How to Build a Hybrid Solar Cooker How to Build a Hybrid Solar Cooker

Whether you want to save money on your electric or natural gas bill, or simply want an efficient way to cook food while camping, a solar cooker is an excellent idea. Building your own solar cooker is easy, and making a hybrid cooker that can use electricity in a pinch is a way to prepared if the clouds get in the way. Here is a how-to guide to creating an effective hybrid solar cooker.

What You Will Need

  • 2 pieces of 3/4 x 12 x 15 inch plywood (Note - size of wood can vary based on size of electric griddle)
  • 2 pieces of 3/4 x 8 x 10 1/2 inch plywood
  • 2 pieces of 3/4 x 8 x 15 inch plywood
  • 2 small door hinges with screws
  • 1 length of 1/2 x 1 inch wood molding
  • An electric griddle (about $25 - $30)
  • Wood glue
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Baking pan
  • Can of non-toxic flat black spray paint
  • Epoxy
  • 2 Plastic door handles
  • Piece of plain glass 10 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches
  • 2 x 3 inch piece of thick rubber
  • 1 piece of reflective sheet metal 12 x 15 inches
  • 2 pieces of reflective sheet metal 8 x 10 1/2 inches
  • 2 pieced of reflective sheet metal 8 x 13 1/2 inches
  • Chisel

Step 1 - Cut Wood and Sheet Metal

Cut the wood and sheet metal to the above dimensions. However, if your griddle is a different size, you will need to adjust the dimensions accordingly. When cutting the wood and sheet metal, you will need to carve out a notch for the electrical plug for the electric griddle. Either side of the box is fine; just make the opening rectangular and slightly bigger than the plug. Make sure it will line up with the adapter on the griddle. Cut 4 pieces of the 1/2 x 1 inch molding to fit inside the box.

Step 2 - Assemble Box

Assemble the box. First, nail the base to the 2 3/4 x 8 x 10 1/2 pieces and then nail the 2 larger pieces to complete the box.

Step 3 - Attach Box Lid

Use the hinges and the top piece of wood and secure them to the box.

Step 4 - Affix Sheet Metal in Box

Use epoxy to glue in the pieces of sheet metal on the wall and underside of the box lid. Make sure the reflective side is facing into the interior of the box.

Step 5 - Paint Baking Pan

Paint the baking pan black with the spray paint.

Step 6 - Paint Box and Glass Supports

Paint the outside of the box and the top of the lid black. Paint the 4 pieces of 1/2 x 1 inch molding black as well.

Step 7 - Attach Rubber Flap

Use some wood screws and attach the piece of rubber over the opening for the electrical cord. Use 2 screws in the top only. This will create a flap that can be opened when needed.

Step 8 - Affix Handles to Lid and Glass

Use screws to attach a handle on the lid of the box. Use epoxy to attach a handle in the center of the piece of glass.

Step 9 - Nail in Glass Supports

Nail the 1/2 x 1 inch pieces of molding on the inside of the box. Place them so they are slightly lower than the top of the box wall. This will be the support for the glass lid.

Step 10 - Remove Handles from Electric Griddle

Use a screwdriver to remove the carry handles from the electric griddle.

Step 11 - Place Griddle in Box

Set the electric griddle in the bottom of the box.

Step 12 - Place Baking Pan in Box

Set the baking pan on top of the griddle. (Note - If you need to plug the griddle in, remove the baking pan before cooking food.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!