Herringbone Gear Can Crusher

Woodworking Workshop

A reduction gear train made of pine plywood sheathing scraps laminated together with screws and powered by a 3/4 h.p. electric motor. Herringbone or Chevron gears are stronger than spur gears and do not have any tendency to move along the axle even under heavy loads. There are no bearings other than the center hole drilled through the plywood turning on half inch diameter smooth steel shafts lubricated with axle grease. The gear ratio is 72:1 not including the belt drive, the belt drive makes the overall ratio around 172:1 (About 10 rpm output with a 1720 rpm input from the motor). The gears are made using a technique I developed – visit my web site for more information.

This gear train was built for fun and to use up some small scraps of plywood laying around in my workshop. It demonstrates that wooden gears are capable of handling some load, but certainly not as much as metal gears. It is obviously an extremely dangerous machine and could easily crush hands, arms, etc…

[Via Dug]

16 thoughts on “Herringbone Gear Can Crusher

  1. Anonymous says:


    I like the gears, and your cutting technique is very interesting. But the machine is pretty dangerous, and stomping on cans works just as well for a lot less money

  2. fuzzy says:

    around here we don’t crush cans, you get ~20cents a can when you return them but only if they are whole so the machine can read the recycling barcode

  3. Anonymous says:

     Like!  Must be extreeeeeemly satisfying to use.  Not least for the fact that once again you’ve cheated death!

    Maybe add a few clear plastic guards and a microswitch in the tube (or perhaps make it handcrank) then leave it a public place with information about the benefits of recycling aluminium.   :D

    Nice one.  Love the gears.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Booooo.  Where’s the fun in that!?    :(

  5. Moran Levi says:

    Was I the only one that is peeved that this is a plug for sales of his gear-cutting technique? Yes your gears are nice but if you are not showing us how to make them, then you DO NOT BELONG HERE

    1. Anonymous says:

      Agreed.  Information should be shared.  

  6. Sachin Ekram says:

    this gear can crusher looks quite interesting but i agree with fuzzy too..

  7. Sachin Ekram says:

    this gear can crusher looks quite interesting but i agree with fuzzy too..

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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