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Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

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  • Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

    Since getting my Faema E98 I had struggled to get decent microfoam from it. The standard steam tip has 4 quite large holes and steams very fast, making quite large bubbles in the milk. After some practice with it my results improved, but I still could never get as good a result as I could get with my previous Silvia machine, particularly with smaller volumes of milk. But I have now found the solution:

    I recently fitted a La Spaziale steam arm to my Faema E98 so I thought I’d post a few photos to show what was involved to do this. This conversion would also work on a La Cimbali.

    I initially read of this conversion in the La Cimbali Junior Buyer’s Guide on Home Barista. This was supposedly an easy conversion, and just a straight swap for the existing steam arm, but I didn’t find it to be quite that straight forward.

    For this conversion I chose to use the longer La Spaziale S5 steam arm rather than the S1 arm that was mentioned in the Home Barista guide. In hindsight, the S1 arm may have been a better choice due to the tighter bend in the arm, which IMO better suits the Faema E98/Cimbali. See photo below for comparison of the 2 La Spaziale steam arms:




  • #2
    Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

    The main problem in fitting this Spaziale steam arm is that the attachment nut is much shorter than the Faema/Cimbali one. The nut is of the same thread, but since it is shorter the nut will not go on with the standard spring inside it. If installing the arm without that spring, you risk damaging the gasket that sits against the ball-joint, as the gasket is pressed against the body of the steam valve as it’s tightned. The arm is also too loose without that spring providing pressure on the ball-joint. It’s a bit difficult to explain on here in words, but it just seemed like a bit of a dodgy fitment to me, and I wasn’t satisfied with that.

    See photo below for comparison of Faema E98 steam arm next to the Spaziale S5 steam arm:



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    • #3
      Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

      I later realized that the ball-joint of the Spaziale arm is actually screwed on, so could therefore be removed so that the nut could be replaced with a Faema/Cimbali one. Refer photo below:


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      • #4
        Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

        I also wasn’t happy with the way the Spaziale S5 arm was positioned on the machine, due to the straighter bend. This made the Spaziale arm sit lower and closer to the side of the machine than the standard one. I guess it comes down to personal preference, but I much preferred the way the original arm was positioned. This may not have been as much of an issue if I’d had the S1 arm, but I didn’t have one of those to compare.

        Anyway, other than the angle of the bend closest to the tip, the Spaziale arm was otherwise nearly identical to the original arm. See photo below:


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        • #5
          Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

          So I thought all I’d have to do would be to bend the Spaziale arm to the same angle as the original arm and then it would sit the same way on the machine. This wasn’t as easy as I first thought, as I had some difficulty finding anyone that was equipped to bend such small tubing. Eventually I found a place that could do this, but they wanted $100 just to set the machine up, not including the bending! However they had another job in a few weeks time when they would be doing some bending of the same size tubing, so they said they could put mine in with that order and do it all at the same time to save costs.

          So this was the end result, next to the Faema arm:


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          • #6
            Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

            And assembled:



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            • #7
              Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

              And this is what it looks like fitted to the machine.



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              • #8
                Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

                I must say that I am really happy with how this turned out. I’ve been using the La Spaziale Vivaldi 0.9mm x 4 hole tip on this arm, and I must say that the microfoam that this produces is absolutely amazing, far better than anything I have achieved before! - really silky smooth microfoam, with no large bubbles. The microfoam is better, and more consistent, that what I used to get on my Silvia as well.

                I’ve tried many, many different steam tips on this machine before I fitted this Spaziale arm, and I’ve tried just about every steam tip available – I’ve got quite a collection of them now! All the aftermarket tips, although producing quite good microfoam, are very, very slow. The Spaziale 0.9mm x 4 hole tip though is much faster at steaming than the aftermarket tips, yet still makes excellent microfoam.

                For reference, this is the Faema E98 steam tip (left), next to the La Spaziale Vivaldi 0.9mm x 4 hole tip, Vivaldi 3-hole tip, & Spaziale S5 commercial machine 4-hole tip.


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                • #9
                  Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

                  I know this is an old post and Im hoping for a reply. This was an excellent post and helped me convert my la Cimbali M21 Junior DT/1 to this steam wand. It looks like I used the same nut you used to attach the steam wand. I noticed that my wand is leaking at the base. I made sure that I included the washer, spacer, and spring in the assemly, however, Im getting a leak at the base of the nut where the ball joint is. This is after the nut has been properly tightened. Did you experience anything like this?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Faema E98/Cimbali Steam Arm Conversion

                    No, I havent experienced that. Where exactly is the leak? Is it where the ball joint screws in to the arm? (you need to use loctite on those threads or itll come loose)

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