8/12/2009 – This project was not a working project. The threads from the clamp froze once enough pressure was applied to the can. Using this with a drill that was not disassembled worked great because extra force with the hand could be used, but just mounting a motor on tracks lost its power. We have given up on this project, but it was still a great idea.
A school project involves making a robot that crushes cans. I’ve been thinking over this idea trying to think of ways to accomplish this task without a lot of engineering and time. I finally stood in the machine shop at work and found a c-clamp that was large enough to fit an aluminum can into.
I cut the “hand-grip-sliding-thing” from the threaded rod and welded a screw driver bit to it so that I could attach a drill. We tested it without any further modifications and the can crushed a little. The next step is to weld plates to the clamp so that it will have full contact with the can.
To finish this project up we will be attaching a drill motor and chuck to the clamp, and allow it to be controlled by a Basic Stamp. I would have chosen to program a Microchip in C, but since it is a tech school’s project I’ll use their stuff so the next people can tinker with it.
The proposed operation of the can crusher is fairly simple. A can is dropped into a feeder that loads it into the crushing mechanism. An IR sensor is blocked by the can, and the motor is switched on. Once the can is crushed to the desired size, possibly 1″, then a contact switch is pressed by the crusher. Then the motor is reversed, the can falls through a cutout once the pressure is released, and the can is ejected from the robot through a “coin slot”. The motor returns to its starting position by pressing another contact switch once it reaches the start point.