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It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > It's alive......  
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 845
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Oct 20, 2012, 5:48pm
Subject: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

So, after all the rabbit holes, sidetracks, detours, and roadblocks, I've finally gotten the Ellimatic back into service. I'll make and upload a video, as proof (after all, this is the internet - without pictures, it didn't happen) sometime in the next couple of days. But to trace the entire saga:

Bought a used Ellimatic from someone who had bought it in poor shape and done almost a complete teardown and rebuild themselves the first time they'd ever done such a thing. It was fine work, but when putting it back together the h-bar that locks the boiler to the frame and keeps the group head from flexing where it's brazed to the boiler got left off. He just didn't know what the part was for, but he did include it with the machine. Since I, also, had no idea what the part was for, I didn't know what to do with it. Because it was chromed, I think we both assumed it was for cosmetic purposes and there was no obvious spot for it on the exterior of the machine.

About two weeks after I got the machine, I heard the hissing of a steam leak that came and went. Over a few days, I noticed that it came and went when I locked and unlocked the portafilter from the group. At first I thought it was a pipe flexing and just needed to tighten up all the connections. At some point, while probing to find it, my probe (a Phillips screwdriver) passed close enough to the boiler/head braze joint for me to hear the tone of the steam leak change. Uh-oh!

Pulled it apart and verified that there were, in fact, small stress cracks at both sides of the braze joint. Also finally figured out what that shiny metal bar was for while searching for photos of the machine's interior. Oops!

At this point, it really turns into a comedy of errors. I was going to take it to a shop for silver solder brazing to seal the cracks, when a friend of my wife's, who works in the welding department of a local trade school, heard her talking about it and said, "Don't pay for it, bring it in and someone here will be glad to do the job for nothing." The results just verified that "free" isn't always. Whoever there did the brazing didn't heatshield the group head and warped it. They also didn't keep the angles fixed when then metal cooled, so the grouphead "drooped." They did, however, do an excellent job of reinforcing the area around the group head so it would never leak again. If it wasn't so totally horked that it would still fit in the frame of the machine, that is. Luckily, my heater, heat exchanger and bottom boiler half are all still good.

So, I found myself having to source a top boiler half for a machine that was never produced in huge amounts and has been out of production for 20 years or so. I resigned myself to finding a used boiler somewhere. So, I called Joe Kittay at Good Coffee Company in Seattle, who lovingly restores Elli and Ellimatic machines, and from whom I had gotten replacement side and back panels when UPS smashed the originals in shipping, to ask if he, by any chance, has a used boiler with a good top half. He was doubtful, but said he'd check. A couple of days later, he called me up and said, "You must be living right." He'd found a NOS (new old stock) top boiler half, still bright and shiny with the original factory part number still written on the side. He sent it my way, and I discovered that it was for the Elli, not for the Elli/M, and so had an extra fitting on the boiler, designed for the top line to the Elli's sight glass that just happened to stick out right were the Ellimatic's Gicar autofill box is.  

One set of Lisle 1/4" brake line bending pliers and some judicious application of leverage later, I stuck a cap on the end of the flare fitting on the sight glass feed, put everything back together, dealing with the fact that virtually all the labels I had stuck on the wiring harness had fallen off, and I had to break out the electrical schematic and multi-meter to buzz out the lines, and fired it up. The pump filled the boiler, the boiler heated up, no leaks appeared, and it came up to pressure without anything exploding or bursting into flames. So far, so good.

At this point, it was late in the afternoon, but I wanted to test it out, so I put 15 grams 4 day old Nicaragua Dipilto Cielo Azul in the grinder, ground, dosed, distributed, tamped, locked and pulled a shot. The grind was a little tight, but it all worked. Put the blind basket in for a quick backflush and part way through the first flush, I hear a popping noise. "Hmmm, I wonder what that was?" Second flush, an ever louder popping and water is gushing from the group head. I take a look and the portafilter is sitting lopsided. I pull it out and there, sitting in the middle of the basket is one of the portafilter "ears", snapped right off. "Dang!," I think. "This machine just wants to be difficult."

So, it's another call to Joe Kittay, who tells me that, yes, he's got portafilters. Phew! When it shows up, like the top boiler half, it looks brand-spanking new, with absolutely zero wear, interior chrome gleaming.

