Introduction: Electric Coffee Maker

Picture of Electric Coffee Maker

This instructable is for making an electric coffee maker. Nearly all components are from readymade diy parts & materials, so if any part ever breaks, you can repair or replace it. The parts from the casing were printed using Filabot filament, which is made out of recycled plastic. Other parts are made by casting local waste aluminum (such as cans, aluminum foil and chips from cnc milling aluminum). There is no glue used so you can always disassemble and reuse/recycle every part. So when I would ever get tired of coffee, I can send back my 3D-printed parts to Filabot (they have a recycling service) and I can remelt and reuse the aluminum for new projects. I tried using as much locally produced parts as possible and using as many components as possible which are not related to a specific model or product.

I made everything by learning from online tutorials, by using as much scrap material as possible and by utilizing the local fablab: Fablab Genk.

You will need a 3D-printer (I used the Makerbot Replicator 2X from Fablab Genk for the 3D-printed parts), a setup for casting aluminum and the right tools for assembling the internal components to each other and to the casing.

NOTE: This is a prototype, so some components or parts might have to be optimized. If there are any suggestions for improvement or any mistakes in my instructable, please let me know so I (or you) can adjust it.

Please keep all safety aspects in consideration. Electricity can be dangerous so double check everything before testing. I'm not responsible if anything goes wrong. Never leave the coffee maker running alone. Better be safe than sorry. :-)

(English is not my native language, so excuse me for any spelling mistakes or wrong use of certain words.)

Step 1: Order All Internal Parts

Picture of Order All Internal Parts

There's quit some internal parts you will need. I found all the parts on the internet, but you might check your local diystore if you can find some parts there.

These are the internal parts you will need:

- Funnel (top diameter around 100mm)

- Aluminum plate (for small parts, see next steps)

- Thermostat (KSD301 105°C)

- 4x M3 bolt length 6mm with Phillips or slotted head

- 4x M3 nut

- Temperature fuse

- 2x Parallel connector

- 1m flexible silicon wire 1,5mm

- Ring connector for 1,5mm wire (M3 hole)

- 1m Silicone hose 10mm inner diameter

- 1m Silicone hose 6mm inner diameter

- Heat resistant tube

- 7x M4 bolt length 12mm for embossing with Phillips or slotted head

- 2x M4 bolt length 6mm for embossing with Phillips or slotted head

- 2x M4 bolt length 30mm with Phillips or slotted head

- 13x M4 nut

- Rocker switch (minimum 6A)

- 4x Hose clamp 13,7mm to 15,3mm

- 2x Hose clamp 10.8mm to 12,3mm

- Grounded chord and plug for 220-250V

- 3x Faston angle connector 4.8 width

- 2x Faston connector straight (6mm width, depending on the connectors on your thermostat)

- Thermal paste (1 gram)

- Heat-shrink tubing 6mm to 2mm

- Heating element

- One way valve for water which fits the 10mm silicon hose

- Plastic cup (from paint gun, so make sure it's new and clean)

I ordered my parts from a German company called 'Conrad'. They supply many countries in Europe, so you can find the order number of most of the parts on this list:

On Conrad you can find everything except these:

-Heating element:

You will have to order this from a supplier for replacement components. I ordered mine from Servilux (order nr 141709)

If your order somewhere else you have to make sure it's similar to the one on the picture in order to complete the coffee maker.

- Plastic cup 600cc

This will serve as the water tank. Depending on where you order them they might have a different thread. So if possible order one with a thread where the hose fits around, otherwise you also need an adapter. This so you can make a transition from the thread of the cup to an outer diameter between 10mm and 13mm.

I ordered mine from (part nr 4213505). It's not cheap but it has the right fitting on it for the silicon hose.

Step 2: Print Parts for the Casing

Picture of Print Parts for the Casing

Here you can find the link to all the 3D-printed parts. Because of the size of the object, they take quit some time to print. I printed all of them with standard print resolution from Makerware.

NOTE: These parts were made according to the dimensions of the components which I used. Different components might give problems with the dimensions of the 3Dprinted casing. In the future I might try to learn Openscad and make a parametric model out of it for dimension adjustments.

