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Frankensilvia project report and pics

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  • Frankensilvia project report and pics

    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

    Click image for larger version

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

    Click image for larger version

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

    Click image for larger version

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    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.

    Click image for larger version

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

    Click image for larger version

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    Making cutouts for new front panel additions.

    More pics to follow....

  • #2
    Click image for larger version

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    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.

    Click image for larger version

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

    Click image for larger version

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    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.

    Click image for larger version

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    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.


    • #3
      Very nice work


      • #4
        Awesome work


        • #5
          Wow, that's great!!



          • #6
            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
              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
                That is sick! Love it.


                • #9
                  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
                    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
                      It's amazing. I have been lucky enough to see it.... Well done Rick. Great project.


                      • #12
                        Thanks all. The gauges are sourced from Expobar, they are good quality and I like the black face.


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


                          • #14
                            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
                              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.