What is a solar oven DIY? A solar cooker? What is the box all survivalists keep buzzing about? How can glass, insulation material, aluminium foil, and glue be used in the wilderness to cook a pizza? How is it possible if it uses onlysolar energy and heat? In this article, you will find out all the answers! Read on!
The use of solar energy has found its application not only in the production of electricity and heat supply; it is used even in cooking.
It will not be superfluous to say that cooking with this sort of oven is a stimulating activity. Aside from being unusual, the solar oven also brings the cookery experience to a whole different level. Firstly, it does not harm nature at all, and secondly, when the electricity is cut off for a certain period of time, you still have a way to cook food with the sun’s help, with the help of natural solar energy.
And if we compare such stoves to cooking on a fire, solar stoves do not require any supplementary sources (for example, wood or the need to set a fire yourself) to work.
This method is suitable not only in conditions of survival but also in everyday life. Such a cooking process is the most natural and does not damage the environment with dangerous substances.
This article will provide you with the fundamental information about solar ovens, how they work, what kinds are available presently, and how to make them at home. If you are really interested in this idea of solar power slow cook, then be sure to read it ’till the end.
By the way, to become a more advanced survivalist, check out our complete list of all survival gear needed.
Solar Oven Specification
The beautiful sunny day is certainly great as long as you don’t spend too much time beneath the sun and then get a sunburn.
We experience the sun through its radiation. And everyone knows that the sun has electromagnetic radiation, which consists of visible sunlight and infrared and ultraviolet rays. The sun loses almost no heat on its way to Earth. The heat that we receive is brought by the sun’s rays, again, electromagnetic waves of different lengths.
They reach us from the sun through outer space, which is quite empty. Basically, it is a vacuum. It means that most of the waves that “traveled” to our planet do not meet with anything along the way. Thus all their energy is given to the Earth. This is how we feel it, through the warmth, which is the manifestation of infrared waves.
However, we can still focus this energy on a smaller expanse, using a magnifying glass. People understood this long ago, and therefore nowadays, there is a wide variety of distinctive designs for cookery, which are solar ovens in particular.
This is done by capturing the sun’s rays and concentrating their energy in one place. A solar oven, using a natural resource such as sunlight, is considered an indispensable way to generate high temperatures. In turn, they are practiced for a variety of food-preparing processes (in our case). Transparent elements do not reflect radiation but transmit it. Conversely, opaque materials embody infrared light and transform it into thermic energy.
Therefore, it is considered an environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and efficient way to get high temperatures.
Read our full and free guide about the gear you will need during your survival scenario now!
Why is Solar Oven Beneficial?
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the uses of solar energy. Mostly, people talk about the solar panels they use at home and why they are exceptional.
They are often used to simplify the work of a home electrician and, on the other hand, when abandoning the grid’s use in general (by connecting solar panels to batteries).
Nevertheless, such a way of living off the grid might be a little pricey. And it’s crucial to know that if you want your solar panels to work properly, you will need experts’ help, which will also cost you a penny. For those who want to make their lives free from electricity, there are various types of hand-made DIY options.
Self-taught individuals make use of constructions called Solar Hot Water Heater, which is another way of collecting the sun’s energy. They are usually placed on the southern side of the house.
How do they work? Tube pipes pre-heat the water that comes into the heater. That’s it. As you may guess, it’s a rather simple mechanism without any electrical contacts and moving elements that reduce the expenses you have on the hot water in your bathroom.
Moving on to our subject. Popular science still recommends you consider solar cookers, even if you already own the solar panels. Using the sun’s energy is very handy because it doesn’t need fuel and other extra resources.
Solar power, in general, is a great instrument in terms of survival. We discussed it in our previous studies about Solar Chargers, Portable Solar Generators, and Portable Solar Panels. So don’t be afraid of changes. Feel free to learn something new!
If you found yourself on this part of the article and still have not looked through the complete listing of imminent tools that you will need in case of survival, then please make sure to do it now, do not postpone it, because it can be constructive for you.
Solar Oven Types And How To Construct Them
First, a usual magnifying glass can perfectly work as a solar cooker, but there is a problem, though.
