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

  1. #501
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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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    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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    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; 19th July 2017 at 07:22 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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    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
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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!

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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
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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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  23. #523
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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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    Today's video shows you the insides of the "manufacturing prototype, v2". At this point we're finalizing the sheet metal brackets, insulation of the heaters, temperature probe mountings, and the spacial arrangement of all the components inside the box.

    If there's anything in this video you have a question about, please post a screen capture of the inside of the machine, pointing to what you'd like more info on.

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    Parts coming in

    The water pumps and safety valves to build 300 Decent Espresso Machines (110V and 220V), arrived today. There are two pumps per machine, in case you're wondering about the quantities. These are made for us by the Italian company ODE (Officine di Esino Lario) whose products are found all over professional Italian espresso machines. http://www.ode.it/en/

    pumpbox1.jpg pumpbox2.jpg
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  28. #528
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    So how do I convince my wife I need one of these as well as the ECM Technika I bought last year?
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  29. #529
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    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 mani1.jpg
    I don't have a question about the last video - bit too quick for me, but am wondering, are you just going to solder that L shaped PCB to the lugs on the valve connectors? If anything faults out on the board [or a valve solenoid], it will be a dickens of a job to replace - well, certainly not easy anyway.

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    A new testing tool for your espresso machine.

    We're developing a competitor to the Scace 2 https://www.espressoparts.com/scace-...ressure-device because we ourselves need a number of features that the Scace does not provide.

    We have several Scaces here at Decent Espresso, and they are the standard. However, there are some missing capabilities that we really need. Three other espresso manufacturers I've visited had each created their own hacked-together devices for the same reason.

    We want to be able to measure pressure and water flow digitally, so that we calibrate the internals of our decent espresso machine to match with real measurements. Espresso repairmen use the Scace frequently for this very reason.

    We want to be able change the exit hole size so that we can simulate different flow rates, more closely approximating real espresso flow rates. We're enabling this by using calibrated orifices from Lee Lee IMH -- Calibrated Orifices an American company that we currently use inside our DE1 machines. You can swap the orifice size. This also means that if the hole gets jammed (say, with calcification or a bit of coffee) you can just swap this part out, and not throw the whole thing out. We could supply you with several different hole sizes.

    Our product will be built entirely into a 58mm compatible portafilter basket, so you can use it with your existing bottomless portafilter on any 58mm espresso machine. We won't have to make different models for different types of portafilters.

    For digital output, our plan is to have a battery-powered box included, with an Arduino computer in it, and a two-line LCD showing you pressure and temperature. A USB plug would send data out and which can be stored on a computer via any number of data logging apps. Analysis of pressure and temperature in Excel then becomes possible.

    We're considering having an optional flow rate sensor be able to plug into the output "barb" at the bottom. It would have its own cable that connects to our Arduino box.

    Our interns have been building Arduino-based test devices all summer, so we already have much of this already developed. The new bit to create is the hardware, which Ben has done an initial design of.

    For a few months, this testing tool will only be used by us internally, to ship the 300 espresso machines already ordered, and to work out the bugs in the testing tool. Later in 2017 we could start making this for the public, if there is interest in it.

    Below you'll find photos of our proposed design. I'm very much looking for feedback on these ideas. Please opine!

    dace1.png dace2.png dace3.png
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    Kinky Tubing Rubbing People the Wrong Way

    Several people emailed me to point out that the silicone tubing near the water intake didn't look so happy. We saw that too, and had a meeting later the day I recorded the video, where we moved things around to fix that.

    The problem was that we were asking that tubing to be very short, and to bend sharply. To fix this, the flow meter was moved left a bit, and the intake tubing is now longer, and comes in from the other side of the flow meter. This gives it plenty of length in which to comfortably move.

    We also weren't happy with the water level sensor tube touching and rubbing the side wall, so we've covered that tube with a tough fabric outer sleeve.

    The photo below shows the new parts layout, which we think solves these issues.

