Forum Index » Make Your Own Gear » Fins on a Rockstar can


Display Avatars Sort By:
David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Fins on a Rockstar can on 01/10/2012 15:11:38 MST Print View

So one of you put me on to Rockstar cans (please chime in and get credit). I really like the multi-purposing as a water bottle and coupled with a Alky stove, it could be a very light cookset.

But. . . .I can never leave well enough alone. And I've done lots of tests decades years ago on MSR's clamp-on heat exchanger and more recently have gone exclusively to Jetboil's 1-liter and 2-liter pots with their "flux ring capacitor" for family BPing trips for the fuel savings but more so for the time savings (wife doesn't like iodine/chlorine so I boil water to purify and melt snow for half our trips).

So I made a little jig out of plywood so I could bend 1" strips of aluminum flashing into corrugated HX fins.

I got some baseline boil and fuel consumption numbers and then affixed the fins with JB Weld. I envision putting a 2" integral windscreen around the fins to contain ALL the hot air and force it through the HX fins. I also plan to lay in a little more JB Weld right at the fin-can junction as Jim had pointed out to increase heat flow at that point.

I also need to pick up another unmodified Rockstar can for side-by-side testing. Anyway, here's the work in progress:Upright image of finned test

Editted to rotate image.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 01/10/2012 15:16:36 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
The envelope please on 01/10/2012 15:26:23 MST Print View

I don't have enough data to post 2 significant figures yet, but from my initial tests it cut almost 2 minutes off the boil time for 500 grams of water and saved 20% of the fuel.

Before: 25 g can with lid, almost 9:50 boil time for 500 g, 15 grams alcohol.

After: 62 g can with fins and lid. 8:04 boil time, 12 grams alcohol.

The added weight is a big percentage, because I went with aluminum much thicker than the can. (HX fins are pipes to carry heat, big pipes carry heat better.) And I realized it makes it harder to pack the can, but maybe if you also brought a Ti cup?

There's no good flat surface onto which to affix fins on the bottom of the can, because that would be more packable.

Anyway, I'll later attach an integral shroud around the fins to funnel more of the hot air past them and repeat the tests.

Mostly I wanted to check the sort of percentage savings could be acheived, work out a way to make nice fins, and test JB Weld in this appication. That all proved out.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Fins on a Rockstar can on 01/10/2012 16:00:15 MST Print View

David, this is awesome! Alchy jetboil/water bottle. I would want the heat shield removable if i was using the can as a water bottle. Maybe the heat fins could fit into the stove?

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Heat fins on 01/10/2012 16:08:56 MST Print View

Well executed. A thought: If you extended the fins down below the bottom of the pot, would they act as a windscreen and simply funnel all the flames along the pot? If so, could you avoid carrying a separate windscreen? Or do you think that might choke out the flame?

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
JB Weld on 01/10/2012 16:15:36 MST Print View

Looks like a really fun concept and has my brain working. Any idea how well JB Weld conducts heat? Web site says it doesn't conduct electricity but is silent regarding heat.
A little internet research tells me that JB Weld is not very thermally conductive. There are apparently adhesives out there that are marketed as being thermally conductive. Results may be even better with those adhesives.

Edited by alexdrewreed on 01/10/2012 16:30:41 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: JB Weld on 01/10/2012 16:37:54 MST Print View

jb weld is fairly dense. It probably does not conduct heat all that well, being basically a plastic product, but better than a simple contact like on the MSR. Sort'a wonder if maybe a happy medium might be in order for low temp applications, like boiling water. Probably anything that would hold up to say 350-400F would be better. Hence David's, choice. Great idea!

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Integrated Windscreen on 01/10/2012 16:47:01 MST Print View

What's stopping you from welding the fins to some kind of windscreen? If you kept the ring tight enough that you had good contact with the Rockstar can, would it have better thermal conductivity without the interference of JB Weld? Also, this might protect your fins better when packing.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
The Jig on 01/10/2012 16:48:31 MST Print View

I'd also be interested to see what your jig looks like. This could be a fun project.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Thanks for the feedback on 01/10/2012 17:25:23 MST Print View

James: Thank you. Since I've JB Welded the fins on, I've got a slightly spiky water bottle now (I did keep all cut edges turned in, though). I was thinking that adding a shroud would make it a little smoother to pack and access as a water bottle.

