Pallet Coffee Machine





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.

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    29 Discussions

    I love this - going to give it a try with a Keurig, because I hate them. The only bit I am nervous about is the glass reservoir and drilling in to it. However, I've seen glass mason jars with taps built into them that I might be able to adapt. Thank you for posting the inspiration!

    1 reply

    Thanks, that you can appriciate the project. You can build this with all kinds of cofee machines. It's great to make processes visible in an Instructable. Don't forget to publish your machine also under "I made it" on this page.

    In my eyes a wonderful improvement of the machine. I have some pieces of furniture made from pallets, as the coffee machine would fit very good. Since in my circle of acquaintances such machines go often to rubbish, i will save the next time one and rebuild this.

    This is good stuff. I did something similar with an old black and Decker coffee maker, but we made the tower and base from brick and tile. It was more basic with no hose choice for tea. The firing up is exciting cause you hold the hose with water, steam, electricity kind of near. Now I want to do this kind.

    I love the pallet coffee machine idea! How did you come up with it? How about an ice cream machine? :D Great DIY you have assembled there, I admit! I am so faving this

    I appreciate any effort you make to build furniture for those in need. Just a thought: are there any schools around that could use more desks?

    Didn't realize pallet projects were so sustainable... I just thought people were too poor or too thrifty to buy quality lumber...

    11 replies

    Pallets will get & reused (or not) whether someone does it or not according to the whims of industry & economics. Some sizes & styles are more common than others so they are easier & more economically incented to reuse commercially. The rest are built & used minimally before getting stacked up & "wasted". They can either go to a landfill or stack up to become an eyesore. Either way, an enterprising person (aka poor & thrifty) can then recycle those waste pallets by upcycling them from pallet to whatever. I upcycled ~85 pallets last year. As the weather gets nicer in my part of Texas, I should be able to upcycle that many, if not more, this year. They are educating me as an amateur woodworker & improving my skills as a furniture builder. Last year was furniture for my own house. I have some redesigns & rebuilds & repairs from my early creations that needs help. This year, I plan to offer free furniture to the 'poor & needy'. Not a bad part-time hobby, huh?

    If they are "poor & needy", where are they going to put that coffe table? Next to their tent? You could probably put together a nice little shack so some might get actual use out of it...hmmm pallet shacks...

    Your definition of "poor & needy" is terribly specific & not realistic. Too broke to buy a new dining table or bookcase & needing one is MY definition. When I first moved to this town, I could afford rent & minimal food, but we couldn't afford to buy furniture from Goodwill, let alone new stuff. Thus we were "poor & needy". By the gov't standard of 'poor', most have cell phones, etc. "Poor" in America isn't the same as "poor" in India, even though it's commonly imagined the same.

    Thank you for rectifying my ignorance. Now I know that "poor and needy" means that you don't have enough money to live luxuriously. Well damn. I must be poor and needy too. Would you like to donate a new computer, some lab benches, and a bed? No?

    There is a difference between need and want. One does not "need" furniture to survive or be happy, but whatever, that's just me.

    Anywhoozle, nice coffee machine deconstruction. Has a cool steampunky vibe to it.

    Do you imagine that a computer is a "luxury item" in today's society? Certainly a "new" one might be. But try looking for a minimum wage job without a computer. There are still a few places which offer paper applications, but they're getting more scarce every day. Oh sure, you can borrow one at the library; last time I tried that, I gave up after an hour of waiting for an open spot. I can't imagine having to do that everytime I want to fill out job applications, and then again every couple days to check my email for replies. As for furniture; why don't you visit some of the folks who live in the housing projects around here? Tell them how beds, tables, chairs, are just luxury items that they don't really "need"? They can just sleep on the floor, sit on the floor, serve meals on the floor. Or they could get plenty of "luxury" furniture out of dumpsters, after they fight off the bedbugs, assuming they have a pickup truck to move it with. But you are correct: one does not "need" any of these things to survive. A normal person should be quite able to survive naked in the woods, eating bugs and leaves, where they won't be a burden on your society.

    By the Biblical definition, "if we have food & clothes, be content". Everything else (including shelter) is a luxury. My aim is to find people w their priorities in the right order. They spend their money on shelter, food, & necessities & 'suffer' through substandard or missing furniture. They read, but have no shelf to organize / protect their books. Thus I step in a a bookcase made from pallets as a step up in their life. Production cost / time is minimal. Trade better than gift. Give to get. I'm working w local preachers to find them & be a benefit to help upgrade others' lives.

    "Pallet shacks" would actually be ILLEGAL in this town for any other use than a non-livable outbuilding.

    Hey, I like that idea! Building furniture for the needy, sounds like an excellent way to help others out while learning more about woodworking! Sound like you'll be busy this summer.




    adjective: sustainable


    able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

    Pallets are an amazing resource. Ever bought wood other then dimensional lumber from the big box stores? If you had you would understand.

    I understand. It seems I've neglected to mention that I fall into the poor category (still working on the thrifty part). Have you ever seen any videos about homemade sawmills. If I could build one of these, I think it might give me better access to quality lumber. Maybe I'll put it on my list of future projects. What do you think?

    Ohhhh I think I am in love.Yup extremely poor here to. I only purchase my lumber when a project has already sold, so I am never out of pocket for it, however, pallets are free and profit margins could always be higher. I would say though, aesthetically this is a really bad use of pallet wood. Look up some pallet projects on youtube, they can be really really nice and with a price tag of $free.99 I am onboard. I have dabbled with the thought of a home made mill but then there's the problem of drying the lumber. It takes a good amount of time and space to do so. As it stands I buy rough lumber and joint/plane it with a combination of jigs and shims on the planer. Finished lumber has a 200-500% mark up dependent on species. A good comparison is poplar, I pay $3/b.f rough or $2.80/l.f dressed. So a 4/4(1" thick) piece of poplar 6"x8' would run me for $12 rough or $22.40 dressed (That $12 piece becomes a $62 beer tote).

    I've been making things from pallets for a few years. What I can't use gets burned during the spring and fall in my rocket stove pool heater.

    There is a lot of good wood that otherwise would go to waste.

    The sawdust and planer shavings get added to the compost pile.