How to Build Your Own Solar Oven

What You'll Need
Aluminum foil
Black duct or electrical tape
Beaker tripod with wire gauze
Cooking pot with lid (Preferably black)
Sunglasses with polycarbonate lens or UV protection glasses
Work gloves
Meat thermometer (if cooking meat)

Solar ovens are cooking devices powered completely by sunlight. This makes the appliance not only portable, but eco-friendly. It requires no gas or electricity to use. Solar ovens are easily made and stored, so there is no need to clear a large space for them.

 Step 1 – Safety and Design of a Solar Oven

It is crucial to know how a solar oven works, and what precaution to take before building your own. Solar ovens work because the rays of the sun contain heat and light energy. By focusing the heat and light energy from the sun you can attain temperatures reaching 300 degrees F. This heat can sterilize and boil water, and cook meat and grains. This temperature can also severely burn you. You should always take care around hot elements Wear proper eye protection to avoid eye injuries from ultraviolet light.

Step 2 – Applying a reflective surface to the umbrella

The heart of a solar oven is its reflective surface which focuses the heat and light of the sun. First, open the umbrella until it locks or until it is fully open. Cut out two foot long strips of foil for each section of the umbrella. Now, cover the edge of the umbrella. Make sure you have half of the aluminum foil section on each side of the umbrella and an even overlap on each side of the divisions. Cut and unroll another two foot section and overlap it with the previous aluminum section on the inside of the umbrella. Use tape to keep the sections in place. Continue this method until you have covered the entire inside of the umbrella with aluminum foil.

Step 3 – Remove the handle from the umbrella

Put on the polycarbonate glasses and work gloves. Use the hacksaw to cut the handle off the umbrella 1 cm above the locking device. File off the sharp edges. Next, hammer the edges you just cut towards the center to bend the metal in a beveled shape. This will help protect from accidental burns during use.

Step 4 – Using your solar oven

To use the oven, open the umbrella and lock it in place as normally would. Now point the oven towards the sun. Use rocks or other supports to keep it straight if it is noon. Place the tripod in a level section of the oven and lay the wire gauze on it. Next, place your pot on the wire gauze and fill it with food. Put the lid on the pot and cook the food, making you sure you keep the oven pointed at the sun. Always use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked to a safe temperature.