DIY Coffee Gripper

Here at Hackaday, we love it when people make home brew versions of elaborate, expensive, and technical equipment. By gathering up some coffee grounds, a balloon, some plastic tubing, and his lungs, [Carlos] has provided a good how-to on making your own coffee grounds robotic hand. Inspired by the U. Chicago, Cornell, and iRobot Collaboration we previously covered, he is one robot and a vacuum pump away from having their setup. Check out his blog for a list of components as well as a couple hints to help the build go smoothly. Be sure to check out the video after the break.

[via Make]


  1. wouter says:

    CHECK xD
    Want want want!
    btw: who’s making the robot?

  2. The day the original was on hackaday I made one with a plain balloon and some sugar.. It’s not that special tbh. In two days, mine will have a vacuum pump too =)


  3. Oh, and I forgot to mention: You don’t need a vacuum chamber to completely fill the thing. You put the coffee/sugar/whatever in a soda bottle (the small ones), blow the balloon up normally and put it over the top of the bottle. Then, you just hold the bottle upside down.
    (and you can reverse the air pumps for aquariums for a vacuum pump. the pet shop sells the tubing too, and seeing as *everyone* has either sugar or coffee, the only things you need to buy are the tubing, the balloon and the pump.)


  4. Kevin says:

    I remember those in college. We didn’t call them Coffee makers though…

  5. name says:

    Hm, it’s not that great challenge to put coffee into a balloon, is it? They even said that it is coffee and it’s obvious that a balloon is the first thing to try out. Don’t you think when you try out less wall thickness, there should be more flexibility and adhesion? It would be intresting to know how much the friction yields to this effect.

  6. Hirudinea says:

    Sadly with government funding the way it is, in Canada this is high tech.

  7. Dave says:

    Video proof that you, too can look this cool with some techno music, coffee, and a balloon to huff on.

  8. RadBrad says:

    Java Bong!
    I need that to keep myself awake during long nights of assembly coding.

  9. reza says:

    looks like bong hits from the can. in protest of prop 19 failing?

  10. Andynonymous says:

    The majority of the Cornell gripper was 3D printed using a commercial 3D printer?


  11. marcus says:

    reference from bill nye the science guy^

  12. arjan says:

    You don’t need a vacuum pump, just a cylinder and piston. Tie the piston to a servo and you’re done. Nu hoese, tubes, pumps etc. needed. Maybe use oil instead of water to remove “sloppiness” ?

  13. Nair says:

    Oh please dont post shit like this a 3 year old can suck a pencil up with nothing.

    Just delete this article srsly its so fail.

  14. jman says:

    is that weed in the background!!!! :D

  15. gmcurrie says:

    Saw the Cornell vid a while ago & got hold of a few party balloons & a pump to check it out – blocked the ‘breathe’ valve on the pump with hot glue so in theory was just a sealed piston – didn’t work too well, if at all – crappy pump..

    Interesting to see from Carlos’ vid the scale of pressures involved = lung-power = not massive pressures at all.

    I like it – wonder if might inspire offshoot ‘clambering’ robot drivetrains – the more complex/rugged the terrain, the better

  16. Andynonymous says:

    I’m glad someone got the reference! =D

  17. Andynonymous says:

    And yeah, to be honest, this isn’t really that incredible. If it was at least had a small motorized vacuum system (which was what Cornell had when I saw it IRL), then I wouldn’t be making that much of a fuss.

    I mean, this device doesn’t need a powerful vacuum pump (if my mental reverse engineering is correct, the hand held one one was powered with 1 or 2 1.5v batteries, with the vacuum pump motor being driven by one of those small DC motors that are ubiquitous in science kits for kids… Actually, the fact that you could use your lungs should demonstrate this…)

    Well, its already posted… In the grand scheme of things, I just wasted my time typing all this…

    Now for something not so temporally wasteful and a chance for an otherwise meaningless reply to a silly post have some use:

    Would this lung powered version be beneficial to a person without hands? I don’t know, as, of the writing of this reply, I still have the use of both of my hands…

    I mean, sure robotic replacement arms are awesome, but they are kinda pricey and the cheaper ones kind of suck, from what I hear (again, I still have use of both my arms, so this subject doesn’t immediately effect me…) I mean, it would probably be better than nothing…

  18. Spritle says:

    Almost looks like someone needs to call bs on this. In the video, is he assisting the balloon grip with his fingers?

  19. JOel says:

    im the only one to have see the background at 1:50

  20. Kyle says:

    Hey look! A toonie!

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