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This is a very popular backpaking stove, and I have seen the plans and versions all over the web. A few months ago I built a few of these and found them to be very inefficient, inconsistent, and clumsy. I was using denatured alcohol for a fuel, and couldn't seem to get water to boil. Hane you used or do you use these? What if anything am I doing wrong? Are they just like this?

It is a great idea and I would like to find a solution.
 

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I made one too, Its still around here somewhere, I didnt care for it either. I didnt like the idea of carrying fuel for it . When i was a kid, and didnt have money for the fancy hand warmers, me and my quail hunting buddy used to take a roll of toilet paper and stuff it in a old coffee can. We would pour about half a bottle alcohol in the can , and the T/P would soak it up. We just put the lid on the coffee can and carried it in our game bags. Wasnt very heavy , and would burn forever, certainly would warm your coffee and your hands.
 

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I have been using methanol (Heet) and I can boil water quite easy. I made a pressurized version, with a nut rivet fill hole, much like the ones made by Tinny from minibulldesign.
 

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This is a very popular backpaking stove, and I have seen the plans and versions all over the web. A few months ago I built a few of these and found them to be very inefficient, inconsistent, and clumsy. I was using denatured alcohol for a fuel, and couldn't seem to get water to boil. Hane you used or do you use these? What if anything am I doing wrong? Are they just like this?

It is a great idea and I would like to find a solution.
These pop can deals can be finicky. I've made a few and some were good, others weren't.

If you drop around $20, you can get a Trangia. They are made from brass, are bulletproof and will boil water, guaranteed. They have a screw top so you can save unused fuel. The pop cans don't have those.

I don't know what you want it for, but if you want an alcohol stove, look at those.

All alcohol stoves, especially the pop can variety, are susceptible to wind. Just fold over some tin foil 4 to 5 times and use it as a windbreak around the flame.

Alcohol stoves will boil water easily. Another point is if you used old denatured alcohol. Any alcohol fuel seems to draw water into it making it less efficient. Stick with the denatured, but use fresh fuel if you didn't before.
 

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i made one but it didnt work, so i made another... still didnt work... so i made a third... STILL didnt work! but finaly on the fourth try i got it to go. it might just be the way you made it. it took me four tries so idk. but dont give up! ive seen them in action and there cool to have just frustrating to make!
 

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I've had success with them and boiled water in ~3.5 minutes, using 1/2 ounce of denatured alcohol.

The heat seems to wear out the aluminum and burn through it after few uses though, so I looked around and found a better material and decent price at www.brasslite.com ~ excellent construction and fits in my sierra cup with windshield.
 

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trangia stoves are the way to go .. i used mine today to make some lunch on a day hike .,with my daughter ..
 

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It's no secret that Brasslite and Trangia stoves are better usually than home-made "pepsi can" burners. However, most make them for the fun of it and as a cheap alternative to buying the trangia or brasslite.

I think DudeZXT has it almost right: they do indeed work and will boil 12 oz (and more) of water quite readily in about 5 minutes, on barely an ounce or two of fuel. I have made almost a dozen of these and have a couple of three favorites among them. I have yet to have the alum in one "burn out" even after many burnings, so I'll admit maybe it's possible and I'll be waiting for that one.

The trick is (usually) in the holes - size, number, placement, and quality (lack of ragged edges) of the holes. They're not perfect, that's for sure, but I'd recommend NOT giving up if your first one doesn;t quite perform as you expected.

I carry an extra liquid fuel cannister loaded with denat alcohol. It's light and cheap. You're not going to cook gourmet meals on these things, that's for sure, but they're cool to make and a joy to use (with a little wind protection, as previously noted). Fresh fuel, also as people already noted, is necessary. Denat draws vapor from the air and soon contains H2O.


 

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I use a variation of the pop can stove; the potted meat can stove. I have heard that making a good pop can stove can be challenging.

This is nearly the exact setup I have plus a windscreen made from aluminum flashing. A windscreen is absolutely critical! I've made dozens of these for people and myself. I've never had a problem with any that I've built.


http://zenstoves.net/Stoves.htm
 

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Hey, Stretch:

Have you ever tried making it with 2 can bottoms and drilling a hole through the middle of the top one and dropping a bolt into the hole after filling?

I think that was the design I had the best success with.. Like you said, the size of the holes around the edge are critical to performance. It's also best to test with no wind or with a shield. I always boiled the water in my sierra cup, which I think I filled to 12~16 ozs.(?)
 

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I have heard there is a guy using the heavy aluminum bottles like the decorative Mtn Dew drinks. They say they are a bit better. Anyone have experience with them?
 

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I like the "Cat" stove made from small aluminum cat treat cans,put a ss cup or tin can billy pot on top easy as they are a little bit larger in dia.and a piece of alum roof flashing as a wind screen.Cut the wind screen just shorter than the cup and add some holes around the the bottom edge for draft and the whole thing will fit in side the cup when your done for transport.
 

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The Brasslite stove is a fabulous stove. It has an adjustable flame where you can open the inlets for air and boil; or close the inlets and simmer or even dry bake biscuits, muffins or small cakes.

Now alcohol stoves made from soda or beer cans. If you guess making an alcohol stove without really understanding HOW AND WHY they work. They can and often are problematic (especially if you have one made from a poor design.
 

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Stretch: alcohol stoves do become soft and fail but it will not happen after 5 burns or even 50 burns.

I have put 80 burns on alcohol stoves and they still worked as good as the day they were made. But heating and cooling the aluminum will cause the aluminum to get soft and fail. It all depends on the design.

You are absolutely correct. You will NOT be preparing a 7 course meal for 12 people.

Where these stoves shine is preparing a quick hot meal for one or two people.

I recommend people either build or buy an alcohol stove and set it aside with fuel for emergencies such S power outages, tornado, hurricane, etc.

When a person is in a bad situation; the situation never looks as bad if you can have some normalcy like a hot meal, or cup of coffee or tea.
 

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Yes. Soda can walls are only about 4 thousandths of an inch thick.

The Mountsin Dew, Miller lite, Coors bottles are about three times as thick so yes they would be more durable.

I prefer to make stoves from 53 mm
Juice, V8 Fusion, V8 energy. and energy drinks. The walls of these cans are about 35-50% thivker
 
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