> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Pop Can stove with minimal tools



Pop Can stove with minimal tools

It's not much to look at, but it works.
Made this simple little pop/soda can stove this afternoon. I've made one of these before, but it's been several years. And this time around, I wanted to limit my work in three ways - I had to work from memory and using only the tools that I would have in a wallet or altoid kit, and I had to work fairly quickly. The idea being that I had scavenged the materials (two pop cans) and needed to use what I had on my person to make the stove.

I ended up used a heavy needle to punch the holes in the pop can - I used a mallet to help with that, but a rock or other heavy object would do the same work too. And a little BFE Labs UltraLight Kit knife did the cutting, which is why it's a fairly messy/ragged looking stove.

The stove design uses the bottoms from two soda cans - one with the holes punched in it, one for the bottom - and then an internal cylinder between the two. A quick Google search will come up with much fancier, complicated and finished-looking designs. This was the one one that I remembered. It's usually called a "penny" stove because you place a penny over the center hole. The penny helps to regulate pressure and makes the design self priming. And yes, I forgot my penny in the picture above. More information and step-by-step instructions for a much nicer looking beer-can version of the penny stove can be found here.

The next time I make one of these again, I would make the center hole a bit bigger and make the sides of the bottom (the fuel cup) higher, if only to make filling the stove a less messy experience.

After completing the hasty I filled the stove up with 91% rubbing alcohol and lit it with my altoid kit's mini bic. It functioned as intended and brought a steel cup with 1.5 cups of water to boil in around five minutes. I then let the water boil for around 10 minutes (sorry for the lack of exact times - my phone's timer was on the fritz) before blowing the stove out. Fuel used was minimal - you could get quite a bit of boiling/heating/cooking from a bottle of rubbing alcohol.

This stoves are a good little design, and they can burn a variety of fuels. I've personally only used rubbing alcohol and the yellow bottle of de-icing stuff (blanking on the brand name), but these stoves can apparently function with lots of different fuels. That gives you versatility to use what you have on hand or can scavenge/barter for in a survival situation.

This project was a use for the heavy-gauge needle that I hadn't thought of previously - you look at a needle and think sewing and repair. I've magnetized most of my needles so that they can work as an improvised compass, too. But I certainly had never thought about using a needle to punch holes in a pop can, and it worked very well. Another reason that a good needle is a "must have" in a survival kit. Dave Canterbury doesn't have them in his ten piece kit for nothin'.

I definitely recommend trying out projects like this using only basic tools that you have in your personal EDC, EDC bag, survival kit or whatever, and working from memory. Pulling something together with an internet connection, reference books and a workshop full of tools is one thing, using the tools that you would have on hand when TSHTF is another.