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What to do with all these cans???

 
pollinator
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So a little over a year ago I had this crackpot idea of collecting a bunch of these food cans and building a cabin out of them. I put the idea out in the forums and I am glad you all talked me out of it, it would have been a mess. I suppose in a perfect setting the idea could pan out to some sort of novelty but it's just not for me to pursue right now. However, I still have all of these cans! They all have only the tops removed and I will not be altering them any further (I don't have time or interest to cut, or bend or whatever.. too tedious). So, I am welcoming any and all creative ideas for their use. I did end up building a cabin and I posted many pictures of it in the Tiny House forum so I definitely have a project that they could be applied to. Unless something comes up that I haven't thought of yet, I will just take them to the recycling center. (and I may be interested in altering a few for a specific project but no more than say 50 or so, I have probably 700 of them)

each can is exactly 6 3/8 inches wide and 6 15/16 inches tall.
they weigh between 8.5 and 9.5 ounces
they have varying inner linings depending on the original product inside
they are magnetic
they are very difficult to cut with tin snips
they rust
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Ever hear of Paolo Soleri? Wind chimes? Also Earthships use cans for filler spaces and in earthbag construction they form around them to hold spaces for vents or porthole windows.See YouTube "My Little Homestead. Of course the recycler might get them first!😊
 
pollinator
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Use them as pots to propagate and sell rhododendron, tomato, and rose plants(according to the internet, they love iron(rust).

a few for mini trashcans, around the house/shop.

paint mixing, buckets for random stuff, rainwater collection(line them up under the eaves),

insect traps for invasive species?

nesting boxes, both domestic and wild?

Best use in my mind is snipped, rolled flat, use as siding or shingling for outbuildings,animal structures - sure it'll rust, but they'll last longer than many other products.
 
steward
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Some neat ideas from YouTube:

 
steward & bricolagier
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I use #10 cans like that for food storage. Take a sideways can opener and take the ends off some (to be lids) fill tightly, add bay leaves, sit the lid on it, tape shut carefully with foil tape (looks like tinfoil with a peel off back, by the duct work at hardware stores.) I have had beans last at least 12 years in those, would have probably lasted longer, I just rotated them, ate them.
The ones that are orange on the inside have BPA, don't use them.
I can explain the steps better if desired.
It's poor man's dry canning :)
 
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Get some good stiff string, and run a network of can phones throughout your neighborhood. It will be like a giant party line telephone. Nail one can in a visible spot to collect coins at each location. Pay phones.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Dale's post reminds me, string them as trip lines to make noise. Maybe to keep deer out of your garden?
 
Aaron Tusmith
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Dale I can't believe I forgot about can phones, wow! my nieces and nephews will get a kick out of it for sure. Thanks!
 
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Wind chimes is a good idea.

How about making candle's. Keep what you want.either give away and/or sell the others.and the outside of the cans can be decorated in some way ..
 
pollinator
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Creeps that would be about 10 years worth of cans in this house. and the only thing I would do with them is take them down to the tip.
 
pollinator
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Solar heater?

Usually folks uses soda cans, but if you've got em might as well...
 
Aaron Tusmith
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I have researched those solar heaters but if there were a way to color them black without the use of paint I would be even more interested! Thanks!
 
gardener
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Use them to sort out screws, nails, bolts, washers, etc in the shop?
 
Dale Hodgins
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This time I'm semi-serious.

Start manufacturing simple dumbbells. I have used dumbbells that were based on tin cans filled with concrete and a piece of scrap galvanized pipe joining them.  We also had a larger barbell that was made using two paint cans.

I would pay $5 for a set of 2. The pipe is available for free, so you only need a small amount of concrete. You could even fill most of the space with cob and just have a 2 inch ring of concrete to seal it. Or use pebbles in the bottom so that you can hear if someone is exercising. In a pinch it could be a crude musical instrument. Exercise while others are trying to talk or watch TV.

