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Versalab M3 grinder owners - Page 2

Postby another_jim on Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:44 pm

Eiron wrote:It's kinda overkill for the home user (not that that means anything to folks here :wink: ), but here's a view of Versalab's optimum operating setup. When you combine the grinder, hoppers & press, you can see how they're really designing for the commercial environment. They even 'splain some of the M3's advantages on their In the Coffee Shop web page. Surprisingly, most cafe owners (that I've talked with) haven't thought about any of these things!


This is incorrect. The grinder is not built for either heavy espresso use, or for grinding lighter roasted, harder beans such as used for cupping or brewed coffee.
-- The drive belt is not notched as in the original DRM grinder; so it will slip.
-- There is only a single sleeve bearing on the drive shaft, and it is so far away from the leverage created by the grinder burrs, that it warps. The rotation gets stiffer, goes off-center, and then freezes up completely.
-- The connection between the drive shaft and the large pulley wheel is not keyed, so it will also slip.
-- Finally, the grind adjustment is also prone to slippage, since it is not spring loaded and the single set screw has to be torqued very hard to secure it.

IMO, while the functional design of this grinder is very original and promising; the nuts and bolts production design is hopeless. It needs to be redone completely before I would recommend this grinder for either home or limited commercial use.
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Postby lauradearborn on Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:21 pm

malachi wrote:Using one in a cafe environment would be basically impossible unless the volume was VERY low.


Hi guys! Your thinking about the M3 being slow is behind the times. We have several high volume shops using our M3 grinders and a Press that can work at very high speed. It is their preferred equipment even replacing a Robur used with our Press.

We haven't timed that shop but they handle some serious traffic. We do know that to do two shots every 70 - 76 seconds isn't hard. That's 35-38 seconds a shot with a 30 second pour time. All explained on our Coffeeshop page as referenced above. During the movie shown on that page the young lady barista casually does 4 1/2 shots in under three minutes. Not working very hard either.
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Postby lauradearborn on Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:39 pm

We at Versalab are seriously perturbed that Jim Schulman should continue to blacken the reputation of our equipment.

We have a great many grinders in the field all running nicely. Go to the website and read the customer testimonials please.

We have grinders doing hard service in coffee shops running thousands of pounds of beans without any problems.

And the technical statements that were listed are quite incorrect.

-- Drive belts do not have to be of the "cogged" or "timing" type in order to perform in this environment.

-- The shaft of the grinder is held quite rigidly in a pair of ball bearings. A perfectly trouble free arrangement that had problems only in the first few grinders. [Mr.Schulman's grinder is serial number 9.] We made a rather tiny change (.010") and all has been quite perfect since.

-- No key is necessary between the pulley and the shaft.

-- The adjustment lock knob in Mr. Schulman's grinder was installed by him. It was a free kit that made the grind extremely repeatable. If he had a confusion or difficulty in installation he did not call regarding it.

What makes the matter worse for us is that 23 months ago Mr. Schulman was given the opportunity to ship the grinder back to us at our expense to be completely updated free of charge. He thanked us for our kind offer. But it's an opportunity he has never used despite several reminders. Yet he continues to post negative and erroneous comments about the grinder.
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Postby another_jim on Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:27 pm

Laura is correct on one point; my comments are about my grinder, which was made three years ago. If Versalab has made corrections to the faulty bearing design since then, that's fine.

I still do not believe friction couplings like those used on this grinder's belt to pulley wheels, and pulley wheel to drive shaft are sufficient. But if nobody else has had regular slipping problems, I'd be wrong.

As far as your offer. When these problems occurred, you sent me a tube of glue, instructions on how far to loosen some bolts, and suggested the problems were my fault. Your offer to correct the problem at your facility was only made after I went public with these design problems in HB's review thread. On reflection, I decided to have no further dealings with Versalab, not to accept any offers it made, nor to be beholden to it in any way at all. Again, this does not speak to Versalab's current practices; only to my ability to review espresso equipment without the appearance of bias or getting special favors.

lauradearborn wrote:We at Versalab are seriously perturbed that Jim Schulman should continue to blacken the reputation of our equipment.

We have a great many grinders in the field all running nicely. Go to the website and read the customer testimonials please.

We have grinders doing hard service in coffee shops running thousands of pounds of beans without any problems.

And the technical statements that were listed are quite incorrect.

-- Drive belts do not have to be of the "cogged" or "timing" type in order to perform in this environment.

-- The shaft of the grinder is held quite rigidly in a pair of ball bearings. A perfectly trouble free arrangement that had problems only in the first few grinders. [Mr.Schulman's grinder is serial number 9.] We made a rather tiny change (.010") and all has been quite perfect since.