Ben: Re: Extending fins below pot to capture all the hot air. I thought about that, but there's so much length/mass in the fins, I'm thinking a shroud of the current outside diameter is less weight than making all those fins taller. The windscreen I envision is JB Welded onto the outside of the heat fins. But maybe it could be beer-can thickness instead of flashing thickness.

Ben: Re: JB Weld's thermal conductivity - imperfect compared to lead solder or that Arctic epoxy with silver and aluminum. But I smooshed the fins right to the Rockstar can to achieve contact and the JBW fillets around that contact. I'm sure the JBW is better than air. And I can get it in my little northern town. I also liked the safety margin between 600F rating and 212F boiling. But, yeah, there's probably better stuff. Certainly JBW's chemistry but with silver instead of steel would be better.

Clayton: "What's stopping you from welding the fins to some kind of windscreen? If you kept the ring tight enough that you had good contact with the Rockstar can," I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but your post has me thinking: if I welded the fins ONLY to an outer windscreen and NOT to the Rockstar can, then I could separate them, pack them each more tightly (a la MSR's version), and retain the water-bottle function of the Rockstar can.

Clayton: Re: the jig. I'll get some pics of that in action and post it. I started bending the flashing by hand and it wasn't straight or consistent enough at all. I wanted all those inner turns to touch the can so I need a pretty consistent procedure. A hunk of scrap plywood, some wood glue and a few air-gun brads and I had a jig. Pics coming. I'm now trying to imagine a jig for the Jet-boil style of HX.

And you know what? When I finish these experiments? I might end up with a better BPing pot. Or I might stick with the Jet-boil pots. But I'm sure:

1) I've already learned a lot.

2) I've fun doing it. and

3) I'm going to have the fastest, most efficient pasta pot in town when I convert it with bottom and side HXs and a shroud. Cause in a good year, I BP 20-30 nights. That leaves 300+ nights of cooking dinner at home.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: The Jig on 01/10/2012 18:26:16 MST Print View

Clayton,

First I measured aluminum flashing a little over one inch in width:
mark to width

Then I cut along the lines with tin snips. Although heavy duty scissors work, and aluminum is soft, the scissor get dull from the much harder aluminum oxide surface layer.
Cut to width

Here's the jig I used. I had some 1-1/8 subfloor plywood and cut some blocks out of it. The vertical channel is a bit larger than the width of flashing. The horizontal channel is a tight fit for small steel spacer bars I drop in (they are sections of the flat rod that supports suspension files in a file cabinet). The hole in the bottom is so the finished fins can be positioned below the working jig after every 8 or so folds.Jig

in the photo above, the aluminum strip is below the jig, the steel spacer bars are above the jig. And a finished corrugated section of fins is up to the left.

Here is the jig with the aluminum strip bent over two spacer bars:Two fins done

and here I am folding the aluminum strip up. I found I got more consistent bends if I pushed the spacer bar down with the tips of a pair of needle-nose pliers:Folding again.  With some pressure.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: The Jig on 01/10/2012 18:37:02 MST Print View

Due to my Celtic ancestors, can I claim this is an Irish jig?

Anyway, any day I get off the computer and actually work in three dimensions is a good day.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Hum ... on 01/10/2012 18:39:10 MST Print View

Interesting, very interesting!

Tell me, when you have made the folded stack, do you flatten the bends on one side to get a better contact with the pot?

You know ... if you put a loop of wire of exactly the right length around the outside with a bit of spring in it, you could probably slide the combination on and off the base of the pot, which would allow you to pack it away inside the pot. It would then look a bit like the MSR beast, but sufficiently different to cause no IP problems. Yes, highly tuned to ONE pot size, but so what?

