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Cheapest Donor Machine for Frankenspresso
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s445203
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2014
Posts: 6
Location: London
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jan 29, 2014, 5:26am
Subject: Cheapest Donor Machine for Frankenspresso
 

So I've got the bug, and I don't even drink that much coffee.  I've ended up with a bit of spare time on my hands and I fancy making my own espresso machine as a hobby project.  And also to some extent to address some of the really fundamental design issues I see with most espresso machines (mainly around an open-loop control approach in a complex, sensitive highly multidimensional process).

From you very helpful comments, it seems like 3d printing my own group head is not going to fly, and in any case, I don't have the metal handling facilities to manufacture my own boiler capable of 9 bar.  So I'm after a cheap donor machine for my Frankenspresso project.

The requirements are:

Hard requirements:
- An Ulka EX5 pump
- Single boiler design of at least 100ml

Nice to have requirements (in decreasing order of importance):
- Ease of getting at the water in between the boiler and the group (this makes a Silvia type design with the boiler being part of the group suboptimal)
- An OPV valve (easy to get off eBay, except $$)
- A 3 way solenoid valve

I'm really struggling with figuring out what's beneath the hood of a machine from looking at the marketing blurb on Amazon.  Where do thermoblocks stop and boilers begin?  How do you know whether there's an OPV valve or not?

Does anyone have any suggestions?  The cheaper the better of course......

Thanks so much in advance.
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ilcaffedio
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2006
Posts: 455
Location: Atlanta, GA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Astra G.A.
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Jan 29, 2014, 10:25am
Subject: Re: Cheapest Donor Machine for Frankenspresso
 

Given these requirements, I'd look at Gaggia home machines for their thermoblocks.  I think that now the Gaggia thermoblocks are stainless steel, however they used to be aluminium.  Personally, I'd stay away from an aluminium thermoblock.  I noticed a Kitchen-Aid in the buy/sell forum, those have Gaggia internals.  It's in the UK to boot.  There are two Gaggia thermoblocks in that machine, and a 3 way solenoid.  I'm not sure about the OPV though.

Best of luck!
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,051
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed Jan 29, 2014, 12:23pm
Subject: Re: Cheapest Donor Machine for Frankenspresso
 

Check out sites like espressoparts.com, cafeparts.com & espressocare.com.  They have a load of parts, blueprints and exploded views of almost all the machines out there.  Another Idea would be to sign up for the Ascaso catalog.  What's your budget for your Frankenspresso?  If you can;t afford to buy parts like the boiler and grouphead new I'd start hunting for broken commercial machines and start stripping stuff out.  You can find some with full size 4 L+ boilers and E-61 groupheads for next to nothing.  If your gonna stick with home machines I'd just look at Gaggia Classic & Rancilio Silvia.  They are the best for the parts your looking for in the Single Boiler world.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
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 Wed Jan 29, 2014, 2:25pm
Subject: Re: Cheapest Donor Machine for Frankenspresso
 

Look at Craig's list for used equipment. Any dealer will want more for a broken machine than a pvt owner just looking to dump it.

 
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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