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Return of the Penny Stove

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An interesting buildable mini lightweight stove. I forget who first posted this but I thank you.





For years I have been developing a homemade ultralight backpacking stove that is lighter, heats faster, burns longer, uses less fuel, and is easier to build use use. Most alcohol stoves will heat two cups of water, but when I go hiking, I may want to melt snow or sterilize four cups fast. Or, bake some scones or slow cook a pot of brown rice or grains on 2/3 oz. of fuel. Or, boil two cups for tea on 1/2 oz..


The penny pressure regulator and simmer ring combination let it function as two stoves. It can prime and boil a quart of water just 20 seconds slower than a gas cook-top, or, simmer at max efficiently for up to 40 min. Web reviews from around the World show that it "performed like a champ" with a wind chill of -9° and "spectacularly" at the top of Mt. Whitney - 14,491 ft..


Independent testing document that it heats faster, uses less fuel, simmers longer, and packs lighter than any commercial stove. It combines the features and performance of three basic designs -the efficiency of a high pressure/Photon Stove, the ease to fill and light of a double wall/Pepsi Stove, and fast heat of a tub/Cat Stove. So simple that you can build a rough one on the trail with a leatherman or good pocket knife - no insulation, rulers, epoxy, needles, or tape. If you have played with homebuilt stoves before, this one should be a snap.



Where to get the plans and more info:



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How very interesting. Seems a bit complicated but then it might just be because I haven't made one yet. Sounds like a perfect science project for an older home schooler. I'm wondering though if a peson could store enough alcohol, or whatever, to make it useful in a prolonged SHTF situation. I know you can make alcohol out of a lot of things but would it burn correctly?


Facinating stove. Thanks Cookie,


((( )))

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  • 1 month later...

It might be a cool project for a home schooler.


The idea is you make it ahead of time, it's light and easy to travel with, less smell than a fire. LOWWWWW tech. Not everyone will have the chemical gels and such to burn. It's created for hikers and travelers so it might be good for a bug out item.


I think with created alcohol it's still feasible. grin



I think I just love the idea you recycle something to make it.


Here's another not quite as intense to make:The Pepsi can stove



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Thanks so much! Those are really great!

What a collection. I love ingenuity.


I also like things that others might not realize are valuable.

A quiet means of cooking is one of those things.

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Good "thunkin" there Cookie. Back in 1976 I bought an Olympus and have used it every since. It uses gasoline instead of alcohol but will "smoke" a pot of beans in a "skinny minute". There are new ones on the market today labeled "Russian Army Stoves" for about $35-same stove, different name. I want to modify my lid by removing the pin. That way it eliminates carrying extra weight for a small pot. I have cooked entire meals for the whole troop on the little thing-ultra reliable, no moving parts to lose or break, and efficient on fuel, wc

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Originally Posted By: Leah
It says to use a Tablespoon of alcohol. Does that mean something like vodka, rubbing alcohol, Hippie Dad's under-the-table-wine or what?

What kind of alcohol should I use?

I use Denatured alcohol for tests but use Evearclear ethanol alcohol on the trail because I can drink it, use it to sterilize cuts, or to disinfect my hands and water containers - one bottle does it all!. DO NOT USE Rubbing Alcohol, it burns dirty and contains water that could cause a steam bubble and blow the penny off of the stove. Below are notes on extensive stove burn tests by Mike Martin:

Heet (Yellow Bottle) -- 99% Methanol, burns beautifully with little
odor or flareups. Readily available at gas stations and auto parts
stores. But, with only approx. 9700 BTU/lb, not as weight efficient
as other fuels.
Sunnyside Denatured Alcohol (from Home Depot) -- Primarily Ethanol at around 12700 BTU/lb. Burns Ok, but fumes are bothersome to me.
S-L-X Denatured Alcohol (also from HD) -- Also primarily Ethanol.
Burns just like the Sunnyside stuff, but the fumes are not as bad IMO.
Heet (Red Bottle) -- 99% Isopropanol, potentially over 14000 BTU/lb if you could get it to burn cleanly. But, burns with yellow flame and leaves sooty deposit on pots.
Swan 99% Isopropyl Alcohol -- Burns just like the Red Heet. Typical rubbing alcohol smell.
Everclear -- 95% Ethanol -- Not available everywhere. Very Expensive. Soot problems are minor compared to Isopropanol.

E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline)
I do not recommend using this, however, David Lubertozzi found It produced: "very fast start, goes from "sterno" mode to full jets in about 15 sec, but burns with longer, richer jets (more orange flame, more black on the pot) for about 60 sec, then gradually goes back to normal. What I think happens is that the more volatile gasoline components come off as vapor first, since you're boiling the liquid you're essentially distilling the mixture. While probably not as efficient as pure EtOH, it seems pretty safe, may be a good alternative for improving cold weather start-up, and is cheap if you have an E85 station nearby - but you can't drink it ‡*}"

Solving the invisibility problem
A little table salt in any alcohol will make it visible, but Don Trapp "mixed 50% S-L-X Denatured Alcohol (from Home Depot) with 50% Isopropanol alcohol (Red Bottle of Heet from the gas station). The mixture makes enough yellow flame to make the fire visible, without creating as much soot as pure isopropanol gives. A mix of 73% (1 quart) SLX and 27% (1 bottle) Isopropanol worked as well. I got the idea from Daniel Perlman, who patented a mixture that includes water, in US Patent 5,858,031.

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  • 7 months later...

Hello everyone. I found this link and doc'd the whole page on Word 2007 .

Here is the link: http://www.backpacking.net/makegear/falk-catstove/index.html


It was very well written and easy to understand. One can use regular rubbing alcohol 70% in it, by a few teaspoons and I think thats very frugal, also could heat a tiny room like my bathroom if I couldnt heat a whole room somehow, if electric/boiler system/propane to building ran out.

( I am thinking burning alcohol would not create much CO???

Could anyone clarify this? The cat stove could just go on a stoneware plate atop a baking pan on the floor I think).

If its more dangerous, please let me know. I have no experience with alcohol fueled stoves.

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Originally Posted By: Fritz_Monroe
There's a lot of different versions out there. I came across Wings - The Home Made Stove Archive and they have just about any kind of stove you can make.

I really like the Zip stove versions. I've liked those since they came out.

Seriously try this link out...I like the MANY styles of stoves. Again a hiphooraaaaaay for Fritz! thanks

Example of the Soda Can Stove start:

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  • 2 weeks later...

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