Our primary goal for a can recycler was to create a machine that would be able to obtain a large compression ratio while also being fast. To be fast, we would have to work with multiple cans in no specific orientation. By avoiding the tedious time it would take to orient and process each individual can, we would be able to achieve our quick processing goal. After a little research, we decided that shredding the cans would be the most effective method to accomplish this. This method also allows us to shred cans of different shapes ans sizes
Being that our system would be rather dangerous when complete, we focused on the user safety of the machine. We incorporated as many safety mechanisms that we could to prevent any possible injuries. One of the overarching ideas was to automate as much of the process as possible. The automation would reduce the amount of user input and allow the machine to handle itself. Once complete the entire shredding process was automatic. The user only loaded the cans and unloaded the shreds after the process was complete. When the lid was closed and the "Go" button pressed, the lid would lock shut, the teeth would activate and start moving, the safety door that would block the teeth would open, and the cans would shred. The system would detect when there were no cans left to be shred and close the safety door, stop the teeth and unlock the lid, ready for more.
The lid locking mechanism is activated first to ensure that the user does not interact with the cans that are in the process of being shredded. To know that the lid was closed we employed a photo gate such that when closed, the lid would interrupt a beam, sending a signal to the system and allowing the process to begin.
The final operation was fairly good in terms of the speed and various size. The compression ratio was however a disappointment as we were unable to attain the specified 3:1 ratio. This issue is primarily due to the strength of our acrylic teeth. If we were able to use a stronger material, we would have been able to shred them more efficiently without the danger of having teeth crack and break.
Flowchart of States
Video of System
Shredder design and Fabrication
Structural design and Assembly
Electronics Programming and Integration
Electronics Assembly and Integration