Impressive Lever-Press Espresso Machine Has Finesse

Some people will do anything for a good cup of coffee, and we don’t blame them one bit — we’ve been known to pack up all our brewing equipment for road trips to avoid being stuck with whatever is waiting in the hotel room.

While this stylish lever-based industrial coffee machine made by [exthemius] doesn’t exactly make textbook espresso, it’s pretty darn close. Think of it like an Aeropress on steroids, or more appropriately, bulletproof coffee. As you can see in the demo after the break, the resulting coffee-spresso hybrid brew looks quite tasty.

Here’s how it works: finely-ground beans go in a pressurized portafilter basket that was scavenged from an entry-level prosumer espresso machine. Pour boiling water into the top of the cylinder, and pull the giant lever down slowly to force it through the portafilter. Presto, you’re in thin, brown flavor town.

We love the piston-esque plunger that [exthemius] made by layering washers and rubber gaskets up like a tiramisu. Although there are no plans laid out, there’s probably enough info in the reddit thread to recreate it.

If you ever do find yourself stuck with hotel house brand, soak it overnight to make it much more palatable.

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If Coffee == True {

Having a shared coffee maker in the workplace is both a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to have constant access to coffee, but it can be frustrating to find the coffee pot emptied right as you walk in to the break room. To solve this problem in their office, [Vitort] and co. built an IOT solution that notifies everyone of the current coffee status on a Slack channel.

This project wasn’t built just as a convenience for the office, either. It makes extensive use of AWS SNS, the simple notification system from Amazon Web Services because they wanted to learn to use this technology specifically. Besides the notification system, the device itself is based on a NodeMCU/ESP8266, communicating over WiFi, and is a simple push-button design which coffee drinkers push when a fresh pot is made, and then push again when the coffee is empty.

While relatively straightforward, this project is a good one to look at if you’ve been interested in AWS at all, especially the simple notification system. It’s a pretty versatile tool, and all of the code used in the project is available on the project page for your reading pleasure. If you’re more interested in the coffee aspect of this project, we have a special coffee maker for you too.

A French Press You Can Take Out Camping

There’s many a hacker that considers coffee a necessary fuel, without which, little work can be achieved. This applies whether in the office or traipsing around in the great outdoors. For the latter situation, [Poehls05] developed a robust French press that’s well suited to field use.

Typically, a French press consists of a plunger assembly which moves within a glass vessel. This is fragile and unwieldy for throwing in a backpack. Instead, in this design, the plunger assembly is harvested from an existing press and repurposed to fit within a sturdy Nalgene water bottle, designed specifically for overlanding.

The modifications involve cutting the existing press plate into three slices, and reassembling with hinges so it may fold. The plunger rod is then modified to make it possible to tilt the press plate relative to the rod. These modifications allow the plunger to be slid into the narrower neck of the Nalgene water bottle, and also enable the plunger rod to work with the original screw-down lid. In this configuration, the bottle is no longer water tight, but can be converted to normal use by swapping a regular lid back on top.

With the changes in place, the plastic bottle can easily be used in the same manner as a regular French press. Simply fill with hot water, allow the grounds to steep, and then press and pour. It’s a great way to make high-quality coffee in the wilderness, and one that may prove popular with hackers who don’t wish to give up the finer things when out and about. We’ve also featured tricks to make the most of hotel coffee, too.

Engineering Overkill Motorizes The Daily Grind

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, and you don’t come between an engineer and his coffee. And really, if all your office has for coffee is a big old BUNN that makes caffeinated trash, you don’t discourage your coworkers from the pursuit of a better brew.

[George] is over at his desk each day treating coffee like the science experiment it is: with a kettle, a Chemex, and a manual coffee grinder. Trouble is, the setup is attracting more and more attention, and [George]’s unpaid side gig as the office barista is starting to wear out his arm. He considered buying an electric grinder just long enough to laugh at the idea, and then went out to the workshop and built this beautifully over-engineered motorized mount for his manual grinder.

The only trouble with motorizing these hand grinders or even driving them with a drill is that many of them have a pentagonal shaft. But that problem was no match for [George] and his file. He soon had his linkage between the 100RPM motor and the grinder shaft and set about building the overly adequate frame.

The whole thing is gorgeous, but we particularly like the gas spring that holds the motor up out of the way while he pours in the beans. [George] probably ought to start a bean fund, if he hasn’t already. That kind of noise followed by the smell of coffee is bound to bring a few more fresh-ground converts into the fold. Grab a fresh cup and grind past the break to see this baby pulverize some beanage.

Not everyone goes for pour over coffee, but there are hacks to be done at all points on the coffee spectrum. Check out [Maya Posch]’s adventures in totally tweaking an espresso machine.

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Hackaday Podcast 040: 3D Printed Everything, Strength V Toughness, Blades Of Fiber, And What Can’t Coffee Do?

Hackaday Editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams opine on the coolest hacks we saw this week. This episode is heavy with 3D printing as Prusa released a new, smaller printer, printed gearboxes continue to impress us with their power and design, hoverboards are turned into tanks, and researchers suggest you pour used coffee grounds into your prints. Don’t throw out those “toy” computers, they may be hiding vintage processors. And we have a pair of fantastic articles that cover the rise and fall of forest fire watchtowers, and raise the question of where all those wind turbine blades will go when we’re done with them.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (59 MB)

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Coffee Makes 3D Printing Better

While we know some 3D printer operators who need coffee, Washington State University is showing an improved PLA material that incorporates used coffee waste. Regular PLA is not known for being especially strong, though It isn’t uncommon for vendors to add things to their PLA to change its characteristics.

The new material containing about 20% coffee waste showed an over 400% increase in toughness (25.24 MJ/m3) versus standard PLA. Why coffee waste? We aren’t sure. They didn’t add grounds, but rather a dry and odorless material left over after coffee grounds are processed for biodiesel production.

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Make That Special Cup Of Coffee By Completely Tweaking The Coffee Machine

An interesting part of working on the Building Management and Control (BMaC) project – as previously covered on this site – was the reverse-engineering and ultimately the gaining of full control over the coffee machines at the office. Not the boring filter coffee machines, mind you, but the fully automatic espresso machine type that grinds beans, makes coffee, adds milk, and much more. Depending on one’s budget, naturally.

These little marvels of engineering contain meters of tubing, dozens of sensors, valves, ceramic grinders, and heating elements. The complexity of this machinery made us think that maybe there was more that we could do with these machines beyond what their existing programming and predefined products would allow. Naturally, there was.

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