Here’s an unlikely source of some excellent salvage goodies – a coffee machine. Although it depends a little on the model you pick up, you should find a whole bunch of useful goodies inside.
Here is the starting point – a Kitchen Aid Artisan espresso coffee machine. Made in Italy, the unit is of very high quality, inside and out. At the time of writing, they were selling in used form from about $500 – but this one was picked up at the local rubbish tip for zero dollars!
So what can you salvage from within?
Shown here are the stainless steel bolts that were salvaged from the machine. There are no less than sixteen M5 and six M4 bolts – all 12mm long and using an Allen head design. Not impressed? I am! That’s because stainless steel fastenings are always expensive to buy and, of course, will never rust away. Oh, and see the little cup they’re sitting in? That’s stainless steel too – and is one of the two coffee strainers that came with the machine.
Pull apart one of these coffee machines and you are get two analog thermometers. They’re the type that uses a remote-sensing bulb on the end of a copper tube. Interestingly, one of these was broken, but the other worked fine. Half full-scale is 100 degrees C. If you want to add your own markings, replacing the scale is also easy.
This is one of the gems – but what is it? It’s the mains-powered oscillating water pump that is capable of very high pressures of over 15 Bar (218 psi). These pumps are fantastic where you want highly atomised water – just use high-pressure hose and fittings to attach it to a high quality brass misting nozzle. Run off an inverter they’re ideal for turning into intercooler water spray pumps (see World's Best Intercooler Water Spray, Part 1). You cannot run the pump continuously but if you cycle it on and off, it will be fine. Note how it even comes with rubber anti-vibration mounts!
Inside the machine you’ll also fine two normally-closed temperature switches (they appear to have a switch point of 107 degrees C), a microswitch and a very nice mains power relay. The relay is a double pole, double throw design rated at no less than 16 amps at 250V AC.
Here are two solenoid valves, good for up to 10 Bar pressure. However, they don’t have hose nipple connections (instead they bolt to a manifold) so without making up a new manifold plate, they’d be hard to plumb into a system. The other valve, though, can very easily be used. It’s a single turn, adjustable needle valve. It’s ideal for accurately controlling the flow of water or air – and it comes with standard threads allowing you to easily attach hose fittings.
Then we have a few smaller items…
A standard mains power cord with an IEC plug on one end – and of course the socket to match!
The heavy coffee holder that, without any changes at all, works rather well as a funnel.
Here are the left-over aluminium castings ready for the metal recyclers – incredibly, there’s nearly 6kg of aluminium here! Not only will you benefit the environment, but you’ll also get a bit of money in your pocket.
Finally, I haven’t shown lots of other parts – an extensive wiring loom using high temperature silicone insulation, two in-line fuse holders, plated steel bolts, hose and hose fittings, knobs and a stainless steel grille.
See an espresso coffee machine being thrown away? Grab it!