Which brings us to today. 4 shots pulled, one small pitcher of milk steamed, and all is, once again, right with the world. It's practically a new machine at this point, with the added bonus that I know the inside of it like the back of my hand. I'm hoping that it feels well-loved enough now to settle in and enjoy its new home.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,700
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Oct 20, 2012, 11:01pm
Subject: Re: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

GVDub Said:

So, after all the rabbit holes, sidetracks, detours, and roadblocks, I've finally gotten the Ellimatic back into service. I'll make up upload a video, as proof (after all, this is the internet - without pictures, it didn't happen) sometime in the next couple of days. But to trace the entire saga:

Bought a used Ellimatic from someone who had bought it in poor shape and done almost a complete teardown and rebuild themselves the first time they'd ever done such a thing. It was fine work, but when putting it back together the h-bar that locks the boiler to the frame and keeps the group head from flexing where it's brazed to the boiler got left off. He just didn't know what the part was for, but he did include it with the machine. Since I, also, had no idea what the part was for, I didn't know what to do with it. Because it was chromed, I think we both assumed it was for cosmetic purposes and there was no obvious spot for it on the exterior of the machine.

About two weeks after I got the machine, I heard the hissing of a steam leak that came and went. Over a few days, I noticed that it came and went when I locked and unlocked the portafilter from the group. At first I thought it was a pipe flexing and just needed to tighten up all the connections. At some point, while probing to find it, my probe (a Phillips screwdriver) passed close enough to the boiler/head braze joint for me to hear the tone of the steam leak change. Uh-oh!

Pulled it apart and verified that there were, in fact, small stress cracks at both sides of the braze joint. Also finally figured out what that shiny metal bar was for while searching for photos of the machine's interior. Oops!

At this point, it really turns into a comedy of errors. I was going to take it to a shop for silver solder brazing to seal the cracks, when a friend of my wife's, who works in the welding department of a local trade school, heard her talking about it and said, "Don't pay for it, bring it in and someone here will be glad to do the job for nothing." The results just verified that "free" isn't always. Whoever there did the brazing didn't heatshield the group head and warped it. They also didn't keep the angles fixed when then metal cooled, so the grouphead "drooped." They did, however, do an excellent job of reinforcing the area around the group head so it would never leak again. If it wasn't so totally horked that it would still fit in the frame of the machine, that is. Luckily, my heater, heat exchanger and bottom boiler half are all still good.

So, I found myself having to source a top boiler half for a machine that was never produced in huge amounts and has been out of production for 20 years or so. I resigned myself to finding a used boiler somewhere. So, I called Joe Kittay at Good Coffee Company in Seattle, who lovingly restores Elli and Ellimatic machines, and from whom I had gotten replacement side and back panels when UPS smashed the originals in shipping, to ask if he, by any chance, has a used boiler with a good top half. He was doubtful, but said he'd check. A couple of days later, he called me up and said, "You much be living right." He'd found a NOS (new old stock) top boiler half, still bright and shiny with the original factory part number still written on the side. He sent it my way, and I discovered that it was for the Elli, not for the Elli/M, and so had an extra fitting on the boiler, designed for the top line to the Elli's sight glass that just happened to stick out right were the Ellimatic's Gicar autofill box is.  

One set of Lisle 1/4" brake line bending pliers and some judicious application of leverage later, I stuck a cap on the end of the flare fitting on the sight glass feed, put everything back together, dealing with the fact that virtually all the labels I had stuck on the wiring harness had fallen off, and I had to break out the electrical schematic and multi-meter to buzz out the lines, and fired it up. The pump filled the boiler, the boiler heated up, no leaks appeared, and it came up to pressure without anything exploding or bursting into flames. So far, so good.

At this point, it was late in the afternoon, but I wanted to test it out, so I put 15 grams 4 day old Nicaragua Dipilto Cielo Azul in the grinder, ground, dosed, distributed, tamped, locked and pulled a shot. The grind was a little tight, but it all worked. Put the blind basket in for a quick backflush and part way through the first flush, I hear a popping noise. "Hmmm, I wonder what that was?" Second flush, an ever louder popping and water is gushing from the group head. I take a look and the portafilter is sitting lopsided. I pull it out and there, sitting in the middle of the basket is one of the portafilter "ears", snapped right off. "Dang!," I think. "This machine just wants to be difficult."

