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  #1  
Old 09-17-2011, 9:42 PM
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Default Solar OVen

Anyone make a solar oven ever? I want to make one and thought i'd see if i could benefit from any advice
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Old 09-18-2011, 5:02 AM
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Very very good idea. I have been thinking of doing the exact same thing. Almost bought one to use as a template when I was at H.V. farms a couple weeks ago but didn't get it.
BTW, if you deside to build one and need some metal bent, PM me as I have a 35ton press brake that would make quick work of the bending for you if you need it.
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Old 09-18-2011, 2:34 PM
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Just to have some fun and play around a cardboard box with the top sides up at a 45 covered in tinfoil and a suranwrap top can give you an idea of what size oven you'll need. Those style ovens cook potatoes and pies easily.

http://ecoswitch.com/uncategorized/s...-do-they-work/
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Old 09-18-2011, 3:57 PM
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Back in my hippie days (circa 1975 - 1980*), I experimented with some solar oven designs. One if the simplest was what I called the "pizza box" cooker. It was remarkably efficient despite its simplicity. There are better designs -- box and panel or parabolic for example -- but I remember the pizza box because it could be made from everyday materials without special tools. That is always a plus in an interregnum.

Basic instructions (as I remember them)...
  1. Get a pizza box or some facsimile thereof.
  2. Cut a flap in the lid of the pizza box leaving about an inch to on inch and a half between the sides of the flap and the edges of the lid.
  3. Fold this flap out so that it stands up when the box lid is closed.
  4. Cover the inner side of the flap with aluminum foil so that it will reflect rays from the sun. To do this, tightly wrap foil around the flap, then tape it to the back, or outer side of the flap.
  5. Use clear plastic wrap to create a window for sunlight to enter the box. Tape a layer of plastic wrap over the opening on the outside and on the inside making a double pane. If the opening is large, use some clear plastic straws to hold them apart. The air gap helps to insulate the oven
  6. Cover the bottom of the box with black paper.
  7. Insulate the oven with rolled up sheets of newspaper and place them around the edges of the box. The rolls should let the lid close and create a seal so hot air does not escape.
  8. Set up the oven outside in a sunny spot and adjust the flap until the most sunlight possible is reflecting off the aluminum foil onto the plastic-covered window. Prop the flap at that right angle. During the winter months you may want to angle the entire box some to get maximum exposure. Put the foods to be cooked a glass or ceramic dish

Given a clear sky, the above design will quickly reach about 200F on a Summer day and about 150F or so in Winter. That is not enough to bake a cake but, unless my aging memory is failing completely, I could cook meat and fish in one. In any case, about two hours of maximum heat is possible between 11:00 and 14:00.

(* I was never really a hippie in the conventional sense even though I understood some of their worries.)
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Old 09-18-2011, 8:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fabguy View Post
Very very good idea. I have been thinking of doing the exact same thing. Almost bought one to use as a template when I was at H.V. farms a couple weeks ago but didn't get it.
BTW, if you deside to build one and need some metal bent, PM me as I have a 35ton press brake that would make quick work of the bending for you if you need it.

If you guys are going to build one count me in. I would like to build one as well. Anyone have a source for polished stainless sheet metal and high temp glass? It would be awesome to cerakote or powdercoat the inside black. Make the oven tough as a tank and very solid.


http://youtu.be/7P7ZNwpi_G4

Last edited by problemchild; 09-18-2011 at 8:32 PM..
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Old 09-19-2011, 3:09 AM
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Originally Posted by problemchild View Post
If you guys are going to build one count me in. I would like to build one as well. Anyone have a source for polished stainless sheet metal and high temp glass? It would be awesome to cerakote or powdercoat the inside black. Make the oven tough as a tank and very solid.


