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How to Make a "Bill Bomb" Stove

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Just thought that I'd share a quick little project that I did today. I've been reading about volcano stoves, Kelly Kettles, etc, and stumbled on this little gem. It's an alcohol stove which is a variation of "The Borde Bombe" that was created by a scoutmaster for his troop. You can see the original video by its creator


It cost me about 5 clams in parts at the hardware store, although this stuff is probably laying around in most people's garages. Let's start with the parts list:


- A length of 1/2" copper pipe. I cut mine to about 8" long and it holds about 5 tbsp of alcohol. Try different lengths to suit your needs.


- A copper "tee" or union with 1/2" ends and a 3/4" center


- Copper pipe end cap of 1/2". You can substitute the pipe and cap if you can locate a copper stub (one end already sealed).


- Wire hanger or some other stiff material to create a stand


- A priming tray (small tin can lid)


Here are the parts:




Here is the completed setup:




Basic operation (from what I was able to glean from the video) is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps that I took to get started:


First, I slid the stand over the pipe. Next, using a syringe, I filled the pipe with denatured alcohol. Mine took about 5 tbsps of fuel. Finishing the process was the placement of the union on the top of the pipe and setting it on its side. Place the primer tray underneath the union as you are laying it down so as to catch a little of the draining alcohol. This will serve as your primer. Take out your favorite lighter (or, in my case, a firesteel) and light the fuel on the primer tray. This is what I got:




After it heats up, you will begin to hear the "jet sound" (very cool) and the flame will stop coming from the bottom and get stronger at the outlet, thusly:




Earlier in the day, I made a quick and dirty coffee can stove to test the Bill Bomb. Here is the setup with the burner underneath:




Burner and stove in operation:




I took one cup of water and placed it into a stainless cup to see how long it would take to boil. I live at 12' about sea level and the water was approx 72 degrees when I started. It took 12 minutes to come to a good simmer without a lid, although I did not get it to boil. I was able to get a stronger flame by putting my firesteel under the end to tilt the angle as fuel was running out.




Here's a shot of the "business end" as it was towards the end of the fuel:




In summary, it was a fun little project. I suspect that with different heights over the flame, it is possible to get a rolling boil of the water.


Thanks for reading!

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