Alcohol Stove Design Influences

Over spring break I experimented with polishing cans to achieve a shiny look for the exterior of the stove. The process of polishing cans proved to be rather difficult for anodized cans since no solvents really do the trick. To get a polished finish I used a sanding sponge first, then wet 600 grit sandpaper over the sponge, and finally rubbing compound on a rag. For painted cans I was able to achieve a shiny surface by using paint stripper, a much less arduous process.

I also made some tiered blocks to help with precisely cutting cans at exact and consistent heights. The blocks allow me to secure a small razor blade at height increments of 5mm. Once the blade is secured I can rotate a can next to it in order to score it until the can separates.

Additionally, I made another rough prototype stove of a different style than the first. As I’ve been making prototypes I’ve become more precise in my process, something which is key for the final product to look the way I want.

My design concept is inspired by the minimalist movement which began in the 1960’s in which designs are reduced to their most simplistic essence. Minimalist designs feature a sense of order, clean shapes, little decoration and consistent surfaces. The concept of the alcohol stove is also inspired by another form of minimalism: minimalist camping gear. Although my stove will not necessarily adhere to the strict weight requirements of an ultralight backpacker,  the general concept of the alcohol stove is based on the idea of minimal weight and size.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Ethan Gehring
    April 4, 2016 1:53 pm

    Good to see you cranking on some prototypes. Getting the finish right is definitely a key factor in going for a minimalist aesthetic. One thing that will likely be a challenge is to try to get very uniform holes for the alcohol to escape from. The prototype shown seems to include both small circular holes and some knife cuts. It may be possible to use your tiered cutting guide or something similar to allow you to line up a punch for all the holes so that they appear in the correct place.

  • I think the tiered block in itself is pretty cool, I would’ve never considered it if I wanted to make a constant height cut. I noticed that there is a seam between the prototype can and the ‘stove’ portion. Are you planning on joining these together or do you plan on leaving them separated for easy cleaning and such? I think joining them would look better or make a locking mechanism that makes the seam look intentional. Your progress looks good so far to me. I wish the can was a bit less wrinkly but I understand how difficult it is to get a perfect shape. Are you using Mother’s aluminum polish by any chance?


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