http://youtu.be/7P7ZNwpi_G4
Not a problem, your in. Maybe we should setup a solar oven build party were a few of us could get together and build them, share ideas, thoughts, etc. What do you guys think?
As far as materials go, I have a couple vendors I can order the materials from, as well as the powder coating but hardest part for me is the portability/design as having one in hand would make it easy to use as a template and we could modify to our needs. I guess the best way would be for me to buy one, use as a template then put it up for sale.
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Old 09-19-2011, 7:38 AM
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Not a problem, your in. Maybe we should setup a solar oven build party were a few of us could get together and build them, share ideas, thoughts, etc. What do you guys think?
As far as materials go, I have a couple vendors I can order the materials from, as well as the powder coating but hardest part for me is the portability/design as having one in hand would make it easy to use as a template and we could modify to our needs. I guess the best way would be for me to buy one, use as a template then put it up for sale.
Sounds good to me. Maybe some of us can all chip in on one and copy it or improve on it. I do not like the painted surface on the global oven as it makes the food taste like paint. Powder coat, cerakote or black anodized metal would be a good alternative.
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Old 09-19-2011, 6:41 PM
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im in guys, let me know when and where
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Old 09-19-2011, 9:19 PM
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Originally Posted by fabguy View Post
Not a problem, your in. Maybe we should setup a solar oven build party were a few of us could get together and build them, share ideas, thoughts, etc. What do you guys think?
As far as materials go, I have a couple vendors I can order the materials from, as well as the powder coating but hardest part for me is the portability/design as having one in hand would make it easy to use as a template and we could modify to our needs. I guess the best way would be for me to buy one, use as a template then put it up for sale.
Why dont you post a solar oven build party? I think it would be a big hit. Like I said we can buy one and copy it with a few improvements. We would have to order the parts (glass, stainless, seals, coatings, legs etc) and build at a later date. Any idea what the cost would be? Half?

Cerakote makes a high temp barrel coating that is air cure. Maybe it would solve the paint smell issue during use?
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Old 09-20-2011, 6:41 AM
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One step ahead lol. I am waiting on some quotes from my stainless steel supplier, glass supplier, powdercoater wants to see it before she can quote it although I am going by there today. I am going to stop by HV farms tomm and take pics of the one they have too get an idea of material thickness etc. I will keep you posted as I get more info.
it would take place at my shop in glendora/ San Dimas area. We are behind WalMart at the 57 & 210 fwy intersection
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Old 09-20-2011, 8:22 AM
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We are behind WalMart at the 57 & 210 fwy intersection
Jeez! I'm about a mile from there. I could practically see you from my roof -- if WalMart wasn't in the way.

Here is a site that lists some basic designs.

http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/C...r_cooker_plans

Based on the discussion you are probably going for a box type cooker.
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Old 09-20-2011, 8:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fabguy View Post
One step ahead lol. I am waiting on some quotes from my stainless steel supplier, glass supplier, powdercoater wants to see it before she can quote it although I am going by there today. I am going to stop by HV farms tomm and take pics of the one they have too get an idea of material thickness etc. I will keep you posted as I get more info.
it would take place at my shop in glendora/ San Dimas area. We are behind WalMart at the 57 & 210 fwy intersection

It would be nice if the whole thing could fold flat like a brand new cardboard box. But that might be too much for our first build. It might even be something you could market online if you did design it. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
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Old 09-20-2011, 9:28 AM
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Jeez! I'm about a mile from there. I could practically see you from my roof -- if WalMart wasn't in the way.

Here is a site that lists some basic designs.

http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/C...r_cooker_plans

Based on the discussion you are probably going for a box type cooker.
Stop on by one day, I have cold beer &, soda in the fridge.
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Old 09-20-2011, 9:35 AM
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It would be nice if the whole thing could fold flat like a brand new cardboard box. But that might be too much for our first build. It might even be something you could market online if you did design it. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
Ok that sounds really good, after that idea I guess we could weld in some piano hinges in the corners to allow it to fold. I will try to get into my CAD program tonight or tomm and see what I could draw up for it.
I will let you know what I could come up with, and I may just PM you soon for some info and Ideas.
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Old 09-20-2011, 1:11 PM
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Ok that sounds really good, after that idea I guess we could weld in some piano hinges in the corners to allow it to fold. I will try to get into my CAD program tonight or tomm and see what I could draw up for it.
I will let you know what I could come up with, and I may just PM you soon for some info and Ideas.
I have cad if you dont. Its too big to send by electronic.
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Old 09-22-2011, 6:19 PM
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Ok, so here it is so far. Looked @ a solar oven at HVfarms and took a couple pics. I noticed theirs has a wooden box / cooking area so I talked with a friend of mine who does cabinets in the complex where my shop is about doing one that is collapsible, and one that is just a box. I priced the mirror finish stainless steel and it isn't cheap at all for a 4' x 8' sheet. The piano hinges aren't too bad from home depot, and the latches can be had there also. Let me know what type you'd like to build, what size box, etc. It would be cheaper if we could all agree on the same size so he could cut them at the same time. Also, the type can be any, but I have looked at a couple drawings online and they aren't that hard to do. Let me know what you all think.
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Old 09-22-2011, 7:48 PM
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This is great timing! I had started to plan out how to build one and have gathered some of the materials. I am really interested to see how this group effort progresses, though, as I may tweak my plan.

