Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kristmas Krafts....

This was something I posted up on Facebook earlier this week...
If you care about the comments and suggestions - look to my Facebook page.

Here is the simplest thing I have come up with - a project suitable to make with your kids?

Cat Food Can Spinner

This project makes use of empty 156 gm aluminum zip top cans that cat food comes in. (Sure to work with tuna fish cans as well).

After emptying, wash out the can.

You need to make a small hole in the bottom.
I'm using my drill press here, but an hand drill works just as well.
Simplest way is to put the can on a scrap piece of wood, and just tap a nail through to make the hole.
If you need guide lines, measure out rough 1/4 divisions, then break each 1/4  into three roughly equal segments. Precision not required!
I normally use a pencil or a water based marker (the lines will wash off in the first rain).
Now you cut along the lines, up to the small rim edge of the can.
I've got some tin snips for this, but aviation cutters or even a pair of heavy (bandage) sissors will cut this thin aluminum (note - use rough working sissors - don't use your dress-making shears!)
This is the most 'difficult' part of the project for young fingers.
Now you twist each segment through about 60 degrees.
The easiest way is using a pair of square tipped pliers as seen.
Note that you grip the segment by the bottom 1/3 or so.
With the aluminum, you can do this with bare fingers - but be careful of the potentially sharp cut edges.
You likely will have to adjust the individual 'vanes' you have just made when finished - the shape of the can can distort a bit.
Now you need about 24 inches / 60 cm of light string, or nylon fishing line as seen here. Plus a small washer or a small nail.
Fold the line over double, tie a knot on the free ends.
Insert the folded end through the washer
Pass the other end of the line through the open centre of the loop, then snug it tight against the washer (or nail).

Last step is to pass the free end of the line through the hole you made in the centre of the can.
Run the line from the inside towards the outside of the can, so the washer pulls up tight against the inner surface of the can.

Now hang outside off your eves or from a tree branch in your yard.

The light weight of the finished spinner makes it move with even a slight breeze, the edges of the vanes catching the wind. The longer string allows it to wind up and then spin back.

In the image you can see some other prototypes, each made from colourful pop cans.
For those spinners, a heavy box cutter was used to cut lines into the body of each can, creating strips about 1/2 inch / 1 cm wide.
The red one has straight cuts, again twisted by about 45 degrees off flat.
The blue one has diagonal cuts, with the can 'squashed' to make the oval profile.

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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