't want to open too many windows so you'll have to do your own search I'm afraid ;)

leon-1
19-03-2008, 16:12
I found the site where the can cooker had been posted but unfortunately the site had expired and the plans were no longer there. :( It was a sad moment.

Normally if you look out for the WINGS Site (http://wings.interfree.it/html/main.html) you can find about as many designs for making can stoves as you could want or you could use ZEN Stoves (http://zenstoves.net/).

If I can remember then I'll try to look out some of the other sites and post addresses for them on here.

Christy
19-03-2008, 16:19
Impressive. I've tried a couple of times and failed majesticly. This looks like summat that could work.

John Fenna
19-03-2008, 16:19
On the Wings site the Pepsi can stove is the one expired!

norseman55731
19-03-2008, 16:27
Here is a site with tons of DIY alcohol stoves you may want to look at. http://zenstoves.net/

gregorach
19-03-2008, 16:31
If I can ask a question (without seeming to dis your efforts and start flame wars...) why do you cover the holes in the centre?

Well, the theory is that (especially if you've got a larger filling port) covering it turns an unpressurised stove into a slightly pressurised one. The theory being that this raises the boiling point of the fuel, so it burns more efficiently... Or something like that. I've heard tell that you can fine-tune the performance of these stoves by changing the weight of the coin you use to cover the filling port. Whether that actually works in practice or not, I couldn't say.

I expect you could spend a fair proportion of your life tweaking the design of a stove like this - varying both the jet diameter and the number of jets will affect its operating pressure and burn efficiency. Me, I just built one that worked and left it at that... ;)

Gailainne
19-03-2008, 18:18
There's also a more serious aspect to covering larger holes, if anyone remembers the dim and distant past in chemistry, an experiment was to fill an old paint tin with gas, fit the lid lightly, which had a small hole punched into it, the gas escaping was lit, and everyone stood well back...the flame got smaller, as the gas burned off, air got into the tin, until an exposive gas air mixture was reached, the flame disappears inside the tin and bang the lid flew off....

Imagine that happening without a lid to come off..instant bomb and shrapnel.

In the newer designs they advocate rather than one big hole you make a series of small holes, as Cobweb has done seemingly the smaller holes dont allow the flame to reach inside.

As an aside I've had a two penny lift off the central holes, with the pressure build up inside, created a nice little fire ball around the pan as the escaping gas caught. :rolleyes:

A little bit of caution and some common sense is required....still its great fun, at one point I had about 20, couldnt bear to trash even the rubbish ones :o sad aint it.

Stephen

Bernie Garland
19-03-2008, 18:49
I take my hat off to you Cobweb, another cracker of a tutorial, I'm gona make one myself.

Bernie

John Fenna
19-03-2008, 19:39
Ahh - so small holes are like the mesh on a Davy Lamp! This is stuff we understand in Wales!
Now searching for cans!
I just Googled "Penny Stoves" - masses of info - just what I was after - no disrespect Cobweb (I think this is what you too were looking for before you invented your own version) but this is the grail for the prospective can stove maker.
Thank you for inspiring me Charlotte!

Toddy
19-03-2008, 20:17
I like that, thanks Cobweb, good one :approve: Brilliant bit of lateral thinking on using the grill mesh too, that's sturdy enough not to crumple :) wish I took such in focus photos :o

Gailainne your point is awfully well made :eek: I'd forgotten about the paint cans in chemistry....school used to really make science come alive :lmao:

cheers,
Toddy

stevesteve
19-03-2008, 22:49
I am always up for making things so I collected two 'littered' coke tins and some fibregalss from the loft. It was a but of a tussle getting the tins to go one inside the other but it looks just like the photos.

Then I tried to light it. It seemed to take ages pre-heating underneath to get enough meths boiling to make a self sustaining flame. Once lit it seemed to go OK.

Still not a patch on my wood burning hobo stove though!:D

Cheers,
Steve

fishy1
20-03-2008, 00:19
If you make the outer can a little taller, it will be able to hold more meths when priming and a priming pan isn't needed.

Cobweb
20-03-2008, 17:21
Wow, thank everyone for discussing this, and not fighting ;) :P

The penny seems to make the stove burn better, I like the idea of putting the holes up higher to create a well in the centre.. saves using a tuna tin :) if it works... :|

John I googled for pepsi can stove, I didn't think to google for penny stove :) never mind eh? by the way it's Michelle ;)

John Fenna
20-03-2008, 17:37
So it aint Charlottes Web?:D

Cobweb
20-03-2008, 17:43
:D nope lol

Glen
20-03-2008, 21:20
Wow, thank everyone for discussing this, and not fighting ;) :P

The penny seems to make the stove burn better, I like the idea of putting the holes up higher to create a well in the centre.. saves using a tuna tin :) if it works... :|



It helps with the priming, you could just use the cut off top of the tuna tin as the bae for priming but looking at it, with that pot support ( nice idea ) I think the whole can might be a good idea as it'll keep some of those edges away from things when packed. Though I'd have thought quite a few more holes in the tuna can would help with with airflow feeding to the burn jets.

