Of course, new problems will be uncovered when we go from having 9 machines in Hong Kong to 5000 machines all over the world, but given the aluminium grade we're using, I like to think corrosion won't be one of them.
We use a company called "EasyShip" here in Hong Kong, as our broker to dozens of other courier services.
Below is a promotional video made by them, which came out today. I thought it might be interesting for you to see a bit of our operation as well.
No courier is best worldwide: for example, the less expensive couriers to Europe are more expensive to the USA, and vice versa. The difference can be just 20% or 2x more expensive.
We've written our e-commerce system (and shopping cart), logistics and tracking systems, and integrated them into EasyShip's system.
In case you're curious, here are three screen pictures showing our internal systems. As much as using off-the-shelf-software can save money, it generally creates a chaotic experience for customers, which is why I chose to write everything from scratch. This way, it would all be integrated, providing a single shopping/ordering/tracking/tech-support/repair/warranty system for customers.
screen 2017-08-08 at 1.20.41 PM.jpgscreen 2017-08-08 at 1.07.38 PM.jpgscreen 2017-08-08 at 1.08.48 PM.png
We're almost finished developing our Decent Grinder https://decentespresso.com/pro_grinder where we take a good quality pro grinder made by someone else (a Chinese company owned by Mahlkonig) and modify it so that you can see the weight as you're grinding. It's a simple feature, but surprisingly useful, since consistent coffee ground dose weight is crucial to making good espresso. In this video, Jeffrey shows his latest idea, a slot for easily moving the scale (and portafilter stand) sideways so that the coffee grounds pour into the center of the portafilter. Front to back adjustment is made by loosening the screws on the feet of the grinder so that you can slide the entire scale stand forward and back.
This grinder is non-automatic. You turn the grinder on, and then off when the dose weight is what you want. The burrs are 64mm flat.
John I've been sifting through old posts for info on the Cafe model and can't quite find what I want to know. So could possibly answer these quick questions regarding that model? Would be much appreciated.
• Roughly when?
• Rough price? (Or price range/ceiling)
• Will it be plumbed water only?
But your questions are reasonable, so let me take a swing at them:
1) beta in January, shipping in April
2) Roughly AUD$5000
3) plumbed water is not required, you can choose to not plug in the external pump box, in which case you need to manually refill the water tank.
You can plumb the DE1CAFE (or the DE1PRO, which is shipping sooner) either in pressurized water, or simply dip a water tube into a 10-litre water container. That 2nd choice is my recommendation, actually, because then you can use nice filtered water to make your espressos.
Both plumbed and non-plumbed drip trays are included.
Our plans at the moment for steam are to have two 220V power plugs, one dedicated to steam, one for espresso. IF we didn't do this, the current espresso state would affect our power draw and thus change how much steam you're getting, which would be very annoying.
The three key features of the DE1CAFE are:
1) steam-during-brew and specialized steam wand
2) 15s to steam 200ml of milk from 10ºC to 60ºC. (this consumes 8amp at 220V)
3) it can be built into a table (though we're trying to design it so that isn't a requirement)
Have you seen this video? I put it on youtube recently but didn't post it here. It's still being worked on, as an intro to this model.
Thanks to "chemical engineer/coffee nerd" DIYCoffeeGuy for plotting 182 espresso shots we've made on my DE1+ espresso machine.
We do a huge amount of experimenting with grinds, grinders and roasts, so there's a lot of data all-over-the-place. The "pressure vs time" chart isn't especially enlightening to me (it shows that we're experimenting a lot and our pressure is all over the map). I'm not the only one using this machine, so lots of other people's experiments are plotted here, which accounts for some of the variability.
However, the flow vs time chart is a lot more interesting. Here are some takeaways from the data:
1) our pre-infusions are mostly around 4ml/second, but plenty around 2.5ml/second too
2) most shots have their pucks compressing around 6 seconds, and fully compressed by ten seconds (by looking at the slowdown in flow possible through the puck)
3) most of our shots are around 2.5 ml/s during the main extraction, though there is a healthy number of slower extractions around 1.8 ml/s
4) most of our shots end around 25s, some go to 35s, but very few beyond.
