Friday, April 24, 2009

April maker challenge 14 and 15- camping stove and micro-preamp

I'm just going to give up trying to do one a day and go for two every two days. It seems more believable for me.

I have a small interest in camping, which I'd like to make into a larger interest in camping. One of my very favorite camp toys is the penny stove-an ultralight alcohol fueled stove made from two Heineken cans and a penny. Yes, they do have to be Heineken cans- the shape is important.

I have two of these little fellas and they work GREAT. A few mL of denatured alcohol into the stove is enough to boil a quart of water long enough to cook noodles, or make rice, or whatever. There are three other things I'd like to make in relation to these, though- a heat concentrator, a nice stand, and a larger burner version. In reverse order:

Heineken comes in 12 ounce cans or 24(?) ounce cans. I'd like to buy a couple of the big ones and make an uberstove. Just for kicks.

My current stands are two bent-up coat hangers. They require fairly level ground and are kind of wobbly. I'd like to make something more sturdy, possibly collapsible and possibly with a bit of leeway for unstable or unlevel surfaces.

The last I'm stealing from another AMC post: a heat concentrator. I'd like a highly portable and very easily used device that wraps around my stove, stand, and pot, which keeps the hot air coming up off the stove flowing along the sides of the pot instead of letting it disperse. I'm expecting this would make the penny stove much more efficient.

Next idea- micro-preamp. I have an interest in foley artistry (not that I've ever done anything about that interest) and I always have my MP3 player with me. My MP3 player has an input jack which apparently has a fairly high high input impedance. I also have a tiny little microphone which has a fairly high output impedance. I'd like to make a super-simple lo-fi amplifier that I could plug in to the MP3 player for when I find a really fun sound in the environment. I could then later collect these sounds, play with them, and possibly offer them to the world. Ideally, it would be powered by a button-cell battery and have an off switch to avoid draining it too badly (although that might be unnecessary if I design the circuit right). In fact, a REALLY fun trick would be an amplifier that could work on a charged capacitor rather than a button cell- must consider that.

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