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Thread: Decent Espresso Machines (DE1) - Any thoughts?

  1. #501
    gc
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    The steam tip that comes with the DE1 models is a single hole, as that works really well with the existing amount of pressure we generate. We also have a four hole tip available to us. While it's overkill for the DE1, I expect that we'll use it for the DE1CAFE and have it as an option for the DE1PRO.
    Great. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Attachment 16441

    At Ditta they use a La Marzocco Strada with a paddle to make their shots, and Scott Rao had visited a few weeks earlier to tweak their profile for even flow. Scott had created a rise-to-9-bar-then-lower-to-7-bar profile by visually trying to maintain constant flow. It turns out he did a good job, because with my DE1+ was set to create a constant-flow profile, and we watched what kind of pressure curve was needed. In the shot below, the pressure rose to ~8.9 bar and decline to ~7.4 bar : very close to Scott's settings.

    Attachment 16440

    In the caf they use a Mythos grinder, which is my favorite, but for this demo I had to make do with a spare Mahlkonig K30 grinder. Every shot we pulled that used the K30 grinds had a characteristic jitter of pressure variation between 13 and 20 seconds, which you can see above (this shot also had a channel briefly opening at 23 seconds). The pressure rampup is smooth, though, with the K30. My apologies that I forgot to take screen pictures this past week when I had access to a Mythos, so you'll have to take my word for it, for the time being, that curves of shots pulled from Mythos grounds are very smooth.

    My way of comparison, here's what a flow profile shot looks like when using grounds from my Lyn Weber EG-1. Quite smooth.

    Attachment 16439
    Added the new shot profile to my previous analysis. The chart below shows the shot with Scott's settings (in red) versus the previous data (including the second image above, which is shown in orange below). Decent Espresso Shot Comparison - P vs Q.png

  3. #503
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Added the new shot profile to my previous analysis. The chart below shows the shot with Scott's settings (in red) versus the previous data (including the second image above, which is shown in orange below). Decent Espresso Shot Comparison - P vs Q.png
    Hey Mr Jack,

    I'm in France for 10 days, getting some tablet coding time in and a slight rest. I should be able to finish the "save every shot to a data file" feature this week, and on Friday, Adrien from https://cafeism.fr/ is pulling shots all day as he wants to get Flow Profiling under his belt. I'll try to get my software to work by then, and can send you a whole lot of espresso shot data (well, a few dozen) as text files.
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  4. #504
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Hey Mr Jack,

    I'm in France for 10 days, getting some tablet coding time in and a slight rest. I should be able to finish the "save every shot to a data file" feature this week, and on Friday, Adrien from https://cafeism.fr/ is pulling shots all day as he wants to get Flow Profiling under his belt. I'll try to get my software to work by then, and can send you a whole lot of espresso shot data (well, a few dozen) as text files.
    I look forward to it!

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    Continuing reports below on our progress. Today there's a batch of more teeny-tiny things that need to be corrected, to make assembly and repair a bit easier.

    preview-full-preview-full-IMG_8939.jpg preview-full-preview-full-IMG_8942.JPG preview-full-preview-full-IMG_8941.jpg

    We've had problems getting the less expensive flow meter to work acceptably in the DE1, so I made the executive decision to put the same $40 swiss-made precision flow meter in both the DE1 and DE1+, at least for these 300 machines we're making. This reduces by half the number of hardware platforms (DE1 and DE1PRO, at 110V and 220V) so that we now have 4 different models, instead of 8. This also means that this batch of DE1s will actually be hardware identical to the DE1+, and that an extra-cost firmware upgrade would be possible to migrate a DE1 to the DE1+. This makes the DE1 more expensive for us to make, but simplifies things for now. We'll need to decide, in the future, whether to simplify the DE1 hardware to make it less expensive to manufacture, or increase its price, or something else.

    So, to summarize, this means that for the time being, we're only building DE1+ (and DE1PRO+) machines, and that people who order a DE1 will be actually getting a hardware DE1+ platform, with DE1 firmware in it.
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  6. #506
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    Gotta love prototyping...

    Mal.

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    Bad news about the Decent Scale : beta testers feel that it's too tall.