Jacko
20-03-2008, 22:07
Great tutorial!! Never really had much success with the priming pans before, but that has given me some ideas. :rolleyes:
Keep up the superb work! :)

leon-1
21-03-2008, 03:48
If you make the outer can a little taller, it will be able to hold more meths when priming and a priming pan isn't needed.


That's wholey dependant upon temperature, I have been experimenting with this type of stove for a number of years and the self compressors have difficulties when it is cold, a priming pan works a lot better
to initiate the process.

The first I made I love to bits, yes it did strip the copper plating of of one of my pans in very short order, but it works a treat with TI to get a brew going or to get noodles softened up quickly. Quietly it's frightening how quick it works with a pre-heat, but it works very well and it's still going after a few years of use.

I will state though that my main stove that I use is a trangia (civilian one) with a clickstand or I use a Crux, either one is reliable in most conditions.

dp0001
23-03-2008, 20:45
Having learnt about coke can stoves from links off of here, I've knocked up quite a few. I documented one I made up last year at a car rally. Emphasis being on making it as simple as possible.

http://retrorides.proboards86.com/index.cgi?board=othrmod&action=display&thread=1187644066

One thing I've since found useful it to use a spoon to rub around the 'outer' can's inside. E.g. hold the outer can with the safe side in the palm of one hand and the sharp edge facing outwards then push outwards on the sharp edge with a spoon and twist the can. eventually you stretch the metal slightly and it's a lot easier to fit it over the inner can without splitting.

Another thing I've seen somewhere is to put a stanley blade in a thick book rather than on a piece of wood since that allows for a very accurate height

Kepis
25-03-2008, 15:06
Slightly different take on the can type stove

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd119/maverfish/DSCN4266.jpg

No need for a priming pan on this one as it's self contained, much like the trangia, details on how to make here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRt8mNOP2b0)

Lithril
25-03-2008, 16:34
I like that Maver, yet another project to have a play with.

Kepis
25-03-2008, 16:48
Thanks mate, i was sitting in the office absolutely bored out of my skull earlier, so i raided the recycle bin and made another:D

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd119/maverfish/Dscn4267.jpg

Office Bushcraft?

Kepis
25-03-2008, 19:11
Filled the second stove i made up with fuel and got her going when i got home from work, boiled a third full crusader mug of water in under 3 minutes, link to a couple of videos of the stove in operation below

The camera moves away sharply at 15 seconds on the first video, there was also an awful smell of burning hair, (the wind changed direction and blew the flame onto the back of my hand):rolleyes: you can just about see the rosette appear around the edge of the can, the second video shows the stove up to speed.

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd119/maverfish/th_can.jpg (http://s222.photobucket.com/albums/dd119/maverfish/?action=view&current=can.flv)


http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd119/maverfish/th_DSCN4270.jpg (http://s222.photobucket.com/albums/dd119/maverfish/?action=view&current=DSCN4270.flv)

fishy1
25-03-2008, 21:04
That's wholey dependant upon temperature, I have been experimenting with this type of stove for a number of years and the self compressors have difficulties when it is cold, a priming pan works a lot better
to initiate the process.



I've tested my modified design at fairly low temps for the UK (-5C) and it has lit first time every time, without a priming pan. However, at or below these temperatures I don't like using alcohol stoves at all, as it becomes difficult to light and slow burning.

frog_n_chips
26-03-2008, 02:31
i like the look of these mite try making one

irishlostboy
04-04-2008, 05:47
between this thread and this site http://www.ravenlore.co.uk/html/drink_can_stove.html i got enough info to give this a go just now. gathered a few beer cans on the walk home at 2am after all the winos went to bed and left their litter all over the streets.
i pretty much tried to follow the one over on ravenlore. it more or less works, but i dont have a good enough join between the top and bottom pieces. i will try scoring the inside lip of the top section next time and see if it helps. i am playing with the idea of making a pot stand and wind baffle also from cans. and maybe a mini pot with handle and lid? lol

Cobweb
11-04-2008, 08:53
I like Waylands tut, I'll give it a go, the priming pan is a bit of a pain and the ring in the centre seems like a good idea to help with the pressure, the more pressure, the less fuel it seems to use. :D

Cobweb
11-04-2008, 10:25
Ok, update: just had a go and it didn't work for me :( I messed up with the holes, when I was making the dents so I could hammer the pin through I pushed a bit too hard and it went through, making a real big hole. Ooops :)

I think I'll stick to the one I made first :D

Lithril
11-04-2008, 11:29
I can get hold of mineral wool from work, does anyone know whether its worth packing the space between the outer wool and the inner? I know trangia's have this and it should act as a wick and draw more through from the centre but will it actually affect performance?

andy_e
11-04-2008, 12:34
Interesting question Lithril - on first glance I'd say that adding mineral wool would reduce the amount of space in the burner and so reduce the pressure needed to form jets - it's worth a test. The next question would be; is it more efficient that way and how much less fuel can you fit in for the same sized burner?