-- No key is necessary between the pulley and the shaft.

-- The adjustment lock knob in Mr. Schulman's grinder was installed by him. It was a free kit that made the grind extremely repeatable. If he had a confusion or difficulty in installation he did not call regarding it.

What makes the matter worse for us is that 23 months ago Mr. Schulman was given the opportunity to ship the grinder back to us at our expense to be completely updated free of charge. He thanked us for our kind offer. But it's an opportunity he has never used despite several reminders. Yet he continues to post negative and erroneous comments about the grinder.
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Postby HB on Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:28 pm

lauradearborn wrote:During the movie shown on that page the young lady barista casually does 4 1/2 shots in under three minutes. Not working very hard either.

In the spirit of full disclosure, she's also using two grinders and they appear to hum for ~20 seconds per double, which is rather slow by Mazzer commercial standards, to name only one manufacturer. To fairly compare apples to apples, what is the duty rating of the grinder depicted in the video (i.e., seconds per 14 gram double, does it allow continuous duty or are rests required)?
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Postby Fullsack on Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:30 pm

Over time, the brass adjustment section of my M3 has become more and more difficult to turn, now, it won't budge. I'm reluctant to use a penetrating oil because it's not food grade and a pipe wrench with a rubber protector seems a little over the top. Am I the first M3 owner to experience this?
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Postby cinergi on Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:55 pm

I agree with Jim on the slipping issues. My M3 has all the latest updates but still slips and chews up belts if I attempt grinding a light roast. Other than that I have had no problems since the updates. If the belt/pulley were cogged I think it would fix the issue with lighter roasts. Note that only two 17g doubles get ground per day on my M3. I shudder to think what might happen if I used it more than I do.
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Postby cinergi on Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:57 pm

Fullsack wrote:Over time, the brass adjustment section of my M3 has become more and more difficult to turn, now, it won't budge. I'm reluctant to use a penetrating oil because it's not food grade and a pipe wrench with a rubber protector seems a little over the top. Am I the first M3 owner to experience this?


I have had this problem as well but coating the threads with some food grade grease fixed the problem for me.
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Postby popeye on Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:11 pm

Does anyone else feel like "that person" just walked into the local bar where you and your buddies are always hanging out? It kinda feels like an invasion when Versalab comes in here like that. I mean, who am I gonna trust, Jim Schulman or Versalab? Oh well. Still wish I could have got an M3, but just from a company that understood business.

Heck, ECCO cafe just sent me a pound of La Maravila (vacpot roast) because I've been patiently waiting (and impatiently emailing them) about when their SO La Maravila to become available. Now that's a company that makes me want to do business with them!

Laura: It's not about the facts anymore, because they've been so muddied and lost in all the accusations and rumor. That's why I glossed over the stuff I quoted below. It's about the impression I have of Versalab. It's about responsibility and marketing. But even more so, it's about going above and beyond - not getting caught in this "he said, she said" stuff, but it being explicitly clear that Versalab always has and always will act with integrity and take care of the customer. It's about doing the right thing, even when the customer isn't. I don't want to buy expensive espresso equipment from a used car salesman.

lauradearborn wrote:We at Versalab are seriously perturbed that Jim Schulman should continue to blacken the reputation of our equipment.

We have a great many grinders in the field all running nicely. Go to the website and read the customer testimonials please.

We have grinders doing hard service in coffee shops running thousands of pounds of beans without any problems.

And the technical statements that were listed are quite incorrect.

-- Drive belts do not have to be of the "cogged" or "timing" type in order to perform in this environment.

-- The shaft of the grinder is held quite rigidly in a pair of ball bearings. A perfectly trouble free arrangement that had problems only in the first few grinders. [Mr.Schulman's grinder is serial number 9.] We made a rather tiny change (.010") and all has been quite perfect since.

-- No key is necessary between the pulley and the shaft.

-- The adjustment lock knob in Mr. Schulman's grinder was installed by him. It was a free kit that made the grind extremely repeatable. If he had a confusion or difficulty in installation he did not call regarding it.

What makes the matter worse for us is that 23 months ago Mr. Schulman was given the opportunity to ship the grinder back to us at our expense to be completely updated free of charge. He thanked us for our kind offer. But it's an opportunity he has never used despite several reminders. Yet he continues to post negative and erroneous comments about the grinder.
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Postby HB on Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:30 pm

Long-time members may recognize this discussion as the familiar he said/she said loop of vendor service complaints documented in the Guidelines for productive online discussion (specifically steps 1 through 5). Unless someone has a new point to offer, please, let's move on. Thanks.
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