Freezing Ice Inside Altoids Cans Make Them Stiffer for Cutting Holes, Etc.




Introduction: Freezing Ice Inside Altoids Cans Make Them Stiffer for Cutting Holes, Etc.

Altoid tins make great cases and chassis for electronics and ham radio projects but they are hard to cut as the metal tends to bend and tear easily.
In this instructable a simple way is shown of supporting the metal of these altoid tins.
The approach is to fill the can with water and let it freeze overnight, and then do the cutting and drilling. The ice supports the metal resulting in perfect cuts.

These instructions were originally posted by me on

Step 1: Freeze and Cut

1) Empty and clean an altoids tin.
2) Fill with water and place it in the freezer overnight.
3) Next day you will have a tin with solidly frozen ice. Moisten your cutting pattern (printed or hand-drawn paper) and place it on the bottom of the can. The paper will instantly stick to the can!
4) Use the paper pattern to cut the metal with a chisel or to drill holes with a drill. The ice will support the thin metal and prevent it from buckling or bending.
5) If necessary place the can in the freezer again if the ice starts melting. The ice block in the can be seen in the image through the rectangular cut.
6) Once you have all the holes cut, place the can in warm water to melt and remove the ice. File/sand any rough edges.

Step 2: Prepare and Stick Front and Back Panels

7) Cut pieces of hardboard or thin plywood that are slightly larger than the can.
8) Glue these two pieces to the front and back of the tin with polyurethane glue (Gorilla or equivalent).
9) Clamp the wood panels and the tin as shown. Let dry overnight.

Step 3: Finishing the Altoids Case

10) Use the pattern and cut through the wood (chisel, knife, and/or drills).
11) Trim the wood around the edges with a file or sanding paper.
12) Start attaching the hardware on to the case. Then stuff the insides with electronics. When everything is done paint or varnish the outside with polyurethane.

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is just the sort of information I was looking for. Thank you!


    13 years ago on Step 1

    Very creative idea. Previously I had some denting when I was drilling it. 5/5 stars!


    14 years ago on Introduction

    What's with the funky pictures? :S


    Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

    i think he had odd stuff in the background so he opened with illustrator or something similar and erased the background.


    14 years ago on Introduction

    yours is too good, but i just use the cases for resistors, leds, or whatever. yours is really better than mine