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How To Make A Solar Funnel Cooker

Posted by Jonathan

In this video, I am going to teach you how to make a solar funnel cooker.

For this cooker, you will need:

  • Aluminum foil

  • Glue

  • Cardboard (I got some heavy duty cardboard, which was very difficult to fold)

  • A razor blade

  • A cutting surface (optional)

  • A measuring tape (optional)

  • Brads, bolts and nuts, screws, wire, or some other material that will hold things together (watch the video to see what I mean)

  • Straight edge (like a board) for forming creases)

(I actually mess up in the video and call this the "box solar cooker" but decided not to edit/re-record it)

I thought that it was kind of cool when I was picking this cardboard up at the grocery store, I got to chatting with the guy who was helping me to get the cardboard, and he asked me what it was for.

I said "for cooking food."

You should have seen the puzzled look on his face.

I went on to tell him about being able to line the cardboard with foil and that with a black pot and a glass bowl, we would be able to cook whatever we wanted.

He was absolutely amazed.

(If you're watching this video, hi Mike!)

This cooker comes from Steven E. Jones, Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University (BYU), and no doubt a great team who helped him in the process of creating a variety of funnels for solar cooking!

Transcription of this video:

GreenJoyment.com presents:
How to Make your Own Solar Cooker

Today we're actually going to be making our first solar cooker and what's more appropriate to start with than the BOX (I meant funnel) Solar Cooker which you can find at SolarCooking.org. So for this project, let's go ahead and get started.

We're going to need some wire or some other kind of fastener - you'll see why in a second. You're also going to need some aluminum foil - no product endorsement necessary here, just showing you that you'll need some aluminum foil. You'll also need glue, this is just the glue we had; you can use whatever you wanted, rubber cement or anything like that. Also you're going to need a tape measure and you're going to need a razor blade knife. You're also going to want to use some cardboard - you can get cardboard for free basically anywhere, but you're going to want to use some cardboard that has a side that's twice as long on one side as on the other side. So what I did is I went and got this big piece of cardboard, you can see its thick cardboard and it's huge. This is what they use to hold watermelons at the grocery store and they just get rid of it or recycle it later.

The other two things that you're going to want is some sort of solid surface for folding against and then you're going to want some sort of surface that you can actually cut on.

So we are going to go ahead and get started!

Alright, so I've got a piece now that's 2 feet by a little bit longer than 4 feet and what I'm going to do is cut a hole out of the middle here so that we can actually use this as the base for putting our solar funnel cooker together.

Normally the hole that you cut in the bottom here you would want to have it be the diameter of whatever your cooking pot is when it's put together. But since I don't know what my cooking pot is going to be - I'm just going to cut a smaller size half-circle so that I can actually make this thing form into a funnel.

Now, before I put glue on it and put the aluminum foil on it, I want to make creases into the cardboard so I don't have to try to do that after I put the foil on. So I'm going to go ahead and make creases in the cardboard. Now that's where this board is going to come in super handy for me!

So this probably would have been easier to bend than this -- if you actually used a thinner cardboard, but if you end up getting this cardboard, just be prepared - it may take some strength to get the thing to bend into the shape that you want. But it will end up being in this sort of a shape. Then you've got to lay it back down flat and this is where we're going to put the aluminum on.
So, rubber cement might work better for you if you decide to use rubber cement, or you can take some Elmer's Glue and thin it out. But we just have this glue so this is what we're going to use. I'm just going to spread this out all over the cardboard and then I'm going to lay out the aluminum foil and just do it in one strip at a time, get that laid out and flat and then I'll overlap it with another layer and then we will have the whole thing pretty much ready to go.

By overlapping the pieces of aluminum foil by about an inch, an inch and a half, maybe two inches - we just going to go ahead and wrap up with the rest of the aluminum foil here.

Ok, so we've got all of our aluminum on here - the whole thing's covered as you can see and what we'll need to do now is go ahead and tie the ends together. So we're going to take this and we're going to fold it in along the creases that we just made so these ends will actually match up. Then we're going to tie them together and we will have made our solar funnel cooker! Relatively simple, right? We're about twenty-five minutes into this ... maybe not even that - maybe 20 minutes into this project at this point and have got maybe 5 or 8 minutes more to go. We're going to go ahead and let this glue dry and I will record the rest, you'll probably see me inside, doing the rest of this tying these ends together and then showing you how it works to cook the food.

Now if I wanted to I could hold this together with screws or with bolts; you know, put a bolt through and a washer on the other side and hold it with a nut and I may end up doing that eventually but for now we'll just tie it together. We are going to just use some everyday, common simple wire to hold it together.

Alright, I eventually decided the wire wasn't working because I wasn't getting a wide enough angle inside of the funnel here and so what I decided to do is go ahead and use a bolt and you can probably see that right there to go ahead and hold this together and I'm going to hold it together with a couple of other bolts. I'm just using some stuff I've got around the house here.

The thing I've learned doing this project, is that your creases that you make are super important. I should have made this crease much stronger - the one going to the corner because that's going to determine just how wide of an angle I will get when I'm actually using this in the funnel.

So once you get the whole thing done, it fits inside of a box. So ours in this case, is going to fit inside the box just like this and I'll tip it up here so you can see it, but it will sit inside of the box just like that. We'll put some rocks inside of the box to weight this down a little - with the heavier cardboard, this is pretty heavy. That's what we'll use to cook our food!

This is Day One of Solar Cooker Week - stay tuned because tomorrow we've got another awesome solar cooker coming at you and then at the end of all of this, we're going to make four solar cookers; and when we've got all of them put together, we are going to basically have a cook-off.

We're going to compare, side-by-side, four different solar cookers cooking the same thing, we're going to use all the same stuff, to see which one tastes the best, which one cooks the quickest and any other interesting information we can find out about these different solar cookers. So thank you for joining us! There's a link right below me here that's where as soon as we wrap up all of these solar cookers, you'll find out the results of what happened when we compared the different solar cookers.

So we'll see you very soon at GreenJoyment.com and if you're already here, thanks for visiting and come back at the end of the week and we'll have the results of our solar cookers to see which one performed the best.


centervilletn Commented:

Hey Jonathan!

Great video... couple notes

3 m and other manufactures make a spray adhesive that you can buy at automotive part supply stores ..3 bucks or so...very good product.. ...if its xmas time you can buy rolls of foil like paper for a dollar a roll...it is made of mylar very very reflective, cheaper than foil..or you can use old potato chip bags...the insides are mylar too...

MacRumpton Commented:

It definitely is a lot easier to use thinner cardboard, but if you want to use the thick stuff here are some tips: A sturdy pizza cutter makes a good creasing tool and you can use a knife and carefully cut through one side/skin of the cardboard (on the side you want it to bend away from). That will make even the toughest cardboard bend easily. It also works on Coroplast (plastic corrugated panels).

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