Crushing cans can be a long and hard process when you have a bag with empty aluminum soda or beer cans after a party, and although a regular can crusher or a semi-automatic can crusher can make this process a lot more efficient, you can still get tired easily after few dozens of aluminum cans compressed. So to make this process even more effective some handy people have made their own automatic can crushers. These tools are made using various technologies such as electricity, pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders to power crushers from a metal, wood or even a plastic construction. There are also some commercial automatic can crushers, but these devices usually cost a lot more than regular crushers or homemade tools and are used in industrial applications. I tried to find the most practical, creative and interesting automatic can crushers on the internet and have categorised them by the technology they use to compress aluminum cans, either with air or pneumatic cylinders, electric engines or hydraulic cylinders.
PNEUMATIC CAN CRUSHERS
Pneumatic can crushers are one of the most popular automatic can crushers because they are easier and cheaper to build than, for example, hydraulic can crushers. Pneumatic can crusher means that the tool has got a pneumatic cylinder which works with air compression, compressed air moves a special crushing plate which stomps a can inserted into a crushing opening. There are many different designs for pneumatic can crushers and you can find DIY plans for making these crushers. Here I have gathered some interesting homemade concepts of pneumatic can crushers.
PVC can crusher
I choose this pneumatic can crusher as it uses a different material like most other automatic can crushers, the construction of the crusher is made from a PVC plastic, almost any other unit I have found is made either from a metal or wood. Using plastic makes this a very cheap to make tool. On this website you can purchase blueprint for the tool, so you can build it by yourself. The crusher works with a pneumatic cylinder that stomps cans in approx. 1 inch size from the looks. Fast and easy to use tool. One thing I would like to see on this tool is an automatic can feeding system as seen on other homemade pneumatic crushers, which would make the crushing process even more efficient.
The next type of automatic can crusher I found interesting was this kevinkrusher, they make various types of pneumatic can crushers that will crush 12 oz and 16 oz large cans. Two main things I liked about this product, first it has got a very durable metal design and looks like it would last a long time, and second you can actually purchase this automatic can crusher from their website for about 130-160 dollars per unit. This is a lot more than for a manual can crusher, but from the other hand, it makes can crushing a lot more easier and faster. I don’t know about the shipping prices of the product, but there is a contact page on their website so you can ask them any questions about the product.
EZ Power Crusher
EZ Power Crusher has a well-considered design and works with the same pneumatic piston. The crusher has got an all steel body. The clever part of this automatic can crusher is that doors work as an activator for the crushing mechanism, you must open the door, insert an aluminum can into an opening and closing the door will activate the crushing mechanism, the can will get compressed and escalated on the bottom of the crusher. I liked this design because it makes can crushing with automatic crusher safer as most homemade crushers are pretty dangerous devices that must be operated with extra caution, especially if there are children around. Unfortunately, as for now the website where you could purchase the tool is not working and we don’t have any information when or if the crusher will be sold again in the future.
Pneumatic wooden can crusher
The last pneumatic can crusher we found interesting was this wooden can crusher on some forum. This tool has got a wooden frame, where inside a pneumatic cylinder is placed. A can needs to be inserted in the opening with two metal plates on both sides and gets compressed with a pneumatic piston. One thing that this mechanism should have is an opening at the bottom of the crusher where the compressed can could fall out after it has been crushed.
Here are some videos that I found of other interesting automatic can crushers that use pneumatic cylinders to compress aluminum cans.
Wooden can crusher
From the design of the tool this is one of my all time favourite aluminum can crusher ever. The person who made this tool certainly has got an experience and knowledge in working with wood. The crusher has got a pneumatic cylinder to compress cans, has a glass on top of the cylinder, so you can see the cylinder working and there also is a hole on the bottom of the crusher, where empty cans drop out, so you can place a trash can directly below the tool.
Pneumatic multi can crusher
This is not the best looking automatic can crusher, but is one of the fastest we have seen. It uses a very similar can holder baskets as semi-automatic can crushers to store multiple cans which allow to speed up the crushing process.
Fully automatic can crusher
This is hands down the best pneumatic can crusher I have seen, it works fully automatic and the author of this tool even has made an interesting video showing the workings of this amazing crusher. Just enjoy!
ELECTRIC CAN CRUSHERS
While most pneumatic can crushers have quite similar design, the electric can crushers look quite different one from each other. There are various unique designs for electric can crushers and we have listed the most interesting ones below. These electric can crushers work automatically using some sort of electric engine and gear system on most crushers. The thing that differs these automatic can crushers from for example pneumatic crushers, is that they work fully automatically and you don’t have to press any buttons to crush cans, just turn the machine on, drop some cans in and turn it off afterwards. However, this automatic working also makes most of these homemade tools more dangerous to operate.
Electric can crusher with automatic feeder
This is one of the first electric can crushers I found and it immediately stood out from most other automatic can crushers thanks to the can feeding system. The crusher is made from an old engine, has got both metal and wood parts. What makes it unique is that approx. 7 cans can be inserted into the can feeder, which allows to speed the crushing process quite a lot, because you don’t need to place cans in one by one, but can insert 7 cans at a time. We also found that the same person has constructed a pneumatic can crusher so make sure to check out his channels for inspiration to build your own automatic can crusher.