    We made a half dozen samples of our scale for beta testing, and feedback from about half the beta users was that our design is too tall for espresso machine use. It works fine for pour-over user, or with shot glasses, but enough people use double-spouted portafilters (which remove a lot of height) that our scale, at 3.5cm (1.4") is just too tall to use with many glasses and mugs.

    Because we're looking at USD$86,000 in initial costs to make the first 1000 scales (mould fees are expensive) I've made the decision to NOT manufacture this current design. Instead, we're going to take another pass at the mechanical engineer and use a half-height load cell, much as Acaia did in their transition from the Pearl to the Lunar scale. We'll also likely switch from four AA batteries to something smaller. From two segmented LCD strips on top of each other, we'll switch to one longer one, saving on height.

    While we're at it, we'll also add a weight-over-USB (not just USB charging) feature because we had 3 companies evaluate our scale for embedding in their product line, and Bluetooth was deemed as not appropriate for that sort of embedded use.

    I'll be emailing the 31 people who already ordered our scale and offering them a refund, unless they're willing to wait for us to revisit the design. Currently, I'm estimating the wait to be at least 6 months, as our engineering resources are all dedicated toward the DE1.

    decent_scale_2.jpg decent_scale_photo.jpg
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    silicone insulation tests

    Our summer intern Lee has programmed an Arduino and set of temperature sensors to measure the insulating effect of the silicone dip on our water heaters.

    At 170C (for steam) and 15 minutes later, the air temperature inside the DE1 is 40C (we want to stay under 60C), and 3 of the 4 temperature sensors show a ~95 reduction in temperature due to the silicone. One of the sensors (on the bottom of the heater), in one of the test, is 53C hotter, which likely indicates we need put more silicone thickness at that point.

    I've asked Lee to do another test to narrow in on the hotter sensor, and also why it wasn't a case with the 100C heater. Also, we need to turn both heaters on (not just one) to adequately measure internal temperature.

    Note that for the DE1/DE1+ we let the heaters cool after making an espresso, for home energy conservation. On the PRO and upcoming CAFE models, the heaters will be on all the time.

    preview-full-File_000 (1)-1.jpeg preview-full-File_000 (2).jpeg preview-full-silicone data.png

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    Exporting shot history

    Every espresso shot now automatically saves everything about itself to a text file, and with a little bit of fiddling, can be shown in Excel. Pressure, flow, temperature as well as all the settings (and profiles) to create (or recreate) the shot.

    I need to write something to make the export-to-excel more friendly, but the foundation is there, and the shot saving will be automatic for all DE1 users, so that I as I program features to make the history more useful, your entire espresso history will be there to work with.

    I also need to program viewing-historical-shots, viewing-many-shots-on-one-graph, god-shot graphing in the background, restoring settings from historical shots, and lots of other idea All for the future!

    The Excel spreadsheet below is a quick copy/paste job I did of 3 low pressure shots that occurred from a 2.5 ml/s constant flow rate. This opens up lots of interesting possibilities for data analysis.

    screen 2017-07-15 at 1.05.02 PM.jpg

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  10. #510
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Every espresso shot now automatically saves everything about itself to a text file, and with a little bit of fiddling, can be shown in Excel. Pressure, flow, temperature as well as all the settings (and profiles) to create (or recreate) the shot.

    I need to write something to make the export-to-excel more friendly, but the foundation is there, and the shot saving will be automatic for all DE1 users, so that I as I program features to make the history more useful, your entire espresso history will be there to work with.

    I also need to program viewing-historical-shots, viewing-many-shots-on-one-graph, god-shot graphing in the background, restoring settings from historical shots, and lots of other idea… All for the future!

    The Excel spreadsheet below is a quick copy/paste job I did of 3 low pressure shots that occurred from a 2.5 ml/s constant flow rate. This opens up lots of interesting possibilities for data analysis.

    screen 2017-07-15 at 1.05.02 PM.jpg

    A game changer!

    I can see some espresso myths shaking in their boots already...
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  11. #511
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    Making water heaters : the connectors

    Before we can have our water heaters manufactured, we need to get the metal water adaptors made for us by another company. This is a custom connection that we're using in our espresso machine because "the whole industry" is moving to this type of connection, as it works great. However, it needs to be made out of metal, not plastic, in high heat situations.

