Note: I have recently learned that the use of these stoves has been specifically banned when campfire restrictions are in effect. That is to say if you’re above 10,000 feet, or its a particularly dry year and campfires are not permitted at all then neither is this stove. The reason for this is simple, the stove can not be easily shut off once ignited and messing around with flaming alcohol can be dangerous, so use some good judgement and be careful if you choose to construct one.
This is a simple camping stove I built a few years ago. I used it during the Na Pali Coast Hike when I was in Kauai and I also used this stove while trekking the Circle of Solitude . The stove works very simply and very effectively. Several capfuls of denatured or ethyl alcohol are poured onto the top of the stove and allowed to drain in. Once full, a few drops of alcohol are placed in the base pan below the stove. The alcohol in the base pan is lit and as the can heats up the alcohol inside begins to vaporize. These alcohol vapors have only small holes to escape through and as the gas builds up small jets begin forming outside the can and the flame in the base pan ignites the jets. Eventually the flame in the base pan burns out and the burning jets sustain the vaporization process. It is important not to overfill the base pan as this causes the jets to burn stronger and less efficiently. Ideally just enough alcohol to begin the vaporization process and light the jets is desirable. Anything more is wasteful.
The stoves construction is very simple. The base pan for the stove is made from a carefully removed Fosters top. I used a can opener and removed the top of the beer can without opening the pop top. The stove’s body is made from two Red Bull can bottoms. I cut each Red Bull can about an inch up from its bottom and then pinched the cut edge of one of the cans and slid it inside the other. At this point I had a small canister made from red bull cans with no openings. To make the holes for the jets I used a Dremel tool (If a Dremel tool had not been available I would have used a safety pin or sewing needle with some sort of mallet to puncture holes). I spaced the holes around the outside edge of the outer can. I have experimented with different patterns and hole spacings, the pattern used in the picture is one I have found to work well. Finally I punctured some holes in the center for the alcohol to drain into the stove.
The advantages to using this stove are enormous. The stove is extremely light weight, less than an ounce. Fuel is cheaply purchased at any hardware store. And finally, the cost and time involved in building the stove is nominal.