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Thread: Frankensilvia project report and pics

  1. #1
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    Frankensilvia project report and pics

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I've had a few requests now for some photos of my monster Silvia, so here they are for anyone interested!

    The story goes that I somehow ended up with a customer's Silvia, and seeing a pile of new boilers on the shelf I thought I'd see what could be done to shoehorn a steam boiler in there. There really isn't enough metal in a Silvia for any self respecting coffee tech to be satisfied with. I must have been bored that week...

    The design goal was to give the machine all the functions and temperature control of a dual boiler machine in the much smaller Silvia package.

    The list of jobs was as follows:

    Add separate steam boiler - this would be two Silvia boilers joined at the base and modified as needed
    Add auto fill board
    Add hot water spout and solenoid
    Add PID to brew boiler
    Upgrade steam valve
    Add pressure gauges for steam and brew
    Add tank weight sensor switch

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411724778.342604.jpg

    This is the tiny steam boiler heat exchanger. It pre heats the brew water along with some cold water mixed back in.

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411724903.499734.jpg

    The bare chassis with boilers installed. All modifications necessary for putting valves and fittings into the steam boiler are done.

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411725017.663347.jpg

    Feed pipe for the brew pressure gauge. This is taken from the plug in the group and is after the solenoid, so shows 0 when the group is not being used.

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411725153.939966.jpg

    Pump, auto fill controller, boiler fill solenoid, brew SSR and some steam boiler fittings in.

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411725283.057523.jpg

    Making cutouts for new front panel additions.

    More pics to follow....

  2. #2
    Site Sponsor coffee_machinist's Avatar
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    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411725491.357286.jpg

    The space behind the front panel starting to fill up. Faema style steam valve is in, anti vac, pressurestat, gauge and safety valve for the steam boiler.

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411725584.367575.jpg

    Wiring was probably the most challenging part of this mod, with all the components in place things were getting pretty fiddly.

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411725689.114150.jpg

    Here the temp probe and brew PID controller are in. I've also added a cold water feed back into the line to the brew boiler, the heat exchanger feed was putting in too much energy and overheating the brew boiler between shots. Bleeding some cold back in via a restrictor did the trick. Back to back stability and recovery now excellent.

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1411725905.079322.jpg

    She's done! The top left switch position is now an indicator for boiler activity. Both boilers can heat simultaneously so it is properly hot in 10 minutes with a backflush or two, and draws in fact a little over 10 amps occasionally factoring in the pump.

    This is now my home machine and does the job admirably, performance is excellent and it's been going strong for a year. The only down side is the even smaller water tank, refills happen about three times a week for a few morning cuppas. A decor 1 litre drink bottle has taken the place of the original.


    Would I do it again? The sensible answer would be no, but it was good fun, and a test of what could be possible in a Silvia footprint.
    Dimal, dino, SniffCoffee and 5 others like this.

  3. #3
    Member ASchecter's Avatar
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    Very nice work

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    Awesome work

  5. #5
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Wow, that's great!!

    Cheers

  6. #6
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    Great work as always Rick, you are a true craftsman! I have a Sylvia V3 as a spare machine and it's amazing to see what's possible! Makes me wonder how much I can mod it with timber pieces? Hmmmm

  7. #7
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    Awesome job as always Rick, some time back in the dim-dark past I had notions of a similar upgrade, never actually got around to doing anything about it (and now my Silvia lives 800km away )

  8. #8
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    That is sick! Love it.

  9. #9
    Member RayTCoffeePro's Avatar
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    Sick mod for the Silvia.....

    Nice looking front plate....

    Nice golden-ish grouphead

    There's a water outlet (i believe to the side)

    Wiring looks complicated and fun....

    What pump, vibe or rotary?

    I'm hoping you modded the pump....

  10. #10
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    That's some sweet work and fabrication skill.

    Can I ask what pressure gauges they are that you are using? They look great, I could envisage them with blue backlighting.

  11. #11
    kbc
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    It's amazing. I have been lucky enough to see it.... Well done Rick. Great project.

  12. #12
    Site Sponsor coffee_machinist's Avatar
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    Thanks all. The gauges are sourced from Expobar, they are good quality and I like the black face.

  13. #13
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    Incredibly awesome dude. Hows the steam like?

  14. #14
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    Wow! Amazing.
    What are your thoughts about using a LM stainless group handle? Seems to fit my Silvia really well.
    Would go with your LM steam knob

  15. #15
    Site Sponsor coffee_machinist's Avatar
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    I mostly use a naked so the portafilter material is a moot point, but yeah why not! The stainless handles are certainly sexy. LM actually bought in alot of parts from faema in times gone by - the linea steam valve is one example.

  16. #16
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    this really is awesome!

    is the unit that controls the steam boiler water level a diy device or off the shelf?

    as an aside, how does a single boiler machine work on steam mode? at non steam mode water comes out of the steam wand and when temp increases in steam mode, steam comes out. where does the water go to drop the level in boiler so we get steam?

    cheers



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