For the box, I am thinking 3/4" MDF from Home Depot, maybe two layers for extra insulating properties. Sizing will probably be 12" x 18" x 10"-12" (height) so it can fit a baking sheet.

I ordered some 0.032" dark anodized aluminum sheet from this place: http://www.onlinemetalsupply.com/ (found them on Ebay). It's $5 for a 12"x24" piece. I am planning to line the interior 5 sides of the box to make it a bit more ding and liquid resistant.

The main issue with using thin sheet metal to line it that concerns me, however, is having to take into consideration thermal expansion. In hindsight, I probably should have ordered thicker aluminum that should resist any thermal warping better.

I figure it is quite possible for this oven to see a 350-400 degree temperature swing. Aluminum has a coefficient of linear expansion of 0.0000123 inches of expansion/inch of length/degree F. It doesn't sound like much, but that is ~0.09" in elongation, or a little over 1/16" of an inch over 18". In a rigid box, that could warp it good.

I'm probably overengineering this, but...anything worth doing is worth overdoing! To address this (other than reordering 1/8" sheet), I'm thinking I will not make a liner "box," but will instead just use 5 separate sheets undercut in length by a little (less than 1/16"). If I screw them or pop rivet them to the MDF box, I'll slightly oversize the holes to allow for expansion without buckling and then seal the corners with a high temp bead of silicone.

For the lid, I'm thinking 1/4" or 3/8" polycarbonate (lexan). http://www.onlinemetals.com/ is a good source for this (and, of course...other metals).

For the mirrors, polished stainless steel. Onlinemetals.com sells unpolished--I figure an hour or two with a buffing disc on my angle grinder will give it a mirror finish. Alternatively, I found a place in Oxnard that specializes in mirrored stainless (http://www.mirrormetals.com/) that I plan on checking out.

Miscellaneous stainless hinges, barbeque grill temperature guage, and maybe some sort of leg leveling/tilting system and that should do it.

I'm hoping total cost is less than $150 for a *very* stout solar oven.
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Old 09-22-2011, 7:59 PM
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I have one. Ill bring it out and let you guys take measurements if you make me another one :0)
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Old 09-23-2011, 6:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fabguy View Post
One step ahead lol. I am waiting on some quotes from my stainless steel supplier, glass supplier, powdercoater wants to see it before she can quote it although I am going by there today. I am going to stop by HV farms tomm and take pics of the one they have too get an idea of material thickness etc. I will keep you posted as I get more info.
it would take place at my shop in glendora/ San Dimas area. We are behind WalMart at the 57 & 210 fwy intersection
Awesome, I'm right off of wheeler in La Verne! Lets definately get this build going if we can do it for a good price. If that doesn't work, lets just go to the range and shoot some stuff!
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Old 09-23-2011, 7:45 PM
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I am trying to get the price down so we all can afford it . I want to try to keep it @ 1/2 or lower of what a commercial one costs. I will have all reciepts for material and only ask that each person covers the cost of material for his oven as will I for mine, shop, tools, etc will be my donation to the cause, as well as, if you have an 80% paperweight that you want to work on, let me know. I have the jigs, mill and tooling to finish them and will help you if you need it. Looking forward to this so I can meet more cool CG'ers.
I will have a rough price for material for everyone soon, I am still waiting on some quotes.


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Awesome, I'm right off of wheeler in La Verne! Lets definately get this build going if we can do it for a good price. If that doesn't work, lets just go to the range and shoot some stuff!
Either way sounds great for me too I am looking for someone to go shooting with.

