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IamOiman last won the day on February 10

IamOiman had the most liked content!

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About IamOiman

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    Senior Member

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  • Location
    Napoli/Massachusetts/Rhode Island
  • Interests
    ESPRESSO, Computers, Investing
  • Occupation
    Electrical Engineer

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  1. Now that my first project machine works again I can post about it here! It was a 10 month process but the behemoth works again. I am on the hunt for a new table/cabinent as the current one is a little sketchy for holding so much weight. What started out as a €175 purchase grew into a little more than that in parts and tools to complete the task 😉 The springs are very similar to my Astoria/CMA group in my Bosco so I did not really need to adjust the grind setting much at all. Here is an original seller's pic for comparison.
  2. More testing today! I sealed up the safety valve with some teflon tape and as of now there are no visible leaks. The pressurstat cycles on and off every 2 minutes and 15 seconds on average, which seems a little low in duration. My Bosco cycles every 5 minutes idle for comparison, and the deadband in pressure on the Gaggia is about 0.1 bar. There may be a very small steam leak somewhere so I will need to keep my open. I cleared a bench off to throw the coffee accessories on when pulling shots. I cycle between groups with the same portafilter to check they behave similarly even with the slightly different 80mm hex spanner height. I have not really noted a difference so far. I tried the steam wands today. The left one was full of black crud so I used a pitcher with soap and water to clean it up but the right wand was ready for use. It froths very quickly like my Bosco 4-hole steam wand. Some general notes about the Gaggia group. It seems to run hotter than the CMA/Astoria group on the Bosco, though the groups are more directly connected to the boiler with the Gaggia. I reduced the pressure as a result to about .9 bar. I do not need to do warming flushes either with the coffee I am using. It is just walk up and pull. One big difference between the Gaggia group and the CMA/Astoria group is the amount of time I need to leave the portafilter in the group to prevent sneezing. I can take out the portafilter about 2 minutes after the shot finishes while Gaggia takes about double that time. The puck is still a little wet even then, but it has not dampened the quality of the shot at all. The machine itself is a heat sink. I would not really want to run this in the summer time at home competing against my AC unit as the large copper boiler and massive groups are quite toasty. Perhaps I could insulate the boiler to mitigate this and also reduce electricity consumption. No serious issues have cropped up and I am almost ready to start using my mineralized water used for my other machines. The tap water here works in a pinch but can scale up the boilers after prolonged use. Pretty giddy and cafeinated right now so I need stop myself for today!
  3. I pulled two more shots yesterday with a little more coffee and finer grind, yielding me very paletable results. I was so excited I let it run a little overextracted but it still tasted good! I have the right panel and cup holder taken off when testing the machine. I do put the cup holder on when I want to pull a shot, and the cups warm up quickly. If I had my normal towels covering them it would take maybe 5 minutes to get that nice, hot temperature. I noticed after the first heatup the boiler changed from a rosy pink to a full copper sheen, probably reacting from the heat. The pipes had this effect a little bit as well. I changed out the safety valve as the old one appeared weak and I want to be safe. The new one is much smaller (I used a 25mm wrench for the old one and a 20mm wrench for the new one) but still uses the odd M19 thread seen on Gaggia machines. Aparantly some La Carimali machines have this thread as well. The manometer piping has been fixed up and no leaks are apparant right now. I tightened some boiler bolts but they were still pretty snug even after cooling down completely. At this point the only thing sputtering is the safety valve since the copper washer is normally a one time use part but I am using it until I hook the machine up to a pump. It emits a little steam from the threads very slightly but does not impact machine operation. The single portafilter was missing a plastic ring towards the base, and as a result it was loose on the handle. I temporarily fixed this by grabbing a used gasket that originally held a Faema steam valve to the machine. It was a perfect fit to keep the portafilter snug! The heating element resistance was measured, and I got 7.5Ω on my readings. At 120V I calculated the power to be 1920W. I am pretty ok with this slight difference in power and the machine heats up to pressure in 25 minutes at just under half full in the boiler and reaching operating temperature in about 70-80 minutes, a similar time frame for my Bosco. It also might mean I could squeak by with a 16A thermofuse but I will need to wait for that when it