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Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

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  • Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

    I just grabbed myself a vinatge (70s?) SAMA lever espresso machine. Very similar to the Ponte Vechio still avialable- and another machine called "romana"

    The machine works- I cleaned and re-lubricated the group head- and managed to clean the sight glass. I have begun rinsing the boiler- and given it a citric descale. The water is still coming through a little brown and there was a lot of crud int he sight glass so I think the boiler should be removed and fully cleaned. There is some rust on the chassis and the outer metal case.

    But nothink seems serious and I want to make this my first full fledged restoration. I am quite happy to consider modifying the machine- adding a PID- or any other flash gizmo recommended here. I think I would like to replace the on light- and the on/off switch- with something classier. I would also like to mount a small light beside the sight glass...

    but I am getting ahead of myself:

    The first two considerations that come to mind are:

    a) what to do with the filler hole? As you can see it is just plugged with a simple nut type thing. The Ponte Vechio version of this machine has a bakelite knob- under the top tray. The Romana version had one that protruded out. I think that is a better design as I dont want to open the machine top every time I refill the boiler. Also the inlet hole is way to small- so I will need to come up with some solution.

    I even considered mounting a capped funnel type thing on the front of the machine so it can easily be filled from there.

    The machine originally seems to have had an outlet at the back- in the metal shell- perhaps for a plumbed connection. This hole has been plugged.

    Any tips or hints as I go much appreciated. I am hoping the snobs community can pitch in to help me totally pimp this old beast...

    here it is- all stripped down:
















  • #2
    Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

    second consideration:

    b) After I have disassembled and had the chassis and shell sandblasted and repainted- shout I have a new front plate cut to allow for new switched- possible PID- larger external sight glass and better steam/water arms and knobs.

    The original knobs are quite good- little toggles that can also be turned. But the frothing arm is pretty small and pathetic looking and cannot turn.

    here are more pics of the machine:







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    • #3
      Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

      Interesting toy. Did you get it locally or was it an import?

      I had a look at the Ponte Vechio before I got my Pav, I still might grab one yet :

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      • #4
        Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

        Wish I had come across this one, I had a good hard look at the PV Lusso before deciding to stick with what Ive got.
        I am quite happy to consider modifying the machine- adding a PID- or any other flash gizmo recommended here.
        Fitting a PID to one of these seems like overkill to me as long as the pressurestat is in good working order a new one would be preferable. New safety valve, most important I read somewhere Sama closed because of a legal issue, the issue being a exploding machine killed someone. PV now fit the Lusso with a low water cutout, dunno why :, a vacuum breaker would be nice as well
        I think piston seals are different to the current PVs
        HBs lever forum is the place to be heres one Link

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        • #5
          Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

          Got this one from family in Italy via ebay. My model seems quite rare- I have not found any that are identical on the net- the group is different than other Sama/Ponte Vecchio/Romana machines. The boiler is a bit diferent too. The top of the group can be removed with two hex nuts. This means the piston slides right out. It seems a lot easier to open than other models where the piston has to be ejected out of the bottom- a violent and tricky process. I think it is a thermosyphon group- it has two water tubes going in from the boiler. Looks like the water circulates around the center of the piston until the shot is made.

          Further testing and the machine is working very well- but looks like I will need to fully disassemble and totally clean the boiler. Flakes of scale are coming out when I clean it.

          Any suggestions to totally clean the boiler? An ultrasonic bath? Acid bath? A home solution?



          Thanks for the tips so far :-)

          I agree about the PID- it wont be necessary. I read around and found this machine should have excellent thermal stability as is. Would a digital temp readout be a lot simpler (cheaper) and worthwhile? It should be easy to drill a hole in the case so that the thermostat can be adjusted without having to open the case. Having temp and pressure readings should make it quite easy to get the machine perfectly tweaked?



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          • #6
            Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

            just wrested the boiler off- cant remove the element yet- seems a little stiff. Very nice looking object it is:



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            • #7
              Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

              Jack, is it my imagination or is that one helluva big boiler for a compact machine? How many litres???

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              • #8
                Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

                3 litres (I think- I havent measured it exactly).

                It is designated as a club machine- intended to be left switched on. I think I will want to insulate the boiler at the reconstruction stage... what with I wonder?

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                • #9
                  Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)


                  Ah, must pack a punch!

                  You might want to look at the following thread in regard to insulation...

                  http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1223931557/27#27

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                  • #10
                    Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

                    Any one have any insulation to barter?

                    Project is coming along- awaiting the boiler- chassis has been cleaned and painted:

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                    • #11
                      Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

                      This machine has a thermosyphon spring lever head with 49mm baskets- Looks like La Pavoni Europiccola portafilters will fit perfectly...



                      any one got a spare naked pre-millenium pavoni portafilter lying about?



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                      • #12
                        Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

                        here is the group- disassembled, cleaned, and ready to go back in:





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                        • #13
                          Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

                          Once the boiler came back things moved very quickly- here is a pic of the boiler all cleaned up:



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                          • #14
                            Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

                            started reassembling- looking real good:



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                            • #15
                              Re: Sama Club Lever Machine Restoration- Help and Advice As I go- ;-)

                              got ahead of myself- here is a pic of the element- anyone think it looks too worn? Tested and working well- just unsure whether I should consider getting a new one?



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