I ordered filabot filament, which is made out of recycled sources, to try out of it's possible to print with it. I first ordered a blue roll and when I tested it, it came out quit well. Only difference with normal filament was the inconsistency of the color. But that's what they also mention on their website and is because of the use of recycled sources that this might occur.

So I ordered two more colours: red & black. Red turned out to be more like salmon pink instead of red. Black was normal black. Both spools seemed to be pretty consistent in color. But printing with the black spool gave some problem, which is why I printed all parts in 'red'.

Step 3: Make Mold for Sandcasting Piece of Case in Aluminum

Picture of Make Mold for Sandcasting Piece of Case in Aluminum

Making the mold was not easy and I had to try some stuff out before making the final shape. Basically you fill up the drag with sand, then place the 3D-printed model on top and fill in the gaps on the side. I then cut down the sand, so that the model can be taken out afterwards. After applying talk powder you fill up the cope.

When the cope is filled with sand I open op the mold and get the model out. I also make a hole where the aluminum will be casted through. I know it's not according to the best aluminum casting technique, but it works. If there are any advices on how I can adjust the sand mold for a better casting with this shape, let me know. Or ideas for making a better cast-able shape are also welcome.

You need to cast part 1 two times as a left and right side. It's better if you sand the 3D printed model before making the mold, so the model loosens better from the sand. One of the 2 sides needs a 'bump' where we will fix the heating element later.

I made the bottom of the coffee maker out of aluminum so it has a heavy and stable base. It's also stronger for fixing the heating element. But there are ways to attach the heating element in a plastic 3D-printed model without having to use aluminum. The reason I chose to use aluminum was because this project was about searching for techniques for local producing and recycling. Casting aluminum & 3D printing with plastic from recycled sources came out as useful techniques, also because of the possibilities to share digital models.

I used oil based sand because I'm still learning how to cast and thought this was the safest method, instead of mixing my own sand with water like you can find on other tutorials.

Step 4: Melt Aluminum & Cast Piece

Picture of Melt Aluminum & Cast Piece

I made a furnace for melting aluminum out of an old fire extinguisher by checking out other instructables:

I used scrap aluminum from the Fablab, old aluminum cans and trash aluminum foil to melt and cast into the mold.

Remember safety: read and learn enough about this before trying it out and use enough safety gear to protect you from any mistakes.

Step 5: Clean Up Casted Parts

Picture of Clean Up Casted Parts

Saw off the not wanted aluminum from the part and smooth down the model. The sides need to be straight because there are 3D-printed parts which will be attached onto them.

Step 6: Assemble Heating Element

Picture of Assemble Heating Element

The heating element is the essential part of the coffee maker. It warms up the water so it starts to boil. This is the way it works: The water goes through the heating element until it's leveled (communicating vessels). When the coffee maker is turned on the heating element starts to heat until the water starts to boil. Therefore the water wants to expand and will push upwards. In the side of the water reservoir there is a valve which makes sure the water doesn't go up on that side, therefore pushing it through the other side upwards.

Here is a more visual explanation video on youtube by Crazy Builders:

So, to make sure the element heats up to the right temperature you have to use a thermostat. This will interrupt the electric circuit when it reaches the stop temperature of the thermostat. I used a thermostat of 105°C, just above boiling point but I'm thinking a lower one (90°C for instance) might work as well, if not better.

The heating element I ordered has a small piece welded to it where you can fix the thermostat. I cut a piece of aluminum for this. On this piece it will later also be possible to connect the ground to for safety. To make sure the heat gets transferred well to the thermostat I used thermal paste between the connection of the aluminum parts, the heating element & the thermostat.

Step 7: Tap Holes in Aluminum Part and Fix Heat Element

Picture of Tap Holes in Aluminum Part and Fix Heat Element

Check the thickness of the 'bump' from the casted part. Take (at least) 1 mm less and tape off your drill to make sure you don't drill through the whole part. Tap an M4 thread inside the holes.

To fix the heating element to the part of the casing we need to cut some strips which we will use to clamp. By tightening the nuts, the heating element will get fixed. Make sure you put a piece heat resistant plastic between the aluminum strip and the heating element. This will make sure there is no way electricity can flow to the outside casing.

