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Thread: How to secure coffee machine to bench in food van

  1. #1
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    How to secure coffee machine to bench in food van

    Hi all,

    Long time lurker, slowly building up my coffee knowledge and experience. I've been a casual barista for nearly four years now - love making the best coffee I can. Several years ago I owned a cafe on the NSW South Coast where I employed much better barista's than myself but learnt lots from them. I'm starting up my own little food van which I've designed to be able to be changed up depending on the opportunities available. At the moment it's going to be coffee and snacks and maybe hot jam donuts. All my coffee machines previously have been in fixed locations so I'm working my way through a mobile installation. What I'm hoping is that someone might have some tips on how a coffee machine should be best fixed to a bench in a food van for travel? My food van is a vintage caravan and the ride might be a little bumpy...

    Any pointers would be appreciated.

    Cheers, Joanne
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Jono_Willmer's Avatar
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    Great sounding venture, I hope I find you sometime I'm from the South Coast also. Please PM me details of your locations so I can say hi. All the best with the fixing of the machine, sorry I can't really help you there.
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  3. #3
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    I've seen/done used 3 different methods to secure a machine to a benchtop in installs in the back of vans, in trailers (including a small plywood teardrop caravan) and on coffee carts.
    The simplest method was large bugle screws fitted down through spare holes in the bottom of the machine frame into the benchtop.
    A more elegant but complicated method was to replace the feet on the machine with similarly sized plastic blocks with a hole drilled through the middle, and a bolt coming up through a hole drilled into the benchtop, through the new 'foot' and threaded into the hole the original foot threaded into.
    Another method was the standard method used by a company that did mobile van fitouts using San Marino Lisa machines - as part of the stainless steel benchtop, they welded 2 short (2") pieces of stainless steel tubing to the benchtop that the front feet of the machine sat in, preventing the machine from sliding about. In theory the machine was not securely fastened in place, but since to dislodge it you would either have to tip the van over or hit a speedhump fast enough to get the machine to leap more than 2" in the air, you would probably have greater issues to worry about than a damaged coffee machine! The big advantage to this method was that the machine could be easily moved to access either side more easily for repairs - I had to replace a boiler element on a machine set up that way, and being able to move the machine made it much easier than doing the same job in a different van where the machine was immovably bolted down.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Jono_Willmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganGT View Post
    I've seen/done used 3 different methods to secure a machine to a benchtop in installs in the back of vans, in trailers (including a small plywood teardrop caravan) and on coffee carts.
    The simplest method was large bugle screws fitted down through spare holes in the bottom of the machine frame into the benchtop.
    A more elegant but complicated method was to replace the feet on the machine with similarly sized plastic blocks with a hole drilled through the middle, and a bolt coming up through a hole drilled into the benchtop, through the new 'foot' and threaded into the hole the original foot threaded into.
    Another method was the standard method used by a company that did mobile van fitouts using San Marino Lisa machines - as part of the stainless steel benchtop, they welded 2 short (2") pieces of stainless steel tubing to the benchtop that the front feet of the machine sat in, preventing the machine from sliding about. In theory the machine was not securely fastened in place, but since to dislodge it you would either have to tip the van over or hit a speedhump fast enough to get the machine to leap more than 2" in the air, you would probably have greater issues to worry about than a damaged coffee machine! The big advantage to this method was that the machine could be easily moved to access either side more easily for repairs - I had to replace a boiler element on a machine set up that way, and being able to move the machine made it much easier than doing the same job in a different van where the machine was immovably bolted down.
    Great ideas.

  5. #5
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    That's awesome Jono. Thank you very very much, just what I needed. Can I clarify one point - the tubing you mentioned welded to the bench - was it U shaped? Did it have ends or did the feet slide into from the open end? I think this will be my preferred option.

  6. #6
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Sounds like they were round pipe that the feet could fit inside 50mm long and welded vertically with one end pointing straight up, requiring the machine to be lifted 50mm before being moved in any horizontal direction.
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  7. #7
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    Ah that makes sense! Thank you. So building on that... I'm wondering whether these will do the job? They are a round base plate that can be screwed or bolted through the bench top (I would op for the bolt/nut etc option). Hopefully this link will work - 316 Stainless Steel ROUND BASE PLATE For 50.8mm Mirror Finish Tube Balustrade eBay link removed as per Site Posting Policy

    They are only 32mm high though. I measured the legs on my machine and they are 50mm high (and of course, adjustable on top of that). The legs are 50mm in diameter and this thing is 50.8 so it will be a nice snug fit.

    I've ordered one just to see anyway - I'll let you know how I get on. Thoughts of course are welcome and appreciated!

    While I'm at it, is there any particular way people fix their grinders down? That's my next little challenge. Let's just say this has been an interesting learning experience so far and promises to keep those lessons coming!
    Last edited by Javaphile; 3 Hours Ago at 10:59 PM. Reason: Removed eBay link(s)

  8. #8
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    Serving side photo resized.jpg

    A bit off topic but I thought someone might like a squizz at my little van. She's a 1956 Carapark caravan, refitted as a food/drink van. I have a bit of a history with and a soft spot for vintage vehicles but decided that I didn't want to base my business/income around something that wasn't necessarily as reliable as I would like. So instead I went with a vintage caravan - I got the vintage appeal but without the vintage vehicle complications.
    Jono_Willmer and level3ninja like this.

  9. #9
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joanneebell View Post
    Ah that makes sense! Thank you. So building on that... I'm wondering whether these will do the job? They are a round base plate that can be screwed or bolted through the bench top (I would op for the bolt/nut etc option). Hopefully this link will work - 316 Stainless Steel ROUND BASE PLATE For 50.8mm Mirror Finish Tube Balustrade eBay link removed as per Site Posting Policy

    They are only 32mm high though. I measured the legs on my machine and they are 50mm high (and of course, adjustable on top of that). The legs are 50mm in diameter and this thing is 50.8 so it will be a nice snug fit.

    I've ordered one just to see anyway - I'll let you know how I get on. Thoughts of course are welcome and appreciated!

    While I'm at it, is there any particular way people fix their grinders down? That's my next little challenge. Let's just say this has been an interesting learning experience so far and promises to keep those lessons coming!
    The only thing I would say is that 3x M6 screws are going to fatigue over time holding a 50kg+? coffee machine. The close tolerances will help, though I couldn't think they would hold and the machine would stay on the bench in an accident.
    Last edited by Javaphile; 3 Hours Ago at 11:01 PM. Reason: Removed eBay link(s) from quote
    Jono_Willmer likes this.

  10. #10
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by joanneebell View Post
    While I'm at it, is there any particular way people fix their grinders down?
    The most common method I have seen is to (on something like a Mazzer) unscrew the feet and remove the baseplate of the grinder, drill a couple of holes in the baseplate and fit a couple of long bolts through the holes from the inside with a nut on each bolt tightened up on the underside of the baseplate to secure the bolts in place. Drill a couple of holes in the benchtop to line up with the bolts where you want the grinder, sit the grinder in place and fit big washers (to spread the load) and more nuts to the bolts under the benchtop and tighten them down.

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