How to Make Your Own Glow Fuel

remote control aeroplane image by Greg Pickens from

Some remote control vehicle enthusiasts, particularly aeroplane flyers, prefer to make their own glow fuel, especially if they enter racing competitions and want to gain an edge over competitors.

Glow fuels are used in smaller engines that use glow plugs for fuel ignition, rather than the larger engines that use gasoline. There are different glow fuel formulations, Colin Usher explains on his model engineering website. He recommends trying the ingredients ratio used by some of the best commercial suppliers. He also points out that you won't necessarily save money by mixing your own fuel. Making your own glow fuel is the preserve of remote control aeroplane racers and technical aficionados who want to tweak the type and ratio of ingredients to maximise performance.

Mix a fairly basic fuel before moving on to more elaborate recipes. You can just mix 80 per cent methanol with 20 per cent castor, or synthetic, oil. For a little more pep, try 75 per cent methanol with 20 per cent castor oil and 5 per cent nitromethane. Helicopters and four-stroke models tend to have a higher oil content in their fuel than other machines. Research your own model's requirements.

Measure out the liquids in the appropriate ratios. Fuel is always mixed by volume, rather than by weight, as some liquids are.

Add additional ingredients slowly to the methanol, which is the base substance, in a solid plastic container. Stir the mixture continually with a plastic spoon.

Pour the fuel carefully into a suitable storage container and stir for another 15 minutes.

Label the container with the function of the fuel, the date it was made and the ingredients and ratio used.