Thanks for visiting my eco-friendly blog. Please let me know what you think and if you have any ideas to contribute.
Be an Ad Sponsor

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pop Can Solar Furnace 2.0 - Part 3

I've now shown you how assemble your frame, place and paint your cans, now it's time to place the Pop Can Solar Furnace.

Obviously, you need a window that faces South and gets a lot of direct sun, especially in the cold winter months. This is the window in which you place your panel, but you knew that already when you measured your wood for a custom fitting frame.

Placing the Pop Can Solar Furnace

Since you've already measured your window, custom built your frame AND checked to make sure everything fit before placing your cans, there should be no issue with this step. Simply line up your panel at the bottom of the window. Make sure your haven't mixed up your top and bottom. The worst thing that could happen at this point is to have your cans all fall out as you reach the end. Go gently and you should have no issues if your cans are snugly fit. If not, go back and shim them further!

Simply lift the panel in place. In my case, it was a snug and perfect fit, so I didn't need to tack it or anything. Do whatever you need to do to ensure it doesn't fall out! You will likely want to remove the entire panel next summer, so don't permanently attach it to your window frame.

Just in case you're concerned, this is what your neighbours see when they see the pop can solar furnace from the outside of the house! As you can see, I just missed the last few minutes of direct sun today. Hopefully, tomorrow will be sunny and I'll be able to report how it works!

(See the results!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pop Can Solar Furnace 2.0 - Part 2

Yesterday, I showed you how to assemble the frame for the Pop Can Solar Furnace 2.0. Today, I'll show you how to place and paint the cans.

The reason this solar furnace works as well as it does has to do with the particular properties of the aluminium cans. When coated with high-heat black paint, it heats up very quickly and it transfers that heat into the surrounding air quite easily. I'm sure other materials would work well, and some would work even better, but aluminium is cheap and easy!

Placing the cans

I don't use any special adhesive or anything, so you simply place the cans end to end in your frame. The ridges of the cans fit nicely together and I was lucky in that my frame had 13 cans fit nicely in.

This time, I didn't punch the bottoms out of the cans, but I may have to if the panel doesn't perform well enough.

Once all of the vertical cans are placed, I squeezed a few more into the top to fill that space. In my next design, I may use another piece of wood to create an air gap at the top and bottom, but this time, I maxed out on cans that could be fit in. I even crushed a few of the mini cans so they'd fit in even better. (Incidentally, Coke Zero is not yet a sponsor of this project, but they are welcome to contribute! I figure 25k would go a long way in other solar equipment!)

Once in, there was still a touch of room, so I used a little cardboard to shim the bottom of the cans so they wouldn't all fall out the minute I moved the panel.

Finally, using the left overs from last year's panel, I started to paint the cans a very flat black.Of course, any painting like this should be done outside or in a well ventilated location. I ended up running out of paint about halfway through, so I needed a quick trip to Canadian Tire to get another one. It should do for another panel after this one.

Half of the cans painted.

All of the cans painted.

Now, just allow the cans to dry, and you're ready to place it in your window!

Next, placement and ventilation! (Go to Step 3.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pop Can Solar Furnace 2.0 - Part 1

I finally found time to assemble my second Pop Can Solar Furnace! I'll be posting step by step instructions this week, as well as reporting on it's output as the week goes by. Here's hoping for sunshine!

What makes this pop can solar furnace different from the last one is pretty simple: it's stronger, more stable, and has a custom fit in a vertical window.


  • 1 piece 1/4" thick pressboard, cut to fit your window
  • 4 pieces pf 1x3 or 1x4 cut to fit the dimensions of your window
  • approximately 100 pop or soda cans made from aluminium
  • 1 can high-heat black bbq paint
  • a handful of finishing nails

    Assembling the box

    First, cut all the wood to build a frame that will snugly fit into your South-facing window. In this case, I used a mitre saw to create nice 45 degree corners, but you could use a simple butt-joint if you didn't have a fancy saw. Using the finishing nails, tack it together and test your fit before moving on to the next step.

    The goal here is to create a light weight frame for your furnace that will look attractive from the inside of the house.

    Of course, I recommend you use recycled materials whenever possible for a project like this.

    Next up, place and painting the cans. (Go to step 2.)
  • Friday, October 23, 2009

    Enviromental Weekend

    So it's Friday and that means it's time to get back home and get a few more things done around the house before the cold winter heating season is fully upon us.

    In addition to the 350 event in Halifax tomorrow, there was also the launch of Dalhousie's ReThink initiative today at the SUB. I'll post some additional details about that very soon.

    So what's on at the house? Here's a quick update:

  • I've got 3 programmable thermostats left to install; 6 done last weekend!
  • I have a number of outlet and light switch insulation pads to install. This will be a quick one!
  • I have a new shower head for the downstairs bathroom
  • I have some foam insulation to put on the garage ceiling. Looks to be about R10, but I'm not yet sure if I have enough to cover the whole ceiling.
  • I have the parts and intention to build another 1-4 pop can solar furnaces.

    More on all of these updates soon!
  • Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Oct 24 Climate Day of Action!

    Five months is forever to be gone from a blog, so it's time to get started again! You'll be seeing a lot more in the next while. But to get you up to speed very quickly, here's an event happening this Saturday in Halifax, as well as around the world!

    350 Halifax is organizing an event on the commons at 3pm. Get there early to get instructions and have time to make (or bring) a plackard!

    More information about the Global 350 initiative can be found at www.350.org. Check it out!