This sort of visualization is interesting to me for a few reasons:
1) it helps prove that I (the DE1+ tablet programmer) don't have all the answers and that others have other perspectives on the same data
2) data export from the DE1+, especially over a large sample size and in a cafe production use, could yield interesting and new insights. This sort of data is not usually collected outside of lab settings.
You can visit DIY's Instagram post https://www.instagram.com/p/BXram2KByYk for more charts of the same data.
Last week, Ray had a worry that tension from bending a tube might cause the water seal to fail sooner. While none of our connections is leaking now (even under tension), everyone agreed that it would be better to not have uneven tension on the water seal.
To research if any other manufacturer also worried about this, Jeff went diving through our morgue of dead & disassembled espresso machines. He found one Nespresso machine that apparently had this same worry because that machine had little plastic moulded de-tensioners to hold 90º and 180º bends in place.
Alex drew up a SolidWorks model inspired by what Jeff had found, and over the weekend he 3D printed our de-tensioners. There's a photo below, showing where they'll go in. They work nicely, and we'll be using them in all the machines we're building.
This may or may not be an issue, but with these detentioners costing about $0.10 each, it'd be crazy to not use them to make the worry go away.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that one of our last engineering problems was to decide how to insulate our two heaters.
Our interns built a test rig, with a tiny Arduino computer, at both 100ºC and 170º, to test all the different ideas we had.
Originally, we liked silicone, but our first batch had a nasty chemical smell when heated. Two other manufacturer's samples also had a smell. Also, it's very hard to get air bubbles into the silicone, so the pure silicone insulating solution adds a lot of weight, and is not as insulating as it could be.
We thought we'd solved that problem when we found a no-smell silicone mix that bubbles when mixed, to a selectable amount between 10% and 30%. The problem is that it's extremely hard to get into a mould and in a regular shape. Immediately upon mixing it swells about 60% but then overnight, as it dries, it continues to swell unpredictably. You end up with a messy "pillow" in the morning.
We tried making a metal mould to contain the expanding foam, and that helped, but it left some areas under-covered as the foam expands in ways that differ each time (presumably because of uneven distribution of the foaming agent).
Ray realized that PC boards are made of fiberglass, an excellent insulator, and they're very cheap to have cut into custom 2D shapes. So, he designed a fiberglass box for our heater made from PCB, which is then soldered together.
It's a bit of an oddball solution, but it worked quite well.
We then tried foaming silicone inside the box, and the thermal insulation results were amazing--the best yet--but it was really hard to do and the results are very irregular and not pretty.
In the spreadsheet below, you'll see the results from all our materials, and you'll see that the air temperature (that's the important metric) is OK for all of them. We want to keep it under 40ºC inside the DE1, and all our solutions have done that. You'll notice that PCB+Foam is the best performing, though, by a small amount.
Today, we're doing our final test, which is placing a pre-cut insulating blanket inside the PCB box, wrapped around the heater. We're expecting that it'll give us a lot of the same insulating benefit of the silicone foam, but be much, much easier and faster to assemble (no pouring into a mould and waiting overnight).
Below are photos of the various attempts and tests we've done, for those interested in following along with our progress.
We're awaiting the parts for our "release candidate #3" which are due in about 7 days. That machine will likely use this PCB Box + Blanket heater insulating technique, which is what we'll use for the 300 machines we're building.
heaters1.jpg heaters2.jpg heat-table.png
Last edited by decentespresso; 15th August 2017 at 01:14 PM.
We switched from a plastic group head cover to a metal one a few weeks ago, and we knew ahead of time that this would test our ability to keep heat from the group head from spreading. About two weeks ago we found the chassis was getting warmed by the group head, so we added an isolation barrier at the join. I didn't post anything about that, as I felt it was a fairly minor tweak.