arrives with my Ascaso order. I am ordering the same one Paul Pratt uses for his machines, branded under La Marzocco. The last thing on my mind is how the p-stat is held. In its current position there are two issues: it will be tedious to alter the pressure setting once the panels are on as the adjusting screw is only accessible when a specific panel is taken off. This may not be bad for me as for my other machines I have never altered their settings once I have it set during initial setup. The other issue is the bracket that originally came with the machine will not fit the thread connector on the p-stat. It is too narrow on the slot. For now I have the whole p-stat resting on the nut of the pipe, but I do not want to keep it like that. I am probably going to fashion or acquire a different bracket to answer this at some point but I do not believe it will damage the pipe over time.
  4. This is what it has all been for. It tasted good but was a little long for my preferences. It will only get better from here!
  5. After nearly 17 weeks, the element arrived today! I finished the wiring with that and tightened the bolts on the element. Be careful if you use brass nuts as in my vigor I stripped 2 accidentaly and needed to use some new ones. I would prefer my nut to be stripped over the flange bolt anytime. It came as advertised, though it says 110V on the element. I cannot confirm right now if it draws the calculated current of 16.67 amps or a higher current right now. Everything was ready for the first test. I brought some towels and had a drain line + bucket if I got that far. I selected 5/8" ID tubing to fit the drain tub snugly. I turned on the machine after presumably a decade or two of storage, and it heated up without issue! I tightened some pipe fittings as it heated up but nothing leaked from the boiler fittings, groups, or heating elements. In fact the only leaks I had were a loose safety valve as I filled the boiler from there and the manometer 90 degree fitting, both of which can be easily fixed. Now to whether the machine is functional, let me just show these two vids and you make the call Please do not mind my grunts as I pull the levers down... The next things to do are fixing the small sputtering on the manometer piping and testing the machine out with coffee!
  6. I am in the process of taking off the bakelite handles on the levers. I got one handle off after a soak in evaporust and the rusty thread is ccw, but that one seemed looser as I could slightly turn the bakelite handle. I used a tool that came with my refrigerator to fit the large slot on the cap to apply the torque. The other one is absolutely stuck on and I bent my tool a little bit in exertion. I am not even sure if the evaporust is getting into the thread as there is a washer in the handle that may be blocking access and the looser handle got around. I decided to immerse the bakelite completely in a beer mug to see if the evaporust can reach the thread from above, but if it still does not come off afterwards I am running out of ideas to extract the aluminum cap without sacrificing any parts.
  7. Not too much to update. I am going through the process of cleaning and descaling valves right now. The gaskets on this machine are far more painful to remove than the president. I cannot peel them off in one go and instead have to chip away at the fibrous gaskets. As per usual presuming they are asbestos I keep a mist bottle nearby to keep everything wet as I go along.
  8. After some research I see it is galvanized rust caused by moisture buildup over time when the aluminum feet touched the stainless steel skirts and also the cause of the rusty frame. I took off the calcium build up with citric acid, but the leftover pitting leaves some work to be done beyond the scotch brite/sand paper. If I continued I would go to 600 then 1000 grit. I tried out 360 grit scotch brite and it did take off most of the marks on the feet outside the deposits and made them look nice. I will need to see how to approach this but I think it is salvegeable. Taking a look at the groups make sure everything is taken out of the flow control valve. There were some stuck gaskets and washers that required heat and a pick to take out that need replaceing and am glad I checked. The shower screens are not like the normal ones seen on the President. They instead appear to be modded to take the original E61 shower heads, and if they are cleaned up I may use them with the machine.
  9. I finally got full access to Ascaso, and I will never go back. If you can I highly recommend creating an account if you are able to in order to receive pricing and parts not seen anywhere else. I think I will be paying a third to half the price I was expecting for all the possible parts I will be supply my machine with. I was able to take off the stickers using a method found in kaffee-netz. You take a heat gun and warm up the stickers to about 300F, which causes the adhesive to loosen. You then take dental floss and get under the sticker to peel it off. As a result I can resuse the non-replaceable attenzione sticker once the steel panels are polished. I washed up the panels afterwards to prep them for polishing. I will need something more abrasive than a washcloth to tackle the back sides where the frame stuck its rust on them. I want to have the brushed look since I believe that was the original finish on the stainless steel panels. With the deeper scratches I will likely need to start at a low grit, probably 80 or even 60. I will make my way up after with 100, 240, 360, and possibly 600. The aluminum feet seem to have white calcium build up of some sort. What would be a good method to get it off? Once I deal with that I can polish the feet in addition.
