by Devin on November 28, 2010

Evolution of Boiler, reprinted from my About page. :) I made each of these, but those made by the shop should be nearly identical to the one on the far right.

Now seems as good a time as any to start condensing some of the history of the Backcountry Boiler from its roots on Backpacking Light’s online forum to this blog and the associated pages.

As you can see, progress on this project has been largely seasonal. The summer of 2007 was not only the time that I really started working on an ultralight chimney kettle but also the time I moved out of a place with a basement and started law school. Summer development it is. That development can be divided into four epochs:

2007: Trying to hack a Boiler out of aluminum bottles. FInding out that they’re too thin to weld, and using JB Weld as an imperfect stand-in. Deciding to make one from scratch.

2008: Researching and designing. The prior art and available manufacturing methods. Sketching, modeling, calculating volumes and weights. Making a functional mock-up and seeking a shop to produce a prototype. Finding that none are willing to make a Boiler as light as is necessary. Deciding to learn how to spin metal. Converting first wood lathe for metal spinning, making metal-spinning tools.

2009: Learning how to spin metal. Ditching first wood lathe for a sturdier one. Ditching second wood lathe for an antique metal spinning lathe shipped freight from Arizona. Wiring a motor for antique lathe. Making the first from-scratch fully-functional prototype. Testing… extensively. Numerous prototype number 2 fails.

2010: Actually learning how to spin metal. Finally able to slowly, but consistently make relatively standard parts. But running out of time to do so… Back to a local shop for reliable production. Better news this time.