    IMG_6889.jpg

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    Temperature Probes in Group Head

    The new group head came in yesterday, which now uses "screw in" thermometer probes. We've been using these probes in our mixing chambers and really like how accurate, non leaking, and easily replaced they are.

    One probe dives into the middle of the group to obtain a temperature reading about 5mm above the coffee surface.

    Another probe measures the metal temperature to ensure the group head is accurately preheated.

    All that messy glue from previous prototypes is now banished for good.

    Our "coffee puck" temperature readings will now be more accurate too. Also, if any probe stops working, it's now straightforward to remove and replace it.

    group4.JPG group3.JPG group1.JPG group2.JPG

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    We're developing a competitor to the Scace 2 https://www.espressoparts.com/scace-...ressure-device because we ourselves need a number of features that the Scace does not provide.

    We have several Scaces here at Decent Espresso, and they are the standard. However, there are some missing capabilities that we really need. Three other espresso manufacturers I've visited had each created their own hacked-together devices for the same reason.

    We want to be able to measure pressure and water flow digitally, so that we calibrate the internals of our decent espresso machine to match with real measurements. Espresso repairmen use the Scace frequently for this very reason.

    We want to be able change the exit hole size so that we can simulate different flow rates, more closely approximating real espresso flow rates. We're enabling this by using calibrated orifices from Lee Lee IMH -- Calibrated Orifices an American company that we currently use inside our DE1 machines. You can swap the orifice size. This also means that if the hole gets jammed (say, with calcification or a bit of coffee) you can just swap this part out, and not throw the whole thing out. We could supply you with several different hole sizes.

    Our product will be built entirely into a 58mm compatible portafilter basket, so you can use it with your existing bottomless portafilter on any 58mm espresso machine. We won't have to make different models for different types of portafilters.

    For digital output, our plan is to have a battery-powered box included, with an Arduino computer in it, and a two-line LCD showing you pressure and temperature. A USB plug would send data out and which can be stored on a computer via any number of data logging apps. Analysis of pressure and temperature in Excel then becomes possible.

    We're considering having an optional flow rate sensor be able to plug into the output "barb" at the bottom. It would have its own cable that connects to our Arduino box.

    Our interns have been building Arduino-based test devices all summer, so we already have much of this already developed. The new bit to create is the hardware, which Ben has done an initial design of.

    For a few months, this testing tool will only be used by us internally, to ship the 300 espresso machines already ordered, and to work out the bugs in the testing tool. Later in 2017 we could start making this for the public, if there is interest in it.

    Below you'll find photos of our proposed design. I'm very much looking for feedback on these ideas. Please opine!

    dace1.png dace2.png dace3.png
    Very cool!

    Whilst probably more expensive than using calibrated orifices, a needle valve would allow more flexibility and allow dynamics to be explored (such as temperature response to changing flowrate). Hell, you could even actuate it with a servo motor to simulate changing puck conditions .

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Whilst probably more expensive than using calibrated orifices, a needle valve would allow more flexibility and allow dynamics to be explored (such as temperature response to changing flowrate). Hell, you could even actuate it with a servo motor to simulate changing puck conditions .
    What we're doing is putting a threaded G1/8 outlet below the calibrated orifice, so that in the future, we could remove the orifice (enabling fast flow), and then screw in a needle valve below it to instead provide variable constriction.

    It's hard to see this, but the grey colored exit barb is screwing into a female G1/8 plug, in the drawing above.

    I suggested the variable constrictor idea in a meeting a few days ago, but for now we're not going to do it because we like being able to remove the constrictor when it invariably clogs with calcification or coffee material.

    But, absolutely, we've designed with your suggestion in mind, so that in the future a needle valve, or a gas valve (see portafilter below, that we built and use here) could replace the calibrated orifice. Also, if it screws in, it also screws off, which is handy when the needle valve clogs and you need to clean or replace it.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAYqAAAAJGRhOGU5NzE1LWU3YWMtNGViZi05MGQ2LTMyYzhhNDA5M2JmMQ.jpg
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    Basic lesson on steaming milk on the DE1

    A number of people have asked "how do you steam milk with your decent espresso machine?" This video gives a short lesson. There are (of course) other ways to steam milk, and if you are a barista, you already know how, so this video is likely of interest to beginners.

