Recent Versalab M3 performance

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
User avatar
Peppersass
Posts: 1361
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:54 pm
Real Name: Dick Green
Equipment: La Marzocco GS/3, Compak K10 WBC, Baratza Vario
Location: New Hampshire

Postby Peppersass » Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:15 pm

I have an LM GS/3 and I will be upgrading from a Macap M4 soon. The Versalab M3 is on my list for consideration. I'm well aware of the controversies surrounding the manufacturer and early production models, and I don't want to get into any of that here. I simply would like to hear from anyone who has used a Versalab M3 grinder manufactured within the last 1-2 years on the following questions:

1. Does the grinder produce consistent high-quality output over days, weeks, months of use?
2. Does the grind setting slip?
3. Does the drive belt slip?
4. Have you observed burr misalignment?
5. Have you observed runout in excess of spec on the drive shaft?
6. Are there any other design or mechanical flaws of which I should be aware?

At the moment, these are the only questions I'm interested in. I will later post my set of requirements for a grinder and ask some questions about which grinders may or may not meet them. For now, I'd like to know how current M3 owners are faring with recent production models.
Dick Green

mgrayson
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:21 am
Real Name: Matt Grayson
Equipment: La Marzocco GS/3; Versalab M3; HG One
Location: NYC

Postby mgrayson » Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:40 pm

In before the thread is locked!

Peppersass wrote:I have an LM GS/3 and I will be upgrading from a Macap M4 soon. The Versalab M3 is on my list for consideration. I'm well aware of the controversies surrounding the manufacturer and early production models, and I don't want to get into any of that here. I simply would like to hear from anyone who has used a Versalab M3 grinder manufactured within the last 1-2 years on the following questions:

1. Does the grinder produce consistent high-quality output over days, weeks, months of use?

For me, yes.
2. Does the grind setting slip?

When I first got it, I would sometimes forget to tighten the grind setting clamp. I have not made that mistake in over 6 months.
3. Does the drive belt slip?

For me, never. I rarely grind light roasts, but I have done so more than once.
4. Have you observed burr misalignment?

No.
5. Have you observed runout in excess of spec on the drive shaft?

No.
6. Are there any other design or mechanical flaws of which I should be aware?

The main bearing was not glued properly when the M3 was first shipped to me. That was fixed quickly. My anti-static wire broke at some point, but I have noticed no buildup of coffee, so I haven't replaced it.

Best,

Matt

denniskeating
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 10:58 pm
Real Name: dennis keating
Location: arvada, co.

Postby denniskeating » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:07 pm

My unit has been working fine for 6 mos now. I have not had the belt slip, and I pour the whole load of beans in all at once. If a hard, light roasted bean is a problem for the belt, I would think that can countered by pouring the beans a little at a time. - Dennis

pdx
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:43 pm
Real Name: Ben King
Equipment: Speedster, Versalab
Location: portland, or

Postby pdx » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:08 pm

I've had mine since early '06, so this is outside your sample, but:

Peppersass wrote:1. Does the grinder produce consistent high-quality output over days, weeks, months of use?


Yes

Peppersass wrote:2. Does the grind setting slip?


No, it actually requires less adjustment than the mazzer roburs I've used, probably because there's so much less heat.

Peppersass wrote:3. Does the drive belt slip?


Yes, even when recently cleaned with acetone. I bought the "knurled pulley", but it made very little difference. I don't use unusual beans; i regularly alternate between Stumptown, Ecco, Ritual, and whatever else strikes my fancy at Barista- the belt slips on any of them. I feed beans slowly, but its still an issue. When I finish my pump project I might look into timing pulleys & belt (a sim. solution to what Mark at Synesso has in his shop.)

Peppersass wrote:4. Have you observed burr misalignment?


No.

Peppersass wrote:5. Have you observed runout in excess of spec on the drive shaft?


I've never put machinist tools to it, but you can see very slight eccentricity. I see no impact on performance, though.

Peppersass wrote:6. Are there any other design or mechanical flaws of which I should be aware?


I've blown a fuse on it once when feeding unusual beans, but its an easy fix (with spares included with the grinder) & they're easy to source for replacement.
Ben King.

