CAUTION!! Niche Zero owners

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
1rider
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#1: Post by 1rider »

I was cleaning my counter this morning and heard a rattle when I moved my Niche grinder. Please see below for details in the email with photos and video I sent to Niche.

Hello Niche,

I have been using your grinder for about 4 weeks now and I have been very very happy with it overall including the function, simple design and appearance.

This morning while cleaning my counter I moved my grinder and heard a rattle coming from inside the housing. I unplugged it and shook it further to confirm this and there was definitely something in there.

I pulled it apart to find 2 of the 4 motor mounting screws inside the housing, one floating around (the rattle I heard) the other was magnetically stuck to the side of the motor. The real scary part is that the screw could very well have found its way into the motor via the opening at the base adjacent to where its was stuck. This likely would have mangled the motor. I checked the two remaining screws at the plastic base and found them lose, I could back them out with my fingers which means they were coming out soon as well.

I am a technician (when I am not making coffee) and have worked on many different types of electronic, mechanical and pneumatic machines and equipment. Needless to say I was surprised to find these motor mounting screws installed without the use of some kind of thread lock (Loctite) or simply a lock washer. This was a confusing discovery as I would assume it to add little cost or labor time to the assembly. A motor of any sort is typically mounted with one of the aforementioned methods or something similar to achieve the same purpose. I would think a grinder with its added vibration would further merit this.

I have reinstalled the screws with Loctite 242 for now and will add lock washers once i pick some up.

Was this a one of case with my grinder and the screws are typically installed in a more secure fashion?

I am an active member on both the Home Barista forum and Niche Zero Facebook page and will post regarding this. That way other enthusiasts may at least give their grinder a shake to be sure they are not operating at risk.

The grinder you have made is well loved for its simplicity, looks and ability to grind for various brew methods. I sold a Mazzer mini after having the Niche for only a couple of weeks because I have been so happy with my Niche. My feelings have not changed because of a few screws and it because I love your product that I have taken the time to write to you.

Cheers,
Patrick





Cheers,
Patrick

clarendon

#2: Post by clarendon »

Thanks for the heads up Patrick. Will check mine tomorrow. I did have a screw come loose after a few weeks up top where the lid attaches which caused the safety catch on the motor to stop the machine from working even with the lid closed. But that was easily tightened. Otherwise has been a great product.

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beer&mathematics

#3: Post by beer&mathematics »

Oh man, that's a bummer. Good thing you caught this early. I might take my apart soon and check if the screws are held more securely since I haven't heard any rattling (I also move mine back and forth about 12 inches each day to bring it out from under the cabinets when it's time to grind).

Do report back what Niche says. Thanks Patrick.
LMWDP #431

LuckyMark

#4: Post by LuckyMark »

Patrick thanks for making everyone aware.

Niche are understandably proud of how the whole machine is assembled in 20 minutes and how few components are utilised. It does seem false economy not to put a dab of loctite or a lock washer on each. Maybe it is cheaper to just send replacement parts to ones where the screws undo? As Martin is an industrial designer I am sure he would have calculated the cost each way.

Glad your machine wasn't damaged.

dreadnatty08

#5: Post by dreadnatty08 »

Patrick, just curious, do you like to tap the lid down after grinding to rid the chute of any remaining coffee? I see some users who do that and wonder if that extra jostling was enough to unscrew the screws.

1rider (original poster)
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#6: Post by 1rider (original poster) »

Dan,

Good question. The answer is yes I do tend to do that particularly if I change my grind setting by more than a click or two. I would guess that the the energy from the motor and the rattling from beans processing through the burrs creates more vibration than a lid drop twice a day.

I posted this on the Niche Zero FB page as well and someone had chimed in saying that the screws in question were typically installed with blue Loctite from the factory which will prevent the screws from backing out. Assuming this is the case, I was just lucky enough and received a unicorn as I have not heard of anyone else with this issue.
Cheers,
Patrick
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1rider (original poster)
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#7: Post by 1rider (original poster) »

James for Niche replied back to me and apologized adding that the screws for the motor mount are typically installed with Loctite as seen in the photo he attached.

The other positive thing is my grinder is noticeably quieter with all 4 screws in!



Cheers,
Patrick

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pezzi

#8: Post by pezzi »

clarendon wrote:Thanks for the heads up Patrick. Will check mine tomorrow. I did have a screw come loose after a few weeks up top where the lid attaches which caused the safety catch on the motor to stop the machine from working even with the lid closed. But that was easily tightened. Otherwise has been a great product.
I had the same thing (got my NZ about a month ago)! Easy to diagnose and fix!

andrewpark01

#9: Post by andrewpark01 »

Thanks for the warning!

GeorgeP922
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#10: Post by GeorgeP922 »

With the new batch of preorders that happened today, this deserves a bump so those customers know to inspect their grinders when they receive them.

I wonder if this has ever happened, or could ever happen to Italian/Spanish/German brands we know so well.
Should we inspect our next grinders regardless of manufacturer?