File Box Cooker

Saint Brendan High School

About the Cooker

When designing this solar file box cooker, we knew that we were only going to use recycled materials. Our design is based off of a file storage box, foil backed foam insulation board, plexiglass, and aluminum foil.

Meet our Team

Gianna G. – 12th

Vanessa G. – 12th

Adrianna A. – 12th

Ty K. – 12th

All of us are new to this competition and have never experienced any solar competition of any sort.

Behind the Design

What makes our cooker effective is its capability to preserve heat. This is due to the fact that our cooker has a lid, making heat entrapment more efficient, and the fact that our cooker has an insulation board. Our cooker is also colored black to maintain low albedo and absorb heat from the Sun. This absorption of heat is due to the fact that the natural state of light becomes transformed into thermal energy, heating our cooker. We utilized aluminum duct tape to insulate the cooker and trap heat.

Design Process

First, we gathered our materials and sketched our file box cooker design to mimic what we would build. Then we began to build and placed a piece of insulation inside the box at the bottom and around the walls of the box. We taped all the seams around the inside top of the box with aluminum tape.

Then, we covered the inside of the box with foil for a reflector and the inside bottom of the oven with black construction paper. We placed the glazing on the top of the oven. We then attached the box lid by one long edge to the oven with an aluminum tape ‘hinge’.


-file storage box, or other box 12″ x 15″ x 10″

foil backed foam insulation board, approx. ½ sheet per oven

plexiglass, pre-cut to 12″ x 15″

aluminum duct tape, 20 feet

black construction paper, 12″ x 15″

aluminum foil or pieces of reflective mylar (emergency camping blanket), 18″ x 21″


wooden dowel, stick or pencil

The Building Process

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