DIY: HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN UMBRELLA SOLAR COOKER

This article is a guide to building your own umbrella solar cooker. To learn more about solar cookers and what they do, read this article: SOLAR COOKERS: AN INTRODUCTION.

This is the third, and probably most creative, segment of our DIY solar cooker series- how to make a solar cooker out of an umbrella.

This cooker utilizes the parabola shape, one of the most effective shapes for solar reflectors. The reason for this is, because of its bowl shape, it takes different streams of sunlight and directs them onto one point.

The traditional downside to parabola-shaped solar reflectors, though, is that they’re hard to make, and they’re hard to store and transfer. The umbrella model solves this- It’s already in the right shape, and you can open and close it like a regular umbrella, so it’s very easy to store.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

The items you’ll need are:

1) An umbrella with a diameter of 120 cm or greater.

2) Aluminum foil

3) Glue

4) A metal saw

5) A drill

6) Measuring tape

7) A paint brush with a thin handle

8 ) Scissors

9) A permanent marker

10) A tripod for flower pots, a few inches in height.

11) A dark cooking pot

PUTTING IT TOGETHER

1) Applying the Foil

Open the umbrella, and glue the foil onto the inside. Apply with the shiny side facing out, and apply it like you would wallpaper- tight and smooth. Try and follow the folds of the umbrella, to most naturally fit its form.

You’ll want it so the foil keeps its form even when you close the umbrella. Cover all of the inner umbrella with foil.

2) Losing Your Handle

You know the plastic piece that slides up and down the handle, and clicks into place at the top? With your umbrella fully open, drill a hole through this piece, and the metal handle beneath it. Insert your brush into this hole, to hold the umbrella open. Then, saw off the metal handle, just below the plastic slider piece.

3) Setting up Your Tripod

Place your tripod over the center of the inside of your umbrella. mark where the legs sit with your marker. Remover the tripod, and cut holes in these spots for the legs to fit though.

COOKING WITH YOUR UMBRELLA SOLAR COOKER

To cook with your umbrella solar cooker:

1) Open your umbrella, and insert your pencil or pen into the handle to keep the umbrella open.

2) Place it on a flat, dry surface away from any shadows (or future shadows- your cooker will have to stay shadow-free for many hours).

3) To cook a meal for noon, have your cooker facing south east, and begin cooking between 9-10am.

To cook a meal for the evening, have your cooker face south west and begin cooking between 1-2pm.

For all day cooking, have your cooker face directly south.

4) Put your tripod into the center of your umbrella, with the legs sitting through the holes.

5) Put the food you want to cook into your dark cooking pot. Place the pot onto your tripod, with the sunlight directed into it. To increase the cooking temperature by 20 degrees or so, place your pot in a plastic oven bag.

6) When you’re finished cooking, remove the pot and tripod. Insert the umbrella handle back into the plastic slider thing. You can then slide the piece down, and close the umbrella the way you normally would.

Check out DIY: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN PANEL SOLAR COOKER  or DIY: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BOX SOLAR COOKER for different solar cooker models.

For more information on building various other solar cookers, check out solarcooking.org, a phenomenal resource on the subject.

Good luck and stay prepared!

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Comments

  1. I wonder how effective it would be if one used mylar rather than aluminum.

  2. I really want to read this article, but advertisements block your information and I don’t know how to get rid of them. I keep coming back with the same result. Can you do something about this or at least tell me how to get rid of them?

    • Hey Susan, the text should wrap around them. They shouldn’t cover any text. I’ve checked and it seems okay, s I’m not really sure what is causing the problem.

  3. Susan, you might try closing the browser you are using and opening another. For instance, if you are using Firefox, you might try MS Explorer. When you come back here it may be OK.

    Be Aware, Be Safe

    Ed

  4. MadameGar says:

    Some picture diagrams could help a lot,too!

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