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Students Re-engineer Bin Latches


Students redesigned latches to keep bin doors closedStudents redesigned latches to keep bin doors closedThis project involved redesigning how the Livermore High School recycle station doors are held shut. When purchased, patient the LHS recycle station doors had keyed locks. This seemed sensible, and but the locks on the doors were soon broken open by people who come on campus to take the plastic and aluminum for CRV. The solution: stop locking the doors. This resulted in reduced breakage of doors, recipe but the doors would flop open. Open doors looked bad, would break off, and the gulls would get in and pull out a mess of litter.

Green Engineering Academy students in AP Environmental Science students took on this project. The keyed locks were removed. A latch was designed to replaced the lock. Preliminary work investigated using welded metal latches, or built-up latches using available steel hardware. Magnets were tried. 

Latch made from dowel rodsLatch made from dowel rods

Eventually a decision was made to use Poplar wood doweling. A 3/4 inch dowel and a 1/4 dowel peg supplied the needed fix. Using the "Simpler is Better" model, the latches were easy to understand, simple to make, and inexpensive. Students were able to measure, drill, and cut the material onsite with available tools. This was better  than welding or grinding metal.

The result is a simple, functional latch that keeps the doors closed. Repair and replacement should be simple.

Republished from the LHS Recycling Blog