3D printing sounds like the stuff of science fiction, and in a lot of ways it is. Pretty much anything you can imagine can be designed and brought to real life, even if only in monochromatic plastic. For coffee drinkers, especially those inclined to tinker, the 3D printer has been a boon for creativity; any tool or accessory to enhance the brewing process that you can dream up can be taken to production toot suite to see if the practice lives up to the theory.
And there is perhaps no coffee brewer more inclined to futzing than the AeroPress. Whether you’re making a pour-over or espresso, inverting or double filtering, the AeroPress is basically a blank canvas for a painting made of coffee brewing. It makes sense that this beloved piece of versatile plastic has captivated the imagination of 3D printing coffee folk more than any other device.
So today on Sprudge, we’re heading over to the Thingiverse, a repository of 3D printing designs and schematics, to check out some of the coolest—and weirdest—add-ons to the AeroPress that you can make for yourself.
AeroPress Unlock Ring
If you’ve used the AeroPress for any amount of time, you’ve probably screwed on the filter cap just a little too tightly and had just a touch of trouble getting it back off. Add in the heat from brewing and the fear of spilling hot coffee grounds all over yourself and you’ve got a sticky situation. Luckily, this unlock ring puts all that to bed. The printable circle fits around the lid and allows you to get a little extra purchase to add more torque to the unscrewing, without having to worry about grabbing onto the part of the brewer with steam still coming out. It’s a simple addition, but one that feels like an obvious necessity once you know it exists.
The AeroPress is probably the least expensive way to make espresso (or something very close to it) at home. But in order to get closer to the real thing, you need to be able to tamp the brew bed, which isn’t always easy. Tampers don’t fit in the chamber and the plunger, made to fit snugly inside the brewer, doesn’t exactly do the best job. So why not just 3D print a tamper made just for the occasion? The tamper, which looks a bit like the lid of a nice tea pot, is designed to be used with the AeroPress coffee scoop. Securing the scoop inside the top of the tamper, you can easily pack down the coffee ground for a more true espresso-making option.
I’m a big fan of the inverted method for making coffee with the AeroPress, but it can get dicey. Flipping a tube holding hot coffee liquid around all willy nilly has resulted in more than a few giant messes and first-degree burns. Luckily, there’s an inversion collar that helps with these very issues. Designed to snap on to the piston, the collar provides additional rigidity and stability, making it easier to invert the brewer when it comes time to plunge.
Making coffee with the AeroPress is great, sure, but have you ever tried using it to make delicious fried dough? Well now you can, thanks to this churro adapter schematic. Basically a replacement lid with a giant asterisk cut out of it, the adapter allows you to use the AeroPress as a plunger to press out the tasty Mexican dough in its trademark shape into hot oil.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.