We are reviewing today a small change to the group head, where a thin sheet of isolation has been added between the brass parts (which are preheated, and through which water flows) and the aluminium parts (which are there for strength, but which don't touch the water). The goal is to preheat only the parts that touch water, so as to (a) start up faster (b) not waste electricity (c) not have to worry about what to do with the wasted heat.
Below is a drawing of today's change to the group head. You can also see the two temperature probes in there, which measure (separately) the water mix temperature as it enters the group, and the water temperature on the other side of the shower screen.
Really love the clean look of these machines but really really hate the name I had a laugh. Is it supposed to be pronounced DECAFE?
I mean it makes coffee, why call it that so confusing
So, DE1CAFE is "duh one for cafes, yo" though naturally, all this bad wordplay falls apart when we work on DE2 (decent espresso machine, v2). But, I expect we'll be able to come up equally bad wordplay for that one too.
FWIW, all our machines simply say "Decent Espresso" on the front (like Magimix and Cuisinart do) and the model name & number is on the back.
If you buy a machine from us, it's simply "A Decent Espresso Machine".
For busy cafes, I've often received emails from baristas worrying that wet fingers won't work well on our tablet. It's true that if you get water on a touch screen tablet, you need to wipe it off for the touch function to work well. Wet fingers, on the other hand, don't seem to be a problem: water drops on the tablet do.
The medical, dental and beauty industries all have foot pedals for dealing with this problem, freeing up your hands to do something else.
I especially like the idea of a foot pedal for steam, because I sometimes destabilize the milk jug as I let go with my left hand to turn the steam off.
You could even put away our Android tablet and make espresso drinks only using the pedals.
I've done a quick look at available foot pedals and here are some features I'm looking for:
- can cope with a wet floor (raised off the floor)
- can cope with water poured directly on the footswitch (IP64 or IP65)
- colour coded so you can easily tell the difference between steam/hot-water/espresso buttons
- comes in 1, 2, and 3 pedal versions, so that people can choose what espresso functions to move to a foot pedal
- the pedal design makes it unlikely to push the wrong one
The picture below shows 3 variations of one pedal design that meets those requirements. There is also a compact two-pedal variant from this company that is more attractive but also more confusing to use.
My mine "gripe" with this design (and pretty much all industrial foot pedals) is that the colour scheme is chosen for functionality, not aesthetics. The light blue colour of the "chassis" is a bit "hospital" for me. I'm asking if we can choose a different coloured plastic for our versions.
These foot pedals would plug into the bottom of our DE1CAFE machines, and provide a mechanical alternative to using the tablet. You can keep the tablet around to see the shot quality or put it away completely.
Several months ago, here and on other forums, we had a big discussion about what form a USB charger built into the DE1 should look like. In our current "Release Candidate 2" espresso machine we had all the bits to wire it up (and the PCB was supposed to support it) but we'd never done so.
Our first attempt, when we thought things were working, blew up a tablet (smoke!) and then a USB fan. We discovered that the problem was a "sample USB cable" that had been made for us to consider, had been wired backwards. Sigh. New cable and tablet, and now everything works.
1.28 amps are the most I've ever seen get into my tablet, and we're getting that charging from the DE1. Note that USB charging turns off automatically when you're making an espresso or steam because we use all the power to make sure those functions work right.
The USB charger and panel-mounted USB-female connector are both sealed and meant to be used in wet environments.
level3ninja "Is this going to be the case in the production version? My first thought was that of the battery in the tablet dies so does your coffee machine." -
I am interested in the response to his question as well. I realise any BT enabled device with DE1 app on board will work for such an 'emergency' situation, but am additionally wondering if the 230V version requires the same auto shutoff of the USB charger since it has more power than the version for US market? Thus avoiding level3ninja concerns altogether.
The battery in the tablet can run 4h on maximum screen brightness, and the battery is automatically charged whenever you're not making espresso. You would have to be running the espresso heater for something like 18h of every 24h to use the tablet battery up faster than it charges. That would be something like 700 espressos a day, for one DE1, for this to be an issue.
If for some reason you're not satisfied with my answer, you can simply plug the tablet into your own USB charger, in a separate electrical plug, and then it'd be charging at all times.
