Olin College Penny Press

Olin Penny Press

Inspired by souvenir penny presses, [Robert] built the Olin College penny press. This machine stamps out coins with the school’s name and a variety of other patterns. He built it as part of a mechanical structures course, with the goal of designing something that used large forces.

Crushing a penny takes about five tons of force. To deliver that force, [Robert] used a 1 horsepower motor coupled to a custom 1190:1 reduction drive train, which consisted of sprockets, gears, and chains. The aluminium frame supporting the drive train also had to be designed to withstand large forces.

This required of a lot of custom parts, which were made using a CNC mill, a water jet cutter and a mill. All of the CAD drawings are available for anyone who wants to replicate the design.

This beast of a machine weighs about 90 pounds and can squish 12 pennies every minute. Olin College installed the penny press on their campus for anyone to use for free.

16 thoughts on “Olin College Penny Press

  1. use of the machine with actual pennies is illegal. you arent allowed to destroy US currency… at least in the US. however, i’ve seen these at ammusement parks so clearly the secret service doesnt care about the destruction of small sums of money.

    1. That’s simply not true. As long as you’re not trying to pass an altered coin off fraudulently (like making a quarter look like a dollar or shaving bits of metal off the edge of pennies for scrap — while still spending the pennies) it’s perfectly legal.

      1. Yes, it actually IS true.

        Nobody cares if you munge a couple of pennies. But if you install a machine in a public place and let anyone do it, resulting in thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of coins being destroyed, you’re damn right the US government cares about it, in particular because it costs more to manufacture a penny than the face value of the coin.

        That’s why the penny-crunching machines have permits…

    2. Nope. Only illegal if it’s defqacing currency to make it look like its worth more then it is, or selling as scrap metal (I.E. melting down a bnch of pennies, since the metal in them is actually worth slightly more then 1 cent).

    3. You need to get your facts correct…. It’s Legal! – U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 17, Section 331: Prohibits among other things, fraudulent alteration and mutilation of coins. This statue does not, however, prohibit the mutilation of coins if done without fraudulent intent or if the mutilated coins are not used fraudulently….. Look up.. Penny presses on Wikipedia…. and it will give the exact Statute.

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