User avatar
Vidio
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:11 am
Real Name: Mario
Location: Pennsylvania

Postby Vidio » Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:20 am

I've had mine since April of this year and it has made a huge difference in the quality of my espresso. Consistent excellent grinds and pours. I often have 5 or 6 SOs and blends open and change between each cup. This grinder has been perfect for that. I keep notes on the various grind setting for each blend and adjust between each cup as needed.

1. Does the grinder produce consistent high-quality output over days, weeks, months of use?

Yes


2. Does the grind setting slip?

No, not at all unless you forget to tighten after changing.


3. Does the drive belt slip?

No


4. Have you observed burr misalignment?

No


5. Have you observed runout in excess of spec on the drive shaft?

No


6. Are there any other design or mechanical flaws of which I should be aware?

None. The unit did ship without the portafilter holder I had ordered but they shipped that out a few weeks later.

User avatar
Fullsack
Posts: 830
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:34 pm
Real Name: Doug Jamieson
Equipment: GS/3 MP, A3, La Pavoni pre, Compak K10, Mahlkoing K30ES, Super Jolly, Zass
Location: San Francisco
Interests: Coffee roasting, rebuilding espresso machines, cooking.

Postby Fullsack » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:41 pm

1. Does the grinder produce consistent high-quality output over days, weeks, months of use?
Yes
2. Does the grind setting slip?
No
3. Does the drive belt slip?
It did for the first time this morning.
4. Have you observed burr misalignment?
No
5. Have you observed runout in excess of spec on the drive shaft?
No
6. Are there any other design or mechanical flaws of which I should be aware?
None I'm aware of
LMWDP #017
Kill all my demons and my angels might die too. T. Williams

cinergi
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:36 pm
Real Name: Doug Shannon
Equipment: Synesso Cyncra 1 Group, Versalab M3 grinder
Location: Austin, TX

Postby cinergi » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:47 pm

1. Does the grinder produce consistent high-quality output over days, weeks, months of use?

Yes


2. Does the grind setting slip?

only when I 1st bought it. It never has after I adjusted it.


3. Does the drive belt slip?

Yes, but only with lightly roasted beans. Keeping the belt clean and replacing it once a year helps.
I think a cogged belt/pulley system would make this a near perfect grinder at least for me.

4. Have you observed burr misalignment?

No


5. Have you observed runout in excess of spec on the drive shaft?

No


6. Are there any other design or mechanical flaws of which I should be aware?

No.

truly great coffee roasted to highlight its inherent quality
CoffeeBuzz
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:33 am
Real Name: DaveG
Equipment: Brewtus II. Versalab M3.
Location: Northern CA
Interests: Mountain Biking, Hiking, Trail Running

Postby CoffeeBuzz » Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:52 am

1. Does the grinder produce consistent high-quality output over days, weeks, months of use?
Yes
2. Does the grind setting slip?
No
3. Does the drive belt slip?
No
4. Have you observed burr misalignment?
No
5. Have you observed runout in excess of spec on the drive shaft?
No
6. Are there any other design or mechanical flaws of which I should be aware?
No.

You might be interested to know that the brass parts are not clear coated, and therefore not as easy to clean as chrome or stainless steel. I use Mothers metal polish on them every other month to keep them looking like new.

hperry
Posts: 874
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 1:07 am
Real Name: Hal Perry
Equipment: Speedster, Termazona Lever, Bacchi, Caravel, Peppina, Brunella, Versalab M3 Grinder, Baratza Vario
Location: Seattle Washington
Interests: Coffee, audio, music, technology

Postby hperry » Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:38 pm

1. Does the grinder produce consistent high-quality output over days, weeks, months of use?

Yes

2. Does the grind setting slip?

No. Requires adjustment once or twice a year.

3. Does the drive belt slip?

No - if replaced once every couples of years.

4. Have you observed burr misalignment?

No.

5. Have you observed runout in excess of spec on the drive shaft?

No

6. Are there any other design or mechanical flaws of which I should be aware?

No

My unit is a very early one with all but the most recent modification.
Hal Perry

denniskeating
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 10:58 pm
Real Name: dennis keating
Location: arvada, co.

Postby denniskeating » Sun Sep 06, 2009 5:53 pm

Doug, I see you are online.
Are you interested in Dr. Beans cogged pulley set? I saw the inquiry on his blog.
I translated his price to be $91.34 USD + shipping. If we both buy, I'll split shipping with you.
- Dennis