    1000 of these adaptors came in yesterday. While they look really pretty, we found that the inside diameter has been made to 7.1mm, and not the 7.3mm that we specified, and so the water tubes won't fit. We enlarged some by hand. Of course, the 20 samples they made for us previously didn't have this problem. Sigh.

    We've talked to the factory, and for $320 we can send them back to China to be fixed, and then sent back to us. Once that's done, we can send them back to China to the heater company. So that's what we're doing.

    heaterc1.jpg heaterc2.JPG heaterc3.jpg

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    Making a knockbox : the challenges of bending metal

    Our manufacturer is having difficulties making a mould to manufacture our knockbox. The way this sort of object is usually made is by creating a solid metal form, that is pushed into a sheet of metal at high pressure.

    The problem they're encountering is that stretch marks, appearing as lines, are forming in the metal as it's being stretched into the form.

    They've tried two mould approaches (metal and plastic below) but no luck yet.

    It's quite interesting to see the real-world challenges that exist in making these physical objects. It's also interesting to me just how rough and raw the initial bent metal is, before it undergoes cleaning, polishing and coating to hopefully (eventually) become the object in the render below.


    knock6.JPGknock5.JPGknock4.JPGknock3.jpgknock2.JPG
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  13. #513
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Our manufacturer is having difficulties making a mould to manufacture our knockbox. The way this sort of object is usually made is by creating a solid metal form, that is pushed into a sheet of metal at high pressure.

    The problem they're encountering is that stretch marks, appearing as lines, are forming in the metal as it's being stretched into the form.

    They've tried two mould approaches (metal and plastic below) but no luck yet.

    It's quite interesting to see the real-world challenges that exist in making these physical objects. It's also interesting to me just how rough and raw the initial bent metal is, before it undergoes cleaning, polishing and coating to hopefully (eventually) become the object in the render below.


    knock6.JPGknock5.JPGknock4.JPGknock3.jpgknock2.JPG
    John, have you looked into metal spinning? Looks like a design which *might* be "spinnable" (though it may need some machining to complete). Relatively low prototype cost too.

    Edit: Actually, looking at the photos more closely I see it isn't rotationally symmetrical (which is required for spinning).
    Last edited by MrJack; 1 Week Ago at 08:22 PM. Reason: On second thoughts...

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    Ceramics parts finally looking good

    I reported a few weeks ago that we had to fire, very late in the process, the ceramics company we've been working with.

    We then upgraded to a much more expensive company to make our ceramics ($9 and $13 to make these parts, instead of $1.50 and $3) but they're working quickly, and more importantly, their work is super-super-super high quality. They're using a compression mould technique instead of slip casting, and a very dense, fine clay. They recorded this video yesterday for us from their factory, where they're testing fit using the espresso machine legs we made for them.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the samples in person.

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    Testing tablets

    1000 tablets have been made for us, but I'm very, very wary of the quality control process with high technology products. Most Android tablets I've evaluated from myriad companies have had issues. The one I decided on was perfect (no hardware problems, clean and functioning Android install)

    However: in Bordeaux, France, I ran into someone who used to buy tablets from this same company (when he worked for Argos, a huge UK retailer), and he said that they had a 15% quality-control failure rate but were otherwise a very good choice.

    So, I'm not taking delivery of any of these until every single one has been powered up and checked to be perfect.

    I was in London a few weeks ago and bought this tablet from Argos' retail store to see what they were selling, and I found an air bubble on the screen of mine. I also found that Argos had "upgraded" to their software include annoying "trialware" of things like Angry Birds. Our tablet uses a clean Android OS installation that has Google's apps, and nothing else.

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  16. #516
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    John, have you looked into metal spinning? Looks like a design which *might* be "spinnable" (though it may need some machining to complete). Relatively low prototype cost too.

    Edit: Actually, looking at the photos more closely I see it isn't rotationally symmetrical (which is required for spinning).
    As you noticed, we can't spin it, but I have asked the engineer to try using 304 stainless steel instead of aluminium, to see if that metal doesn't have the same stretching problem. A different metal thickness might help as well.
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    VIDEO: Introduction to flow profiling

    I've made a video explaining how flow profiling works, how you configure it, and you can see a shot being made with this new approach.

