In this Instructable I will be showing you how to use tea light candles to power an old coffee maker. This is a fun, cheap and easy experiment that anyone can do! Just make sure not to try it indoors!
Before you go through the rest of the steps for this project, you should definitely watch the video that I have posted below. The video will go through the entire project as well as show you the coffee brewing from the heat of the candles . Also, if you enjoy the video you should definitely hit the like button or even consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Most importantly don't forget to follow me here on my Instructables page so that you can see all of my future projects!
Step 1: Parts List
- Basic Coffee Maker (I got mine from the thrift store for $5)
- 5 Tea Light Candles
- Scrap Wood
Step 2: Removing the Base Plate
The first thing that you will want to do is remove the base plate on the bottom of the coffee maker. This will typically be fastened on by four screws. Once you remove the base plate you will see a "U" shaped piece of aluminum which is the heating element. This component is made up of an aluminum extrusion with two parts: a resistive heating element and a tube for water to flow through. The resistive heating element and the aluminum tube heat the water.
How it works is when you turn on the switch, the resistive heating element starts heating the aluminum tube and eventually the water in the tube boils.When the water boils, the water bubbles flow up the tube in the back of the coffee maker. The tube is small enough and the bubbles are big enough that small amounts of water can ride upward on top of the bubbles.The water flows up the tube and is dispersed to drip evenly on the coffee grounds.The hot water flows through the ground coffee beans and then runs down into the coffee pot.
So because the coffee maker can work simply with heat I wanted to see if the heat off of some candles would be enough to boil the water inside of the tube.
Step 3: Setting Up the Candles
In order to get this to work all you need to do is position the candles perfectly beneath the coffee makers heating element. You will want the tip of the flame to barely be touching the aluminum water tube. This part is optional but to make this easy for myself I traced out the heating element onto a piece of paper and then made holes in a scrap piece of MDF to keep the candles in the perfect position. I then nailed a few small pieces of wood around the edges to keep the coffee maker at the best height.
Step 4: Coffee Time!
That't it! Just add your filter, coffee and pour in the water. Once your coffee maker is in the proper position just wait and after a while the water will begin dripping down into the pot. I recommend adding warm water to the coffee maker to speed up the process. This will take a lot longer than if you use electricity, but this is a really fun project to try and it is really cool to see it work. Who knows, this might even give you something to do during a massive power outage!
Once again please don't do this inside and NEVER plug in the coffee maker when the base plate is removed. Be safe and have fun!
Thanks for reading!