Baratza Vario Super Alignment owner experience - Page 17

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

#161: Post by Ezprezzo »

If you email Baratza support they should quote you the parts for $50 plus shipping.

That is a good question though, I am not sure, do the new Varios come with a metal grind chamber already? That would be great if they do

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#162: Post by Jake_G »

Ezprezzo wrote:Hi everyone.

I am in Canada so Baratza won't change my grind chamber to a metal one in their shop (due to customs fees etc), but they do sell the parts for it if I want to try doing it at home.

I am planning to put in metal burrs and do the alignment on my new Vario..

How involved is it to switch the grind chamber while I am at it? I am debating whether it is worth the additonal cost and effort, if I will get fairly good alignment with the stock plastic grinding chamber anyways.

It depends on your level of mechanical aptitude, but swapping the grind chamber is more or less trivial once the grind assembly has been removed from the top casing.

I will have some updated guidance on performing the alignment based on some recent learnings that I will share soon. Basically, you don't have to (and nor should you) remove the grind assembly from the top casing to get excellent results, and get them more quickly.

The TLDR version is to just remove the top casing and necessary wires to separate the grinding portion of the grinder from the base and then set that whole assembly upside down and work from there. You can access the four screws that secure the grind chamber to the motor plate without removing anything from the top casing. This allows you to move the levers and have the spring detents hold them in place while you loosen and tighten the grind chamber screws. The detents act like an extra set of hands and make the alignment easier to perform and remove potential variables from the process. I brought the burrs into contact to the point where I could grasp the drive pulley and spin with moderate effort due to friction between the burrs with the levers and then used the calibration screw to maintain that amount of contact after loosening the grind chamber screws and while gently securing them during the alignment.

I spent a fair amount of time recently with the alignment process and was greatly annoyed that it would seem great at first and then I'd have a poor ink pattern after assembly. I still can't explain why, but leaving everything assembled and using the method above took care of the problem and I think it is big enough improvement in the process that I felt compelled to share and recommend the approach going forward.


- Jake


#163: Post by bklynjim »

Hi Jake,
Thanks for the updated instructions. I followed your last video and instructions and with a few hiccups got to decent results. I'm tempted to try again with this revised method. Are you thinking of doing another video? I found following along with the video was really helpful. Thanks again for your efforts!


#164: Post by Ezprezzo »

Yes, if you could post pictures or a video outlining the steps, that would be wonderful! I am a computer engineer, decently mechanically inclined, but not one of those super-handy types. There is a reason I went into computers instead of the mechanical specialization lol



#165: Post by barqy »

So just a quick update, I have the older (first gen?) Vario (similar to pcrussel50). It threw out a ton of fines before this mod.

I purchased the upper threaded burr carrier and metal chamber from Baratza (had to email them).

Had a heck of time trying to get an even wear pattern despite jake_g's superb instructions.

I found a tip buried in another thread that helped me immensely. Loosen both the motor screws, adjust both these in red and blue all the way up so that the LBC touches the upper with little lever pressure needed. The screw in the red circle was pushed all the way up, and the screw in blue was adjusted all the way in.

With these screw adjustments, I was able to easily apply enough pressure to the lever arms while tightening up the chamber screws so that the wear was extremely even. I tightened the motor screws last.

This made a huge difference to my pour overs as we were getting many fines with the vario before adjustment (despite having the metal burrs).

I'd say this is a might do mod. Thanks again Jake and pcrussel for OP.!


#166: Post by cmin »

Jake_G wrote:Creating another Alicorn;
A step by step guide with pictures:

