Instructables
Picture of Papercraft with Aluminium Cans
I wanted to see if papercrafting was possible using aluminium cans (ie. Coke cans), I did a bit of a google around and there doesn't seem to be a lot of information on the subject, so I figured I'd do some research and try a few techniques out to see what I could come up with.  I've split this into sections to make it a little easier to read.
If you've never made anything out of papercraft before, I suggest you look elsewhere Papercraft Museum and make something out of paper, it takes a significant amount of more effort (and time) to work with aluminium.

Step 1: Flattening Aluminium Cans

Picture of Flattening Aluminium Cans
IMG_0209.jpg
First up, I used a knife to cut the top and bottom off the can (you can use scissors, but you'll need to use a knife to get a start to it) and then using scissors to chop the cans into a piece I can flatten. After you've cut them into sheets like that, neaten the edges by using a pair of scissors to cut them straight and make sure there's no little sharp bits.
The method for flattening the cans that I've found works best is to use a sandwich maker (an old one, don't ruin your good sandwich maker!!). Before turning it on, lay down a piece of baking paper on the bottom, put about 4 cans in, then add another layer of baking paper on the top (this should help prevent at least a little bit of damage to the sandwich maker).
Hold the cans down flat as you close the lid, once you've done that, turn the sandwich maker on.
I haven't fully experimented with getting the best efficiency here, but I left it on for 10 minutes with 4 cans in there, then turned it off and let it cool before I opened it.
Taadaa! Flat cans!
Other methods I have tried are:
* Ironing (Does nothing)
* Ironing and bending at the same time. This method works, but you end up with your piece looking a little bit bent as it's hard to get it as flat as you would in a sandwich maker.
* Clamping it between 2 pieces of wood. This does absolutely nothing, if you leave it for a day or a week, they bend right back to their natural shape.
It seems like heat is very important in getting these things to stay flat.
 
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duk242 (author) 2 years ago
For those of you thinking to try Epoxy glue, this is what happened:

1. Mixed the Epoxy resin stuff with the hardener
2. Stuck the pieces together and held them for 5 minutes.
3. Let go of the pieces.
4. Observed as the aluminium flexed itself back to how it was before being glued (apart!)
5. Stuck it back together and used a weight to hold them together
6. Let it sit overnight
7. Tested the glue strength, seems to be holding well...
8. Flexed the metal
9. Glue breaks off, metal falls away. Sadness ensues.

Basically: Epoxy works if your metal isn't going to bend at all.
ejones1821 year ago
Thanks for sharing your findings! I'm working with aluminum right now too and found this information very valuable.
For another adhesive option, try Glue Dots...you can find them in the scrapbooking section of a craft store. They're super sticky for an instant bond. You can also find Mini Glue Dots for smaller work.
For others on this thread...I finally found a flat sandwich maker - it's a Cuisinart panini press/griddle with removable plates...the plates you remove have grooves, but once you remove them, you're left with two flat surfaces :)
Smalfrii1 year ago
ah. found it!
Smalfrii1 year ago
what is the template called?
You could try soldering the aluminium pieces together. then you only have to wait 10 sec for it to cool.
duk242 (author)  cowsclimbtrees2 years ago
I considered trying that.. then my 3D Printer arrived so I put it on the backburner for a while... I might give it a shot some time though (I'll post here if I do)
If by solder you're thinking of using a regular soldering iron and solder used with electonic circuits, make sure you buy solder for Aluminum. Regular solder won't work... it'll slide right off. (Nice work by the way) :)
Cheeseduck2 years ago
One thing to try is using sandpaper to roughen up the parts you want to glue together.
duk242 (author)  Cheeseduck2 years ago
I sort of tried that, I used my scoring tool thing to scratch up the surface a bit, it helped a little bit but not as much as I had hoped...
Thrasym duk2422 years ago
Aluminum is difficult to work with. You'd think it was the easiest stuff on the planet to work with, since it's used in so many ways, but it isn't. It actually is really hard to glue or paint, because it forms a film fairly fast on the surface that must be removed right before you glue or paint it. Aside from that, cans have a plastic coating which glue doesn't stick to. Scratching it with pointy tip isn't going to do anything, considering the "scratched" surface is such a small fraction. You really need to physically remove the impurities with fine sandpaper or chemically with harsh cleansers.

Anyway, if you prepare it properly, good epoxy glues will hold well. Of course, you'd want to form the pieces first, so they don't want to pop apart, especially if the glue surface is going to be small, but that can be overcome with reinforcements possibly (depending on design I guess).

End result of your instructable came out great. I'm going to have to give it a try.
slylee2 years ago
this is awesome. great instructable.
bconway12 years ago
Just a little tip, if you sand the pieces you were to glue together and clean them with acetone than water, it might stick better.
l8nite2 years ago
the result is really cool, thank you for sharing all the gluing information you learned as well
sdfgeoff2 years ago
Lucky you, my sandwich maker has a pattern.....
duk242 (author)  sdfgeoff2 years ago
Over the years we've gained 4 sandwich makers, I was glad to put one of the old ones to use :P