You know how you sometimes end up with a barrel-full of aluminum cans after a night of heavy, umm, soda drinking? You should definitely recycle those, and crushing them is the best way to store them efficiently until you do. But, who has the time to do all of that crushing? Not YouTuber All Things Electro-Mechanical, which is why they built this incredibly over-engineered, fully-automatic can crusher.
With this can-crushing machine, which probably only cost a couple hundred dollars to build, All Things Electro-Mechanical can recycle cans like a professional. After crushing and recycling just a few thousand cans, plus a few extra to pay for the electricity, this machine will pay for itself! Sure, you could just use your foot or one of those manual can-crushing contraptions, but that’s not nearly as fun.
The crushing ram is a motorized linear actuator powered by 120V mains electricity. It looks like overkill for squishing delicate aluminum cans, but everything about this project is overkill. The cans are fed into the crusher with a little hopper, and a sensor checks to see if a can is position. If it is, a Python script running on a Raspberry Pi flips a relay to start the crushing. After a can is a crushed and dropped into a recycling bin, the relays are reversed so it pulls back. That process repeats until all the cans have been crushed!