Red-bullet: Cooking Stove From Cans, Fueled By Gas Additive

A couple of beverage containers and a little bit of fuel additive bring together this aluminum can stove project. When lit it shoots flames out each of those holes around the top to heat the vessel resting upon it. [Peter Geiger] calls it the Red-Bullet because one of the stove pieces started as a Red Bull can and the other piece was a Coors (aka silver bullet).

This is basically an alcohol stove. We remember seeing a very well designed version of the penny stove several years back. This is different as it uses a side burner so the stove itself functions as the kettle stand. [Peter] started by cutting the Red Bull can just a bit taller than the final height. He then inserted the top portion of one of those aluminum beer cans that are shaped like glass bottles. The neck was lopped off and inverted. It is joined with the other can base using JB weld and by rolling the aluminum in on itself. After that has dried the holes are added and it’s filled with HEET from a yellow bottle. This gasoline additive is meant to sequester water and keep your gas line from freezing. The yellow bottle is mainly alcohol, the red is methanol so make sure you use the right one!

25 thoughts on “Red-bullet: Cooking Stove From Cans, Fueled By Gas Additive

  1. Seriously? Not only does this have absolutely nothing to do with hacking but it’s been done a million times before. Popcan stoves are like a right of passage for hikers and back packers. And he was by no means the first to use a side burning design.

    Also, the red bottle of Heet is isopropryl alcohol and the yellow is methanol. Both of which are alcohol. Do some fact checking ffs. You can also buy methanol for 1/10th of the price by buying the non Heet branded bottles, you can get a 1 gallon jug for the same price.

    1. Hi BurlyMan2012,

      I suggest that you try it before you knock it. I’ve used the BIOS design, Trangia, Penny Stove, and several others and none of them have the efficiency of this stove if used with a wide-bottomed pan.


    2. Hi BurlyMan2012,

      As an avid camper and tinkerer, I’ve built many designs and used most of the commercial ones available. The Japanese designs are far more beautiful and have far better craftmanship than my design, admittedly, but can your average Joe build one for 3 bucks in an afternoon? That’s the point. Also, the Red-Bullet has efficiency beyond that which I’ve seen in any other stove.

  2. Despite the linkage, methanol is (an) alcohol.

    MEOH is just the one with the simplest structure/lightest molecular weight, and it’s usually the best choice for anything called “fuel”.

    1. On a recent month-long trip I spent over two weeks in areas with fire bans. I carried both a Nimblewill Little Dandy and an alcohol stove (the later weighing in at under an ounce, plus fuel). I was accosted by one pig (BLM, sad to say it was a pig too rather than a cop) who harassed me (and let the air out of my motorcycle tire) even though I was lawfully using an agency placed fire ring. There are good reasons to use an alcohol stove sometimes. Oh yeah, the Little Dandy badly sooted my pots, of course that’s the price you pay for cooking on wood.

  3. I burn mine on denatured alcohol, straight from the paint section at the hardware store.

    My favorite stove is made from the bottom of an aluminum beer bottle (not can!) with the neck trimmed down and inverted into the bottom, like a funnel. The aluminum bottles are thicker than the cans and this thing is very strong.

    1. If its not going to be near people how are you going to use it? You can drink methanol no problem as long as you drink lots of ethanol!

      I’ve used methanol for fondues for ages, its safe as it doesn’t get in your food, like gas and electricity don’t get in your food when your using a hob.

    2. Ideally one would use denatured alcohol, however around here it’s impossible to find. Everywhere tells you to just use methanol. I do my best to keep it off my hands and not to inhale it, but I have no fear of it contaminating my food, I wouldn’t be so stupid as to pour some into it.

      Just about any other fuel is toxic too, such as white gas or propane. I just don’t store them in my food bag, because that would be silly. I also add red food dye to it just in case, that way you can easily identify spillage.

  4. The Red bottle is mainly ISOPROPYL.
    As far as I can tell the Yellow is basically pure methanol. In any case, it is the cleanest burning alcohol I have ever used.
    I’ve used alcohol stoves for nearly a quarter of my meals over the past year, yellow Heet burns cleaner than any other fuel I’ve found, even Everclear.
    Don’t use Iso-Heet or other isopropyl alcohol, it badly soots your cookware.

  5. I concur with Mr. Electrical. When your bottle of methanol leaks in your pack and gets all over food packaging it’s not a good day 10 miles out. I don’t sweat the change and just get everclear. In a pinch it can be used as a disinfectant and a whole variety of other wonderful things. (Gets pine sap off your stuff, dilute it and it’s a great way to rinse your hands before preparing food, cooking additive in small amounts, it’s high in calories.) I’ve found it to be a good way to lighten my load a bit.

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