How to Make Can Rotator Shelves
You can never find enough uses for scrap wood or used pallet material, and building a unit to store and dispense cans is a great way to organize and maximize space. All you need is some wood, screws, nails, glue and some ingenuity to get this project done in a few hours. Let’s take a look at the basic steps below, and you will be able to see how easy it is to adapt a design that suits your needs and purposes.
The first step is to consider how high you want to the frame to stand in addition to how many shelves you will need to build. The shelves will be installed on an angle to allow the cans to fall to the front as they are removed, so it is important to create enough space between each one to accommodate your needs. Keep in mind that cans vary in size, so space between shelves will not always be uniform. A good rule of thumb is to allow around six inches between each shelf for small and medium cans, and eight inches for larger ones.
All you need for building the frame are some 2×4 strips of wood, but you can use thinner, pallet wood as well. However, just remember that the unit will not be as strong if you choose the latter option. Cut four pieces for the vertical frame and four smaller ones for the top and base. Again, the dimensions will depend on your particular needs, but consider making it at least four feet tall and two feet wide for convenience and ample storage capacity. You want to create legs, so install the bottom cross beams into the longer 2×4 pieces about two inches from the bottom. Try to use three to five wood screws for each fitting to provide ample structural integrity.
The support beams for the bottom frame should be situated horizontally against the longer, vertical legs. The beams at the top should be placed vertically so that the wider portion of the wood will rest inside and flush against the top of the vertical pieces. This will help to create a reinforced, flat surface that you can use as a top shelf. You may also want to consider cutting the wood a couple of inches longer than the width of the vertical legs as well in order to add some rigidity to the finished product.
The next step is to cut some small pieces of 2×4 wood into two inch wide strips. These will be used to anchor the shelves in place. You will need four pieces for each shelf. Attach them against the insides of the frame at an angle that corresponds to the angle of the shelving. Secure each piece with two or three wood screws. Cut down pieces of plywood, press board or pallet walls to the length and width of the inside of the frame.
The next step is to build guide rails on each shelf to keep the cans in place. You can use any material you like from plastic to metal rails. However, you can also use thin strips of wood that are about an inch high to get the job done. Glue or nail each guide rail into place. You may also want to install some strips of wood beneath the shelves that span their length for some added structural support to keep the shelves from buckling under the weight of the cans.
Insert the shelves and secure them to the support pieces with nails if necessary. Place another board on the top to serve as a shelf for very large cans or other items. Move the finished product into position before loading it with cans, and make sure that you rotate the cans so that the older ones are stocked in the front of the dispenser.