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    105 different parts inside a DE1

    I decided to count the total number of different parts inside our DE1 espresso machine, and found that there are 105 different parts. If you're wondering why it takes a long time to go from design to manufacturing, this is part of the reason.

    This screenshot is from the inhouse-created Lotus Notes database we have for keeping track of all parts, vendors and purchases.

    partslist.png


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    Getting the angle right

    We borrowed a great idea Slayer Espresso had of using mirror to see your espresso as it comes out. We built an angled mirror directly into our DE1 to do this.

    This week, the new mirror design came in: we've enlarged the mirror 50% and angled it much more, so that now you can (1) see much more of the espresso coming out and (2) don't have to bend down to get to the right angle.

    You can see the difference in these before vs after photos.

    Depending on your height, you move yourself forward or back from the DE1, and can remain standing while inspecting your espresso's extraction.

    angle.jpg
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    That looks like a significant improvement!

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    Knockbox manufacturing progress

    Two weeks ago I posted about some difficulties we're having forming aluminium sheets into our knockbox design.
    Decent Espresso Machines (DE1) - Any thoughts?

    We've made some progress, and the form is looking closer to something acceptable.

    We've tried stainless steel, and aluminum at different thicknesses. We've polished and sandblasted the form.

    Here's what it looks like now:


    Next step is to black powder coat a sample, and anodize another, to get a feel for what the finished product could look like. I'll report back when I have those in hand.

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    Tidying up

    Last week, we received the parts for our "manufacturing prototype #2". We changed 22 things with that prototype in a week, all relating to the physical placement of things in space. Today we are ordering parts to make "manufacturing prototype #3", which we hope will be our last one, and in 10 days we'll be building that.

    The biggest change is the removal of the left panel, onto which we were mounting a safety valve, and one of the mixing chambers. Because the panel was removable, long tubes were needed. I didn't like the long tubes for a number of reasons. It made that space very crammed, and meant that when you opened/closed the panel, you changed how things fit, and thus could cause (or fix) an unseen problem.

    Below are before vs after photos of this area. The safety valve is now directly mounted to the exit hole, and the "auxiliary" mixing chamber is now stacked directly onto the "main" mixing chamber (you can just barely see it peeking out from the top middle of the photo).

    We also changed how the wires come together in the PC Board area (left hand side of the photo), so that things are much less crowded. All connectors now congregate at the top, so that you can slide a new PC Board in, screw it in from the back of the DE1, and then connect everything from the top. Better airflow, visibility and easier repair.

    before.jpg after.JPG

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    Sold out

    This just announced:

    Our first manufacturing run of 300 espresso machines has now sold out.

    We are not taking new orders for espresso machines until we start shipping.

    Once shipping, we will take orders for our winter 2017 manufacturing run, delivering those machines in early spring.
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    Congratulations!

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    What sort of corrosion resistance are you going to apply to those aluminium interior panels? Will they be powder coated or anodised? In that internal environment corrosion would have to be an issue - I know it is on my HX machine.

    Glad I made it into the first 300.
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    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    What sort of corrosion resistance are you going to apply to those aluminium interior panels? Will they be powder coated or anodised? In that internal environment corrosion would have to be an issue - I know it is on my HX machine.

    Glad I made it into the first 300.
    Looking forward to reading your adventures when the beast arrives
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    What sort of corrosion resistance are you going to apply to those aluminium interior panels? Will they be powder coated or anodised? In that internal environment corrosion would have to be an issue - I know it is on my HX machine.
    I wouldn't think that corrosion would be an issue because there is no water leakage planned inside the espresso machine. We have a moisture barrier between the electronics and the pump/heater area for safety reasons, but if there are leaks, that's bad and needs to be fixed. Plain old heat shouldn't cause corrosion.

