For your entertainment
Some powered designs on YouTube: -
Brutally simple, unsafe.
Totally unsafe and overcomplicated.
Totally over-engineered, but fun.
Neatly done air power.
I had a look on YouTube to see what other people might have come up with, but didn't find any as simple as my concept. Only two found, actually.
A foot operated design, too involved.
Some girly incompetence with a simple
design, but still the stooping.
The other day, as I was crushing an aluminium can the way I have always done, simply by stamping on it, the can shot out sideways, and as I stooped to retrieve it, I thought of retrieving the the situation rather than the can, that is, I should get a proper can crusher.
I was aware there was such a product made, and found many available, such as that at left. What I was astounded to find, well, not find, was that no retailer in my area, nor indeed the country (NZ) seems to be advertising such a product on-line.
I found one business, who turned out to have imported a few, but did so no longer.
Rather than contribute to the trade deficit by on-line purchase, I speculated I should be able to make my own crusher, and resolved to do so.
Can crusher design
I wanted to eliminate the stooping, despite knowing I am in a "use it or lose it" ageing body function situation. I envisaged a wall-mounted design, but all the ones I see are based on levers, which complicates construction. I imagined a vertical press powered by foot, since I already know foot-power does the job. Effectively I would be raising the stamping action to a handy height on the wall. I feel this is a slight improvement over the impressively minimal froggy foot-operated design at left which is great, but still involves stooping.
I considered the problem of working in metal, which can be a lot of work if, like me, you do not have a fully-equipped machine shop. I don't even have a drill press. Electric drill, big vice, hacksaw and files would be my limiting factors.
I began a mental construction in a material I think of as Dexion, which I now find has a generic term: "Slotted Angle (Iron)". This offers a way of steel construction without too much drilling and filing. (See left)
At left are a couple of crude pre-sketches done in Microsoft paint. I do have a freeware CAD program but insufficient familiarity to produce something quickly. I think pencil and paper would have been better actually.
The concept is two (brown) rails sliding vertically, constrained horizontally by two more (green) wall-mounted rails. The configuration at left allows bolts to be inserted horizontally through the verticals without obstructing the vertical movement.
Neither the inner nor outer rails need go all the way to the floor, it depends on the cost, it could be constrained to the travel required for the maximum can height. However, taking it to the floor would provide additional vertical support. The outer could be short, and the inner extended down to the foot piece (stirrup?) with something like good old No.8 wire, yachting stainless steel multi-strand wire, or even chain. Rope would have too much give.
At left is the concept for the top jaw, all parts are simply three sawn sections of slotted angle, bolted together with as many bolts as holes are available when actually cut. There are a few permutations available with this approach, e.g. it could be inverted so the yellow piece protects the wall.
A similar vertically flipped assembly can be constructed for the lower jaw, although it must clear the vertical path of the top jaw.
My brother has suggested I purchase a metal cutting blade for my Skilsaw, which has previously only ever cut wood, but I am doubtful this is recommended. I shall make enquiries.
Further progress awaits location and purchase of some pre-loved strips of Dexion and a bunch of nuts, bolts and washers. I know of a good source for second-hand shelving and shop fittings, but it is the weekend at present.
I visited the above source yesterday, they have no Dexion slotted angle. I was told they have some on order, but would not sell it to me when it arrives anyway, as they will only sell it with shelving, of which they have plenty.
Apparently, because users bend/damage what they called "the uprights", they have a shortage of them, and a surplus of shelves.
To think my imagination saw a whole bunch of unglamorous old used "uprights" unwanted and superseded, languishing in a corner just waiting for me to rescue them!
I will start again with a wood design.