Cheers

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Thanks for the feedback on 01/10/2012 18:41:23 MST Print View

Clayton: "What's stopping you from welding the fins to some kind of windscreen? If you kept the ring tight enough that you had good contact with the Rockstar can," I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but your post has me thinking: if I welded the fins ONLY to an outer windscreen and NOT to the Rockstar can, then I could separate them, pack them each more tightly (a la MSR's version), and retain the water-bottle function of the Rockstar can.

That's exactly what I had in mind. If you try it, I'd be interested to see how it works out. This looks to be another efficient, no hassle cooking system.

Now you've got me wondering if you couldn't combing the HX somehow with a frustumic windshield...

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Thanks for the feedback on 01/10/2012 18:48:42 MST Print View

Another thing you could do is to take something around the outside, like even as simple as a wire, and clamp down the fins so they make better contact with the pot.

Great idea by the way, very innovative, 20% less fuel use? not bad

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Hum ... on 01/10/2012 19:07:30 MST Print View

Roger: "do you flatten the bends on one side to get a better contact with the pot?" I see that as a definite improvement. It occurred to me, but I'd need to dial up my jig-making skills or maybe just hammer on my fins for a while to flatten one side. I agree that it would be better, but hard to do on a small scale. It's an advantage of the MSR set-up.

"slide the combination on and off the base of the pot" That's another big improvement - to increase the packability of it. Maybe notching the outside of the fins to nestle the wire into. Anyone have a sense of the temperature of "Somebody's Name" Point at which a spring loses its springiness? for common steel springs?

"but sufficiently different to cause no IP problems" My smell test: Anything I think of in 20 minutes shouldn't have been granted a patent due to the non-obvious clause. That doesn't necessarily keep me out of court, but it lets me sleep at night. When a uber-geek friend explained CDs to me for the first time (decades ago) my first reaction was, "And, since it's digital, they code Artist, Title, Genre, and recommended equalizer settings at the beginning of every track, right?" And he said, "No, someone got a patent on that a few years later." His domain name is obviously.com because he agrees that we're too lenient in rewarding minor acts of creativity.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: the jig on 01/10/2012 19:38:34 MST Print View

In the second jig photo, is that a fold or a flange on the left side of the metal?

--B.G.--

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: the jig on 01/10/2012 19:48:11 MST Print View

Bob: That aluminum sheet metal is doubled up on the left edge. It was left over from another project. -David

Edited by DavidinKenai on 01/10/2012 19:49:27 MST.

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F - M

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Alumiweld on 01/10/2012 21:51:29 MST Print View

You can get alumiweld at Harbor Freight. Fromt eh YouTube video, you can do some amazing things with it. I have no skills at brazing or soldering so I haven't tried it. Best regards - Jon

Brad Walker
(brawa)

Locale: SoCal
alumiweld on 01/10/2012 23:26:53 MST Print View

That Alumiweld looks like fun, but I'm not sure if those cans could take 730 dF.

Silver epoxy is great but pretty expensive IME. Plus the working time is only about 15 minutes.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Fins on a Rockstar can on 01/11/2012 06:27:44 MST Print View

Thank you so much for the jig idea! I had done this previously to my Heineken pot and I remember gaining a significant improvement, however the details escape me. It was enough though to justify the weight gain in my mind.

I might make a suggestion though. I used a foil tape on mine, that seems would be much light, plus it's integrated adhesive, which survives the flames surprisingly well. I have also been able to fold the fins against the pot for packing, then deploy for cooking, and they have survived so far. Although, I do only have a handful of trips with it.

Here is the tape:
http://www.homedepot.com/buy/paint/adhesives-tape/322-aluminum-foil-tape-189-in-x-50-yd-54217.html

And here are a few pictures of my fin job. As you can see, I will benefit greatly from your jig :)

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4133/4965718802_999aaf3674_z.jpg

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4085/4965719704_eca6b196c8_b.jpg

I also like the idea of the shroud. I may try this with a fosters can, fins, and a shroud that doubles as a pot stand...