As to "you don't need to do this for 220" we do because the sealed power supply gives us 24V which is what goes to the USB power supply, and this is the same for both 110V and 220V. We don't want to risk (for instance) a valve not opening because the USB charger was draining a bit and the valve didn't get enough power to actuate.
As to the "if the tablet dies, so does the espresso machine" worry, that is different from charging, and there are two answers to that:
a) you can buy a replacement tablet from us, we will sell them at the very reasonable price of USD$99 each.
b) you can buy a replacement android tablet from anyone else and use that instead. The tablet software will run on any Android 4.4+ tablet.
I meant dies as in won't hold a charge, not just runs out of charge. Bit ambiguous in my "dead" description, sorry. I am curious how long the, I assume, lipo battery will last being kept so highly charged so much of the time.
I think you got the best answer possible already mate - charge the tablet directly from the mains as a "plan B". The mains would run the tablet even if the battery has totally carked it.
If that is still not good enough due to bad power and/or outages then install your own U.P.S. / battery backup (go to your own generator / solar / wind / micro hydro...). I will share my mental image of the "stationary bicycle powered backup generator" at one (very) remote site I serviced quite a while back: There are always solutions...
All that is not really part of Decent's brief anyway. I reckon he can safely assume you are able to sort your own local power issues out. I would prefer every shot got "power preference" anyway as the alternative would nuke the DE1(+ / cafe / whatever)'s coffee performance - kinda defeats the whole point of what John is trying to achieve here doesn't it?
* Bad power: Really thinking of places like Kenya, Rwanda & Tanzania more than Oz, although 70's Queensland Mackay / Proserpine mains was pretty poor: I am looking at the 8A / 240 volt "original Variac" we needed to buy to tame the mains over there - 160 to 400 mains input voltage were the daily swings we needed to cope with at the time.
Fair point. The idea of a plug in machine that might need a second power supply weirds me out but I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to add a second 5V PS internally to feed the tablet alone.
Just how many watts is this thing using anyway? Is it more than the 1500watts when my HX is heating? It just seems odd that available power is so scarce at our Ozzie voltages. Problem with the PS specification?? It "weirds me out" [love that expression!] a bit too adding a second usb PS just for 1+amp to the tablet.
It is not the overall power consumption that is the issue here, it is localised power starvation. Haven't you ever had a shower where someone nearby turns on their hot tap and you freeze? Same principle.
FYI - somewhere in this thread or the decent web site is the DE1's power consumption - cannot remember the number, but it is way, way less than the circa 4800 watts (20 amp @ 240 volts for 35 minutes to warm up) of my 2 group La Pavoni, so in my case it is utterly irrelevant. FWIW, anything less than 2400 watts may be ignored - any "Oz standard domestic power point" will run it happily. Anyway the DE1's mixing valve system means you are only heating up small amounts of "water on demand", whilst the shot & steam pumps use whatever their pumps need - and I would rather feed the whole thing plenty of power than run anything out of puff (see * below).
Any decent internal design (sorry 'bout the accidental pun) will allocate priorities so the critical bits get fed first. Simple priority order: pumps & pump control system, heating elements & their control system (both control systems usually lock at the current setting) then (finally) the tablet. Now look at the inside of the DE1 and consider how many other parts need to be considered to achieve that simplest overview of the priority order. Routine engineering "under the bonnet" that most people never see.
As John has been so transparent in his approach some CS'r's (and HB'r's) are getting their knickers in a knot because he is stating his (very thorough) approach fully.
Consider this "worst case": the tablet quits altogether but all the pumps are left on their current setting and the shot continues. Sounds like nearly every cafe in the world to me. Barista's have been shutting the shot off when it blonds for nearly 70 years now, I kinda think they can cope.
My only regret is that I needed to be off the maintenance hook before I could consider ordering my own DE1+/Pro and that is in two days time - and the first 300 "pre production units" are gone as at a week or so ago - I missed out, dammit. Chalk it up as a last bit of revenge from Ex2 (sigh).