Since I don't have pictures from the fixing of the heating element, I made an exploded view to try to explain how it's fastened.

Step 8: Assemble Switch

Picture of Assemble Switch

Drill a hole to the size of the switch. I used the biggest size drill I could find and then rasped to the exact size. Make sure this is the side where the heating element is NOT fixed.

Step 9: Final Assembly

Picture of Final Assembly

Connect all the parts in the right place. I made a scheme where you can see how everything is connected. Use as much silicon wires as possible since they can handle the heat better than normal wires. The wires from the chord can be protected with the silicon tube.

Make sure the valve is in the right direction otherwise the water can't get to the heating element.

I suggest leaving the coffee maker for a few hours before trying it out. Then make sure there isn't any water leaking through the sleeves in the bottom. Also check again to make sure the casing can't conduct any electricity with a multimeter.

Step 10: Make Coffee

Picture of Make Coffee

Choose what flavor of coffee you like, how strong you want it to be, and how much you want. Press the button and start brewing. Enjoy!

Edit: I now also casted the dripping plate in aluminum. This because the 3D-printed part is not completely water sealing.


Sector 9 (author)2015-11-15

"I think you're too much focused on this as a final stage, which it isn't. If you think it's not safe enough, make it safer and share it. If you think the shape is awful, change it. If you think its functionality can be optimized, great, let us know how."

Thanks for the awesome project and the open mind! :-)

Hyshinara (author)2014-10-29

Hey! I was pleasantly surprised to see this on here, as I saw your coffee maker on EXIT14 :) (congratulations on the Cultuurplatform Design price, by the way! :D )

I was wondering though: where did you get the oil sand here in Belgium?

siemenc (author)Hyshinara2014-10-30

Hi Hyshinara,

Thanks, I got the sand from Dirks Artist Supplier, which is located in the Netherlands.

Hyshinara (author)siemenc2014-10-30

Cool, I'll be checking it out, then. :D

MichaelAtOz (author)2014-07-08

Hi, nicely done.

I'm having trouble following the wiring diagram. What colours are the Active and Neutral?

From the look of the switch, I can see why the middle is switched (ON) to the top (connecting to the thermo-fuse) to complete the circuit thru the heater then thermostat. But I can't understand connecting the bottom of the switch (OFF) to what looks like a short cuircut.

siemenc (author)MichaelAtOz2014-07-10


If I understand your question correctly, you are confused because of the black wire running from the switch to the thermostat, right?

This is because I used a switch with a light inside which goes on when the circuit is turned ON. I don't know exactly how the switch internally works but it doesn't cause a short circuit. If you have a switch without a light inside, you can skip the black wire running from the switch to the thermostat.I'll edit that in the Instructable.

Does that answer your question?

MichaelAtOz (author)siemenc2014-07-10

Sorry, I missed your last sentence where you said you'd edit it. Good.

MichaelAtOz (author)siemenc2014-07-10

Yes, Thanks that answers it.
I thought it was a SPDT switch (which I believe that icon is usually used), where the center is switched to either of the two other poles when on/off.
You may want to point that out in the 'ible, as if someone did wire it that way (SPDT) it would be Bad.

jarfil (author)2014-06-07

If I understand correctly, the aluminium case is insulated. Shouldn't it be connected to ground instead?

siemenc (author)jarfil2014-06-08

That's a good question. I made sure the circuit can't make any contact with the casing. Hence I connected ground to the heating element for if something goes wrong. I looked at the circuit from an old coffee maker for this. Do you think it's better to connect it to the casing instead and if so, could you explain to me why? Thanks!

chaoticandrandom (author)siemenc2014-06-11

I would ground the aluminium case as well as the element. Any chance of the case going Live should be negated. Grounding It would force the fuse OR force an RCD circuit to trip in your mains circuit which is what you want if it goes horribly wrong. Even though you have insulated you just cannot rely on insulation alone. Over time insulation always breaks down somewhere then what happens...

Any way very good project -- like the casting..

siemenc (author)chaoticandrandom2014-06-12

You're right. It's better to be extra safe. I'll think about how to ground the casing as well.

