Soda can pinwheel
[ Disclaimer ]
First off let me explain that this is a conceptual presentation and may not be complete instructions. One should use all safety precautions and proper tools in constructing this craft item. It is not intended as a child's project or toy and should not be placed within reach of children as the edges of the metal can be sharp if not properly sealed or bent over.
First we start with two aluminum cans of the same size diameter and a coathanger, brazing rod or any rigid piece of wire. You will need also a hot glue gun and for pony beads. A drill and a small drill bit or a nail and hammer. (Drill bit or nail should be same diameter as wire being used or slightly smaller.)
Taking one of the cans we use a fabric tape measure to measure the diameter of the can and divide it into equal widths. (For this Arizona tea can it came out to 1 1/8 inch) remember to mark both ends of the can and draw a line from top to bottom between the two marks using a marker. When your project is complete you can remove any unsightly marks with rubbing alcohol.
(NOTE: smaller cans will require different measurements. It should also be noted that shorter blades for the propeller will work better in stronger winds.)
With a pair of scissors, box cutter or pocket knife carefully cut the top off the can. We recommend wearing leather gloves for this as a precaution.
Here we are using utility scissors and it should be noted we do not cut all the way to the bottom. End your cut about 3/8" to a 1/4" off of the bottom, above the curve as marked in the above photo.
Bend the blades out and slightly twist all the blades in the same direction forming a propeller.
For this next step we are going to use the other can. Measure a half inch to an 1"off the bottom of this can and cut it off. Slightly bend the edges of this bottom inward so as to fit it inside of the backside of our propeller. (Inside the bottom of the other can) try to keep it as even as you can. Then place it on a level surface with a scrap piece of wood underneath it. Use a BB or marble or even a drop of water in the indentation to find the center of the can and drill a hole slightly smaller or the same size as the wire you are using. This does not need to be perfectly centered but the closer the better. If you are using the nail and hammer to create your hole you may want to punch the whole with each half separate.
Make an L-shape out of your wire and thread the short length through both bottoms using two pony beads on either side. Hot glue the outer beads in place, as shown above, and leave the inner beads loose to act as washers for the propeller. (Note: make sure the long side of your wire is long enough to place in the ground or on a fence post and still allow propeller to spin freely. I used a spoke from a bicycle which isn't long enough to put in the ground but can be mounted on a fence post.) At this point you may wish to glue the two can bottoms together. You may also wish to coat any sharp edges with nail polish or glue. You can use a pair of pliers to bend the edges in so there are no sharp edges, but I have found this very time-consuming.
So there you have your soda can pinwheel. Please feel free to leave constructive ideas and suggestions.
[Note; as of 6-11-2015 a strong thunder storm came through and blew the wind spinner apart. So a redesign is needed. Shorter blades or reinforce blades would be more apt to survive high wind gusts. And at present I cannot recommend this wind spinner for anything other than light winds with the present design. We will try to come up with design improvements and update this post at some point in the future. Constructive suggestions are welcome.]
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