Hopper chopper - making the commercial grinder fit in the kitchen

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
User avatar
DaveLSM
Posts: 64
Joined: Feb 27, 2016, 8:08 am

Postby DaveLSM » Mar 25, 2016, 10:24 pm

For the record, here is a photo sequence illustrating a reliable way to reduce the height of a commercial grinder by cutting down the hopper. I've done two, same method. La San Marco SM90 and La Pavoni Zip, both local kijiji bargains.

The whole job takes 10-15 minutes or so with minimal risk of damage.

I had briefly contemplated other approaches, including using my bandsaw, but this would have required a fixture, or some risk of damage if jigged only in a minimal way. Cutting by hand would have been a slow and tedious process. The Fein tool I used (and other oscillating tools) cuts a very fine kerf and is not as aggressive as any power saw and is therefore more controllable, if a bit slower. (not materially so in this case)

--Clamping the Fein tool in the vise with its blade parallel to the benchtop means no measuring or marking.
--The tool must be clamped firmly so it does not move during the cutting process. Too firmly might crush it, so a little care is required.
--Using a good flat bench itself as a fixture is always a good plan, and in this case it really makes sense, not only for the cutting but for the sanding as well. See photos.

The LSM had been trimmed before, the newly-arrived la Pavoni ZIP/sprint (Obel Berega) does not fit beneath the cabinets.

Image

This is the multitool clamped in a vise on a workbench. The blade is set above and parallel to the surface of the bench, at the height of the amount you want to remove from the hopper. The relationship between the blade and the top of the hopper is therefore fixed and controlled by using the bench as a registration surface. The tool is very controlled in how it cuts. All of which is perfect for this sort of job, and if the tool doesn't move it is impossible for the cut or the hopper to stray. More aggressive saws will be much less forgiving, will require more extensive jigging (or risk) and could have explosive results.

Image

Cutting now. See that a small section has been left intact. This keeps the hopper solid and tames things till the end, when you cut out these little "support sections" once the rest is done.

Image

Turning the hopper, continuing to cut, moving it along the blade surface as well to prevent too much local heat build up.

Image

Cut complete, now sanding on the flat of the bench - the Fein left a nice flat surface and the bench ensures it is sanded factory-flat. I started with 80 grit. moved to 120 then 220. (IIRC) To soften the corners, I left the paper on the bench and tilted the hopper while rolling the edge on the paper. For the inside edge, I wrapped the paper loosely around a roll of paper towels, and clamped that in the vise. used that soft sandpaper cylinder to sand the inside cut edge of the hopper.

For both the Pavoni and the LSM, the lid fit perfectly after cutting.

Image

Done. Plenty of grinder capacity now!

Image

Dave
La vita e troppo breve per mangiare e bere male.

our caffeinated commitment to you
Sponsored by Whole Latte Love - our caffeinated commitment to you
User avatar
turtle
Posts: 392
Joined: Jun 27, 2013, 5:43 pm

Postby turtle » Mar 26, 2016, 12:04 am

I was just talking via PM with a member who could not fit their grinder in their kitchen and I suggested taking the hopper to a woodworking shop to have them cut (band saw) and grind it down (bench sander) but seeing the way you "shrunk" yours at home would be a great option for them.

Lucky for me, replacing the whopping tall super jolly hopper with a short mini gave me about 2" of clearance between the top of the hopper and the bottom of the upper cabinets.

I'll be coming back to your post when I "graduate" to a taller grinder some day in the future.

Thanks for posting!!!!
Mick - Drinking in life one cup at a time
I'd rather be roasting coffee

User avatar
drgary
Team HB
Posts: 9395
Joined: Feb 07, 2010, 4:16 pm

Postby drgary » Mar 26, 2016, 12:19 am

Very nice!
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

SAB
Posts: 374
Joined: May 16, 2014, 7:10 pm

Postby SAB » Mar 26, 2016, 12:44 am

Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

User avatar
DaveLSM
Posts: 64
Joined: Feb 27, 2016, 8:08 am

Postby DaveLSM » Mar 26, 2016, 7:23 am

turtle wrote:I was just talking via PM with a member who could not fit their grinder in their kitchen and I suggested taking the hopper to a woodworking shop to have them cut (band saw) and grind it down (bench sander) but seeing the way you "shrunk" yours at home would be a great option for them.

Lucky for me, replacing the whopping tall super jolly hopper with a short mini gave me about 2" of clearance between the top of the hopper and the bottom of the upper cabinets.

I'll be coming back to your post when I "graduate" to a taller grinder some day in the future.

Thanks for posting!!!!


Thanks!
La vita e troppo breve per mangiare e bere male.

User avatar
FotonDrv
Posts: 3208
Joined: Oct 30, 2012, 7:35 pm

Postby FotonDrv » Mar 29, 2016, 9:03 am

drgary wrote:Very nice!


+1
LMWDP #417. Life is short, so enjoy what you do and what you brew :-)

forbeskm
Posts: 706
Joined: Aug 23, 2013, 6:43 pm

Postby forbeskm » Mar 29, 2016, 11:28 am

Very nice, clamping the multi tool in the vise was a great idea! My zip arrived sans hopper, I used a Mazzer mini hopper with uhmw tape wrapped around the base to make it fit.

coffee & espresso equipment and accessories
Sponsored by Prima Coffee - coffee & espresso equipment and accessories
Komponistkalle
Posts: 32
Joined: Jul 27, 2015, 1:44 pm

Postby Komponistkalle » Mar 29, 2016, 3:18 pm

SAB wrote:Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

+1

User avatar
trumz
Posts: 237
Joined: Sep 14, 2014, 5:44 pm

Postby trumz » Mar 29, 2016, 3:36 pm

Nice one. I did the same to my Mythos hopper. Masking tape on both side made the cut cleaner. I used a jigsaw thought and my cut isn't very mice but end result is fine.

User avatar
DaveLSM
Posts: 64
Joined: Feb 27, 2016, 8:08 am

Postby DaveLSM » Mar 30, 2016, 9:53 pm

trumz wrote:Nice one. I did the same to my Mythos hopper. Masking tape on both side made the cut cleaner. I used a jigsaw thought and my cut isn't very mice but end result is fine.


Thanks. The cut is very clean with the fein tool, BUT you're right, the tape might help with minimize the adhesion of the melted plastic alongside the cut (which you can see in the photo) and speed up the final sanding and finish of the cut edge. Or, it might make it worse... Worth a shot. As documented it really did not take long to finish, and there was no scratching or damage.

Dave
La vita e troppo breve per mangiare e bere male.