Cleaning the LaCimbali Max Hybrid

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

A couple of months back, I added a collar to the MaxH to prevent beans collecting on top of the adjustment wheel. a la La Cimbali Junior Grinder Mod - Hopper Throat Extension. While the mod certainly prevents beans collecting in one area, the modification may do more harm than good. Over the last little while, MaxH had not been living up to his star billing. I knew it was MaxH because the same coffee with the Macap MC4 was fine. Checking the Zero, I found that the burrs now touched at 0.75 vs 0.125 previously.

The top of the adjustment wheel is pretty clean.


The area between the adjustment wheel and the upper carrier is PACKED with dust, chaff and fragments.
This was never the case on previous cleanings and I'd never experienced a decline in shot quality.


The good news is cleaning the grinder solved the Zero problem. The espresso gets a shot tomorrow.

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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#2: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »

Unfortunately, Cimbali construction leaves a bit to be desired.
The upper burr mount bolt hole circle is not the same as the burrs.
Notice the misaligned upper burr mounting holes in the right image.

[Note the red index marks to ensure same alignment on reassembly.]



When reassembling, particular care must be taken to ensure the upper burr is concentric with the lower. Position the upper burr so it is centered and gently snug the screws in sequence to maintain center.

If you disassemble the upper burr mount, it is recommended to add a slight countersink on the brass carrier mounting holes to remove machining burrs. If this is not done, it's possible to assemble with the breaking burr out of true. Check the edges of the flanges for burrs as well and remove as necessary.

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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#3: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »


The o-ring gasket around the switch has rotted and fallen off after 7 months.


The plastic trim on the sides of the doser has warped, lending a nice Piza ambiance.

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shadowfax

#4: Post by shadowfax »

Ouch, that's unfortunate! Ian, based on this experience, do you still think the grinder was worth the money--that is, would you recommend this grinder, or would you suggest an alternative?
Nicholas Lundgaard

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cafeIKE (original poster)
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#5: Post by cafeIKE (original poster) »

For me, this grinder is a love / hate relationship. I love the espresso it produces, but that's it. It's very, very noisy and consumes too much coffee when pulling widely spaced singles. 1 for the bin, 1 for the basket is about right. When changing coffees, it's quicker to shop vac out the remainder than pulse the grinder for several minutes to clear the end of the last roast. The missus was not very amused the first time I ground the remnants with the lid off. Coffee bean bits everywhere. Even the throat gate does not stop all popcorn ejecta.

Construction is OK. The stainless sheet metal does little to damp vibration. Clip nuts should be replaced by PEM nuts. Dis- and Re- assembling the grinder will be a major pain as most of the mounting hardware is not captive, so tiny little nuts and washer have to be fished onto tiny screws deep inside the machine. In fairness, a complete tear down is hopefully many years hence.

I much prefer the quietness of the MC4, but the coffee is not in the same league. Before I bought the MC4, I very seriously considered the Versalab, but mercifully dodged that bullet. [ I HATE dosers ]

The adjustment knob is stepped and could really use 4, not 2, steps when dealing with a particularly persnickety bean. There's a lot of backlash in the adjuster, so it's best to first back out a couple of turns coarser and then go finer when going coarser. Then grind a shot into the bin to clear the grinds path.

I'm not prepared to have a Robur or Super Caimano in the kitchen, even though I have the vertical space, so the Max Hybrid is a tolerable compromise.

Strong points : Coffee, size.
Weak points : Everything else.

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Marshall

#6: Post by Marshall »

Ever since I took apart my father's watch as a child (and received the consequences), I have lived by the principle that I do not disassemble anything that was not sold in pieces. This has served me well in life and kept a variety of repairmen and technicians well fed.

I have now foolishly partly disassembled my Hybrid for cleaning after a year of ownership. I did not remove the upper burr set from its carrier (saw no reason to do so), but did remove the entire upper burr assembly as a unit for cleaning. I now find that the screw holes that receive the bolts after they pass through the gear and scale wheels into the upper burr carrier are not aligned for easy re-screwing. After a half hour of trying, it seems that only one bolt at a time will thread properly into its hole. I am tempted to leave it like that, but am sure there will be some terrible consequence if I do.

More to follow.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Marshall

#7: Post by Marshall »

Ahhh. I put the gear wheel back on upside down. Which, I guess, demonstrates why I need this "principle."
Marshall
Los Angeles

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eastpresso

#8: Post by eastpresso »

For reference, IIRC the DRM Logo side of the gear wheel is 'up'. You need to turn the upper burr carrier so the gear wheel will lign up with the worm gear drive after you tighten down the screws.

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Marshall

#9: Post by Marshall replying to eastpresso »

Yeah, that's what I thought and why I was so sure I had the correct side up. It turns out BOTH sides have the logo stamp!
Marshall
Los Angeles

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eastpresso

#10: Post by eastpresso replying to Marshall »

FWIW mine was an original Max - no idea whether they changed that because that is probably the only part I do not have a picture of :wink: The correct orientation can be seen here. The top side is slightly elevated because the scale ring goes over it.