Make up a bunch of just married signs and then prank your friends, with long strings of cans tied to the back of their car.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Aaron Tusmith wrote:I have researched those solar heaters but if there were a way to color them black without the use of paint I would be even more interested! Thanks!


Black just ups the effectiveness a bit, it's not a total deal breaker if they are not painted. Making up numbers just for a visual, on a 1-10 scale, painted ones put out an 8 or 9, unpainted ones put out a 6 or 7. It's not that they don't work, they just don't work quite as well. You have a lot of quantity, could just make them bigger so the output is higher. An advantage to the #10 cans over the small aluminum cans that are commonly used is thermal mass. I'm getting great results with mine designed to be higher thermal mass than normal. It helps hold the temp up as it's obstructed for a few minutes. Mine is badly sealed (it's just an experimental one) it's badly installed (this rental doesn't cooperate) and the other day I had snow on the ground, 29 degrees out, and 140 degree heat coming in.  
You could probably soot black them too, or spray them with a touch of oil and heat them till it blackens.
 
Dustin Rhodes
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Aaron Tusmith wrote: I have researched those solar heaters but if there were a way to color them black without the use of paint I would be even more interested!  



put them in a smoky fire; the soot will coat them black pretty quickly - while it won't last forever, it will last awhile, and they'll always stay some bit of darker than they are now.
 
gardener
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I collect these cans myself.
Here are some if the  things I do with them.

By cutting square holes out of the bottom of a can,  you will have enough metal left over to screw the can down to another surface.
By screwing two of them to the top of a rectangular wooden form, you have created the hollow portions of a j tube rocket stove core.
Position this in an outer form and cast around it with a CementAll, perlite, and rockwool mix.
Burn out the insides and you have your core.

Cut off both ends of a can,  place it in a square form 7" tall,  and cast around it with the same mix.
Repeat this until you have enough to stack into a riser.

Cut off both ends of a bunch of cans and and tape them together,  end to end to create lengths of duct work , chimney, or concrete forms.

These fit nicely around 6" duct, so they can mate with or substitute for that sized duct in many applications.

Using a long driving bit,  run screws through the bottom  of the can into a wall stud.
Hang cloths on it,  or add more cans on adjacent studs,  level with the first,  and secure shelving across them.
The open cans are cloths hooks or shelf brackets with storage built in.




 
Aaron Tusmith
pollinator
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William Bronson wrote:I collect these cans myself.
Here are some if the  things I do with them.

By cutting square holes out of the bottom of a can,  you will have enough metal left over to screw the can down to another surface.
By screwing two of them to the top of a rectangular wooden form, you have created the hollow portions of a j tube rocket stove core.
Position this in an outer form and cast around it with a CementAll, perlite, and rockwool mix.
Burn out the insides and you have your core.

Cut off both ends of a can,  place it in a square form 7" tall,  and cast around it with the same mix.
Repeat this until you have enough to stack into a riser.

Cut off both ends of a bunch of cans and and tape them together,  end to end to create lengths of duct work , chimney, or concrete forms.

These fit nicely around 6" duct, so they can mate with or substitute for that sized duct in many applications.

Using a long driving bit,  run screws through the bottom  of the can into a wall stud.
Hang cloths on it,  or add more cans on adjacent studs,  level with the first,  and secure shelving across them.
The open cans are cloths hooks or shelf brackets with storage built in.



Well I feel better that someone else has had similar ideas regarding applications towards mass heaters. I have considered the same things but had not yet read of anyone using these cans... I will probably be asking you about your core recipe in the future but I wont be getting around to building my heater for many months. As for the ducting, would these cans be ok to use in the ducting for an RMH? I have read that textures within the ducts of mass heaters can inhibit the draft and all of these cans are ribbed. Would you anticipate the ribbing to reduce the overall flow/draft? and if so how could this be mitigated? any thoughts are greatly appreciated, thanks.
 
pollinator
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So many cans! We rarely use canned goods so it's been a challenge to get my hands on some for my own ideas.

I made a bunch of decorative papers for a bookbinding project and now I had to find a use for all that extra paper.
They make nice gifts.
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