July 15, 2015 | By Alec

Iced coffee, is there anything better on a warm summer’s day? While this is obviously a matter of personal preference, one designer from San Francisco was fed up with the exclusive and expensive machines needed to brew a cup at home, and decided to do something about it. Using 3D printing, Jonathan Odom has developed a setup that will enable you to enjoy a fantastic and affordable cup of iced coffee in the comfort of your on home – and what’s more, he’s shared the designs.

In the real world, Jonathan is a designer at the Instructables Design Studio – which he calls the best job ever – and he specializes in architecture, film sets and animatrics, and more. As such, he regularly develops cool and interesting (sometimes even complicated) projects, but this ice coffee brewer should be fairly simple to recreate. As he writes on Instructables, it essentially revolves around some 3D printed fittings, some off-the-shelf laboratory glass wear and maple dowels. Sounds simple, right?

Now there are several ways to make ice coffee, but this machine is all about cold brewing. ‘With this method, a small amount of coffee grounds are steeped in cold water, and drip the resulting brew at about one drop / 3 seconds,’ Jonathan explains, a method that actually improves the flavor. ‘My impression is that boiling water releases caffeine and acidity much faster than cold water does. Steeping the grounds in cold water and releasing it slowly cuts the acidity significantly (you can taste that), but I've heard the argument that since it's steeping for so long (2-6 hours), the caffeine content is about the same as it would be in a hot brewed cup.’

Regardless of if that’s true, Jonathan is very pleased with the coffee results, and has shared the design on Instructables for all to enjoy. The STL files for all the 3D printable parts can be downloaded here, while you will also need to order quite a few parts online. After all, you do need tubes, valves, a boiling flask, a funnel and so on. Fortunately, links to all are provided too.

Jonathan himself 3D printed all components with the very easy to use Fusion 360 3D printer, though just about every regular machine will do. 3D printing itself is fairly straightforward, and though Jonathan used a sandblasting method for the optimal aesthetic results visible, this is in no way necessary. He also painted them with acrylic spray paint, but again, up to personal preference.

Assembly itself is also fairly straightforward, especially if you follow Jonathan’s tips. Please note that it is crucial to create a siphon to ensure a steady drip, which Jonathan achieved by inserting a brass tube into the stopper next to the valve. All other parts can be assembled fairly easily, with the 3D printed components needing to be glued in place (epoxy).

After completion, it’s on to the most important step: brewing! Using this coffee maker is fairly simple. The upper flask is filled with ice and, pointing down, slowly drips down. The funnel itself is covered with a filter paper and filled with coffee grounds (not too full). ‘Saturate the grounds slowly with cold water. Slow is the key because you don't want it to overflow. Place another piece of filter paper on top of the grounds. This piece keeps the water evenly distributed through all the grounds; without it, the dripping would slowly carve a tunnel through the middle and the coffee would be very weak,’ Jonathan advises.

With this method, brewing two cups of coffee takes about four hours (as the flavors and caffeine are slowly released), but it’s a ritual that is well worth the wait. Try it out!



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Jonathan Odom wrote at 7/25/2015 2:05:45 AM:

Thanks for posting! Great summary of the project. Here's the link to the instructable in case anyone missed it: http://www.instructables.com/id/Coffee-Cold-Brewer/

Fact Checker 2 wrote at 7/16/2015 12:45:52 PM:

It was an FDM 3d printer called the Dremel Idea Builder. Fusion 360 refers to the software he modeled his designs in

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