* I mentioned my La Pav because if you feed it off an "Oz standard 15 amp socket" it cannot pull a shot if the elements are on - that actually requires around 24 amps. I triggered a lot of circuit breakers at a different site when their 1 group La Cimbali broke (lack of care by them, not really a La Cimbali prob - they are pretty reliable) and my La Pav "temporary replacement" was way over their supply limits. They ended up with one of my 6910s for a week or so... and they coped OK.
Last edited by TampIt; 18th August 2017 at 01:57 PM.
As to the "isn't there enough juice to always charge the tablet?" question the answer is yes, definitely, but we're avoiding tablet-charger UL certification issues by using the 24V power we already have, rather than going back to 110V/220V to convert to 5V."Myth: leaving your phone on the charger all night is bad for your battery" :
"Leaving your device plugged in all the time is just fine. ...."
6 common battery myths you probably believe - Android Authority
Every "high voltage" component gets scrutiny from UL/CE, and tablet chargers are EXTREMELY SCRUTINIZED TO AN INSANE DEGREE because there have been lots of cases of them being badly made and causing fires. So, tablet chargers from line voltage that are UL/CE certified invite a lot of additional regulatory scrutiny.
We decided to avoid the regulatory compliance headaches by using a UL/CE approved 24V->5V sealed transformer. Using this approach, we've added a low voltage component, which UL/CE is then not especially worried about. However, we have a limited amount of 24V available, because that comes out of our Meanwell sealed power supply.
With more Electrical Engineering time to spend on USB power management, we probably could keep the USB charger on at all times, but we've got higher priority tasks to work on. I don't see any issues with our current implementations, and if for some reason you disagree, you can buy your own UL/CE compliant 220V->5V charger and use that instead. And it might turn out that we have a firmware upgrade in the future which leaves the USB charger on all the time.
As we've just added USB charging a few weeks before "design freeze" and have not had time to evaluate whether "always-on-USB-charging" could cause failures elsewhere, we're choosing the safe course of "no usb charging during espresso/steam". Every engineering decision is a compromise, but this seems clearly like the right one at this point in time.
The tablet tells the DE1 what kind of shot profile to run and tells it to start. At that point, the DE1 does everything itself, and the only thing the tablet can do to the DE1 at that point is tell the DE1 to "stop the shot early". If the tablet died, or bluetooth stopped working, or whatever, the DE1 would simply complete the shot profile. Steam and hot water both have time-outs, for example, and won't run forever. My default steam profile stops at 60s.
This setup is *required* by UL/CE because "safety mechanisms must not be defeatable by end-users". Since the tablet software can be modified, UL/CE would not allow us to have any safety controls there. All shot ending and safety controls are implemented in the DE1, using both firmware (first defence, UL/CE is not interested) and hardware (second defence, UL/CE all over this).
When you power up the DE1 it uses the last profile sent to it. When we, in the future, add hardware buttons to stop/start steam/hot-water/espresso, then the tablet will be thoroughly optional, used to create new shot profiles or to graphically see shots as they happen.
I do hope the option to have continuous charging will happen though at some time. It just seems less like a hack solution - more 'elegant' I guess.
Its not an emotional "knickers in a knot" for me Tampit, just a genuine interest in the process and, like you, I really appreciate John's openness in sharing insights into the DE project as it develops. Also, I think part of the idea in sharing is that if anyone, [its all past my skill set now] in the community has a better idea, those can only improve the final outcome - look at open source software.
BTW Tampit thanks for your response to my queryHopefully, I'm one of the lucky one's in the first CE approved batch.My only regret is that I needed to be off the maintenance hook before I could consider ordering my own DE1+/Pro and that is in two days time - and the first 300 "pre production units" are gone as at a week or so ago - I missed out, dammit. Chalk it up as a last bit of revenge from Ex2 (sigh).
+1 to open source software (just replaced this toy's slackware 13 with BSD 11.1, gotta love 3 * 27" monitors for writing - unlike Windows they handle them correctly).