Thanks for the feedback!

Tachyon (author)2014-06-07

Interesting project. I hope everyone will notice that you essentially kept the "food" portion of this machine's path in it's own isolated silicone chamber so it was not exposed to either the plastics or the aluminum. Good safety thinking.

siemenc (author)Tachyon2014-06-12

Indeed an important aspect. I'll soon try to highlight it some more in the instructable.

ikartal (author)2014-06-05

very good project, awesome!! İ like it !!

siemenc (author)ikartal2014-06-06

Thank you!

craftclarity (author)2014-06-04

Wow, this is super-involved! I've got some experience with prototyping, it's a lot of work. Much respect, keep up the good work here! Thanks for sharing this project...!

siemenc (author)craftclarity2014-06-06

Thanks for the compliment!

alcurb (author)2014-06-04

Nice project. I filed this one away as things to make after I receive my deltaprintr.

Any concerns about plasticizers leaching out of the "heat resistant" tubing? I've always been concerned about coffee-making machines that use thermoplastics that come in contact with the hot water.

siemenc (author)alcurb2014-06-06

Hi alcurb,

The heat resistant tubing is used as a safety isolation for the aluminum casing, so it does not come in contact with the hot water. The hot water runs through the silicone hose, which is safe. It does come in contact with the funnel, which is made out of Polypropylene, a thermoplastic that is also being used in coffee makers from the store. I'm not sure if this answers your question. :-)

bigjknudsen (author)2014-06-03

this is very awesome. i might have look into making one when i get my 3d printer. i like how you left it open so people can design and make their own using their own locally sourced parts. great instructable!

siemenc (author)bigjknudsen2014-06-04

Thanks for your comment, nice to hear! If you ever might have any questions let me know.

This is a really cool project! It kind of reminds me of this

Thanks! I like the toaster project.

ac-dc (author)2014-06-03

Coffee makers and/or donor parts are available at yard sales for $2. I'm not saying do this instead, just pointing out what seems just as sustainable since yard sale items would otherwise end up in landfills or someone's attic/closet/etc if someone didn't buy them, and pointing out that there is an extreme amount of time and effort invested to make something that your homeowners insurance would surely flag if it ever started a fire.

My point is, just because you can do something that doesn't make it a good idea. Now excuse me while I go chop down a tree to make sustainable wooden wheels for my car. ;)

siemenc (author)ac-dc2014-06-04

Hi ac-dc, thanks for your comment. I see your point of view but I think you're missing part of the problem.

As you probably know, not all coffee makers and/or donor parts end up at a yard sale, at all. Producers make electric products like coffee makers in too big quantities to make it possible to sell them cheap. Off course it would be better to repair and reuse everything. But you need to have the knowledge to repair the specific product, which producers don't (always) show. For this coffee maker you have nearly all parts and information available.

Also, most of the time there isn't much information available about how the product was produced. For instance components that break down after a certain period to make sure you buy a new one. At the same time they often use special types of screws or glue to keep you from repairing your product, if you want to. I'm not saying this is in every product and that it's all a big conspiracy. I just believe there should be more transparency.

Yes, I could have used only spare parts from other models to make myself a new coffee maker, but then I would still depend on those specific parts from a specific model. If a part in this coffee maker then would break, I'd have a bigger chance I have to throw it all away since finding that exact component might not be as easy.

The fact that I spend quit some effort to make this, makes me hold on to the product more than if I would have just bought a cheap coffee maker in the store, where I wouldn't know much more except for its price. And even if I would get tired of this one, I can disassemble the parts and reuse them in an other way. The aluminum can be remelted into new parts, and if developments like 'filabot', 'filamaker' or 'precious plastics' continue to grow, it might be possible to recycle the 3D-prints as well into new 3D-filament or other products.

I think you're too much focused on this as a final stage, which it isn't. If you think it's not safe enough, make it safer and share it. If you think the shape is awful, change it. If you think its functionality can be optimized, great, let us know how.

Anyway, I'm not saying everything is exactly the way I wrote here. If you disagree or think I'm wrong about certain things, let me know. I'm open for discussion. :-)

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