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DIY (Do it Yourself) Projects -- Solar Cooking
Last Updated on:  06/25/2015 06:30 AM

Successful solar cookers were reported in Europe and India as early as the 18th century.  The increased use of glass during that period helped inventors to trap heat & hot air.  In 1870, Augustine Mouchot invented a fairly portable oven for the French Foreign Legion.  It could bake a pound of bread in 45 minutes or 2 pounds of potatoes in one hour.

Around the same time, W. A. Adams developed an eight-sided mirrored oven which reflected light through a glass cone located in the center of the oven.  This oven could cook a 12 pound turkey in 4 to 5 hours.  This is still a popular design today.  We actually use a large model, very similar to Adam's oven.  In this oven we can cook 60 pounds of food at a time

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A Cardboard Parabolic Cooker:  During the summer of 1999 I set about making our first prototype. It was made from 0.7 mm thick AnocoilÓ aluminum, which is almost mirror quality and some steel tubing. The reflector profile opens out like a fan, as each segment pivots about the middle. Around the edge is a rubber strip that fits over the edge of the aluminum and keeps it all together. We found that the 0.7 mm aluminum is a bit thin to support its own weight so it sagged in the middle. This was overcome by clamping a conical support underneath. We also found that it was a bit wobbly and the focal point would move if there were any wind. Despite this it does work well on sunny days and looks cool. It also packs up very well so is ideal for camping. It isn't ideal for developing countries, as it isn't that stable and the aluminum was too heavy for my suitcase. As each sheet overlaps the next the reflection tends to be at an angle, so the focal point is not as accurate as the other prototypes. It is 1.2 m in diameter, which is equivalent to 1m2 of sunlight but probably only 60% efficient. / (added 09/2005)

A Fresnel Parabolic Cooker :  The solar cooker consists of 3 main parts. A parabolic reflector serves to concentrate more than one square metre of sunlight into an area about 17 cm in diameter. The control arm allows the reflector to be set facing the sun and holds the pot at the focal point regardless of the reflector tilt angle. The stand holds the other two components together and allows the cooker to be rotated to follow the sun as it moves across the sky.

Backpack Stove

Barbara Kerr Solar Wall Oven Do-It-Yourself Guidelines

Cookit Foldable Family Panel:  The Foldable Family Panel is either a “solar oven” or "curved concentrator" but a happy hybrid. Its utter simplicity belies its powerful cooking power. Its low cost brings solar cooking to a much wider market of people.  It is handy for cooking food, baking breads, pasteurizing water, and teaching the basics of solar energy.

Dual Angled Funnel Cooker:  Parvati Solar Cooker. Pictures and figures how to make a modified funnel cooker. 

Easy Lid Cooker:  Although designs for cardboard cookers have gotten simpler, fitting a lid can still be difficult and time consuming. In this version, a lid is formed automatically from the outer box….

How To Make And Use The Byu Solar Cooker/Cooler:  an online VITA technical publication.

Making And Using A Solar Cooker :  Solar cooking is a delightful alternative to conventional cooking methods. The solar cookers available today really work and they deserve serious evaluation by a much larger audience. For 40 years, small groups of people have been using and refining some very good designs. But these designs have, for the most part, gone unnoticed even by those involved with alternative energy. With such a lack of support, you’d think they would have vanished from view long ago....

Parvati Solar Cooker (Twelve Sided) :  An off-grid secluded house FOR SALE about 20 miles east of Arlington, Washington

Solar Cooking Plans:  Plans for solar cookers, ovens, and water pasteurizers.

Solar Water Heater & Pasteurizer Made From Everyday Recyclables

Sunpan:  The "SunPan" was specifically designed to be built in any country with local materials and hand tools, a home-town solar cooker.  This solar cooker can be mass produced….

Sunstoves & Gravity Water System:  SCRAP MATERIALS MAKE CLEANER AIR & WATER Free instructions for a hand built panel solar cookers and a gravity water system using local materials. 1,400 water systems were built since 1980 and 10,000 solar cookers that were sold for cost. 

The Cookit Foldable Family Panel:   

The Minimum Solar Box Cooker :  When we designed this cooker, we named it the "Minimum Solar Box Cooker" because, at the time, it represented the simplest design we could devise. What we didn't communicate with that name was that this is a full-power cooker that works very well, and is in no way "minimum" as far as its cooking power goes....

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