So I would like to make this thing a little more user-friendly. I need to redesign the stand so it actually cradles the can more, that should be an easy fix, where I go and buys some steel rod an bend it into some loops, cut and re-weld the legs into place. I may even use the existing metal to make some junky cross-bars. I know the existing system works, so there's a start, the next thing to do is to make another one in order to max out capacity. what I'll probably do is cut down the existing one a bit and make a mating topper to it. I wonder if i can use the heat from that to heat the small still... I think so, but that will be a post for a later date. Last note on this, i'm thinking of either antifreeze or used motor oil... while not particularly applicable, This Amsoil guide is nice.
Anyways, back to proper. The whole idea is to have a little robot arm feed cans into the system. All i'd need to do is bring the cans there, and swap out the crucibles I have an old printer part that i'd love to add a stainless strainer to in order to spread a packet of borax through the mix. if it works out, then I will have to clean it off, so there will have to be some kind of buzzer or thing to get my attention to take care of it quick, unless I just have a "heat" setting, where I press a button and the stainless sits in the melt for 30s or so, my only worry about that is the possibility of things overheating and melting. Regardless, the first thing is to build the can crusher, then the foundry, then the feed arm, then the clean arm. Once that happens I should be pretty well set to cleaning cans. and I should be able to upgrade to a larger system with proper crucibles. regardless, that is beyond the measure of today, Today, I go buy steel and make the cradle over again. then i can get rid of the current scraps and move on. I need a single 48" length in order to get two rings, I doubt it will be any cheaper to get anything else. I need to know how high up I put the bottom of the burner opening, as that will determine the maximum plate width I can use. Looks like I get to practice on the Bead Roller tonight!
after that, the only thing I'm going to need is a proper bracket for the vent. save that, and the entire system should run off of a single propane tank. I'll give the system another shot with the old propane tank I already have cut. If that works, i have maybe four or five other propane tanks that are ready for material, I know for a solid fact I don't have enough cans at present to warrant any more propane tanks, but I'm curious if the scrapyard will let me take them... my preferred scrap yard doesn't take "pressure vessels" for some liability reasons. I don't fully understand it, but I don't much care either. So I'm curious if they will let me take the old ones for this... last time I was there they had half a bucket of old torches and a propane tank, so maybe? I'll have to bring a rubbermaid tote just in case.
So where does that leave me now? I am currently designing the chunky robot arm and working on a camera mount for the servo horn. If it works properly, then I should be able to run an OpenCV program that identifies a can, works out it's rotation, pics it up, and feeds it to the fire. then i can set a delay into it an work on adding a "can issue warning" if something goes sidewards inside the foundry. Not a truly autonomous system, especially based on the crucible size, but i feel like this would be an excellent way to clean cans while i work on something else.
Time to model, and prep for tonight. I gotta make a shopping list so i can make this an efficient trip.