Introduction: Pallet Coffee Machine

About: Tinkerer from childhood on. After my retirement, together with my wife, fully committed to creative production. I prefer simple solutions for non-existing problems.

This is a project of creative reuse, upcycling or repurposing. Breaking down my coffee pad machine, and separate the housing from it's essential parts, is a revelation. My first impression; so much plastic housing and just a few parts machine. Why not showing the machine in it's real shape in this pallet age?

A reused pallet is an icon of a movement that points to an anti consumerism lifestyle and sustainable living. Thousands of pallet projects worldwide indicate upcycling, creativity and a personal production of consumer goods.
I show a coffeemaker inside out, on a mini pallet. A form of 'guerrilla machine redesign'. Living in a world of black boxes, it's a provocation to show the "internal parts". Insight in the processes within give more understanding if something goes wrong. 'When you don't open it you don't own it'. How many broken coffee makers have never been opened for a short inspection inside the housing? I am surprised, as repairer, how fast the problem is found after opening the 'treasury'.

Step 1: Video: the Making of


- Coffee AND tea maker.

- With on/off switch and fuse.

- Made of re-used materials.

- Transparent design.

- Easy repairable

- Low ecological footprint

- Easy to fit to your idea

Step 2: Some Dimensions

First of all you have to find a coffee machine which is suitable to take out the essential parts. They are the measure of all. The boiler, pump, reservoir and electronics have to fit on about halve the mini pallet. The top part for the coffee pads need a strong attach to the pallet. The console with the electronics inside has to be waterproof.

The pallet is 30 cm or 12 in wide, 25 cm or 10 in deep and 5 cm or 2 in high.

The tower is 27 cm or 11 in high, 13 cm or 5 in wide and 10 cm or 4 in deep.

The console is 13 cm or 5 in high, 14 cm or 5,5 in wide and 4cm or 1.5 in deep.

The glass water reservoir (vase) is 8 x 10 cm ( 3 x 4 in) and 22 cm or 9 in high.

Step 3: Preparing the Parts

Making the mini pallet is quickly done. I use glue to strenghten the construction. The glass reservoir needs a hole to feed the machine with water. I used a 8 mm 0.3 in glass- and tile drill. Drill slowly and use a lot of cooling water! With super glue I placed the nozzle. The water reservoir is placed in a square made from lathe's.

Breaking down the plastic housing of the coffee machine and taking out the (electronic) parts for reuse has to happen careful. There are 2 sensors attached to the circuit. All the cabling we use again with an add on of powerswitch and fuse.

Step 4: Bringing It Together

Photo's and video show already the main construction. Depending what coffee machine you go to use, fixing the tap tower is most of the work. I made a kind of triagle column for the pad holder. Inside this column the hot water boiler is hanging at a aluminium strip. The pump needs a baseplate with rubbers attached. The rubbers reduce the vibration of the pump. The plate is made from aluminium; see photo. The console is a wooden lathe frame with perspex at the front and the back. At the top of the console we find a fuse, a powerswitch, a standby/power button, and 1 or 2 cup buttons. The low water sensor needs a magnet attached. This will indicate a full reservoir. The way is choosen between coffee or tea water supply is not by a tap but with a water hose nipper; see photo.

Step 5: Conclusion

Using the coffee maker for the first time is an exiting moment. Hacking a factory brand machine and reuse it in my own housing is not guaranteed to work. But all went well; exept a small leak in the pad holder. The electronic logic was working fine. The boiler heated up quickly and at nearly cooking the pump started to press the hot water out of the boiler in the coffee pad holder. As you can see in the video the pallet coffee maker was delivering a warm cup of arabica coffee and a delicious cup of rooibos tea. Building the project was done in 2 days; getting the materials together was time consuming. Most wood comes from an old pallet. At the left side of the coffee maker you see the branded code. For the vase ( 5 dollar) I had to drive 40 miles to the next Ikea shop. My coffee machine in that shop as diy kit? Sure; they have pallets enough to upcycle.

Guerilla Design Contest

Third Prize in the
Guerilla Design Contest