Giving up on Monolith grinder - What's next? - Page 5

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
mivanitsky

Postby mivanitsky » May 14, 2019, 10:24 am

I would not call an EG1 a less capable grinder, if it is aligned well. It is larger, but less stocky than MAX. My concern is that you align the EG1 by eye and feel, rather than by measurable structural design. Despite this concern, I have never seen anyone complain online about problems attributable to malalignment of the EG1.

Feuros

Postby Feuros » May 14, 2019, 10:30 am

Less capable is probably not the correct term, which is why I put it in quotes.
Maybe "lesser spec'd" would be more accurate. Not to imply it's actually any better or worse based on specs alone - but you're paying more for smaller burrs. That's the only point I was trying to make.

OldNuc

Postby OldNuc » May 14, 2019, 10:49 am

mivanitsky wrote:I would not call an EG1 a less capable grinder, if it is aligned well. It is larger, but less stocky than MAX. My concern is that you align the EG1 by eye and feel, rather than by measurable structural design. Despite this concern, I have never seen anyone complain online about problems attributable to malalignment of the EG1.


Properly trained fingers will prove to provide better alignment in the case of the EG-1 than the usual collection of consumer grade instruments.

mivanitsky

Postby mivanitsky » May 14, 2019, 11:45 am

Though you may be correct, that has yet to ever be verified with objective measurement, and I am not referring to consumer grade instruments of measurement, of course. My Helor Flux is aligned by feel, and is literally identical in the cup as my MC3, so there is likely a threshold of "close enough."

Flat burr grinders are more sensitive to malalignment than conicals, however. Presence of a 200 micron coffee particle between the pressure plate and upper burr carrier on MAX perceptibly changes the grind and cup quality. This will never happen with normal use, but with disassembly, poor cleaning, and sloppy reassembly, it is possible to get coffee in the wrong place.

OldNuc

Postby OldNuc » May 14, 2019, 1:51 pm

A 0.008" error is easily detectable by multiple techniques. Once you move out into the 0.0001" range the expansion and/or contraction due to thermal changes becomes a significant factor.

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rimblas

Postby rimblas » May 17, 2019, 12:03 am

Donguanella wrote:Revisit the Helor Stance Motor. There are a few for sale in the forum. I love mine and can definitely recommend!

Definitely. +1 for that recommendation

mathof

Postby mathof » May 17, 2019, 5:04 am

drgary wrote:"...one can emphasize either end of the spectrum between gear and the experience it provides.


That is of course true, but on the matter of grinders I find that the taste experience provided by using a Monolith is better than I had before upgrading.

mivanitsky

Postby mivanitsky » May 17, 2019, 9:57 am

I find this true also, but I think that alignment and manufacturing tolerances are not the only factors at play here. I feel that the improvements in consistency of grind output between multiple shots is perhaps the single most important factor in the improvements we notice with the current crop of single-dosing grinders. Dose invariance, acceptable distribution out of the grinder and/or optimization by WDT, excellent alignment within a range of "good enough" that probably includes all of the big single-dosing players all combine to yield important benefits. Reproducible and high quality grind and dose, and acceptable efficiency allow us to improve ourselves as baristas. We can much more easily and quickly master proper shot building techniques and learn to correct our errors. With this follows the ability to develop our palates and dialing-in skills, as variances in taste can now be predictably chased in a rational manner. We can then push the envelope, and explore the differences among burr designs, appropriateness of these for different coffee roasts, origins, and blends. All of this is easily attainable by almost anyone with any level of prosumer or better espresso machine, or a manual lever. All of this has been accomplished by professional baristas, using time-tested. hopper-fed, commercial equipment forever. Their results are often just as good, and even better, when they apply current techniques, but the better modern grinders greatly facilitate this for any enthusiast who cares to work through the steeper, but now less painful learning curve.

taelvin

Postby taelvin » May 17, 2019, 11:50 am

mivanitsky wrote: My concern is that you align the EG1 by eye and feel, rather than by measurable structural design.


Can you describe further what you mean by measurable structural design? Asking out of curiosity as I do not own a Monolith. Is the alignment in a monolith a set once and its done forever thing?

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Peppersass

Postby Peppersass » replying to taelvin » May 17, 2019, 12:26 pm

Yes, more or less. "Measurable structural design" means that the design of the Monolith grinders ensures alignment of the burrs, assuming the burrs are perfectly symmetrical. There's nothing in the grinder's structure or mechanical parts that can drift and get out of alignment.

It's possible, maybe even common, for flat burr thickness to be slightly asymmetrical (i.e., thicker in some places around the circumference, thinner in other places), which could result in axial misalignment (run-out), I checked the axial alignment of both the original Monolith and replacement SSP burrs in my Monolith Flat using the marker test. Here's a link to text and photos of that project.

I found negligible misalignment of the Monolith burrs before removing them, but very slight axial misalignment of the SSP burrs after installation. Probably not enough to worry about, but I was able to eliminate virtually all of the misalignment by rotating the burrs to change which mounting holes in the burrs were lined up with which mounting holes in the burr carriers (actually, I only had to rotate the lower burr.) Had there been any significant remaining axial misalignment, it would have been simple to use thin metal shims to correct. Once that's done, the alignment wouldn't drift, as is the case whether you use shims or not.

Radial alignment is taken care of by the design of the grinder, which perfectly aligns the centers of the burrs. I'm sure this is a specification Denis carefully checks during assembly. It's possible that the center hole or mounting holes could be drilled slightly off-center by the burr manufacturer, which in turn could cause radial misalignment, but this would likely result in it being difficult or impossible to mount the burr.