In this paper, the effects of position of substrates in flames, preparation time and stability of flames on carbon nanofibers are investigated in ethanol catalytic combustion. For the position of substrates, our results indicate that the temperature at the lower height (h<1cm) is too low (less that 500°C) to grow carbon nanofibers; the temperature at higher height (h>2.5cm) is suitable for the growth of carbon nanofibers, but the carbon source is insufficient because of sufficient combustion of ethanol; the optimal position of substrates in flames is more than 1cm and less than 2.5cm for massive yield because the temperature of flames is suitable for the growth of carbon nanofibers and the carbon source is also sufficient. For the preparation time, our results indicate that the optimal preparation time is more than 5min and less than 30min for massive yield. If the preparation time is excessive long (more that 30min), the deposits partly become burning in flames due to excessive products on substrates. The stability of flames has effects on the morphology and graphitization of products. Our experimental results indicate that stable flames prefer to produce noncoiled carbon nanofibers with relatively good uniformity and higher graphitization because the relatively stable flames could provide a relative stable synthesis environment.