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  18. #518
    gc
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    I've made a video explaining how flow profiling works, how you configure it, and you can see a shot being made with this new approach.
    I am so looking forward to doing this in my own kitchen with a DE1+ ordered. First time I've actually seen it working in full, including the software in action. I had been a bit worried about complexity of profiling, but it looks easier than I thought.
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  19. #519
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    Wow, haven't read through the whole thread, but have looked up the site and watched the flow profiling video.. utterly utterly fascinating.. Not sure if I'll go down that route but awesome work being done hey, very cool!

  20. #520
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    I'm really excited about what you're doing John. I love that you're trying to make the best espresso, regardless of how that occurs. Your machine isn't very traditional, but I have a feeling that in 10 years or so people will point back to your machine as one of the major stepping stones in the progression of espresso technology and understanding. I was pretty sceptical at first, as I expect most people were, but the more I see the more I think my next machine will be one of yours. I wish you every success.
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  21. #521
    Senior Member Crema_Lad's Avatar
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    Wow the flow profiling, as does your machine looks amazing! Been following along and love the integration of technology and combined coffee guru knowledge that's gone into it. Certainly might be on my upgrade radar in the future! Be quite an upgrade too from my wee Breville 920
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  22. #522
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    Thanks everyone, you're all very kind!
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    Easy to replace PC Boards

    I've mentioned before that we make our own PC Boards -- from scratch. I know this sounds insane, but it allows us to make revisions to our boards and improve them every few weeks, rather than doing larges batches. Outsourced PC Board companies don't like making just a few boards, because there is so much parts set up time involved. On the DE1 we have a "high voltage" board to control pumps and heaters, and a "low voltage" board that is essentially a computer, talking to the sensors and to the high voltage board.

    In building our recent "release prototype" we found that if a PC board were to fail, that you would need to take apart most of the inside guts of the DE1 to replace it. Whoops.

    The reason for that difficulty is that we were screwing the board down from the inside at the beginning of DE1 assembly, and later, when all the pumps, heaters and such are in place, you can't get at those screws any more with a screwdriver. All the stuff inside is now in the way.

    Today's revision fixes that problem.

    Small "bolts" are now soldered to the PC Board directly, so that the screws now slide from the back panel of the DE1 (from the outside), and tightened using a screwdriver with the whole machine staying assembled. It also means you won't have an "oh shit" moment when a screw falls inside the machine and you can't find it afterwards.

    decentboards.jpg
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    Making connections stick

    Back in November, when I first toured with the DE1+, my prototype machine broke down often because wired connections would come loose from the espresso machine being thrown around so much during traveling.

    We've improved that quite a bit since then, but even now, on this tour, I had one wire, on one valve, that has kept coming off. Each time I traveled someplace new, before a demo I would pop off the top of my espresso machine, check the wire, and (usually) put it back into place with a pair of tweezers. Not cool.

    To fix this problem, we're doing two things:
    1) wherever possible we've replaced wired connections with small PC boards that fit over the connectors, and the whole thing is soldered in place
    2) locking connectors everywhere else.

    For our mixing chamber, which is a very parts-dense area of the machine, we designed an L shaped PC Board that fits over all the valve connectors, and which also brings 5 temperature and pressure sensors into once place, with a locking connector sending the data back to the low voltage PC Board.

    This board just got manufactured (by us) today and we'll be putting it in place on monday.

    For a humorous comparison to where we've come from, I've included a photo of the last "R&D prototype" we made, before redesigning everything for proper manufacturing.

    mani3.jpg mani2.jpg mani1.jpg mani4.jpg proto1.jpg
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  25. #525
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    For a humorous comparison to where we've come from, I've included a photo of the last "R&D prototype" we made, before redesigning everything for proper manufacturing.

    proto1.jpg
    Ha ha, this is how all my machines looks - after me tweaking...
    I wander when I will void your guarantee after receiving the DE1+ this fall
    But until now you pretty much implemented all those features I could think and dream of
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