We must admit, it is a good item to cook, but despite this, its dimensions make the magnifying glass cook slower, as it takes too much focus to collect the light on a portion of food. And when you tune it to the point where the magnifying glass becomes a real solar cooker, it will be as heavy as you might not want to carry it around in the future.
This way, it would be useful to change the purpose of the magnifying glass use. A magnifying glass doesn’t worth being a full-fledged cooker, but it operates as a fire starter well.
Another form of a solar cooker is a Fresnel lens used in the old days in lighthouses to send ships light signals out to sea. Those are available in many online shops in plastic and glass, it’s good for people that want to obtain both materials, or maybe they want to compare them themselves.
Like every other item, the Fresnel lens has a con. It is very delicate to the angle of sunlight you adjust, and it works well only if it’s big enough (And what is more, it doesn’t need to be wrapped in aluminum foil). Otherwise, it focuses the heat much harder and longer. So, to use a proper Fresnel lens, you need to think about its size.
For example, a 24″ lens can easily boil the water inside the cooking pot, but if you want to cook something more volumetric, you will meet some barriers for sure. To get over it, you might need a little inventiveness. And the following video will help you to do this:
By the way, the Fresnel lens is an effective firestarter that can melt a plumbum!
To make a DIY solar oven Box cooker, you will need only basic items, such as cardboard boxes, duct tape, black paper, and aluminum foil. In case you want to get a slow cooker that will not cook food but will reach high temperatures and keep it, then this is it.
If you want to get to know something more practical, look through this Sun Oven research.
The drawer’s solid wood interior is finished in black construction paper and aluminum foil to keep it warm constantly. It is held back the boxes, of course, by the insulated box itself with a transparent lid. Line the inside of one box with adhesive and foam insulation, and cover the insulation with gaffer tape.
The temperature inside the box quickly reaches from 200 to 300 degrees due to the mirrors on the box’s sidebar, which direct all the heat inward.
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Okay, so the plan on how to build this DIY solar oven is kind of clear, and you can follow it without any difficulties.
If you are not eager to do it yourself, you can purchase a ready-made solar oven here.
This version of the stove effectively reflects and targets the sun’s rays, collecting all the power received inside the oven. This way, the oven reaches a temperature similar in degrees to a home stationary oven so that you can bake bread and prepare meat (use the meat thermometer to check if it’s ready).
Using lenses when preparing food is certainly effective, but look at the functionality of the reflectors. They can be built as flexible solar screens that look like the windshield of a car (To understand the topic, look at the pictures below).
What’s more fascinating, to build this type of DIY solar oven. It is not at all necessary to have a lot of money in your pocket. Besides being simple to create with your own hands, they are compact and light to transport, which means they can be used even on the go (it’ll be excellent to use when you are hiking).
If you need a solar oven with upgraded cooking coverings and more long-lasting elements, try the models you can buy in stores.
The best scenario is if you utilize this solar oven together with heat-resistant cookware. Thus, preparing the dishes with the sun’s power will become more comfortable for you, and you will not suffer from the fact that your food will constantly cool down.
To use the sun s energy for preparing food, you need to concentrate it. The most effective way is a parabolic mirror that concentrates power at one point.
The principle of operation of this DIY solar oven is that when the sun’s rays hit the mirror surface, the rays are reflected and accumulated at one point, like a Fresnel lens. This is due to the dish’s parabolic shape, and the light beam is reflected at the same angle at which it hit the mirror surface. This design will look like a satellite dish.
A parabolic mirror’s surface can be either solid, that is, without seams, or from pieces of mirrors or reflective film. So you can make such an oven from the materials at hand from the survival list.
However, the most effective manufacturing method remains a natural parabolic glass mirror.
Of course, size is the subject here, and everyone understands that the larger the parabolic mirror, the faster it will cook food. Some solar ovens have a diameter of several feet.
If you decide to practice a parabolic mirror for just DIY it. This is appropriate if you don’t have a five-foot satellite dish lying around in your backyard.
Parabolic Trough Cooker
Basically, this type of DIY solar oven works the same as the previous one. The peculiarity is that this surface is located along one axis in a long channel (you can use the rubber tube), forming a line of concentrated heat and not a tiny spot as in the previous one.
