First you need some enthusiasm to start with: Why should you build exactly this type of solar cooker? (see the discussion about different cooker types)
And then there are some materials, tools and manual skills you need to have to build your own AMSI-parabolic-Solar-cooker.
(What is a parabolic-Solar-Cooker?)
The AMSI-cooker is a parabolic cooker of the same size and type as the SK14-solar-cooker, but with a modified construction of the support for the mirror and stand. These modifications don't change or improve the overall functionality or effektivness of the Sk14-cooker develloped by EG-SOLAR, which is already very very good, but the choosen support-construction for the mirror an especially the way to build the cooker has many advantages to the construction proposed by EG-SOLAR:
- the material used for the AMSI-cooker is cheaper and available nearly all over the world (armoring iron for conctrete struktures instead of flat roled steel, welding instead of using screws and nuts)
- The construktion is more durable, because corrosion has less impact on the stability, no srewed connection may get loose, lost or stolen.
- The construction is much more stable and able to carry heavier cooking-pots without getting deformed, because armoring iron is made from high strength steel and welded connections are very durable and stiff. The stand is better capable to be used on uneven ground without deformation.
- The assemly of the cooker on a "wood-model" leads to a precise parabola shape even when the shape of the construction parts are not so perfect or the manual skill is low. The good parabola shape guarantees for high cooking temperatures.
- No part of the cooker can be unscrewed, removed or stolen, so it's more "thief-proof"
- The most expensive mirror-part of the cooker can be quickly unpluged and stored at a save place.
- Aluminium-wire is used to fix the mirror on the support-structure, which is more durable, flexible to mount and avoids contact-corrosion.
Of cause there are as well some disadvantages compared to the original EG-Solar cooker:
- It needs the skill of elektro-welding and therfore as well electric power an a welding device to produce a cooker. (In Afrika, this is a basic equipment of most metal-workshops and often available even in small towns. If you want to make your own cooker: Elektro-welding is not so difficult to learn as it looks like - and ist fun and usefull for other purposes too.)
- It takes longer to produce a cooker as no prefabricated parts are used (no problem in coutries where wages are low and material costs are relative high in comparison)
- the parts can't be prefabricated with the exception of the the mirror-plates
- Extra costs and work to make the wood-model and maybe the bending tools (no disadvantage if many cookers shall be produced)
So which tools do I need?
- Electric-welding equipment (at least 20 Ampere)
- Electrical cutting-wheel device to cut the armoring iron bars and grind the surplus welding
- drilling mashine and metal drill (only for one hole to drill, may be done by welding a hole as well)
- Jigsaw to cut plywood and maybe sheet metal
- maybe a rool-bending tool (that's luxury)
- bench vice
- level ground (best is a horizontal concrete floor)
- wire-brush (maybe electric) to clean the metall
- end cuttingpliers (pincers) to cut and fix the wire
- maybe grips or welding tongs
- maybe screw-clamps
- felt tip, pencil
And what material do I need?
- armouring iron bars (in Europe eg. ask for the leftovers on a contruction-site or go to a metal dump site)
- sheep metall (shop or see above)
- metal pipe (shop or see above)
- thin metal wire
- a big nail
- wood core plywood
- wood flat rod
- wood glue, or wood-srews or nails
- inextendable string (e.g. nylon-string or flexible wire)
- welding electrodes
- saw blades
- metal warnish
- aluminium wire
- set of aluminium mirror plates (see note below!)
- one screw and two nuts
- a piece of cord
(A more detailed material list can be found in the AMSI-handout)
The exact type of mirror sheets as used for the AMSI-cooker is no longer available for sale, but there is an replacement for it available from sun&ice "solar cooker SK14" with can be used as well.
This set is a further devellopment of the former type, as the mirror set may now as well be srewed together for better precision in shape. When using the screws, then the two inner rings of the mirror-cage of the AMSI-Cooker are obsolete as they are no longer needed to mount the mirror in perfect parabolic shape. And four of the of the six connection-bars may be now just short straight bars to connect the two largest rings while the remaining two should be connected to the pot-holder, although this may take some stability and proction to the mirror.
This set of mirror sheets may be ordered from:
Sun and Ice GmbH
Fon +49 (0) 8623/ 36 498 22
Fax +49 (0) 8623/ 36 498 24