April 8, 2015 written by Kaye Manis

If you live in Israel you know it’s Pesach and if you keep Pesach most likely there is a lot of aluminum foil in your kitchen. This year, instead of wadding up the aluminum foil and tossing it in the trash, why not recycle it and at the same time build an essential item all preppers should own. A solar cooker!

What are the basic kinds of solar cookers?

There are three basic kinds:

 box cooker Box cookers This type of cooker has the advantage of slow, even cooking of large quantities of food. Variations include slanting the face toward the sun and the number of reflectors.
 panel cooker Panel cookers In this design, various flat panels concentrate the sun’s rays onto a pot inside a plastic bag or under a glass bowl. The advantage of this design is that they can be built in an hour or so for next to nothing.
 Parabolic cookers
Parabolic cookers
 
These are usually concave disks that focus the light onto the bottom of a pot. The advantage is that foods cook about as fast as on a conventional stove. The disadvantage is that they are complicated to make, they must be focused often to follow the sun, and they can cause burns and eye injury if not used correctly.

Because a few of the items needed have been saved from an office building project, I choose to build a hot box solar cooker. Below are instructions on how to build one from mostly scraps.

solar cooker

1.) Find Parts

The project makes use of scraps (or full 4 x 8 sheets) of ¾-inch and ½-inch plywood. It also requires 4d trim nails, a 6-foot length of 1½-inch-wide flat wood trim, 36 inches of ¼-inch-square molding, a half-sheet of ½-inch rigid foam insulation, a half-sheet of ½-inch drywall, two white ceramic knobs, eight 3-inch mending plates, construction adhesive, high-­temperature flat black spray paint, heavy-duty aluminum foil, No. 8 bolts, washers and nuts and a piece of ¼-inch plate glass cut to 13 x 14½ inches, with the edges sanded smooth.

 

2.) Build the Box

Construct an open-top box using ¾-inch plywood for a 14 x 15½–inch bottom. Use ½-inch plywood to make four 7-inch-tall sides. With a vise and pliers, bend the mending plates to 135-degree angles. Fasten two plates to each box side with 1-inch No. 8 bolts, washers and nuts. Cut pieces of rigid foam insulation to line the box interior. Glue the foam to the plywood using construction adhesive. Cut and glue drywall panels to fit on top of the foam. Paint the interior black.

3.) Prep the Top

Nail wood trim over the edges of the foam and drywall. Cut the molding into four 9-inch lengths. Center the glass pane over the opening. Put the moldings around the glass perimeter. Nail them down to steady the pane. Glue the knobs to the glass.

4.) Make Reflectors

Cut rigid foam to four 12 x 24–inch panels. Wrap the foam in aluminum foil. Bolt the panels to the plates.

5.) Bake It Up

Prep food in a black enamel­ pot with a lid; set the pot in the box. Replace the glass. Prop up the oven at an angle so the sun and reflectors shine directly on it. Use an oven thermometer to gauge heat. Wear oven mitts to handle the ceramic knobs—they get hot!

As always, to preppers in Israel and all over the prepper world, happy prepping.

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