Arduino Uno plus relay shield plus pneumatics for auto can crusher

I've always loved electronics and recently I've started experimenting with pneumatics. Today I bought my first Arduino Uno and a relay shield. As I type this it is blinking an LED at me two times a second. I have ten actuators and three 12v solenoid valves. One 5/3 and two 5/2. All of the actuators are dual acting. Spring return, single acting would be simpler but who can argue with $350 worth of cylinders for $31. I will not need all of that but I have it.

The crusher will have three stages: feed, crush, eject. The feed and eject may be accomplished with the same cylinder, I'm not sure yet. The crushing force will be supplied by two cylinders with pistons facing each other horizontally. They will be actuated by a single valve. Using simple gravity to feed and eject would be simpler but not near as much fun.

Here is what I need to learn how to do: I need to use the Arduino to control the solenoid valves that supply the air to the pneumatic cylinders. I'm thinking of using photo sensors to detect the presence of a can and trigger the feed/crush/eject sequence.

Any and all comments, hints, tips, tricks, suggestions, and recommendations are welcomed.

Thank you for your time.

Using pneumatics to crush cans is probably not a good setup, and possibly dangerous.

A very good project I think, could nearly use one myself.

I think that by applying pneaumatics and the Arduino for control would be working towards making a safer method for recycling.

Keep in mind that from the moment of our birth our lives are inherently dangerous and for someone like you to come along and try to reduce risks by applying intelligence, a big KUDOS.

Peter

These are the valves I'll be using: http://www.clippard.com/part/MME-42QES-W012

All machinery is dangerous if you do not respect it; pneumatics are no different. I took a greater risk driving in the snow to pick up the valves today than I will ever face while actually using them.

CBR74: I'm thinking of using photo sensors to detect the presence of a can and trigger the feed/crush/eject sequence.

That's a neat idea. Wondering if a magnetic contact sensor would work similarly/ as effectively.

Aluminum is not magnetic but a simple steel lever could be rigged to trigger a mag sensor.

did you finish your project im looking to build a can crusher as well more like the one in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYM9kJFZgmg however i need help what board would i need the mega2560? im new to this and is a big project for me but will be fun