I’ve always been fascinated by small things. I remember going to the mall as a kid and seeing all the Hello Kitty mini stuff at Spencers, and being really disappointed that they only made girl stuff (it was years later before they came out with boy stuff)
So, when the Pocket Size contest was announced, it really inspired me to design and build something new.
“Mmmmm Ok, now what?” I said to myself.
So I started browsing Instructables, trying to find some inspiration when I remembered that the year before, my Espresso machine had died, and I had played around with the idea of building one.
I looked at all the Instructables relating to coffee at the time, but no one had built a machine. The quest ended that Christmas with the gift from my wife – a new espresso machine (I know, she’s really great :D ).
This year, a quick search showed that there were still no Instructables on how to build an Espresso machine….and inspiration came: I would build a pocket sized Espresso Machine.
Now, I’m going to stray a bit from the normal Instructable format and include two sections: Design and Build.
One reason to do this is because I’ve noticed a number of kids on the site, and maybe, just maybe, reading about the design process might inspire them to build great stuff.
Another is that, because it had to be pocket size, I took some decisions that may seem odd, and telling you how I got there will help you modify this project more easily to better meet your coffee needs (like making it bigger).
Also, as it turned out, the alcohol stove that came out of this is a rather novel design, easily modified, that might breed a whole new class of alcohol stoves. :D
Three cheers to giving back to the community!!
Step 1: Step 1: Design Constraints.
Design constraints are some of the most important points of any product design; they tell us what the limits are. The tighter the constraints, the more limited the design, and we have to be more creative to be able to meet them.
On this project, I set the following ones.
1- The product had to fit in the pocket of my jeans.
2- The product had to be made out with common, cheap and easily obtainable materials from any home improvement store or corner hardware store.
3- The product had to be made using simple tools that most makers would probably already have, or could easily borrow or buy cheaply.
4- The product had to be self-contained.
5- The budget was maximum 30 dollars.
These five simple constraints really guided the design and build of the espresso maker, sometimes in unexpected ways.