    I'd be interested to hear more about the corrosion you're seeing in your HX machine. Does your existing machine leak steam or water inside the chassis?

  46. #546
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    I wouldn't think that corrosion would be an issue because there is no water leakage planned inside the espresso machine. We have a moisture barrier between the electronics and the pump/heater area for safety reasons, but if there are leaks, that's bad and needs to be fixed. Plain old heat shouldn't cause corrosion.

    I'd be interested to hear more about the corrosion you're seeing in your HX machine. Does your existing machine leak steam or water inside the chassis?
    I suspect the main source of moisture in my HX is the antivac on the boiler. As it heats up and pressure rises there is some minor sputter just before the antivac closes. Although the frame is treated steel in this case, I have had to clean and apply corrosion coatings at various places {I know, I'm fussy, but that's why I'm getting a DE1+ } But even on houses with aluminium windows and yes, even inside computers aluminium components can and do eventually oxidise. Powder coating is an excellent preventive in that case. There will always be moisture and heat around the DE1 espresso machine by the nature of the work - eg evaporation/splashing from the water tray in the base. The other area i see corrosion [I live in the wet tropics] is bimetallic corrosion between fasteners - screws bolts etc of steel and aluminium fittings. I usually avoid this by using non-conductive washers to (mostly) separate fasteners from aluminium substrate.

    I do hope you will at least consider corrosion protection for the frame and discuss with your engineering guys at least. I appreciate your continuing willingness to engage with our concerns.
    Last edited by gc; 4th August 2017 at 11:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Powder coating is an excellent preventive in that case. There will always be moisture and heat around the DE1 espresso machine by the nature of the work - eg evaporation/splashing from the water tray in the base. I do hope you will at least consider corrosion protection for the frame and discuss with your engineering guys at least. I appreciate your continuing willingness to engage with our concerns.
    As it turns out, the case is powder coated on the inside and outside. Here's a photo with arrows showing this.

    powdercoated2.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    As it turns out, the case is powder coated on the inside and outside. Here's a photo with arrows showing this.
    Thanks for the response. I did already assume that the external case was powder coated [good ], but what caught my attention was the aluminium sheets on the inside of the production prototype photos above, that provided the structural frame, and also what you hang all your internal components off. If they were at least anodised, or or also powder coated this would greatly enhance the protection of the aluminium and therefore longevity of the machine.

  49. #549
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Thanks for the response. I did already assume that the external case was powder coated [good ], but what caught my attention was the aluminium sheets on the inside of the production prototype photos above, that provided the structural frame, and also what you hang all your internal components off. If they were at least anodised, or or also powder coated this would greatly enhance the protection of the aluminium and therefore longevity of the machine.
    We're using food grade aluminium throughout the interior. If there is any corrosion, it's should only happen if we've been lied to by a supplier to about the grade of aluminium that was used.

    Coating parts is a trade off and does affect electrical conductivity, which then has knock-on effects with safety compliance and grounding. It can also effect tolerances.

    We recently looked at this (about two weeks ago) and decided to anodize the aluminium parts of the group head. They don't come into contact with the espresso during brewing, but they could get splashed, and thus corroded by acidic espresso, and anodising will help there.

    For now, I don't see us anodizing the inside aluminium parts. I like to think we won't have problems due to lack of water leaks and using food grade aluminium, but we'll see. In this sort of engineering, though, there are rarely clear solutions to problems that don't cause other problems, there are usually tradeoffs.

    I also don't want to change things that we've seen work for two years, and then only have 10 days of testing with them. Too risky.

    anod.png

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    I understand, I just didn't want to be the one doing the r&d for you with my new DE1+ with a predictable problem. Hadn't thought of the electrical/grounding issues with powder coating or anodising, - it's a complex tradeoff. Thanks for considering my concern anyway.

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