Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nothing But The Oven

I am consumed with this solar oven at the moment. Apparently nothing else exists right now but this oven. I ended up working on it for most of the day and got a great deal accomplished. The flip side is every new thing has it's bugs so most of the time was spent re-engineering.

I started off leaving the inside unpainted. I used some 24" flashing I had laying around that was used for a portable round chick brooder at one time. I figured the reflection would help with heating. Plus I chalked all the seams to give it that air tight oven affect.
At this stage I was able to to get the oven up to 225 degrees. I am looking for 350 if I can get it so I had to change some things. The first thing I thought of was the windows are probably e-rated and made to not let much heat through. I drilled a small hole between the two glasses to let the gasses out and let it function as just two pieces of glass. That only made a 10 degree difference and brought it up to 235.

Next I painted the the inside black to maybe absorb the heat instead of reflect it. This also only brought it up 10 more degrees totaling about 245.
I think that is the max I will be able to get out of it without any mirrors to enhance and direct more sunlight in the oven.

Reaching almost 250 degrees caused a new problem I did not think of. The back door is 3/4" plywood with 4" of foam and the flashing is layered on that. Even though this foam is high density, it did not hold up to that kind of heat and started melting. It sagged down and melted itself to the walls and bottom of the oven making a mess and a nightmare to open. Tomorrow I plan to fix this by taking the foam off the back all together and doubling up on the plywood with flashing layered on top of that. I hope that will be enough insulation to keep the heat in.

After supper me and the girls went over to my dad's and he and I spent the evening working on the stand for the oven. In the beginning I was going first class and it was going to automatically track with the sun but now with the cheaper and more basic model, it will be moved manually.
Luckily he is set up for metal works and always has scrap pieces laying around. We sure Rednecked this stand up but I bet you will never know it.
While I was over there I snapped some shots of his DIY chicken plucker and new fancy solar dehydrator he is making. I will posting them later this week.

When I got home it was dark but I had to set the receiver hub for the oven stand in concrete so It would set up enough to mount the oven on it tomorrow.
I just wonder what the neighbors think is going on over here, saws running at 6:00 A.M. in the morning and then digging holes at 10:00 P.M. at night. Have you ever watched Bewitched when the neighbor lady Mrs. Cravits (I think) is always looking out her window trying to see what is going on over at Samantha's house. Yep, I caught them looking out over the fence a couple of times.

I promise, I am only going to spend one more day on this thing. Tomorrow I am going to mount the fold in mirrors, redo the back door and then mount it on the stand. Later on I might have to mount more mirrors to increase the temp if needed.

Oh, I have some updates I need to catch yall up on tomorrow as well so check back in.


  1. Lots of progress, Redneck! You know, 250 degrees might be enough. It's the crockpot principle of slow cooking. Before crockpots were so commonplace, I used to line a pan with a double layer of foil, then put a frozen (or barely thawed) pot roast on the foil. Sliced onions, carrots and celery on top of the meat, then a good sprinkling of pepper and a little salt over that. A cup of water and foil over the top to seal. I put it in my oven at 250 and went to work. In those days, I left the house at 6am and got home about 6pm. The roast and veggies were hot and tender and ready to serve when I got home, having basted in their juices for 12 hours. Really 250 might be just about perfect.

    If you do decide to try and increase the temperature, you might ask around at Home Depot about oven insulation. I believe it's spun fiberglass and comes in sheets sort of like batting insulation. But it should hold the heat and withstand the heat well. Just a thought.

  2. Thank you for that idea WWRWH,
    I am going to have to do something. By taking the insulation off the back, the oven will now only get to 200 degrees and that is with one mirror.

  3. Redneck,
    Looks great! I made one with a heavy cardboard box, but had trouble with it so put it on the back burner and that is where it has stayed. Now you've challenged me to get it back out and do some improvements and get to using it! Thank you for the inspiration *wink*

  4. Good luck with it Kelle. I hope it turns out for you.