  10. It is approaching 15 weeks since I ordered that heating element. I was told 16 weeks was likely when it will be ready so I will see what happens in the coming week! I ordered and received a standard Sirai p-stat to use for the machine. I did this because there is a chance this machine could be used for a business as a complimentary coffee provider at a relative's business. I am now going to be adding modern safety features like a thermostat as well when I find one I like. I was orignally going to use the La Marzocco 2-pronged thermostat, but it appears to be limited to 16A. Are there any suggestions for a thermostat that can be on 20A or more? I set up the wiring for the semi-permanent arrangement in the machine. Whenever I select and receive the thermostat I will add that in addition. Literally the only portion missing is the wiring to and from the heating element. Whether I keep the p-stat in its orientation remains to be seen, but it is supported by the old bracket. It also remains to be seen if I only want a zip tie holding the power cable from tugging at the switch.
  11. Boiler, large pipes, and flange ends are cleaned up after the citric acid bath. The little heating element I used to keep the water hot was very useful, and after 24 hours most if not all the scale was gone. I left the black stuff built up as I believe it is cupric oxide and it prevents corrosion of the boiler during use and is beneficial for it. I did the same for the boiler ends. Some quick wire brushing on the grinder made the pipes shiny again. I wire brushed the flanges to help me see where I may need to do some sanding and to take off any remaining gasket or coating residue. I am still not sure if I want to take off the tin/metal coating on the boiler after cleaning it up a bit, but funtionallity wise as long as the seals for the thermosyphon loop hold it is almost ready for reassembly when parts arrive. The 2kW 220V element will be kept as a backup if I want to go the transformer route and to keep the machine complete. The aluminum rings will be addressed another time as I figure out what I want to do next. I want to clean up the SS panel skirts but I want to be certain I can do it properly with sanding out the scratches and preserving the stickers to what I can. I also want to clean up scratches from the aluminum feet, which I think will be easier since it is a softer metal. I may simply throw on another buffing wheel after I sand the scratches down a bit. Then I need to prep the frame with the media blasting and powder coat and finally make the order for the parts from Ascaso. This will be a double wammy since the parts I order will also be for the Zodiaco. The group heads can be addressed separately and I will do those towards the end as there is a tool Ascaso has that would make group disassembly much easier for me.
  12. I got a cheap tub to throw the bigger pieces like the boiler and drain pipe into and descale with citric acid. I have a small 1kW element to heat up the water when it cools down to speed the cleaning process. The element is a little sketchy so I stay near the bin when the element is plugged in.
  13. I used 12" 24 TPI blades for reference on the hacksaw. I will need to soak the aluminum rings in derust like Evaporust as I tried to take out the bolts and two of the bolts created cracks out of six in one of the half rings. They were so incredibly stuck I cannot believe how the metals are basically fused. The stuck bolts with a smaller intact one from the other flange. The rings from the other side appear intact but pitted/worn. I can still reuse them right and do not need to replace them after cleaning? How would I approach it for aluminum?
  14. I got the element end off, but it required effort. About 6 hours of sawing to be precise, though I estimate I could do it in 2 now that I know what to do/expect. Initially I used the cheap $2.99 2-pack carbon steel blades for my hacksaw, but switching over to the more expensive $6.99 dual-metal blades (whatever that means) pair is worth the price. I could cut faster for longer. Whatever the blades were I was left pretty sore but satisfied at the work. I got the rings off intact but I am not sure if I can take the fused bolts out. I am going to order a new set of rings for that side just in case. I did all cutting outside while wearing a mask and dousing the boiler with water occasionally since the gasket was likely asbestos. I did scratch the flange in the process but I hope I can simply sand out the scratches. Now I can start descaling the boiler parts and big pipes then consider what to do next. I will need to treat the frame and I also want to media blast the boiler to take off the nickel coating. For the groups I am waiting on a tool that will come in my order to disassemble and clean them.
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