The Alicorn: Achieving Precision Alignment with the Baratza Forté/Vario - Page 22

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
pcrussell50

#211: Post by pcrussell50 »

jja619 wrote:That looks pretty dang good Angelo. How tight are your screws? Might that be from Taco Burrs?
Shouldn't be getting taco burrs with the ceramics. Wish I could be more help here but I didn't actually do mine myself, otherwise I'd be all over helping you. :(

-Peter
LMWDP #553

Angel0

#212: Post by Angel0 »

Thanks jja619 for the encouraging reply.
Yes, Taco Burrs is one (maybe the only) logical answer I can give to the result I get.
I thought of whether the axel of the two burrs could possibly not be aligned, that might explain it too.

the burrs screws are as per factory settings, I never touched them...maybe I should?!

I just saw the result of others that achieved alignment and that looks perfect, burrs contact 360 degrees throughout. I was hoping to get there too but the fate (or talent) is against me :)

Cheers,
Angelo

bscandanavia

#213: Post by bscandanavia »

Hi All,

I took the prerogative to make jake_g's 3D printed burr spacers available on Shapeways so that those of us without a 3D printer could have easy access to them. They are available at cost without modification -- I really hope that jake_g doesn't mind.

The spacer can be ordered here: https://www.shapeways.com/product/55HLX ... -from-shop

I just ordered an initial print today and am looking forward to testing them. If anybody would like to try them in a different material, please let me know and I can add that to the options on Shapeways.

User avatar
Jake_G
Team HB

#214: Post by Jake_G »

Not problem at all. Thanks for doing that!

platinumlotus

#215: Post by platinumlotus »

bscandanavia wrote:Hi All,

I took the prerogative to make jake_g's 3D printed burr spacers available on Shapeways so that those of us without a 3D printer could have easy access to them. They are available at cost without modification -- I really hope that jake_g doesn't mind.

The spacer can be ordered here: https://www.shapeways.com/product/55HLX ... -from-shop

I just ordered an initial print today and am looking forward to testing them. If anybody would like to try them in a different material, please let me know and I can add that to the options on Shapeways.
Thanks. Is this the price for a single unit, or for a pair of them? And do the spacers need sanding afterwards.

Maurice.lsy

#216: Post by Maurice.lsy »

Hello everyone, thanks for the insightful guides and for reading through this post.

I came across the thread a few months back and performed the alignment process on my Vario with ceramic burrs and original Teflon chamber (unable to get the Forte metal chamber and lower burr carrier due to being out of the US). I was rather successful on the first alignment process, getting roughly 90-95% burr coverage and very uniform grinds.

Recently, I noted that the grinds weren't as uniform as they were after the first alignment. The marker test revealed that the burrs were indeed no longer aligned. In fact, the grinder just didn't sound as clean and smooth as before.

I then proceeded to perform the alignment process again, however despite many attempts of disassembling-aligning-reassembling, I have no success in getting good alignment. Instead, I keep getting a single contact point towards the rear end of the machine (closer to the motor). I have tried relieving the tension on the motor belt, and made sure that both burrs are properly seated in their respective carriers.

Any suggestions as to what's causing the problem and a potential solution would be highly appreciated. Not ready to throw in the towel yet. Thanks once again.

Depauperate

#217: Post by Depauperate »

Hey guys,
I see this topic has petered out (unintentional pun) a bit over the last few months, but I figured I would chime in as I've just gotten my Vario back from Baratza and have some potentially interesting news for Vario owners. Actually, I had so many things I wanted to say about this thread so far that I don't really know where to start.. I'll try not to ramble *too* much, hah.

Anyway, this is a bit of an FYI for all those interested in the "new" parts for the Vario, and the TLDR is that aside from the new metal grind chamber and threaded upper burr carrier, it looks like they have upgraded the motor/driveshaft/gear as well with better parts.

So, to preface, while I was communicating back and forth with their support about a gearbox problem with my Sette 270wi (which they sent me a free OOW replacement for, btw) I ended up chatting about the problems I had with my Vario that led me to buy the Sette and relegate the Vario to a backup grinder. For the record, I've had the Vario for *9ish years* now so it's one of the original 885 models. I've been very happy with it, though like many others have mentioned, I have always had trouble with consistency when I needed to adjust the grind more than say a few micros tighter. More on that later, maybe. Anyway, they recommended that I send it in, as it seemed like maybe the old plastic grind chamber was the problem, and for the $85 they would upgrade it to the all metal chamber and do whatever else it needed. That sounded like a more than fair deal to me, so I prepared to send it in. I honestly have no idea why, but while I was confirming the details on the service program (which I'm not even supposed to be eligible for, because I'm in Canada) they decided that they would just do it for me, for FREE. I'll try not to fanboy too much here, but over the 9 years that I've had their products, I have never had anything other than AMAZING customer service from these guys. I would not expect this, and I would have been super happy with the customer service even had I paid the $85 to be frank, I'm mean, it's been out of warranty for ever... but I am definitely grateful. So, for the cost of shipping I sent Vario in for some TLC.

