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  • A microcimbali thats seen better days

    Just started work on my next project, restoring a 1962 Microcimbali lever.

    I got a false sense of security from the pictures of the machine all dressed up, turns out its entirely another matter internally!

    The aluminium boiler / group casting is so badly corroded it actually has a tiny pin hole leak right through the wall in one place.

    The top plate that holds the spring mechanism is seized on, and I snapped two of the rods trying to remove the nuts, so that should be fun to separate.

    The group collar is a very early version and Im not quite sure how that comes out, if it does at all. Will have to do some more research.

    The element is OK so far though, which is great news, that would be a real bugger to fix.

    So into the acid bath for some bits, and some others will have a hot date with a blowtorch I expect.

    Cant wait till its finished, gonna be such a pretty machine!!

    Cheers,

    Rick.















  • #2
    Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

    probably not as bad as it looks, the pin-hole can be repaired of course... not soaking the alu in acid I hope

    I will be watching this one, fun project!

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    • #3
      Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

      Got the group piston/spring assembly and top plate off today, with the aid of some deft hammer work by a most esteemed colleague of mine. Looks good!

      Also apparently the group collar is a press fit, so that will be staying put for the moment.

      James, yep - the whole alloy casting went into the descaler, in an aim to etch back to good metal. Externally its going to be polished anyway, so the thin layer of oxidation is not a big deal.

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      • #4
        Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

        nice work... a little at a time fun stuff

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        • #5
          Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

          I have one of these - also with a tiny hole in the boiler.... I had thought it probably not worth/possible repairing- if it has one hole already I thought the alloy must be pretty corroded/pitted... how to you plan to plug the hole?

          Also where is your hole located? On mine it is at the rear of the boiler- half way up. I had though to plug mine by tapping a hole and screwing in a screw with some JB weld or similar...

          One good thing is that these machines seem to operate at a lower pressure than other levers- around 0.8 Bar from memory.

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          • #6
            Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

            Yeah I noticed that the ball valve keeps the pressure on the low side, which bodes well for a successful repair of the hole.

            I think Ill show it to an aluminium welder and see what they think, but yes the small screw/JB weld is a tempting option, pending a study of the JB Weld MSDS.

            The hole in mine is about 2 cm above the element, right at the back. Its definitely the worst offender and while the pitting is significant elsewhere I dont think Ill get another hole form anytime soon.

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            • #7
              Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

              I wonder if you could get it anodized?

              strange that my hole is in roughly the same location...

              My machine has a strange hole on the side of the frothing wand tip- I think it is designed so that you can froth decently at the lower than normal boiler pressure.

              Is that fuji x-100 you are using for those shots? has that steamy macro look...



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              • #8
                Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

                an ally welder should be able to help, it will of course need grinding down and re-polishing after repairs, probably wont cost much! I think its a better option than drilling and tapping if only for originality

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                • #9
                  Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

                  [split] [link=http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1249384716/199#199][splithere][/link][splithere_end] Lets keep it OT please.
                  Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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                  • #10
                    Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

                    So Ive had a chance to finish off the microcimbali, its now all back together and up and running.

                    I ended up plugging the hole in the boiler with a machined aluminium plug and loctite 510 gasket compound. Its fairly obvious visually as the new aluminium is nice and bright, but its so far completely successful, so thats the main thing

                    I had another setback with the boiler casting, while drilling out one of the studs I snapped off the end of a drill bit - high speed steel embedded in steel embedded in a threaded aluminium hole.... bugger. I eventually very very slowly ground out the remaining 6mm of drill with a chainsaw sharpening dremel bit, but damn that was annoying.

                    Other than that, everything went together easily with seals etc. from Orphan Espresso, Im still figuring out how to get the best from the machine, so far Im not completely sold on it - the steam pressure is a bit anaemic, I dont like the portafilter spouts and it has an annoying propensity to portafilter sneezes - something I never get on my Pavoni. However, I have produced some absolutely cracking shots with the most amazing viscosity and sweetness, so I know I will be rewarded as I persevere and learn its quirks.

                    This is the first spring lever machine Ive used, and I am definitely addicted - there is an immense amount of joy to be gained from just watching and listening as the shot pours











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                    • #11
                      Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

                      Some more porn ;D





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                      • #12
                        Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

                        Beautiful looking machine! Well done.

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                        • #13
                          Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

                          Beautiful looking machine indeed. Does anybody know where i can find a porta filter for my microcimbali Liberty ? I am in the "restoring" process myself but forging a porta filter is a bit too much of an adventure i feel

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                          • #14
                            Re: A microcimbali thats seen better days

                            that is very cool, very shabby chic! Orange colour adds to the "coolness" too

                            Im wondering if you soaked some of the metal in Cafetto if that would help

                            That crema looks very good.

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                            • #15
                              Hi Rick,
                              wondering how you picked yours as 1962?
                              I've got a similar looking machine (same colour too) but with 4 nuts on the sight glass and a stamped serial of 43868 in the group casting.

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