Enjoy your cuppa... and anticipate an improvement down the track.
I appreciate you taking the time to explain, I'm not trying to have a go at you. I ask because to be the fact that the screen on my coffee machine has a battery is irrelevant, right up until that battery is required to operate the machine. Regardless of the effects on the battery of constant charging (on which I stand corrected) the battery won't last forever. Will it outlast the rest of the machine? Time will tell.
Also I'm an industrial electrician, and in my world when something doesn't have enough power it's because it was either designed poorly in the first place or had been modified since and not redesigned properly. But we're not in my world, were in yours. I don't know appliance design, and am trying to understand why such a decision would be made. I don't want to say you're doing it incorrectly as it's well outside my expertise. I just wanted to understand why the problems that first appear to me in such a design are less of an issue than the stuff I don't see.
We're using the CL-LPV-35-24 which gives us 35W : Meanwell IP rated Sealed Power Supplies |
There is a 60W of the same product line: 24V: CL-LPV-60-24
However, you'll see that the dimensions of the 60W heater are greater:
35W: 148*40*30mm (L*W*H)
60W: 162.5*42.5*32mm (L*W*H)
We really like Meanwell power supplies because:
1) they have a great reputation for reliability in very abusive circumstances
2) they're sealed and have all certifications
The power supply is sealed, so we don't *need* to lodge it in the PCB board area for water ingress issues, but we are concerned about keeping the power supply cool as its efficiency and lifetime decreases with heat. For this reason, we lodged it in the air-cooled PCB area, which is also sealed. This area currently stays under 44ºC, even with constant use.
You can see in the photo below that space is very tight here, and we'd have to fight to put a larger power supply in there. Besides, a more capable power supply will make more heat (that we then have to get rid of), and so if we really don't need 60W (instead of 35W) we're happier with the lower capacity power supply.
As I mentioned above, yes, it might be possible in a future firmware rev to have uninterrupted USB charging, but we don't see a big negative in occasionally turning the USB charger briefly off.
And Yes, I agree that a major benefit of decisions-discussed-as-they-occur is that feedback from you guys comes at the right time. It's many months ago, so you might not remember, but my first proposal on this forum for a USB female charger plug was USB-B, and the discussion convinced me to keep looking and find a better choice. There was also discussion about where the USB female plug should be located, It took many revisions and public decision to come up with this, and in the and I'm satisfied that we implemented this competently. Two plugs for one appliance always bugged me.
Our alternative to the "Scace II", a tool for measuring temperature and pressure, is making progress. We're sending off the design to have one made this week. We're calling it the "Decent Sensor Basket".
We've made several revisions to the design I posted a few weeks ago.
We've placed an easily removed "splash shield" in front of the pressure sensor, so that water coming in doesn't cause noise on the sensor, but also so that if your machine is dirty and coffee material gets into the sensors, it's easy to clean it out.
We've changed the water outlet to a standard barb so that a flow meter could be attached to it in the future. Also, this makes it easy to attach a rubber hose to the outlet and guide waste water to a receptacle.
To change the calibrated flow constrictor, and thus have a different speed of water flow, you now pull the plastic sleeve out, use a paperclip to change the flow constrictor and push it all back in. This is also what you can do if coffee debris clogs up the outlet.
Instead of a complete portafilter, we're putting all the sensors into a portafilter basket, so it'll work with any bottomless portafilter that fits 58mm standard baskets. La Marzocco and Nuova Simonelli both follow this standard, but the location of the "wings" on their portafilters is different. Since you'll be using their bottomless portafilter with our basket, there's no problem.
When the Sensor Basket hardware arrives in about 10 days, we'll wire it up to an Arduino, with an LED display, write a bit of software, and start using it to test and calibrate our DE1 espresso machine. Every pump and flow meter is slightly different in the real world, so every espresso machine needs to be calibrated before it goes out to a client.
preview-lightbox-ASM, Sensor Basket_V2.jpg
I would love to buy something like this!
I too have heard good things about Meanwell. I've installed a couple of LED lights with their units inside and never had any issues.