So, it's another call to Joe Kittay, who tells me that, yes, he's got portafilters. Phew! When it shows up, like the top boiler half, it looks brand-spanking new, with absolutely zero wear, interior chrome gleaming.

Which brings us to today. 4 shots pulled, one small pitcher of milk steamed, and all is, once again, right with the world. It's practically a new machine at this point, with the added bonus that I know the inside of it like the back of my hand. I'm hoping that it feels well-loved enough now to settle in and enjoy its new home.

Posted October 20, 2012 link

George, so glad your story had a happy ending.
A photo WOULD be cool, as would a description of your shots, taste, acidity, etc as compared to another of your machines.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 845
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Oct 21, 2012, 3:57pm
Subject: Re: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

Video says it's real
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NSElliIterator
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Jul 2010
Posts: 23
Location: Surrey, BC
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Ellimatic
Grinder: NS MDXA
Drip: Bodum
Posted Sun Oct 21, 2012, 9:56pm
Subject: Re: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

Now thats a nice video.  I can't believe you can pull a shot like that with an Ellimatic, I have much to learn!  Enjoy!!!!  

BTW, my portafilter twists round to about 5:15 with a one month old gasket but I can understand you not wanting to force it.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,499
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012, 6:14am
Subject: Re: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

George, GREAT!

A couple of niggles but you had a very nice looking shot.
First, you have a MUCH better view point than we did but it looked to me that you flushed a bit more than need, in fact, it looked to me that a second or two is all you need if that, I never really did see much flash or "water dance".

The shot ran a nice 30 seconds, and it was very handy that the video time can act as a clock.

The PF could be moved a bit tighter to keep it from leaking, it is OK to give it a bit of a shove, esp on a new gasket.

You are off to a great start though, I'm sorry you had so many issues to start but now that the hard part is done, you should have a long useful life from that machine.

So as asked above, now that you have had a little time to play with it, how do you like it in relation to the lever machines that you have?

Don't forget my email box or home door is always open to you for questions etc. Nice job on the rebuild!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 845
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012, 7:59am
Subject: Re: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

Because of the boiler failure having originated from the insufficently braced group head/boiler joint flexing when then PF was locked and unlocked, I'm probably a little leery of applying too much force. There is a single paper shim under the gasket, as, unshimmed, the lock was around 4:30 to 5:00 and the chopped commercial PF I have on the way from a fellow CG'er and Elli owner locks, I'm told, somewhat late due to a little over grinding on the ears to get it to fit. I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to thoroughly embarrass myself by filming and posting my first pull with the naked PF. Maybe I should practice a little first.

What you can't see from that angle is the bubbling directly on the screen. If I flush with the PF in place, it's more obvious when the flash boil stops. I can try a shorter flush, just to make sure that what I'm seeing is what I think I'm seeing. I'd love to have something along the lines of a Scace device to chart out flush times to temperature at the head after 5/10/15/20 minutes of idle, but the nature of the head on the Elli/M means that I can't just borrow or rent one, since the ears would need grinding so it would fit. So I may have to convert a basket. The only thermoprobe I have is a platinum RTD, and most (affordable) instrumentation thermometers I see take J/K thermocouples. It never ends, does it? ;-)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,499
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012, 10:03am
Subject: Re: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

Like I said, you have a better view point than the video.
I also understand about breaking things! Hopefully soon the gasket will break in so the leak stops.

You are well down the road though, CONGRATS again!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 845
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012, 3:02pm
Subject: Re: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

IMAWriter Said:

George, so glad your story had a happy ending.
A photo WOULD be cool, as would a description of your shots, taste, acidity, etc as compared to another of your machines.

Posted October 20, 2012 link

Rob, considering that I've pulled several thousand shots on the Caravel(s) during the time I've owned them, I think I should at least get a couple hundred in on the Ellimatic before doing a head to head comparison. Given my weekend average of 6 doubles a day (I drink almost exclusively espresso on the weekends), that's 3-4 months ;>).

Considering the power of the Elli/M's steam, I'm going to have to up my game for milk drinks, too.
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 845
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Oct 27, 2012, 12:54pm
Subject: Re: It's alive... It's aliiiiiive!
 

This morning's cappuccino - Chris Coffee's Black Pearl in a classic Horn & Hardhart coffee cup (don't have any capp cups, but this works just fine).

GVDub: image.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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