  1. First, gather your typical 10 year old Vario (preferably one that is coated entirely with DynaMat) and prepare to remove the rear case.
    1. Remove the hopper:
    2. Then lay the grinder on its side and remove the two rear rubber feet to expose the screws securing the back cover; they pull out easily:
    3. With the feet out of the way, remove the two Phillips screws:
    4. And slide the rear case away from the grinder (note the metal grind chamber and drive pulley):
  2. Next we remove the top casting from the grinder base.
    1. Remove the two smaller screws from the front of the top casting, on either side of the grinds chute:
    2. Then remove the two larger screws from the rear of the top casting (the screw on the left has already been removed):
    3. Carefully unclip the safety switch from the top left of the circuit board:
    4. Then remove the 4 pin connector (with 3 wires) for the control panel from the top right of the circuit board:
    5. Remove the 2 pin motor connector from the lower right of the circuit board:
    6. With the wires and screws removed, you can lift the upper casting off of the grinder frame and remove the right grounding screw from the grinder base, which should be all that remains holding the upper casting to the grinder frame:
  3. Now we are ready to remove the grinding assembly from the upper casting.
    1. Begin by gently rocking the lever knobs to the side to remove them:
    2. Next there are two screws securing the motor plate at the front followed by the two screws in the back. The right front screw has already been removed and the left rear screw secures the ground wire:
    3. From here, you can lift the grinding assembly out of the front casting:
  4. I flipped the flapper between the grind chute and the grind chamber, so I slid the chute straight down to remove it:
  5. This is the money shot. All four grind chamber screws are visible. Note the lever arrangement. The coarse lever is on top and has a barrel in which the cam is located. Moving the coarse lever swings the cam up and down. The fine lever is on bottom and turns the eccentric cam within the barrel. The cam pushes up on the adjustment plate, loading it against the fine calibration screw on the far left. The brass block in the adjustment plate is a wedge that the base of the lower burr carrier shaft rides on. I had to loosen the primary calibration screw as mentioned in a previous post and slide the brass wedge to the right to get the lower burr carrier riding on a thicker portion of the wedge. It's a pretty well-engineered system:
  6. To set the alignment perfecly, all you have to do is loosen those four screws enough that the grind chamber wiggles freely and gently press the grind adjustment levers downwards while you snug the screws back up. You'll also need to loosen the motor mount screws to ensure that the belt tension is set properly as the chamber is tightened. Depending on how the chamber was installed at the factory, the lower burr carrier will be tilted one way or another. When you correct this by using the levers to load the burr faces squarely against one another, the burr carrier will want to stand straight up, but if the belt is too tight, it can't. I loosen the belt, let the levers load the burrs together (gently) and then snug the belt back up before tightening the chamber.
  7. Assembly is the reverse of disassembly :P

- Jake
so basically this is what you need to do for just reg Vario for ceramic (no steel burr or Forte parts)?

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#167: Post by Jake_G »

Correct, though I have not done this with a plastic grind chamber to assess the success rate. I will comment that light pressure is all that is needed and I would advise that you leave the grind assembly in the upper casting and leave the levers in place to make the alignment easier and less susceptible to operator error.


- Jake


#168: Post by platinumlotus »

Hello everyone,

This is my first post here. I have been following this topic since December last year and quietly implemented the method but still have no luck in archiving perfect alignment. I'm a little envious reading other people in this thread reporting back :D

I think the main problem that prevent me from Alicorning my Forté is which position should the grind chamber sit on top of the motor plate + the way we tighten the screws.

Other than that, I find it easier to leave the whole grinding portion intact to the top casing.

For the time being, I will patiently wait for Jake's updated method. Thank you Jake and Peter for all the work so far!

- Tung


#169: Post by Oskuk »

Ha, I was working with my Vario few times along this loooong way, but just got frustrated. It worked well the time it had warranty and then it glogged always and justa and just got past the mokapot grind. So, that has been her for for hmm 7 years now. But as I said I got it open and checked what it was the reason and it was the good old plastic, it just could not keep the position at all. Nice that there is upgraded parts that keep their shape and such cheap there over. I 'm plenty sure that here in Europe cannot get those two parts on my door under 150 e. And for this plastic joke I'm not ready to give them even more money and do repair their mistakes. No way. But I remember always as somebody visists to sip a cup tell that: "this logo, never buy anything from this mark".


#170: Post by cdo »

Any tips for removing the lower ceramic burr on my vario? Having a hell of a time trying to pry it up and don't really want to deal with it shattering, already chipped off a little piece of the inner burr trying to pry it off.

EDIT: Ended up getting it off, I saw a baratza video where they used needlenose pliers, this resulted in me pulling out the entire burr, lower carrier and shaft all in one but I was able to pry it off after.