Last edited by level3ninja; 19th August 2017 at 10:14 PM.
Without checking the last 12 pages, when is the DE1+ available in Australia?
We'll reopen our shopping cart to take orders for our Winter 2018 manufacturing run, and people ordering then will receive their machines in April.
Kees's foot switch is a thing of beauty, but I think that making a heavy duty, IP67 water resistant, long lived switch is actually quite difficult and I'd rather not solve that problem, nor have my customers suffer while I tried to figure out how to re-invent the wheel.
That's why I prefer to source a footswitch from a major manufacturer already in the industrial footswitch field, in this case KEM, a South Korean company, and their stuff looks EXTREMELY durable, if not all that beautiful:
Foot Pedal Switch | Electric Footswitch Supplier | K.E.M. Co.
Our two portafilters (bottomless and double spouted) don't currently fit in La Marzocco espresso machines, though they do fit in E61 and most other 58mm standard machines, as well as in our DE1 machines. It's a small annoyance I was hoping to remedy with a new order for 1000 portafilters I've put in.
Below are before and after animations showing the current versus LM-compatible portafilter models. You can see that the LM compatible design has an angled handle. Our stands are accommodating the two handle designs ok without much change in basket angle. Great.
However, the main use of our portafilters is on our DE1 espresso machine, and I think the angled handle looks awkward on it (photo below). Damn.
So, for now, we're not going to an LM-compatible portafilter design, because the angled handle doesn't look good with our machine. Possibly, in the future, we'll work with the manufacturer to make a new mold, but that's a time-consuming and expensive endeavor, one that I'm going to put off for now. I like our current portafilters, and we're just going to have to live with the fact that they don't work on La Marzocco espresso machines.
screen 2017-08-21 at 12.26.16 PM.jpg
My manufacturer has been toiling for 4 months over problems with making our knockbox out of stamped metal.
The problem is that our asymmetrical shape causes "stretch marks" to appear in the 3mm thick aluminum. We've tried stainless steel and thinner metal, with the same result.
In the end, they sand blasted and polished the knockbox form, then anodized it, and most of the stretch marks on the outside are now invisible. Unfortunately, they can't as vigorously do the same to the inside, so some stretch marks are still visible.
It's pretty heavy duty, being made out of 3mm aluminum, it's a bit on the large size (about 25 shots capacity) and the knock bar is solid aluminum surrounded by silicone.
I'm writing this post to ask your opinion: would those inside stretch marks be offensive to you, if you used this knock box?
I'd love this to be as perfect as the CNCed prototype I made, but those cost $350 each to make, which isn't super practical as a product
jeff.jpg kb copy.JPG
I think it would be 50/50 people will care or not. Personally it would bother me. It's a shame because it's such a nice shape otherwise.
I can't imagine anybody peering in through old coffee pucks and grinds could give a toss about 'stretch marks'. Certainly not I.
It depends on your market mix really. Many of your products in the accessory range have premium pricing - for the brand name or perception of quality I assume, so people are likely to be more choosy in that market cohort. At a lower price point, people are likely to be more tolerant of minor imperfections, so I guess the question will be which market segment are you aiming at? Here on CS I would have thought that people are less dazzled by form and much more focused on function. But, if they can have both then so much the better.
For me I would always choose function over form if I have to.
Please do not do the stupid "downward angled" LM p/f. It is my main criticism of the Linea, GS3 and Strada - I really hate their p/f holders. Love everything else about all three. I actually went to the extreme of getting an LM compatible p/f with a straight handle for my own LM.
FWIW, I don't think their angled handle looks good on their machines either - the damn thing always looks like it is about to fall out onto the floor to me.
AFAIAC, I spent years with all types of machines where the handle gives you the level of the basket, and I vastly prefer it that way...
Y'all do realize that the handle is angled for purposes of ergonomics and not looks right? While a straight handle is not an issue for home users it most definitely is in a commercial setting.
Java "Repetitive motion injuries suck!" phile
Toys! I must have new toys!!!