To concentrate the sunlight without utilizing it for some number of hours, adjust the trough with the sunlight’s route. That is, while the food is being cooked on this DIY solar oven, you can do something useful instead.
As you can now understand, this solar oven is much more complex to build, and it requires certain resources. If you are confused by this design method’s laborious process, you can use the ready-made portable solar cooker GoSun. It has a sufficiently high insulation level that retains heat inside and does not let cold from outside.
Which Cooker Is Better To Choose
For every survivalist, the types of DIY solar ovens displayed have both good distinctive features and disadvantages. Everything is based on what a particular person needs and what he expects from the use of this “mechanism,” how straightforward it will be practiced, and whether it will need to be transferred from place to place.
The above are super-easy models to build (cardboard box oven or reflective oven), but the construction of the last item (solar dish parabolic through cooker) takes time. Still, such a solar oven, DIY-ed or not, will be extremely beneficial to use.
To finally decide and determine what you need specifically, our team suggests watching this video below. We are sure that after it you will learn much more and you will be able to make the right and worthy choice.
Make sure to read our comprehensive survival checklist of inventory you need to purchase before the emergency.
Is Solar Oven Praiseworthy?
The lack of electricity is most often the reason for the production of a DIY solar oven. As we know, the day-star does not shine 365 days a year but saving gas or gasoline on clear days when cooking is an excellent idea.
Obviously, solar systems like the DIY solar oven will not always be ready to provide you with the desired result. Since the sunlight is constantly required for work, but sometimes bad weather still happens.
Furthermore, do not forget that using solar ovens takes time and has a small amount of food obtained, so you should prepare your survival daily routine in advance, considering these subtleties.
In case these “barriers” do not terrify you, then the method of heating with a solar oven is excellent for you. It is also especially supreme for those who often go hiking. The solar oven is easy to use and does not take up much space during transportation. Moreover, you can use a solar oven in parks where open fires are generally prohibited. The solar oven poses no fire hazard.
This is the most environmentally friendly way possible, as the solar oven only needs the sun. No fuel, no smoke. But this is all, of course, if you have more sunny days than cloudy ones.
Research, create, and try various systems!
How do you make a homemade solar oven?
The simplest option for a solar oven is to use a regular umbrella. A mirror film or aluminum foil is glued to the open umbrella from the inside.
Making a solar oven from a box is already more difficult:
- Step 1: Take a wooden or cardboard box with side flaps without gaps (not the pizza box, as it has holes) and lay thick black paper over the entire area as line the inside of your cardboard box or wooden one.
- Step 2: Fix the reflectors on top of the box (use duct tape or glue).
- Step 3: Bend the reflector sheets or foil edges (aluminum foil, for example) at the desired angle to accumulate the sun’s rays on a specific object inside.
- Step 4: Construct the lid with a transparent material (e.g., glass). In this way, ultraviolet rays from the sun s energy are converted into heat energy required to heat meals.
You can find more examples of assembling more complex structures from cardboard boxes and others in the video indicated above in the article.
Note: If you want to use several box cookers, please, be sure there is at least 1 inch apart. And also, do an oven mitt or towel to be protected.
What can you cook in a homemade solar oven?
You can cook anything you want in this kind of oven, any food that you cook in an ordinary oven. That is, these are vegetables, grains, semi-finished products, and even meats. The only difference between solar stoves and conventional stoves is that the process takes more time.
How hot can a solar oven get?
The top temperature inside a solar oven can reach over 150 degrees on a sunny day in the tropics; this is about 120 degrees above the ambient temperature. Since the water in meals does not warm up above 100°C, the temperature inside the box will always be lower.
The warmth in the solar oven drops when dishes with items are placed in it. It is also important that the temperature remains well below 100 degrees most of the time. But the boiling point of 100°C is not needed for preparing most vegetables and cereals.
Who invented the monkey wrench?
The monkey wrench is a kind of adjustable wrench, an American revision of the 18th century English coaching wrenches. Edwin Byrd Budding invented the earliest adjustable jaw wrench models, and the adjustable wrench model was invented and patented by Le Roy-Tribot in 1837.