I got my Vario back a couple days ago, and as expected, they put in the "new" metal grind chamber, like the one in the Forte, I gather, with the threaded upper burr carrier. They ALSO replaced my steel burrs with a brand new set, replaced the drive belt, drive gear, adjustment rocker, knob, and a foot. But most interestingly, they replaced the motor and pullies. It looks like they have switched away from the old motor with the weird helical gear drive shaft and it now uses a normal shaft with a "D" top that the drive gear slides onto, which seems like a much better system to me.



Its been a long time since I looked at the original drive gear, but it tickles my brain like there's something new about that too. Did it always have the brass sleve? Anyway, this is the top-down view of the main drive gear and the lower burr carrier.




Finally, I figured now that I had all the spiffy new internals and new burrs, I should try out this crazy alignment. I'd seen this and the user experience thread before, but hadn't paid too much notice because I've been very happy with the Sette for my espresso needs (which used to be like 99% of my coffee drinking). I drink a lot more brewed coffee now, at work, so I'm pretty excited to get the Vario set up for that.

I won't go into detail in this already novella length post, but here is how the alignment looked from Baratza. I'd say, not super impressive.



So I tried doing it quick and dirty with minimal tear-down, and by just pushing on the brass spline as a I tightened the chamber down, and that improved things to about a 40% wipe pattern. Then I tried fully dismantling and using the levers for tension. With that method, and spinning the burr by hand, I was able to get a beautiful 100% wipe, and you could even hear the difference in the sound the burrs made on contact when spinning it by hand.

Sadly, I think I left the screws that tighten the chamber down a little too loose, and when I was trying to get the top burr unscrewed a bit later with everything assembled, I felt it shift. When I checked with the marker test, I was back to a 50/50ish wipe, and I didn't want to disassemble it again right then, so I just used two single aluminum foil shims and am currently getting a very good but not perfect wipe.



However, now I know it can be done, so I'll probably try again at some point. Also, the gap under the burrs bug me, so I'm considering my options with that, and will probably reattempt once I've decided what to do there.

Anyway, sorry for the huge post, but I thought someone out there from this thread would be interested in this story! Also, amazing stuff here guys, so big thanks to Peter and Jake G, and others for all their work.

pcrussell50

#218: Post by pcrussell50 »

Depauperate wrote:Also, the gap under the burrs bug me, so I'm considering my options with that, and will probably reattempt once I've decided what to do there.
There is a 3D print file to make the spacers for that gap. You should not and do not have to live with it. You're so close.

Have a quick read of this for some motivation (It's just a single post):
Baratza Vario Super Alignment owner experience

-Peter
LMWDP #553

Depauperate

#219: Post by Depauperate »

Haha. Thanks Peter. I've read that whole thread, and this one, probably 3+ times over by now. Not to mention the some stuff on reddit. I wouldn't say I'm un-motivated per se.. I just wish there was a more elegant(?) solution than plastic spacers that I have to sand flush. If I had easy access to a printer myself, I'd probably already have done it amyway, but I'll have to see about finding someone locally to print them. I was considering alternative ways people could fill the gap, possibly with epoxy and a foil backing, or something, but messing that up would be a lot more of a pain than re-sanding some spacers. Pity that Baratza doesn't just include something with the burrs, even if its only a problem for their more anal customers :p

On another note; with the upgraded parts there are only two things that bug me about the Vario design now. One, is that when they moved to the metal grind chamber they should have also moved to metal adjustment arms. I know its a cost thing, and that it may not make a meaningful impact to performance.. but those arms are just long levers, and when there is resistance to the lower burr moving, they flex, adding imprecision and uncertainty into the grind setting. The other is that the drive belt puts direct tension on the components that the lower burr carrier is held by. So adjusting the grind finer is usually hassle-free, because you're actively forcing that shaft up. When you want to adjust coarser, however, its just gravity that helps the burr go back down, and with the tension-induced friction, I don't think it always happens right away. That's always been my biggest issue, and the reason I switched to the Sette for espresso.

bscandanavia

#220: Post by bscandanavia »

platinumlotus wrote:Thanks. Is this the price for a single unit, or for a pair of them? And do the spacers need sanding afterwards.
Sorry for the slow reply. That is the price for a single unit, and, yes, you will need to sand them still ( i don't believe 3D printers are accurate enough to avoid that).