Electric can crusher from garage door opener and old bicycle parts
This is also an interesting approach to building an automatic can crusher that we have seen being done by several other people. This person has build the crusher using an old garage opener as engine for crushing cans, with parts from an old bicycle to move the crushing plate and the frame of the tool is made from wood. It also automatically dispenses crushed cans at the bottom. This is not the best looking tool and it takes quite a lot of space, but it works very well and crushes aluminum cans at a decent rate to less than an inch size.
Ben Heck’s can crusher
This a very interesting and creative concept for an electric can crusher form a popular YouTube channel The Ben Heck Show, where Ben shows step by step how he plans, designs and makes an electric can crusher out of PVC plastic and aluminum. The video has got two episodes so make sure to check both of them out as they are very entertaining and show a very unique way to build an automatic can crusher with an electric motor.
Automatic electric can crusher with laser sensor
This again is a very unique electric can crusher that uses an electric engine to compress aluminum cans, but what makes this so interesting is that the engine gets started only when a can gets dropped inside the crushing opening, because there is a laser sensor inside the opening that scans when an object is inserted into the opening, compressed cans drop in the box under the crusher. The laser sensor is an interesting addition to the crusher and other electric crusher on this list could also implement this technology to improve their products.
Double barrel bicycle can crusher
This is one of the fastest electric aluminum can crushers I have seen. The construction of the tool seems very basic but is clever at the same time. The crusher is made from three main parts, the motor that moves wheel of an old bicycle, which moves cranks with two metal bars and large wooden blocks at the end as crushing plates. Cans are inserted into a special wood box, crusher allows to crush two cans almost similarly, which speeds up the crushing process quite a lot.
HYDRAULIC CAN CRUSHERS
Automatic can crushers with hydraulic cylinders are definitely the most hardcore crushing tools that are not only way too powerful for crushing aluminum drink cans, but some of them are also very fast. There aren’t practically any hydraulic can crushers you can purchase for home use, there are some industrial can crushers that cost couple of thousand dollars and are used for crushing large steel buckets and cans, but these are not exactly efficient for crushing small soda and beer cans. So if you want a hydraulic can crusher, you will probably need to build one by yourself. Here I have made a list of few different hydraulic can crushers I found.
High capacity hydraulic can crusher
This is one of the most heavy duty automatic can crusher I have seen. The unit can crush 250 aluminum cans in just over 2 minutes, which is impressive. The crusher is made from metal and has got a basket on the top that can store up to 500 empty cans, compering other automatic can crushers with can baskets that will hold maybe 10 cans, this unit is a beast. The hydraulic ram gets powered by a hydraulic power unit. Of course the crusher takes up a lot of space, is very loud and is not the most attractive tool, but from the effectiveness this tool is hard to beat.
Pitsco Education hydraulic can crusher
I chose this can crusher because it is a very interesting experiment that can teach kids the basics of physics and hydraulics. This of course is not a very practical can crusher and cannot compete with other crushers and is actually not automatic, but anyway I liked the idea behind this experiment and so included the crusher in this list. The experiment simulates how a larger 4 post hydraulic stands used in automotive and many other industries work. This experiment can also be purchased in Pitsco website.
Hydraulic can crusher from wood splitter
This is another interesting approach to can crushing, a hydraulic wood splitter is used as automatic can crusher that can compress cans one by one. This is not the most practical can crusher I have seen, but the approach is definitely very creative that is why I included this concept in this article. What I liked about this crusher is that it can compress not only aluminum soda and beer cans but more durable steel food cans and crushes them to a very small size in just few seconds.
Hydraulic can crusher on garden hose
One of the most creative automatic can crushing systems I have seen is this one, which works with a garden hose pressure. The crusher is built into backyard and is constructed from a metal frame with hydraulic cylinder that crushes cans. The cylinder is powered with a regular garden hose pressure and uses an electric computer and electric sprinkler valves. Cans need to be inserted into the crusher one by one and drops below the crusher after compression.
Diesel powered hydraulic can crusher
This experiment is definitely the next level can crusher. The tool is powered by an diesel engine and crushes cans with a huge amount of force making a very thin sheet of aluminum out of them. This tool compresses cans to the thinnest size of all crushers I have seen. Of course this is a huge overkill for a device that just needs to compress aluminum beer and soda cans, but this can crusher must be very fun to build and use.
In this article I wanted to show various types of automatic can crushers there are. Most of these tools are homemade and are not for sale, while some can be bought, but the price is still many times larger than for regular, manual can crushers. These automatic crushers make the crushing of aluminum cans more effective, faster and effortless, but unless you need to crush hundreds of cans each week, you could easily use a non-automatic can crusher. Of course, I would be happy if there were some mass produced automatic can crushers, for example, with a pneumatic cylinder, which would not take a lot of space and would cost about 100 dollars, but I haven’t seen such devices yet, so the only chance you can have an automatic crusher is to purchase one of few devices available for 200 and more dollars or to build one yourself, which is going to cost you a lot less and is going to be entertaining to build. However, if automatic can crusher is not what you are interested in or just need to compress few dozens of cans a month, check out our top lists of manual can crushers.