1 3 Soda cans, 12 fl oz
2 3M High Temperature Flue Tape
3 Denatured alcohol
1 Push pin or small drill bit, 1 mm (0.04 in) or smaller
2 Marker pen
3 Piece of cardboard with straight edges, about 100 mm x 100 mm (4 x 4 in)
4 Large drill bit, 5 or 6 mm (7/32 or 1/4)
5 Metal file, half round
7 Ruler, 300 mm (12 in)
8 Utility knife
10 Large drill bit, 5 or 6 mm (7/32 or 1/4)
12 Diagonal wire cutters
13 Sand paper, 150-300 grit
14 Hole punch
15 Thin slotted screwdriver
STEP 1. MAKE THE BURNER HOLES
the push pin (or small drill bit) make a circular ring of 24 to 32
evenly spaced holes OUTSIDE and concentric with the circular ridge on
the bottom of the soda can.
The location of the holes can be
marked with a marking pen before making the holes. A hammer can be used
to tap on the push pin. The hammer will save wear and tear on your
thumb and will provide more penetration control. Smaller holes are made
if the push pin is not allowed to penetrate its full length.
STEP 2. FORM THE LARGE CENTRAL HOLE
large central hole in the top stove section can be formed with or
without a drill. The drill-based method is described in detail first.
central bowl-shaped section of the bottom of the soda can is about 45
mm in diameter (1 3/4 in). To cut it out, make another circular ring of
about 16 evenly spaced holes with the push pin, but this time make the
holes INSIDE and concentric with the circular ridge. These holes are
pilot holes for the large drill bit and should be positioned inside the
base of the ridge slightly more than the radius of your drill bit so
that you don't drill out any of the ridge material.
Drill out the pilot holes. Drill vertically so as not to drill through the side wall or your hand.
on the size of the drill bit, there will be some aluminum between the
holes. Cut through this aluminum webbing with the diagonal cutters (or
scissors) to form a large hole with a jagged perimeter. Warning: If you
try to tear out the center piece with needle nose pliers you may bend
the rim of the can.
Alan Crabtree suggests an alternative way to
make the large central hole. He writes, "After making several of them I
decided that, at least for me, it is much easier to cut out the center
of the can with a utility knife rather than making a number of drilled
holes. Holding the can firmly, I lightly score along the inside rim
while turning the can until I get a pretty smooth circle. You can keep
scoring with a little more pressure until the bottom pops out. There is
no need to actually push the knife all the way through. You get a much
cleaner cut and you don't need a drill."
No matter how you cut
out the large central hole, smooth the hole with a half round file.
Remove material right up to the base of the ridge. To remove material
quickly, place the can on its side on a flat surface and move the file
horizontally. For more fine work, place the can on its end and move the
file vertically. Try not to bend the walls of the can when filing,
particularly at the end with the burner holes. Smooth any sharp edges
inside the large hole with the file and sand paper after you cut the
top section to size in Step 3. At that time, make sure the circular
groove (i.e., the inner surface of the circular ridge) is free of metal
STEP 3. CUT OUT THE TOP AND BOTTOM SECTIONS
Cut the top can section 20 mm (3/4 in) in height.
a second soda can for the base section. Cut the base section 25 mm (1
in) in height. A good cut will vary by a millimeter or less in height
around the entire circumference. The precision of the cut is more
important for the bottom section than the top.
To make an even
cut, draw a circle around the entire circumference of the can with a
marking pen. Keep the marker stationary while you rotate the soda can
about its long axis with its bottom on a flat surface. To keep the
marker stationary, use a piece of cardboard with a hole cut in it to
insert the marker tip. Actually the cardboard should have two holes,
one 20 mm (3/4 in) from a straight edge and one 25 mm (1 in) from a
straight edge for the top and bottom section, respectively.
STEP 4. MAKE THE INNER WALL OF THE STOVE
the walls of a third soda can, cut out a rectangle 35 mm (1 3/8 in)
wide and 190 mm (7 1/2 in) long. To do this is to use scissors to
horizontally cut off the top and bottom of the soda can close to the
ends so that you have a cylinder with ragged edges. Cut vertically
straight across the cylinder to form a long rectangle with ragged long
sides. Lay the aluminum down on a cutting board and place a ruler on
top parallel to a long side. Trim off one ragged long side with the
utility knife using the ruler as a guide. Measure 35 mm (1 3/8 in) from
the new clean edge and repeat the cut on the opposite long side. The
long sides of the rectangle should be as parallel as possible. Trim the
ends so that the rectangle is 190 mm (7 1/2 in) long.
cutting the aluminum with the ruler and utility knife, score the
aluminum and repeat several times. Then bend the aluminum over at the
score once or twice and it will break right off.
