Simple Cardboard Box Solar Oven
This solar oven uses a straight-forward design that is simple and affordable, costing less than 20 dollars. Its a little more involved than the pizza box, but will last a bit longer and is still easy enough to complete in a few hours.
Skill Level: Medium
Materials: Cardboard boxes, A glass or plastic sheet, A sheet of think black metal, Aluminum foil, Leaves or straw, Newspaper, Silicon caulk, Rigid Wire
Cooking With A Diy Sun Oven
Preheat your DIY solar cooker by setting it out in the sun 30 minutes before putting the food in it. Put your food in it and let it cook.
The smaller the shadow, the more sun the solar cooking stove is getting. Turn it throughout the day to keep the shadow as small as you can. The wider the reflectors, the less you will need to move your homemade solar cooker.
Here are some estimated cooking times. Expect things to take longer on cloudy days.
- 2 hours: Eggs, fish, chicken , above ground vegetables, fruits.
- 4 hours: Root vegetables, lentils, small pieces of meat.
- 8 hours: Roasts, soups, stews, large dried beans.
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Building Your Solar Oven:
1. Using scissors or box cutters cut a flap on the side of your can. Cut along 3 sides. We cut the Nutrition label and that seemed a good size.
2. Fold the flap back so that it stands up
3. Cover the inside of the flap using aluminum foil to reflect the rays from the sun. Use tape to secure the foil to the flap. With a Pringles can it is already reflective on the inside, this is just for extra precaution.
4. Prop the flap open.
5. Place a sheet of black construction paper inside the can
6. If you have a second thermometer place it outside your solar oven so you can compare the two temperatures.
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How To Cook With It
I picked up a sunshade for $2, clipped it together in a conical/parabolic shape , and added a five gallon bucket underneath.
Put your food in the pot, and then place the dark-colored pot inside the oven bag. It takes a few hours and works best if it is above 60 degrees, but you can cook without fuel!
Types Of Solar Cookers
There are several types of portable solar cookers. Easy solar oven projects are panel cookers. The panels reflect the sunlight onto the cooking area. Cardboard solar oven plans fall into this category.
Parabolic mirror sun cookers use a curved mirror to focus the light. They cook faster but are harder to construct.
You can also get solar ovens that have a backup electrical cooker system so if the weather is not good you can still cook. These are called hybrid solar cookers.
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What Youll Need To Make A Solar Oven:
- Two large, shallow cardboard boxes. The larger box should be slightly taller than the inner box. The inner box should fit inside the outer box with a 1 or 2 space between the two when theyre nested. Make sure the inner box is taller than the dish you use for cooking.
- A loose piece of cardboard for constructing the lid. It should be six inches wider and longer than the outer box.
- Saran wrap the width and length of your outer box
- Roll of aluminum foil
- Black paper
- Scissors or a box cutter
- Wire hanger or stick
Step 1: Create an insulation chamber, so that your inner box can nest inside the outer box. Turn your outer box upside down , and center set the inner box on top. Trace around the shape of the inner box. Cut along those lines to make a window opening. You should now have a frame of 1-2 on all four sides.
Step 2: Construct a lid to fit over the top of the bigger box. This flap will open, and thats where youll set your plate of food to cook. Center your outer box on top of the loose cardboard piece and trace around all four sides of the big box. Now center the inner box inside of the lines you just drew, and trace around the inner box. Fashion your flap in the lid by cutting along only three sides of the innermost lines. Now go back to the outer box that you just traced. Extend the lines from each corner of your larger traced box, drawing to each corner of the cardboard piece. Cut along these lines, fold them down , and tape up around the box.
How To Build A Solar Oven: Steps 1
1. Cut the four 2 × 12 base pieces to length according to the cutting list. Arrange the base parts on a flat work surface and clamp them together in the correct orientation. Check with a carpenters square and adjust the parts as needed. Then drill pilot holes and fasten the pieces together with 2½ deck screws.
2. Lay a 4 × 8-ft. sheet of plywood on the worksurface with the better side facing up. Select a good grade of ¾ plywood or youre likely to have issues with parts warping, and youll find it difficult to drive screws into the edge grain of the plywood. Mark and cut the 19 × 19 bottom piece first. Rest the full sheet of plywood on a couple of old 2 × 4syou can cut through them as you make your cuts without any need to move them out of the way.
