Join the Aluminati!

It's fun to transmogrify cans into desk toys.

The Aluminator™ is a crafty set of soda can origami tools.

  • Look
    impressive
    by turning trash to treasure.
  • Your
    memorable gifts
    will surprise, delight, and inspire.
  • Make
    thousands
    of Aluminoids from
    dozens
    of designs!

disco ball
light bright can
jellyfish
coin bank

Click HERE to see 50 more designs.

   

Turn cans into fun!

SAFETY


Once people have handled an Aluminoid, they usually think: "This isn't nearly as dangerous as I thought; this seems pretty safe."

That's because aluminum can sheeting is thinner and weaker than you would expect. It's flexible and flappy, like paper.

It's like touching blunted scissors that are "anchored" in shaving cream. The scissors sink without cutting.

Also, the sheet is typically curled back at the edges by the action of the sliding tool, which helps.

But don't prejudge Aluminoids on looks alone. Touch one. You'll see for yourself how harmless they are.

more safety info

Click for the Aluminator page. Or see More Designs.


Sales Pitch

  • On trend. Crafts are trendy. The maker movement is trendy. So is upcycling.

  • New. The Aluminator is patent pending. People haven't seen this before, and the novelty of both the tools and my original designs will catch their eye. This makes it delightful to give; and it's surprising and inspiring to receive.

  • Instagrammable. Aluminoids are exactly the kind of thing you would post about on Instagram if you made, gave, or received one. If you can make these, they make
    you
    more interesting. Aluminoids were born to be photographed.

  • Showmanship. Aluminoids are a lot like jazz. It's enjoyable in its own right, but a live performance adds a layer of magic. It creates a connection with the artist and his process that, for the audience, makes it nearly participatory. It's a fun party trick, particularly if you're at a gathering where canned beer or soda is served.

  • Magic. Making Aluminoids is almost like a magic trick. The mind immediately leaps to the questions, "How did she do that? How do you get something so interesting out of a mere soda can?"

  • Conversation starters. People watch with intense curiosity when I start making Aluminoids on airplanes or in waiting rooms. This usually results in conversations with people I might never have met otherwise. It's also a nice icebreaker to approach someone and say, "Hey, I just drank this soda and made the can into this pinwheel. If you think your son or daughter might like to have it, I'd be happy to give it to you."

  • Treasure. Turning trash to treasure is, in itself, remarkable, but I'm continually impressed by how much people appreciate the Aluminoids themselves. I find that people keep the tanks and pinwheels on display in their homes for months — even years. Conversely, they're so cheap and easy to make that you can creatively destroy them at will for your own entertainment.

  • Gifts. People really enjoy both giving and receiving gifts. Handmade gifts are precious in particular because they make an extra statement. They say, "I didn't just spend money. I spent my valuable time and skill to make something personal for you from my own labor with my own hands."

  • Impressive. People are impressed with you when you make Aluminoids for them. They'll start using words like "artist" even though you just followed a few simple directions.

  • Inspiration. Getting an Aluminoid is nice, but hopefully it inspires the recipient to say, "I could do that, too! I can also make cool stuff out of everyday objects."

  • Fun. The process of making Aluminoids is enjoyable. It's satisfying to feel the metal bend, roll, crack, and reshape itself as you work your magic. It's particularly mesmerizing to watch an ordinary soda can transform into an extraordinary pinwheel. You get great reactions from observers, too.

  • Simple. The Aluminator makes it easy to deconstruct a soda can. And most of the Aluminoids were designed to be simple – so simple that even middle school kids can achieve presentable results.

  • Traditional. In older times, people would whittle trinkets and simple gifts out of scrap wood, tree branches, and the like. This is a modern take on a time-honored pastime. It's like doodling, but with a purpose. It's a better hobby than twirling a fidget-spinner.

  • Origami. This is an updated take on origami, which is a popular and respected Japanese art form.

  • Anti-Tech. People want to engage with something other than a computer screen occasionally.

  • Free materials. Cans are virtually free, ubiquitous, and readily available. They are interesting objects in their own right from an engineering and tactile perspective. They're priceless, and I mean that both ways.

  • Upcycling. Upcycling is even better than recycling. It's the epitome of "value added."

  • Unlimited production. Having an Aluminator is like owning a toy factory. One Aluminator can make thousands of Aluminoids, if you have enough cans and toothpicks. You can stage elaborate scenes or enormous battles having a variety of Aluminoid actors. You can destroy them with impunity, since it's cheap and easy to make more.

  • Enduring. The varied complexity of the different Aluminoid designs means that you can start using it as a ten-year-old and then grow into the more complex designs as you mature.

  • Side hustle. People value Aluminoids – particularly the tanks and pinwheels. They're pretty easy to sell for a few bucks, and people are happy to pay a nominal price for them.

  • Hobby. We all need a hobby to embellish our lives. You could do worse than Aluminoids. Hobbies and life skills are an essential part of being a complete person.

  • Roller coaster effect. People love roller coasters because the ratio of apparent danger to actual danger is really high. It looks very dangerous, but it's actually very safe. Similarly, your eyes may tell you that Aluminoids are dangerously sharp, but your hands will quickly realize that the metal will bend, shear, fold, and dull much like ordinary paper. The extreme flexibility of the can's aluminum sheeting means that, with ordinary care, you're unlikely to get scratched.

  • Parental bonding. Aluminoid-making is a great activity to do with your kids, since some designs have steps that young people can do (as well as steps that need older hands). It's collaborative play that's entertaining for all ages.

