Astoria commercial lever machine restoration/modification - Page 4

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
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Postby Whale » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:08 pm

Love it!
Nobody, that did not follow this thread, will be able to identify this machine when you are done with it!
LMWDP #330

Be thankful for the small mercies in life.

Chad C.
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Postby Chad C. » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:33 am

Nicely done! I cringed at the photos of the altered frame, but I guess you never know the skill level and design acumen of some random dude on the interwebs. I'm impressed by what it's becoming.

I noticed its propane option; ya gonna use it? The rubber stopper on the adjustment point of the propane regulator suggests that it has never been used. My two group Astoria lever is much more temperature stable on propane than on electricity, and it's safer than my propane barbecue grill is...

These machines are not too difficult to convert to 110v if 220 is a challenge. It's only the element, auto fill coil, and auto fill box that need to be swapped. This conversion makes the machine more suitable for multiple locations, but the heating & recovery time is slightly longer on 110v.

For events, you can use a 12 volt Flo-Jet water pump to feed the machine from a tank while it runs on propane. The manual fill valve of the machine initiates the Flo-Jet pump when it gets pulled. My machine is set up this way, and it lives on my second story patio outside my bedroom. The machine requires nothing from the house. I just got it back up & going this afternoon after rebuilding its right group. It's so nice to have it back!

Thanks for posting your work.

speciality teas and coffee; siphon brewing
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Postby perfectwheels » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:31 am

Hey Chad,
I had read your posts about the gas option before I started this sounds like it works great! I'm definitely going to hang on to the burner parts in case I end up using the machine where I can use it. I am setting it up in my bike shop where I don't want to have propane burning all the time, which is kind of too bad since the temp stability sounds awesome. I have pretty easy access to 220, water is going to be the tricky part. That pump set up may be the easiest solution, though I may run a cold water line and just drain into a bucket.

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Postby Bluecold » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:40 am

perfectwheels wrote:Jack,
I used to have a pretty cool Rotel receiver in the shop but it went on the fritz. After three failed trips to the shop I had to give up on it. Nothing like the Dieter Rams machine though.

The Dieter Rams machine may look good in pictures. In real life it's a dog. The buttons are cheap plastic fastened with setscrews that tend to rust. When they rust, they crack the plastic. The indicator is vague, the internal layout is messy and does not indicate quality of any kind like properly designed recievers such as pre-1980 Pioneers do. The front plate looks like aluminium, but it's silver painted steel.
I see a lot of praise on the internet for the Dieter Rams reciever. There is a reason there are very few of them around. They sucked back then and they still suck now. The only thing going for them are that they look good on pictures.

/offtopic ranting
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

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Postby sorrentinacoffee » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:20 am

My appreciation of the Dieter Rams stereos are purely aesthetic- for sound and good looks I have 3 Bang & Olfufsen beolab and beosound stereos from the late 70's and early 80's - they look good (minimalist teak) and still sound very good. But B&O aesthetics went to the dogs in the 1980's (like so many others) and has never recovered if you ask me. I actually have a really stunning looking little Dieter Rams Braun white coffee grinder: great Sci_fi white style.... unfortunately it cannot grind for its life- particles of all sizes from finest dust to whole beans... POS. But looks brilliant.

Back to the machine- it is looking great- what colour are you going to paint the cup rail? Your customers are gonna love the service: bike repaired and espresso of the highest caliber.

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Postby perfectwheels » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:50 am

I miss my Rotel, now I have some ugly 80's thing from the Goodwill. At least it has a knob for the volume. :)

I'm going to disappoint some with this but I having the frame, cup rail, lever covers and my beat up La San Marco grinder painted semi-gloss black. I started the project thinking of color...first blue, then burnt orange and maybe a dirty avocado. In the end the conservative route is best for the shop space where the colors are muted but intensely thought about. Besides, when I find some cheap plate aluminum I can redo the surround panels and paint them without worrying about clashing with the frame.


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Randy G.
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Postby Randy G. » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:04 pm


perfectwheels wrote:Of course, the list of exceptions is long. When something doesn't hold I reach for the loctite. In my shop I keep strong, mild and wicking loctite on hand and use them often. Fender and rack bolts, which are subject to shear loads and constant vibration always get loctite. Spoke threads also need some sort of locking compound to hold up to the constant tension variations with the wheel revolution...I use linseed oil here.

We use to use the Wheelsmith spoke compound on the spoke threads in the shop. Works as a lube to adjust then locks the thread while still allowing future adjustment.. supposedly. At home I never did, and even on our Landshark road Tandem wheels, my road wheels, and Velodrome aero wheels, I put them all together dry and never had a spoke loosen.

My favorite book: Jobst Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel Book."
Espresso! My Espresso!

coffee driven people, people driven coffee
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Postby donn » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:42 pm

Bicycle wheels books - ever see "The Spoking Word", Leonard Goldberg? It's ... a little technical. Maybe not widely distributed, I see he was a local character. Jobst is fun to read once in a while, but only for free.

I'm a linseed oil man myself.

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Postby perfectwheels » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:16 pm

Have not read "Spoking Word"...will look it up.

I'm teaching a class at Pottery Northwest this winter so I decided to make a batch of cups. These are in the green clay stage, similar to green beans...still need to be roasted.


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Postby perfectwheels » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:48 pm


Glad I went with the new springs...the old ones are about a half inch shorter than the new.