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Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
Students Innovate Can-Crushing Technology

DDSB students take on open-ended design challenge with the help of 3D printers

In December, Grade 12 students in the Technological Design course at Maxwell Heights Secondary School, R.S. McLaughlin CVI, and Dunbarton High School participated in a senior tech design project.

​L-R: Gr. 12 students Julian Olarte and Daniel Kim won the Can-Crusher Design Project Challenge in class at Maxwell Heights.
L-R: Grade 12 students Julian Olarte and
Daniel Kim won the Can-Crusher Design Project Challenge in their class at
Maxwell Heights SS.

The purpose of the project is to engage students to apply principles of physics and mathematics to solve a design challenge. Jason Dimoglou, a tech design teacher at Maxwell Heights SS explains, "The challenge is to design and build a mechanism that will transfer and control the energy released by a 10lb weight falling a maximum of 54 inches to crush a can to the minimum volume possible." He adds, "There are restrictions on the size of the machine, which makes the project challenging."

Students utilize skills such as understanding mechanisms, 3D modelling and 3D printing/fabrication in conjunction with the principles of design.

They competed in teams within their classrooms, using their project designs to achieve the highest reduction in volume of their crushed cans.

The winning design consisted of a 12-pulley system multiplying force 12x, creating a crush force of approximately 120lbs from a
The winning design consisted of a 12-pulley system multiplying force 12x, creating a crush force of approximately 120lbs from a 10lb weight.

In Dimoglou's class the winning team was Julian Olarte and Daniel Kim. Their design consisted of a pulley system (12 pulleys) multiplying force 12x, creating a crush force of approximately 120lbs from a 10lb weight. Olarte and Kim's average crushed volume (three cans) was 25.8 per cent of the original volume. This put them in first place in their class and fifth place all time (Dimoglou has run this competition since 2015). "A key component of their design is the 3D printed pulleys, which the students designed and printed in class," says Dimoglou.

He explains that his students used the 3D printer for two different parts of their projects. First are the pulleys, which two different groups designed and printed. Second, two or three other groups designed and printed a short base to hold the can in place. Most students placed the base on the bottom, some put it on the top, and some put it on both the top and the bottom of the structure. The base accurately locates the can and stops it from moving during the crushing operation, improving the consistency of the can-crushing designs.

Olarte and Kim were beyond excited to see their design come to life, "I understood the theory, but I didn't believe it would work until we built it," says Olarte. Kim adds, "Mr. D is the best teacher ever. I learned so many things from him which helped me and Julian build this amazing can-crusher!"

Dimoglou's background is in Engineering and Applied Science. He notes how school is sometimes heavily weighted in theory, so it's very different for students to see engineering and physics principles materialize, "Understanding how math works is one thing, but actually seeing it happen is like magic." He adds, "It's nice for them to see that they've done it."



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Durham District School Board
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© Durham District School Board, 2013