Math Words Images Projects
Cup Rack for Big Book Basics
Eliminating Disposable Cups

For years, the Big Book Basics group has used disposable cups for its coffee service. That has long disturbed me; I do not like to see waste going into landfills unnecessarily - especially plastic waste.

So in the fall of 2016 I stopped in at the local Goodwill store and found sixteen restaurant-style coffee cups at fifty cents apiece. Then I went home and began working on a portable rack for them.


The rack holds a dozen of the cups - the other four are in reserve, against the prospect of breakage. The bolt that holds the handle at each end is actually a lenght of threaded rod that extends all the way through the bottom of the rack, ensuring (in addition to all the glued joints) that the rack will stay attached to the handle.

The covers are made up of two layers of acrylic sheet glued together. The glue is what renders them translucent. These covers slide into grooves, stopped at the bottom by small blocks. They can easily be lifted out by means of the 3/4" holes bored at their tops. Because the rack would have to be carried up and down a long set of stairs to our storage space every week, I wanted to design a closure that could not easily be forgotten, and would be secure enough that the cups would not fall out. After considering several different options, I decided on the drop-in slides, and I chose the acrylic material to avoid swelling and shrinkage due to weather changes.

After finishing the rack with tung oil, but before putting the cups in place, I bought a bottle of blue fingernail polish and painted a quick circle-and-triangle on each cup. And I bought engraved-plastic signs from a local shop to identify our ownership.

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