I have some stuff to take care of this week and wont be around the shop due to a death in the family, but we will pick this up when we open again.
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Old 09-24-2011, 7:49 PM
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Awesome! keep me updated. in process of buying paperweight at the moment
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Old 09-24-2011, 8:02 PM
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We need a head count so you know how much to buy.

+1
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Old 09-24-2011, 8:15 PM
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Should be able to source polished stainless from Schorr Metals in Anaheim.
Hard to get there though... they close at either 4 or 5 weekdays and they're only open until noon on Saturday. They are geared toward selling to jobbers, not primarily retail.

But for a project, you'll spend 25% or less what you'd spend buying bar and tube stock from Lowe's or Depot.
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Old 09-25-2011, 9:24 AM
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let me know the price. times are tight, but i really want to make this work! i think my brother is in as well
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:17 AM
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I have some stuff to take care of this week and wont be around the shop due to a death in the family, but we will pick this up when we open again.
Sorry to hear about that. My mother died a couple of months ago and I'm still signing papers and dealing with little things here and there.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:56 AM
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Solar ovens - did one of these as a kid.
They work, may not cook as quickly as you would like.
Mine was a box cooker, Glass face with 4 reflectors that folded over the glass when not in use. Sheet metal, with fiberglass inside to retain the heat.

See:
http://solarcooking.org/plans/

Tons of plans/ideas/discussions out there on the net.
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Old 09-25-2011, 1:15 PM
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We need a head count so you know how much to buy.

+1
+1 on this,
ok all, let's get a head count on who wants in. I understand it will be tentative depending on pricing but this way I can get an idea. I think 5 or 6 would be a great starter because bench space is kinda limited I have 2 welding tables that are 6' long and a mobile welding table that is 5' long.
I have:
*HIG541(using the Mill for a bit for his paperweight project.and oven)
*ProblemChild (oven)
*Myself
if I have missed anyone, I appologize but chime in so I can get your name down
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Old 10-01-2011, 3:15 PM
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Ok update, I am back in town now. I recieved a call while I was gone and my supplier said a full 4'x8' sheet of polished stainless steel in 20 gage is about $185.00. A full sheet would be about right for 2 people ( 2'x8' each) I have a shear so cutting won't be an issue.
So, far we are at about $92.50 per person for the stainless. If someone else has a better price or place please let me know so I can check.
I would think that misc. hardware won't be over $25.00 but I am NOT totally sure so don't quote me on this please but I will check on that also.
I am waiting on a size for the bottom so I can have the cabinet guy cut the material for us.
How does a steel bottom sound? We could make a double wall with insulation in between them and it might be a little cheaper, not sure though.

S/Steel = $92.50
Misc. Hdware= $ 25.00 ( approx guess)
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Old 10-01-2011, 6:17 PM
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Just thinking out loud here..... I wonder how much the polished aluminum is? Maybe we could save some money? What do the Global Sun Oven people use SS or AL?

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Ok update, I am back in town now. I recieved a call while I was gone and my supplier said a full 4'x8' sheet of polished stainless steel in 20 gage is about $185.00. A full sheet would be about right for 2 people ( 2'x8' each) I have a shear so cutting won't be an issue.
So, far we are at about $92.50 per person for the stainless. If someone else has a better price or place please let me know so I can check.
I would think that misc. hardware won't be over $25.00 but I am NOT totally sure so don't quote me on this please but I will check on that also.
I am waiting on a size for the bottom so I can have the cabinet guy cut the material for us.
How does a steel bottom sound? We could make a double wall with insulation in between them and it might be a little cheaper, not sure though.

