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Coffee Tips

How to Make a Coffee Machine From Vacuum Light Bulbs?

Using a DIY approach to fixing a problem has numerous advantages. You learn a new, possibly helpful skill, spend more time with family, and save the cost of repair or new purchases, all while being active around the house. A DIY fix done right proves practical and fun to use. This article will centre on DIY, particularly for coffee lovers. Have you ever heard of making a coffee maker from vacuum light bulbs? Read on to know more about this exciting skill.

vacuumed light bulb coffee maker

Making a Coffee Maker From Vacuumed Light Bulbs 

While building a coffee maker might require some skills, finesse and dexterity beforehand, practice will improve you. There’s no more incredible feeling than that of accomplishment, especially when you make a DIY that works. You’ll need proper instructions, handy resources, time, patience and optimism.

Things you’ll Need to Make a Vacuum Lightbulb Coffee Maker

There are some resources and materials that you’ll need to complete this DIY. Here’s a list of things you’ll need.

  • Old lightbulbs. You’ll need about three old lightbulbs and some light bulb holders. Try getting more than you need if you need an extra to replace a broken one.
  • Filter paper, a dropper, super glue, silicon
  • Metal wire, a rubber gasket and a metal washer.
  • Sandpaper
  • Strong magnets
  • A screwdriver, scissors, pliers.
  • For protection, hand gloves and a face mask.


The Idea Behind the Coffee Maker

The functioning mechanism behind this DIY is that heated water from a bulb at the bottom completely goes to the top bulb, which mixes with coffee grounds. During the heating process, which goes on for some minutes, observe the coffee’s colour to identify that it’s reached the proper colour and intensity after infusion and absorption of the coffee grounds. Turn off the heat source or flame and allow the coffee to slowly seep back down to the lower bulb by filling up the vacuum. The coffee at the bottom is now clean and ready to drink.

How it’s Done

Here is the procedure to follow.

  • Get all the materials you need ready. Wear your rubber gloves and nose mask for protection.
  • To start, take a lightbulb and rub the top on sandpaper in a circular motion. After four to five minutes, you should have a precise hole in the bulb. Continue for about ten minutes till you have about half of the bulb shaved away, leaving what looks like a champagne glass cup.
  • Remove the Tungsten wire and centre glass in the bulbs’ core using a pair of pliers. Carefully do this to avoid getting injuries from the glass.
  • Next, take another lightbulb and remove the black-coloured glass part of the base. Rub the said part on the sandpaper to make a little hole and remove the black glassed part using a screwdriver. Now you should have two lightbulbs, one with half of the glass shaved off and the other without the black-coated glassed base.
  • Moving on, you need your dropper. Take a dropper and separate the glass part from the plastic by pulling both segments apart carefully.
  • Next, glue the dropper glass part to the base of the lightbulbs with the half glass using some glue or silicon. You can use a metal washer or a stainless steel fender washer to glue the base of the dropper to the bottom of the lightbulbs. Make sure it’s sealed well enough to prevent air escape.
  • Next, glue a rubber gasket to the bottom of the full-glassed lightbulb. Preferably, use a rubber gasket the same size as the bottom of the lightbulb.
  • Take some lightbulb holders and dismantle or disassemble them, then retrieve the core or centre component that screws into the lightbulb. Remove all other attachments to this core part till it’s completely hollow. Repeat the same process with another lightbulb holder till you have two unfettered centre components.
  • Cut off any bent inward parts of these two core components to ensure they’re completely free as though they were a ring.
  • Using metal wires or glue, fasten both similar components together with the screw ends facing outwards.
  • Fill the complete bulb with water.
  • Screw the complete lightbulb onto one end of the fastened core components from the previous step. Then take the other half-glassed bulb with the glued dropper glass and join it with the other screwed lightbulb through the other end of the core components. Now what you have should be two lightbulbs joined at the base, a dropper connecting both on the inside and the fastened core components in the middle holding the bulbs outside.
  • Screw both bulbs tightly and make sure the rubber gasket seals well, preventing any air leakage.
  • Grab a pair of scissors and cut a circular shape out of the filter paper. Place the cut-out part into the half-glassed bulb to stay at the base.
  • Use another metal washer to keep the filter paper in place.
  • The next step involves using a retort stand, but since it’s DIY, you can make a contraption look like a retort stand. Towards the base of the pole, place a heat source such as a simple candle, do not light it yet.
  • Right above the heat source, fasten the bulb contraption you now have with the open end of the half-glassed bulb facing upwards. If your retort stand contraption is metallic, you can use a solid magnet to hold the bulb.
  • Using a spoon, take two tablespoons of coffee ground and place them into the top half-glass bulb with the filter.
  • Light the flame or turn on your heat source, which is now underneath the full-glassed bulb filled with water.
  • After about four minutes, the water from the bottom bulb rises to the top. This works by pressure. As the water heats up, forming steam, the steam forces the water to move away from the bottom bulb and upwards through the dropper into the bulb above.
  • In the bulb above, the heated water mixes with the coffee grounds and continues to boil. As the steam keeps pushing the water upwards, the water is infused with the flavour and taste of the coffee.
  • After about eight to ten minutes, you can turn off the heat source or candle flame. After a while, the bottom bulb builds a vacuum, which begins to suck the water downwards. By doing this, the coffee is filtered and appears clean when collected at the bottom bulb.
  • After cooling the bulb for some minutes, you can unscrew the lower bulb and collect the coffee by pouring it into a mug or cup.
  • Add your sugar, milk or cream and enjoy.

Things to Note

Here are some helpful tips to consider during this DIY process.

  • Wash the lightbulbs thoroughly using soap and water before using them for the coffee maker. This is because the bulbs aren’t supposed to be used for food and drink purposes. You need to wash away any industry additives or adhesives on the bulb.
  • Use a flame torch to smoothen the edge of the upper lightbulb, which will contain the coffee grounds. The purpose is to prevent cracking when assembling the bulbs.
  • Avoid using light bulbs with scratches on them. No scratch, not even a single one is allowed to prevent an implosion under a vacuum.

The procedure in making this DIY coffee maker is courtesy of Rulof Maker, a European YouTuber who came about this method.



A DIY coffee maker sounds fascinating, and this could be a great skill to own as a coffee lover. Not only is this inexpensive, but you also get an opportunity to learn and be active. You also have something interesting to teach other coffee lovers. You could hold a conversation narrating your experience while creating the gadget. Give this DIY a try. While you might not use it all the time, it’s interesting to see how it works. You also get to keep a self-made museum-worthy souvenir. I hope this article has piqued your interest.


Also read: How Much Does the Most Expensive Coffee Machine Cost?