A second-generation model
The Super Cat Stand
Published November 7, 2008
Last update: November 7, 2008
If you use a Fire Bucket as your Super Cat windscreen, you normally won't need a separate stand, since the Fire Bucket includes a built-in, elevated stove platform. If you want to use a traditional windscreen, however, or if you'd like to build a handy test platform, an optional stand can make a lot of sense.
In April of 2005, I published plans for a first generation stand that a fair number of Super Cat users constructed, but a year later, came up a design that I thought was superior. The advantages of using both a separate stand in general, and of the second-generation design in particular are highlighted below.
Why Build a Separate Stand?
THE Docking Socket
Central to the design of this stand is a "docking socket" that serves as an interface between the stove and the stand. The socket eliminates the need to drill holes in the bottom of your Super Cat in order to mount it to a stand. It also permits you to "plug-in" or remove your stove from the stand at will, meaning that you can move your Super Cat to different stands should you care to. By the way, many thanks to Bruce Strickling ("bstwo") for the contribution of his ideas that lead to the creation of the docking socket.
The docking socket is simply the bottom of another 3 ounce pet food can whose side walls been cut down to a height of 5/8" or so. It needs to be tall enough to support the stove, but short enough that it doesn't cover the stove's bottom row of vent holes.
To be able to fit the stove down into the socket, a small slit must also be cut in the socket sidewall to allow the sides to expand enough to accommodate the insertion of the stove. Once inserted, a snug "friction fit" will keep the stove firmly in place until it's deliberately removed from the socket. The socket is attached to the base as described below.
The base of this stand is constructed from an inverted 5½ or 6 ounce aluminum pet food can. Interestingly, this base type was tried in an early design iteration but abandoned in favor of the masonite base used in the first generation stand. I later returned to it after realizing that it offered a number of practical advantages over the initial design.
This base can also work well with the optional "snuffer cup" that's described in the main Super Cat article, so as noted in that section, I'd suggest using the same brand of can for both projects to ensure an optimal seal between the two components.
pet food cans work well for the base (+)
If you can't find a suitable aluminum can, which will typically weigh about ½ ounce, a comparably-sized steel can will also work, but will probably weigh about 1½ ounces.
Step 1: Prepare the base can. Once a suitable aluminum base can has been obtained and cleaned, the paper label should be removed. I'd also recommend that you remove the gummy label adhesive using a solvent such as Goo Gone or Goof Off. The lubricant WD-40 also does a great job of dissolving many adhesives and is probably less toxic than most other solvents.
Step 2: Construct the docking socket. Construct the docking socket from a clean, 3 ounce pet food can (or equivalent) that's identical to the one used for your stove. When cleaning the can, you can remove any sticky label adhesive as described above.
Cut the walls of the can down to a height of about 5/8" (a sturdy pair of household scissors should cut easily through the soft aluminum). If the wall is a bit too high after the stove is inserted, you can trim it later.
Next, cut a single vertical slit in the sidewall from top to bottom (i.e., 5/8" long). To keep the slit from expanding beyond the cut, drill or punch a small (1/8") hole in the bottom of the can near the base of the slit as a "rip-stopper". Finally, cut or round the corners at the top of the slit to eliminate their sharp points. You can see the slit and the rip-stopper hole in the photos both above and below.
Before proceeding, I'd suggest that you test the wall height by plugging your Super Cat stove into the completed docking socket. If you find that the socket covers any portion of the stove's lower row of vent holes, you can trim the walls of the socket as necessary.
Step 3: Mount the docking socket. Mount the completed docking socket to the center of the base. I'd suggest using three 1/8" diameter, 1/8" grip range aluminum pop rivets with backing plates on the underside of the base can only. I've found that backing plates are not only unnecessary on the top side, but are undesirable since they consume vertical space, reducing the depth to which the Super Cat can be seated in the docking socket.
You'll need to drill 3 holes (1/8" diameter) through both the socket and the base. Space the three pop rivets equally around the inside of the socket as shown below.
Underside of base shows rivets and backing plates (+)
By the way, if you don't have a pop rivet tool, you can also mount the socket to the base using three short machine screws (#4 or #6) with nuts and washers. However, you'll want to use screws with heads that are as flat as possible or the stove may not fit deeply enough into the socket to achieve a tight fit.
Some users (including myself) have also tried attaching the docking socket to the base using J-B Weld, which is a high-temperature epoxy. Though this adhesive is rated for use up to 500°F, it usually fails quickly in this application and is therefore not recommended.
Step 4: Optional stake holes. If you'd like to have the option of staking the stand to the ground, drill or punch two small holes near the base as shown below. I often use two micro-titanium stakes that weight about ¼ each for this purpose.
Completed stand shows one of two stake holes (+)
Copyright © 2008 James E. Wood. All Rights Reserved.