Cut a slit into
each of the long sides of the rectangle. The two slits should be 150 to
152 mm apart (5 15/16 to 6 in) and each long side of the rectangle
should have only one slit. Slit depth (or length) should be slightly
more than half the length of a short side, or about 20 mm (3/4 in).
Make the slits as perpendicular to the long sides as you can. Center
the slits, that is, if your rectangle is 190 mm (7 1/2 in) long the
slits should be about 20 mm (3/4 in) from each end.
alcohol to flow from the middle of the stove to the perimeter, make
three gaps along one of the long edges of the rectangle. Measuring from
one of the slits, mark the location of the gaps with a marking pen at
25 mm (1 in), 75 mm (3 in), and 125 mm (5 in). Form the gaps by using a
common hole punch set in from the edge about 90% of its diameter or 6
to 7 mm (1/4 in) deep. An alternative way to make a gap is to cut 2
parallel slits about 6 to 7 mm (1/4 in) deep and about 3 mm (1/8 in)
apart into the edge of the band. Fold the tab 180 degrees up against
the painted side of the rectangle or bend the tab back and forth to
break it off. shows 3 different gaps. The 5 mm gap will work but the
other two are preferable.
Interlock the two slits of the long
rectangle to make a circular band. It is possible to interlock the
slits so that the ends of the band are on the inside or the outside of
the formed cylinder. If you interlock the slits so that the ends of the
band are outside the cylinder then glue them down with Krazy glue. This
helps position the band into the grooves of the stove bottom and top. A
small piece of Scotch tape can be used instead of glue. If you
interlock the slits so that the ends of the band are inside the
cylinder you won't have to glue or tape them down, but the final
product doesn't look quite as good.
STEP 5. MAKE SLITS IN THE TOP SECTION
scissors, cut vertical slits in the vertical sides of the top soda can
section. The slits start from the cut edge of the can section and
should end 2 mm from the shoulder (rounded edge) of the can. If you cut
the slits too deeply flames may leak out at that point. Make eight
slits evenly spaced around the circumference of the can.
STEP 6. ASSEMBLE THE STOVE
the cylindrical band into the circular groove of the stove bottom so
that the edge with the gaps is down. The circumference of the band
should be the same as the circumference of the circular groove. If the
band fits too loosely or too tightly, make a new one. A band that is
slightly smaller than the groove and fits snugly with gentle pushing is
acceptable if not preferable. The top of the band should extend 8 to 10
mm (5/16 to 3/8 in) higher than the top of the bottom section. This
ensures that the top soda can will rest against the band and not the
When fitting the top and bottom soda can
sections together make sure the top can with the slits fits over the
OUTSIDE of the bottom can. You will need a thin screw driver (or a
feeler gauge or a small flat piece of soda can) to help ease the slit
tabs of the top section over the bottom section. Don't put a permanent
bend in either section. This process is made easier if you fit one side
of the top section 5 mm (3/8 in) over the bottom section and then tape
the two sections together at that point with masking tape. Then use the
thin screw driver to ease the other tabs over the bottom section.
all the tabs are over the bottom section remove the masking tape and
gently press the two sections together. At the same time manipulate the
inner wall into the grooves of the top and bottom sections. When the
band is positioned correctly, press the two sections together tightly.
If you made your band correctly the upper and lower sections and the
stove ends should be perfectly parallel.
Pull 300 mm (12 in) of
High Temperature Flue Tape off the roll and cut it in half lengthwise
giving you two pieces of tape 3/4 x 12 in, which is enough for two
stoves. Trim an inch off each end to have a clean, wrinkle-free piece.
Tape over the slits and the junction of the top and bottom sections.
The straightest edge of the tape should be the upper edge and should be
placed right at the shoulder (rounded edge) of the section with the
burner holes. As you install the tape, burnish it by rubbing with your
thumb, but don't push too hard and put a dent in the stove.
Congratulations, you now have a completed a Pepsi Can Stove
One cans are silver and blend in well with the foil tape. However, if
you want total coverage of the paint on the sides of the stove, then
measure the width of the flat side of your stove (should be about 20-22
mm) and cut the tape exactly to that width.
STEP 7. LIGHT MY FIRE
denatured alcohol to the center of the stove and light it. The stove
lights promptly so be careful, you won't see an alcohol flame in
daylight. It takes about a minute for the alcohol to heat up and
achieve an even burn out the burner holes. Once the stove get going
wind will not blow out the stove and neither can you. If you must
extinguish the stove immediately, douse it with water.