S/Steel = $92.50
Misc. Hdware= $ 25.00 ( approx guess)
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:44 AM
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Just thinking out loud w/ PC here, how about model airplane mylar film coating (or any cheaper high reflectivity mylar) over ANY type of stiff flat (cheaper) surface for the reflector (MDF, Plexi, Pot Metal, etc...)? It can easily be replaced should it get scratched up. Even if it covers plain steel it should come out way cheaper than stainless or aluminum...
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Old 10-02-2011, 5:26 AM
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Just thinking out loud here..... I wonder how much the polished aluminum is? Maybe we could save some money? What do the Global Sun Oven people use SS or AL?
I will call on that aluminum on Monday, good idea.
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Old 10-02-2011, 5:27 AM
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Just thinking out loud w/ PC here, how about model airplane mylar film coating (or any cheaper high reflectivity mylar) over ANY type of stiff flat (cheaper) surface for the reflector (MDF, Plexi, Pot Metal, etc...)? It can easily be replaced should it get scratched up. Even if it covers plain steel it should come out way cheaper than stainless or aluminum...
Maybe like tin foil also? Over say a 1/4" piece of masonite board?
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Old 10-02-2011, 7:12 AM
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The only reason I was thinking mylar was because it is fairly scratch resistant (depending on the type you get) and highly reflective (think space blanket or fancy balloon) unlike tinfoil or aluminum foil.
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Old 10-02-2011, 7:47 AM
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Im In if possible.

Alum won't stay shinny for long unless it's clear anodized. Then not sure if that would reduce any reflected light.
Also, Mdf is nasty stuff. May affect the cooking process when heated over 300-400ish degrees compared to pine.
I'm in automotive aftermarket Mfg.(most audio and billet). And have a big truck so moving sheet or getting things may not be a problem.
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Old 10-02-2011, 3:47 PM
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I was thinking about making one too, then stumbled onto a group called- Solar Cookers International, based in Sacramento. They are basically a non-profit that sells pre-fab cookers made from metalized cardboard. The profit from sales goes to sending cookers to 3rd world countries.

I have taken this inexpensive solar cooker out on job sites in the back of a truck and cooked some pretty good stews with chunked beef/ chicken and veggies. I provided one of those black enameled pots, stuffed it with food, put the whole thing in a plastic bag to retain heat, then put it in the center of the cooker. 6 hours later...STEW!!
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  #36  
Old 10-04-2011, 1:20 PM
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how much did those cost kanoodler?
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Old 10-04-2011, 1:53 PM
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Our Rotary club makes solar ovens and distributes them internationally and to the indigent in our area as well. We've given out a few thousand over the last few years.
They cost about $3~6 to make from cardboard and mylar. Some of our ovens have been in use for over 3 years. Just add a black pot and your are GTG.
You guys are making this way more complicated and pricey than necessary! Polished stainless steel, LOL.

@Kanoodler, we used to buy from these guys. They make a quality product. I think they're less than $10 from them?
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Originally Posted by Kanoodler View Post
I was thinking about making one too, then stumbled onto a group called- Solar Cookers International, based in Sacramento. They are basically a non-profit that sells pre-fab cookers made from metalized cardboard. The profit from sales goes to sending cookers to 3rd world countries.
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Old 10-04-2011, 2:51 PM
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I just stumbled in here - didn't realize this had become a build thread.

I'd love to have a gallon of boiled water each day in an emergency - baking something at mid-day and then hot water for food late afternoon could be useful

I'm interested in an industrial duty oven. @ $150 is fine for me, and I may want to get my dad one if the design looks good.

Can you guys post a pic or link to these sub $10 ovens?
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Old 10-04-2011, 5:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emc002 View Post
Our Rotary club makes solar ovens and distributes them internationally and to the indigent in our area as well. We've given out a few thousand over the last few years.
They cost about $3~6 to make from cardboard and mylar. Some of our ovens have been in use for over 3 years. Just add a black pot and your are GTG.
You guys are making this way more complicated and pricey than necessary! Polished stainless steel, LOL.

@Kanoodler, we used to buy from these guys. They make a quality product. I think they're less than $10 from them?
So Carbon fiber and Nasa space film is out?
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Old 10-04-2011, 5:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheels View Post
I just stumbled in here - didn't realize this had become a build thread.

I'd love to have a gallon of boiled water each day in an emergency - baking something at mid-day and then hot water for food late afternoon could be useful

I'm interested in an industrial duty oven. @ $150 is fine for me, and I may want to get my dad one if the design looks good.

Can you guys post a pic or link to these sub $10 ovens
?
Not sub 10 but this is what he is talking about. They only get to 200 degrees
http://www.solarcookers.org/catalog/...14d2d8726508b8
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