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The Can Crusher . Group 12 Stanley Andrews Brandon Jefferson . Motivation . Wanted to incorporate more electrical design into the idea of the “Can Crusher” Use pneumatic cylinders (3 pneumatic cylinders in this project)

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The Can Crusher

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The can crusher

The Can Crusher

Group 12

Stanley Andrews

Brandon Jefferson



  • Wanted to incorporate more electrical design into the idea of the “Can Crusher”

  • Use pneumatic cylinders (3 pneumatic cylinders in this project)

  • Thought it would be something different from previous senior design projects



  • Step 1: Can or water bottle is placed into the trash can. Can/Water bottle enters hopper and waits for it to be identified by the optical and reflective sensor.

  • Step 2: Rotary cylinder rotates the object and sends it down the ramp.

  • Step 3: Sorter determines route of the object based on feedback from the sensors.

  • Step 4: If object is a water bottle, the pneumatic cylinder will extend, adjusting the direction of the sorter

  • Step 5: If the object is an aluminum can, it will be routed towards a push cylinder and crushed

  • Step 6: Push cylinder crushes the aluminum cans and sends remains to the storage bin

  • Step 7: Process continues until storage sensor alerts operator that storage bin is 90 %filled.

  • Step 8: Once storage reaches 90%. Can crusher goes into “Stop” mode. Items from storage bin, can then be removed.



  • Fully automatic can crusher and sorter

  • Detect when an object is placed in the hopper

  • Be able to distinguish between an aluminum can and a water bottle

  • Sort the water bottle into a separate storage bin from the aluminum cans

  • Be able to crush the aluminum cans and put into storage bin

  • Detect when the storage bins are full

  • Have three different modes “Standby”, “Operational”, “Stop”




Where the bottle and cans will be placed

Be able hold 16.9 FL oz. water bottle and 12 - 16 oz. aluminum cans

Two sensors will mount to detect the object inside the hopper




  • Parallax Ultrasonic Sensor

  • Reflective Optical Sensor

Parallax ultrasonic sensor

Parallax Ultrasonic Sensor

  • Part a) is the ideal circumstance you would want to be in. The sensors should be facing the object on a level plane

Parallax ultrasonic sensor1

Parallax Ultrasonic Sensor

Reflective optical sensor

Reflective Optical Sensor

Reflective optical sensor1

Reflective Optical Sensor

  • Get the best results (peak operating distance) at 2.5 mm

  • One of the challenges will be to get it close enough to the object stored in the “hopper”

Aluminum cans water bottles

Aluminum Cans/ Water bottles

Terms of service

Terms of Service

  • We ask that all contents are empty

  • All objects must be placed horizontally in the hopper

  • By default system will be in “standby mode”, once an object is placed inside, the system will go into operational mode

  • If storage bin is full no objects can be placed into the system

Design overview

Design Overview

Design overview1

Design Overview


The idea is called the “Swinging lid”

Uses pneumatic cylinder to be able to “swing” the lid and alter the objects path

Routes Aluminum Cans to Can Crusher

Routes Water bottles to storage bin


Motors air compressor

Motors/ Air Compressor

Electric motors

Air Compressor


  • Uses Standard Outlet

  • Option to convert AC to DC

  • Very Compact and small to maneuver and place anywhere


  • Most motors only have one speed

  • No way to speed up or slow down the project

  • Very Expenses for high power motors

  • Only can


  • Uses a Standard Outlet

  • Able to adjust the air pressure

  • Ability to control the speed of the motor by the PSI

  • Option to convert AC to DC

  • Not to expensive economy for the budget

  • Can use air solenoid valves that can control of a multiple operated air pressure components


  • Tank will have to be refilled when low on air

  • Will need multiple air hoses

  • Very big hard to hide and maneuver

  • Very loud when filling up the tank

Air compressor

Air Compressor

Pneumatic cylinders

Pneumatic cylinders

  • Rotary Cylinder

  • Mini cylinder (sorter)

  • Double Acting Cylinder (can crusher)

Kevinkrusher 11 0


Can crusher

Can Crusher

  • Double Action Stroke Pneumatic Cylinder

  • Max Pressure: 1.0 Mpa

  • Diameter: 8.5mm (Approx.)

  • Thread Rod Diameter: 9mm (Approx.)

  • Size: 4.5 x 4.5 x 32cm/ 1.8" x 1.8" x 12.6"

Mini cylinder

Mini Cylinder

  • Double Action

  • Max Pressure: 1.0 Mpa

  • Diameter: 8.5mm (Approx.)

  • Thread Rod Diameter: 6mm (Approx.)

  • Size: 1.5 x 1.1 x 1.5cm/ 0.5" x 0.4" x 0.6"



Air solenoid

Air Solenoid

Micro controller

Micro Controller



Arduino uno schematic

Arduino Uno Schematic

Storage bins

Storage Bins

  • Two storage bins

  • Aluminum Can and Water Bottle

  • Each bin will have Parallax Ultrasonic sensor

  • Once storage reaches 90%. Can crusher goes into “Stop” mode



Trash Can


The can crusher


Led schematic

LED Schematic

Power supply

Power Supply

Power supply schematic

Power Supply Schematic

Work distribution

Work Distribution







  • Clear object detection

  • Sorter

  • Software Design



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