3. To create the panels that form the reflector youll need to make beveled cuts on the bottom and sides so the panels fit together squarely. With the best side of the plywood facing up, mark two 20 x 76 long pieces, measuring from the two factory edges so the waste will be in the middle. Set your circular saw base to 22½°, then cut along the line you drew at 20 . Cut the other piece starting from the opposite end of the plywood. You should end up with two mirror image pieces.
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More Iterations And Refinements
Although 225 degrees is pretty solid, I still want to refine this more.
Im thinking another panel on the front. And a way to tilt it up. The cable ties snapped at just 5 degrees above zero so I replaced them with electric fencing wire. And I am looking for a glass container to put the cooking pot in because the glass will amplify the solar heating.
To make a riser for tilt, I cut three strips of wood and siliconed them onto the bottom of the box.
Then I took a scrap of 2×4 and a board, screwed them together to complete the riser.
Well, then I had to add more screws to the side flaps for more adjustments on the top flap.
I added a bottom flap that I made adjustable just by drilling a hole on either side of that and a hole in each of the side flaps and lacing garden plant ties through it.
Oops! Got so hot it warped and melted holes in the inside plastic box! So then I took some aluminum flashing scrap I had around and made an aluminum box for it, painted it black I need to keep my eye out now for an old metal box, maybe a bread box or something for the inside.
Free Diy Solar Oven Plans You Can Make Today
- Pete Ortiz
A solar oven is a tool you can use to cook food solely using the power of the sun! Whether you are a survivalist, living off the grid or just looking to save some money on electricity, knowing how to build you own solar oven is a useful skill. Most solar oven designs are quite affordable and easy to make. Almost all of them involve using simple materials such as aluminum foil and sheets of plastic.
Learning how to build a solar oven can reduce your energy bill, but they are also great for lowering your environmental footprint. To boot, they can be nearly as effective in cooking most foods as any other oven!
Weve gathered a list of 9 free solar oven plans. There are plenty of styles to choose from, ranging from very simple and cheap to more advanced plans. Weve also made sure to include lists of all the supplies youll need for your project. Get ready to harness the power of the sun!
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How To Use Your Diy Solar Oven
- Set your DIY solar oven up outside in full sun, with the reflector facing directly at the sun. Monitor how hot it gets inside, when the temperature is above 70ºC it is warm enough to start using. As the sun moves across the sky adjust the direction of the reflector accordingly. This will ensure maximum temperature inside your oven.
- Use your chart to record the temperature details along with observations of the item you are cooking inside. This will vary according to factors like the outside temperature, how high the sun is in the sky and the angle of your reflector in relation to the sun. We found that the temperature at high noon was actually lower inside the oven than it was in the late afternoon due to the angle of the sun in conjunction with the angle of the reflector.
- Remember to use a tea towel to lift the glass bowl because it can get very hot.
We tried making two different things in our solar oven Rainbow Crayons and Rocky Road Bites.
How To Make Rocky Road Bites
We made these Rocky Road Bites in our solar oven and they were YUMMY! Ordinarily chocolate is best cooked at a low temperature so its perfect for your solar oven.
To make Rocky Road Bites place a small amount of chocolate melts into a silicon cupcake liner along with a scattering of chopped marshmallows, a teaspoon of chopped nuts and a teaspoon of desiccated coconut. Place in your oven and observe the results.
Once the ingredients have melted into a lump that resembles Rocky Road remove them from the oven and refrigerate until set.
Our Rocky Road Bites took over an hour to fully cook but they were worth the wait!
Your solar oven is easily folded and packed away to use on another day. I found it a great way for the kids to learn about solar energy and sustainability.
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How Do Solar Ovens Work
The matte black paper absorbs the heat while solar radiation from the sun is reflected from the aluminium foil onto the food.
We tried a different activity with crayons and left one crayon in the sun on a shiny metal plate and one on a plastic plate. The crayon on the metal plate melted fastest. Why do you think this is?
The Science Behind A Diy Solar Oven
It is useful to understand the working principle of the device you just made. After all, solar ovens work entirely on science.
Here is the chronology of the solar energy and consequent cooking process.
- The heat from sun rays enters the box through the transparent plastic wrap opening.
- Due to the flaps and aluminum materials, the rays get focused in the cooking area.
- The air trapped inside heats up due to sunlight.
- Now, you might remember the existence of black construction paper. This paper absorbs maximum heat towards the bottom of the solar oven.
- In addition, the newspaper tubes help with ineffective insulation. In simple words, the heat doesnt escape the inside of your solar oven.
- This heat cooks the food kept on a plate within the box. On sunny days, the temperature can cross 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Thus, your solar oven is ready for food to cook on a hot day.
