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Can Opener

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MOST Delta filament as guide.JPG This page was part of an MTU course MSE4777 OA and MSE4777 OB/MSE5777/EE4777/EE5777: Open-source 3-D printing

Please leave comments using the discussion tab. The course runs in the Fall semester. It is not open edit.

Preliminary Student Design Warning
Note that this page is a preliminary student design and has not been vetted.
Care should be taken to read critically and weigh the evidence.
Remember non-tested and vetted designs should not be relied on, especially in matters of health and safety. Recommendations to improve this project follow:

  • as designed not enough clearance to open up
  • more refinement on part tolerances needed.
  • to get to commercial equivalence need more attention to reduction in simple shapes

OSAT 3D Printed Can Opener[edit]

Project developed by Alexander Ciesla [1]
This OSAT has been designed but not yet tested - use at own risk.
This OSAT has been prototyped.

You can help Appropedia by contributing to the next step in this OSAT's status.


  1. Paragraph description of the OSAT - why is it Appropriate? What need does it fulfil? Are there case studies you have found of a technology being used successfully?

Bill of Materials[edit]

This can opener is made up of 6 printed pieces in addition to several purchased hardware components.

The printed components are:

  1. *Main Body - Top
  2. *Main Body - Bottom
  3. *Grip (x2)
  4. *Stepped Pin
  5. *Handle

Purchased parts:

  1. *6mm ID 10mm OD Washer (x6)
  2. *6mm ID 8mm OD Washer (x3)
  3. *6mm x 40mm bolt (x2)
  4. *20mm Gear w/ 30 degree flare (x2)
  5. *20mm Circular blade (x1)
  6. *20mm Gear w/ short fine teeth (x1)

All STL files as well as source files can be found Here

The cost of filament used is based on a $20.00 / Kg of PLA filament price:

Quantity Part Name Material (grams) Cost ($) Total ($)
1 Top Body 36.00 0.72 0.72
1 Bottom Body 47.00 0.94 0.94
1 Handle 21.00 0.42 0.42
2 Grip 28.00 0.56 1.12
1 3D Printed Pin 3.00 0.06 0.06
2 Bolts N/A 0.60 1.20
2 Nuts N/A 0.17 0.34
9 Washers N/A 0.14 1.26
3 Gears N/A 0.79 2.37
1 Blade N/A 0.75 0.75
Total Cost $9.18

Tools needed for fabrication of the OSAT[edit]

  1. MOST Delta RepRap or similar RepRap 3-D printer
  2. A Power drill
  3. 2 Drill bits (6mm and 10mm)
  4. Small adjustable wrench
  5. Small set of Hex keys

Skills and Knowledge Necessary to Make the OSAT[edit]

  • Using a power drill is necessary, simply modeling and printing out the through holes did not yield clean enough results for the pin or rotating bolts.

Technical Specifications and Assembly Instructions[edit]

  1. The total print time of this device is approximately 9 hours total
  2. An assembly time of roughly half an hour is required after having all of the necessary components printed and purchased. This includes the time to locate and drill through holes and assemble all components.
  3. The first step is to locate where the through shaft for the blade will be drilled on the "Top Body" component, this is roughly in the center of the angled cube.
  4. Next step is to assembly the bolt, washers, gear and blade on the Top Body through the newly drilled hole.
  • Work in progress*

Common Problems and Solutions[edit]

Be very careful when drilling out the holes as there are a few different ways this could go wrong.
  1. *First pre-drill the hole with a smaller drill bit as starting with a larger drill bit may cause the main body to crack.
  2. *Locate the holes carefully as incorrectly placing the hole for the hinge may prevent it from opening and closing.
  3. *Be sure to drill all holes as straight as possible as angling any hole may prevent it from working properly.
Be careful when starting a new can because being too forceful can cause the pin to shear.

Cost savings[edit]

Overall, the way I built and assembled the can opener may not have been the most economical way possible. A similarly sized can opener would generally cost around $15 [An example can be found here]. Despite this though even using the exact components I used the total cost was $9.18, which is over 50% savings.

Costs can be reduced by repurposing other bolts, washers, nuts, gears and a blade. The only limiting factor on bolt size is the inner diameter of the gear and blade chosen, otherwise the person building it has the ability to use whatever they can find. The gearing also does not require any specific component as long a the outer diameter is approximately 20mm and the two gears used are the same because both the upper and lower portions need to rotate at the same speed. If the hardware is from repurposed sources and not purchased it would farther reduce the cost to $3.26, which is a 460.12% savings in cost..