  • Educational. Education isn't just about acquiring knowledge and skills. It's about cultivating proper attitudes and outlooks. You want to teach your kids self-reliance. You want to get kids thinking about how to make and fix things. You should encourage them to pick up and use tools, both literally and metaphorically. Give them the tools they need to grow as artists, makers, and entrepreneurs.

  • Bunny steps. Aluminoids are for everyone, but in particular, it's ideal for kids who are too old for Legos but not old enough for power tools. It's a short series of hops from Legos to Aluminoids to real craftsmanship using 3D printers, laser cutters, and electronic components. There's even a progression within Aluminiods, because you can start making the very simple designs and then move on to more complex ones over time.

  • Engineering spirit. Engineering is about designing and making things. The Aluminator teaches that you can make something out of anything. It gets you thinking creatively about using everyday materials to create extraordinary objects, and that's the spirit of engineering.

  • Demonstrably good. Some of the Aluminoid designs are good demonstrators of simple scientific principles. They are entertaining springboards for more serious discussions. It's a natural progression from the projector to learning about how light propagates and fiber optic networks. The pinwheel makes you consider air flow, forces, and Newton's third law (every action has a reaction). Adding a motor in the pinwheel makes you consider wind-driven power generation, circuits, electrical power, electrical connections, and the like. Canimation teaches about optical illusions, perception, and perspective. Even the animal designs stimulate affection toward endangered species and interest in habitat and species conservation, which is great for Earth Day.

    Likewise, chess and checkers teach logical thinking. The airtight pool toy demonstrates principles of buoyancy. The planter demonstrates hydroponics. The Mobious strip is the best starting point for exploring the mathematics of topology. The resonator stand and clicker are all about sound generation, reflection, and acoustics. Nearly every Aluminoid could be used to launch a discussion of metal fatigue, material failure, elasticity, and deformation.

    And the Aluminator is great for teachers. You can make inexpensive prizes for the best test score, most improved student, or best essay. Aluminoids make a great project for art classes, summer camps, Boy Scout troops, Girl Scout troops, Sunday School activities, school carnival prizes, and the like.

  • Collectible. Aluminoids can be collectible. In saying this, I don't suggest that they are so valuable that they must be added to your dragon hoard. I simply mean that they have nine characteristics that make them good collectibles.

    1. First, if you use the same brand of soda or beer to make your different Aluminoids, they will be color-coordinated and design-coordinated to create a common theme. This makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. You can also create themes by subject as well as design. For example, you could collect all the animal aluminoids, then all the battle aluminoids, and so on.

    2. Second, there are a great variety of Aluminoids, so you won't collect them all too fast.

    3. Third, each collectible has sentimental and nostalgic value. It tells you the story of your experience with the person who made it for you. It triggers the memory of the trip you took to acquire it.

    4. Fourth, they're inexpensive, lightweight, and relatively small, so you can afford to make, store, and display an Aluminoids collection even if you just pin them high on a wall.

    5. Fifth, they have universal appeal. There's something for everyone among your collection, especially when you consider that different people will probably like different designs.

    6. Sixth, they're customizable and unique. Many Aluminoids can be altered, reconfigured, contexted, and accessorized in a variety of ways. Just look at all the things you can do with Standroid (e.g., standing, sitting, saluting, puppet, hats). You can place them in a variety of contexts to tell stories or communicate ideas. In a sense, each Aluminoid is a limited edition piece.

    7. Seventh, they age well. Being made of aluminum with a food-safe epoxy coating, they'll look fresh and presentable over time if kept out of direct sunlight.

    8. Eighth, some Aluminoid designs have emotional resonance. They are a representational conduit to contemplating other things you care about. For example, the AT-AT, Rebel symbol projector, and TIE fighter designs can connect you to your love of Star Wars. Animal lovers and conservationists will appreciate the animal Alumioids. Some can incorporate photographs of celebrities, crushes, or family members, such as the picture frame pinwheel, 3D photo stand, projector, and porthole picture frame. Or you can decorate any Aluminoid with stickers representing things that are meaningful to you, like your sports team logo. Other designs may speak to particular subgroups (e.g. engineers might like the motorized pinwheels).

    9. Nine, they are a meta-collectible. Soda and beer cans age, are redesigned, are seasonally redecorated, and are sometimes made to memorialize special events (e.g., Superbowl). Cans are collectible, so "Aluminoided" cans are a collectible of collectibles. Of course, minds may differ over whether "Aluminoiding" them destroys or enhances their can value.

  • Useful. Some Aluminoids are darned useful to have around. Sure, there are some cool decorative and play items that you can make, but I've also used the Aluminator to make many things that I use all the time, such as: utility cups, bookmarks, photo frames, tip presenters, back scratchers, tealight holders, photo stands, coin banks, drumsticks, coozie, and coasters.

  • Beauty. We all need a little more art in our lives. Aluminoids are thought-provoking desk toys, but some of them are also beautiful to regard.

  • Third World Impact. Not everyone lives within a stone's throw of a recycling center. Now you can do something environmentally responsible with a can that might better your life, or even generate income. Trash can be a resource — not just a waste.

  • Backup plan. If you throw away the rest of the tools, you can still use the Aluminator as a simple coozie for your cold drink, so the money's never wasted.

  • Examples. Talking about Aluminoids in the abstract is no substitute for seeing and playing with one yourself. I invite you to go to the designs page and delve into whichever Aluminoid designs strike your fancy. I particularly like these: pinwheel, tank, table drumsticks, iCan party light, Standroid, alien, and bank.
  • The Aluminator is patent pending. Its tools and the Aluminoid designs are my exclusive intellectual property. Aluminoids, Inc. asserts copyright protection in each of its designs, as well as the original images and videos shown in this website.