Introduction: $4 Usb Latte Foamer

Picture of $4 Usb Latte Foamer

Quick and easy mod to a $4 battery powered latte foamer for your office, so that you can run it off of your computer's USB port.

You love your coffee in the office, and some time you just can't run out to get one, so you brew your own.

But you can't easily get those nice lovely latte foam tops going.  You could purchase expensive machines, but ... well, they are expensive.  You can get cheap-oh battery operated ones, but you always are running out of battery juice, and they are not that powerful either.

So purchase one of those non-expensive ones, and follow these steps to give it USB power and more torque.

Tools you will need:
  - cheap foamer
  - a USB cable that won't be missed
  - pliers and/or sharp knife
  - soldering gun
  - drill

You can get away without soldering if you want to, just twist-tie your wires.  Messier, but functional.

Step 1: First Step.

Picture of First Step.

First, you will need to cut the end of the Usb wire that otherwise would connect your external device to you computer.

Step 2: Second.

Picture of Second.

Next, you will need to expose the black and red wires that run inside the USB cable, and strip the ends.

Also, gently force the two sides of the foamer apart to expose the battery terminals.

By default this particular foamer required two AA batteries (supplying 3V of DC current to the motor).

The motor in this foamer will handle the 5 Volts coming from your computer through USB cable. 

And it will also result in a more powerful whipping action.

Step 3: Third Step.

Picture of Third Step.

Solder the black and red wires to the battery terminals. 

It doesn't matter which one makes it to which terminal.  The motor will just turn in one direction or in the other, depending on which one gets the positive and negative.  Foam will form in your coffee independent of the rotating direction of the motor.

Tie a knot on your USB cable, so that we won't be tugging on the soldering contacts later on.

Step 4: Amost Done.

Picture of Amost Done.

Re-assemble the foamer by gently pushing the two sides together.

Drill a hole the size of the USB cable on the side of the unit, so that you can close "battery compartment" by guiding the USB cable through it.

Close, and you are done!

Enjoy your lattes!!!


gaidal made it! (author)2015-11-14

Tried to play it safe and begin with resistors, but even at 10ohm the motor was very slow. (Since I don't know what I'm doing I used a 0.25W resistor which got burning hot in 1-2 seconds...)

Finished it without resistors and noticed that with a 5.1V 850mA wall charger it barely spins at all; with 5V 1.0A it's more powerful than with batteries though.
Came back here to say that you'd better know what you're doing before connecting this to a computer USB port (500mA limit).
Also I'm considering adding a diode in case someone finds it and decides to use batteries and USB and the same time. :P

Gnarly143 (author)2015-04-14

This is amazing! I've been practicing latte art with an aerolatte but the battery life is a killing me and my wallet. Will plugging the USB into a Phone Charger instead of the laptop be too much power for the milk frother?

carlos-felo (author)2010-02-02

Wow! It's Great!

Greetings from Santiago de Chile!

romyv (author)carlos-felo2010-02-02

Cheers, Carlos!  Glad you like it...  ;-)

lemonie (author)2010-01-12

That's good. Toothbrush next?


romyv (author)lemonie2010-01-12

good one!  ;-D  will just have to find a long enough usb cable first - that will reach the bathroom....

omnibot (author)romyv2010-01-13

How about converting an old laptop into a digital photoframe to double as a mirror with a webcam, then you could plug it into the usb on that one :P

Bartboy (author)omnibot2010-01-15

But..... Just use a tablet....

omnibot (author)Bartboy2010-01-25

Now where's the fun in that? It's already finished. :P

lemonie (author)romyv2010-01-12

Spit in the empty-cup?


winterfresh (author)lemonie2010-01-17

 I suppose you could use the CD Drive on your computer as a cupholder....

lemonie (author)winterfresh2010-01-17



fungus amungus (author)2010-01-12

Four bucks? They sell them for two at our IKEA

Sabata (author)fungus amungus2010-01-21

Even $4 CDN is still way cheaper than a lot of stores. I saw one in Bed Bath and Beyond for about $20 US. Other than the "name brand" sticker on it, it looked exactly like the one I bought at Ikea for $2.

romyv (author)Sabata2010-01-22

Yepp!  And the kicker is - turns out - that the manufacturer could ship them for $0.64 per unit for lots of a 1,000!  now THAT's a bargain!  I wonder how much they would charge for a USB-fied ver?

Sabata (author)romyv2010-01-23

Hmm, I bet they could do it for a buck or so.

Which reminds me, this is where I saw my first $20 milk frother:

I had to laugh when I read that article the day it was published, cuz I'd just bought a frother at Ikea for $2. See my comment (4th from the bottom) made under the name "technophile," which I got courtesy of ;)

Muhahaa I got one for  1.4usd in Ikea in sweden :)

romyv (author)fungus amungus2010-01-13

ha ha!  US vs. CDN pricing @IKEA .... (that's where this one's from, too)

Zaphod Beeblebrox (author)romyv2010-01-16

that's why i dont want to ever move to canada

romyv (author)Zaphod Beeblebrox2010-01-16

that would be your loss.....

Zaphod Beeblebrox (author)romyv2010-01-16

ok i do have some points to bring up but i don't want to start a political flame war on a diy site 


Spokehedz (author)2010-01-22

Nice job. A simple hack that turns a lack-luster stirrer into a top-notch frothier.

Bartboy (author)2010-01-15

Sell them, bundled with wall outlet USB chargers. You could easily sell something like that for 10$

Warlrosity (author)2010-01-14

Nice, looks pro

Doctor What (author)2010-01-12

 Cute, and functional!  Will be great in school.

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