Simple capillary alcohol stove from 375 ml coke can

It only takes about 10 min to make a stove that burns methylated spirits from a coke can.


There are several variations but I wanted to use a standard 375 ml can, the stove be operable without an additional stand and for it to be as simple as possible. The stove below is based on a video linked at the end of this post. While I used a number of tools, you can get by with just a can and multitool with knife, scissors and awl.

First score the top of the can as shown, keep doing it until you can break through and neatly cut off the top of the can. Smooth the sharp edges with a file.

Using a marker a line around the circumference of the can 5 cm (2 inches) from the bottom, and another 5.7 cm (2 1/4 inches) from the top.

Drill hole to start the cut and cut out the top and bottom. Try to leave a piece of full width of the waste strip which we will use later as a shim.

Using a marker. make 12 marks evenly around the can.

Using needle nose pliers, make a small fold along each of the 12 marks. This creates a channel for the gas to flow from the bottom of the can.

At the top of each fold, make an indentation. This will be the jets of the stove.

Make an air vent near the top which prevents the fuel from overflowing.

This is the hardest part. Push the top all the way down onto the bottom. I found that using the shim saved from the waste made the job easier.

Don’t use anything more volatile than alcohol as it may be dangerous. Put a little methylated spirits (Heet in the USA) in tbe bottom of the stove (about a quarter full will boil 500 ml of water) and light. Flames should come out of the jets after about 15 seconds. A nice blue flame indicates good combustion which should not leave soot on the pot. Yellow would indicate insufficient oxygen.

Extinguish using an old tuna can.

Here is an earlier one I made with bigger jets. The tuna can makes a good base but you can’t use it to extinguish in that case.


This youtube video shows the process.