I built an Altoids tin multi-fuel backpacking stove

I spent an hour or two on Youtube the other night, coming up with ideas for this. So, none of the ideas are original to me, but I didn't see a multi-fuel setup or a capillary action alcohol stove out of a Altoids tin. 

97 grams as it currently sits. It will gain a little bit of weight as I add a small fero rod and jigsaw blade, wind screen and protective wrap. The tin will be the handle for the small saw. I am also going to add a leather wrap around the tin. The wrap is to contain the parts and also be used for a base for keeping tinder dry when making a campfire. The leather thong will be long enough for a bow-drill.

The capillary stove is pretty cool. The fuel wicks up inside the metal wick by capillary action. The metal gets hot, vaporizes the fuel, and it burns. The X shape of the wick is to increase the amount of flame area while providing good air flow to the flame. The X is a slice of a soda can, folded down to the shape.
Currently, I have a problem with boiling of the fuel before it can vaporize, so the stove will spit little fire balls nearly a foot away! It needs work yet.

In album 2015-02-11

Capillary action alcohol stove burning. The fluid wicks up between the thin gap in the soda can wick. The hot metal vaporizes the alcohol, which then burns well. This will burn like this for 5 minutes on 6ml of denatured alcohol and then burn out in a matter of seconds.

All packed up. Everything fits into a regular Altoids tin.

This is in liquid fuel mode. The burner sits inside the tin which has the bolt stand offs to hold the pot. The mesh grate isn’t used in this form.

Wood burning mode. Small sticks can be placed between the pot stand posts. The grate allows air to get under the fire for better burning.

The pot stand is sized to work with metal water bottles.

9 Replies to “I built an Altoids tin multi-fuel backpacking stove”

  1. oh shoot, when i hear "multi-fuel" … i think diesel, white gas, propane like a canister stove, gotcha !

    the problem with cat food stoves, altoid stoves, all those mods … they're illegal during fire hazard season here (almost all times i'd want to go to the mountains)

    the requirement is that the fuel source has to be controlled by a shut-off valve/device … i'm sure the idea is easily & guaranteed always be able to stop the flame, whether or not you have water, or anything else ?

  2. I have a video of the stove burning at https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/5D1pN1jfUwjFS4Q0rDshe0iH1iBn_HEP_n00v32SlnQ?feat=directlink but you will probably want to mute the sound. The kids are running around.

    Without the pot-stand posts in place, I just close the bigger altoids tin and the little tin goes right out.

    I did see some ideas for alcohol stoves with shut offs in them. They need parts that I can't rescue from the trash, so I likely won't make any of those.

    Alcohol burns at a lower temp then most of the hydrocarbon fuels we can use. It won't melt aluminum or burn up the metal where hoter fuels can.

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