Using scissors or tin snips cut the ends off an aluminum soda/beer can and cut down the middle of the can to make a flat rectangular piece of aluminum. Then you lay the flat piece into the forming die and press it by stomping on it or hitting it with a hammer. In this Instructable I'll show how to make the die and then lay out the shingles on a roof.
Making these can be tedious but the end result is gratifying because the old cans are fulfilling an immediate second life. A 24"x24" roof area will use from 36 to 50 cans (excluding drip edge and caps) depending on the vertical spacing and shingle style; that comes to 900-1250 cans per roof square (10'x10'.)
Start drinking now if you plan to try this.
I've recently posted how to build the whole coop at Diylife.com
Loads of uncrushed aluminum cans
Piece of 1x6 hardwood board
Two 1-foot 5/16" metal square rods
Circular Saw, or Router, or Saw with Dado Blade
Tin Snips or Scissors
Drill and bits
Step 1: Prep Cans
This gets sharp, so wearing gloves is important. Use scissors or tin snips to cut the top off the can at the seam where the can bends. Cut down the center to the bottom and then cut off the bottom of the can. You should now have a rectangular piece of aluminum sheet metal. To ease the workload, precut these over time as you get the cans. One of the pics below shows the beginning of a can cutting machine; I hope it works because my hands are tired.
Step 2: Mark and Cut a Die
Using a circular saw I cut the receiving die (negative?) grooves as shown below.
Step 3: Attach Square Rods to the Die
Step 4: Clean and Add Hinge
Add a small hinge or just staple a can (see picture) as a hinge to keep the die halves lined up.
Step 5: Insert Pre-Cut Aluminum and Smash It.
Step 6: Start Roofing with the Drip Edge.
Loosely fold the Aluminum rectangles in half and staple them overlapping on the bottom and side edges of the roof. On the side edges, make a small 90 bend for the shingles to hook onto; see the picture. Make sure the overlap is correct on the side drip edges.
Step 7: Attach Shingles
Step 8: Cap the Top
When I posted this Instructable, the roof was in operation for a month with a few spring rain storms. It had no leaks!!!!!!?? Crazy; I wonder how long it'll last.
03 Feb 2009- No major problems so far except for a bad hail storm; it has been about a year out in the weather. I had a few loose staples on the ridge cap last month. See the one-year pictures below. The dent damage seen in the photos was from a golf ball size hail storm late last spring that ruined every roof in town.