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Best Cast Iron Skillet Recipes
The best cast iron skillet recipes include one pot cast iron skillet meals, meats, vegetables and desserts that are easy to make. Cast iron skillet recipes also need to taste great. Be sure to check out our easy and delicious iron skillet recipes!
Your family will love these delicious cast iron pot recipes! Plus these easy recipes are sure to convince you to use your cast iron pots on a regular basis.
Have you ever wondered what can you cook in a cast iron dutch oven? Or maybe why a cast iron dutch oven is a better option? Get recipes and answers here!
Here is a collection of instant pot recipes from this site. Instant pots are all the rage these days because they cook food so much faster, are easy to use and easy to clean up when you are done.
This easy wood stove recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich paired with tomato soup is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter day.
It is so easy to make homemade tomato soup in a dutch oven using fresh tomatoes, or if tomatoes are out of season, using tomatoes you froze or canned and the taste is unbelievably delicious!
Seasons change and with them come new recipes for my cast iron dutch oven chicken noodle soup.
This sauteed pea recipe seasoned with basil, parmesan and sesame is perfert for special occassions or as an extra special side dish through the week!
This creamy sage recipe sauce is the perfect simple pasta sauce recipe for bow tie pasta. It is quick and easy to make plus it is a great side dish!
Build Your Own Homemade Solar Oven
If youre not convinced a solar cooker can deliver the kind of temperatures required for cooking, this video should settle it for you because, as we get to see, the reading shows 300°F easily hot enough to boil water. And this is in spring, but this YouTuber estimates in summer it could easily reach 400°F. Are you convinced now? Then give his video a watch to see how he managed it.
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Plenty Of Great Ideas For Building Functional Solar Ovens
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to build solar ovens, often using simple techniques and inexpensive materials.
We hope youve enjoyed reading and watching these plans as much as we have finding them for you because, for us, this is a fascinating subject and above all, we hope weve also helped you find the plan you needed for building a DIY solar oven of your own.
Ready To Make A Solar Oven With A Mirror At Home
Sustainability is one of the most critical issues of our time. Its something that we all need to be aware of and do our part to protect.
One way to help promote sustainability is by using solar ovens. These ovens offer a fun way to cook food without contributing to climate change.
Unfortunately, when most people think of solar ovens, they think of the large, industrial-sized ovens used in developing countries to help cook food. But now you know how you can employ solar cooking at home using some simple materials!
While the decision to make a solar oven at home ultimately comes down to your needs and preferences, we think you should try it if your area has decent weather and you like to cook outdoors occasionally.
It will give you a sense of naches and allow you to save plenty of money along the way!
Hopefully, you will face no trouble making one with a mirror at home using our instructions. Then, after getting the hang of solar cooking and enjoying your DIY mirror oven for a few months, you can start experimenting with other designs!
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Solar Cooker Made From A Tire
This man from Uganda made a solar oven using a tire, and other assorted scraps of material that you can find for free or very cheap. Not only is it a thrifty way to make an oven, it takes very little time to assemble!
Skill Level: Easy
Materials: Tire, Aluminum foil, Black pot, Tape, Cardboard box, A sheet of glass or plastic, 2 water bottles, Crumpled up newspaper
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How To Build A Solar Oven: Steps 7 13
7. Make the adjustable leg, which contains parallel slots so the leg can move up and down over a pair of hanger bolts, raising and lowering the angle of the cooker so you can take full advantage of the direction of the suns rays. Outline the slots in the adjustable leg of the oven so they are wide . Locate a slot 2 from each edge of the adjustable leg. The slots should stop and start 2 from the top and bottom edges. Cut the slots with a jigsaw or a plunge router.
8. Screw the base and the plywood bottom together. Set the adjustable leg against one side of the base, then drill guide holes and install the hanger bolts so they will align with the slots. The centers of the bolts should be at the same height: roughly 2½ up from the bottom of the box. Use large fender washers and wingnuts to lock the adjustable leg in position.
9. Fasten the reflector to the base with countersunk 2½ screws. Angle the drill bit slightly as you drill to avoid breaking the plywood edge. Use two screws per side.
10. Cut pieces of reflective sheeting to fit the sides of the reflector as well as the base. You can use heavy-duty aluminum foil, but for a sturdier option try solar foil. The product seen here is essentially polyethylene tarp material with a reflective aluminum surface. Make sure to cut the pieces large enough so they overlap the edges and can be easily attached.
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