So after my last machining expedition I was presented with a new idea. Usually I come up with my own ideas and then execute them. It isn’t till after I have machined, or built, whatever it was I planned that someone then comes forward and says “You should…”. Where was that idea when I first started the project?

The plan for the following project came after I machined my 5 shooter smoke holder. The suggestion was that I needed to build something that could hold an entire pack of cigarettes and fit into the cup holder of a vehicle. Now I am not a smoker however…good idea I figured…should be able to make something work.

So as I pondered the details I came up with the mental blueprints for a can of smoke. The idea was to machine a billet aluminium can that would incorporate a removable lid and would hold a pack of cigarettes. Some of the details required preplanning so I sat down and AutoCad’d the important details. First off I wasn’t sure I was able to fit and entire pack of 25 smokes into the square area of a can. Turns out I can’t. The best I could design was a can to hold 22 cigarettes. Since I couldn’t fit an entire pack I reworked the design down to 18 which allowed me to build in a central screw to and allow a little more “wiggle room” for everything to fit.

I had initially designed the can to spec and had all the angles, and dimensions, figured out. When it came down to actually machining it I just winged it using an actual can to take dimensions from as I went. I will confess the can isn’t built perfectly to spec. An actual can has a diameter of 2.600” which would had required a chunk 3 inch 6061 aluminium stock to be used and machined down to almost 2.50 inches. I opted to use a piece of 2.50” stock and therefore built the can .100” smaller in diameter. In order to compensate for the slightly smaller diameter I shortened the entire can proportionally.

In the end I think it worked out well. To look at the can on it’s own it looks real, other then the billet aluminium bit. Anyway…onto the build.



The project obviously does not involve very many components. It is basically comprised of 2 chunks of 6061 aluminum, a top and a bottom. Starting first with a 2.500″ blank to cut the bottom 2/3s of the can from.



Using the dimensions of an actual can I profiled the base to match.


Next was onto the inside of that can that would hold the 18 smokes. A central thread was cut in order to incorporate a screw on lid.


The inside of the lid was machined with enough depth to allow clearance for the cigarettes.


Screwing the top on would then allow for machining to match the bottom to the top.


With the top and the bottom paired it was time to profile the lid portion of the can.


Looks fairly realistic so far.


Moved onto the milling machine where I programmed the DRO for 18, evenly spaced, holes. First off was to use a centering bit to mark all the positions.


Next all the holes where drilled at .325″ to allow easy installation, and removal, of the smokes.


Here is the completed machining of the can. Next step is to put on the final touches.


I included a new detail to this particular project. I had the opportunity to use a 36″ Roland vinyl cutter so I decided to make a sandblast template. I dedicated a weekend to learning how to use the vinyl printer and the associated software that went with it. I bought some plain white vinyl and only wasted a yard learning to cut. After an hour of figuring out my mistakes I finally got the hang of using the printer.


I took the sample vinyl template and applied it to a scrap piece of aluminum I had. Into the glass bead blaster it went.


This is my test sample after being bead blasted and the vinyl removed. A bit of acetone cleans off the adhesive residue and I am left with a fairly clean logo. Works great!


So with my sample piece turning out to be successful I moved onto making the vinyl templates for the can of smoke.


Initial application of the vinyl template.


The white vinyl looks pretty good as is however not good enough. Wait till the blast cabinet has its way with it.


With the remaining decals applied the remainder of the can received a taping to protect all the areas from getting blasted.


And here it is, the final product after having the vinyl stripped off and the residue removed.



I used an actual tab off a can and made an aluminum rivet to hold it on, looks factory!


Figured I would throw on a gordsgarage logo since cutting an extra vinyl template took no work.


And here is the 18 capacity can of “Smoke Classic”.

  1. Joseph Boyles says:

    Very interesting Gord. You are a very talented man. Your projects are usually fascinating and they are very practical. I can see that this one was a super challenge but the end product left me shaking my head in disappointment. A fancy cigarette holder was a waste of time and talent. Next you will be building an automatic Gin cup that straps to a guy’s head and tips for him to gulp down three ounces every time he blinks his eyes. Anyway, the machining and the logos were well done.
    Thanks for sharing, joe boyles Sylvania, Ohio

  2. Jason Garber says:

    Hey Gord, I think this is a great project. Outstanding results.

  3. Edgar Rumbo says:

    Gord es magnifico tu trabajo y lo ingeniosa de tu idea, me agrada mucho ver como lo realizas, quisiera tener esas capacidades y hacer lo propio, eres grandemente bendecido con ese don y talento, gracias por enseñarnos….

  4. guilherme says:

    you fabricate this one to sell me?

    • gordsgarage says:

      Hi guilherme, at this point in time I do not build to sell. Once I finish building all the ideas I have I may consider reproductions. Have to warn you that it may be awhile.


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