My cheap and easy stepless Rancilio Rocky mod...

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

Postby TimEggers » Feb 11, 2007, 1:16 pm

*** NOTE: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LATEST DESIGN!!! (you know, the one WITHOUT THE UGLY C-CLAMP!!!) ***

Here it is (exciting huh?) how I cheaply and easily converted my Rocky Doserless into a stepless grinder.

Pros:

* Cheap
* Easy
* Effective
* 100% reversible
* Anyone can do it

Cons:

* Kinda ugly

I used a large clamp to gently squeeze the machine housing against the hopper making it hold the hopper. I did several tests and I don't see any grind drift or damage to the machine. I do want to add some cushion between the housing and the hopper just to soften that edge, but that shouldn't be a big deal. I can even adjust the hopper when the clamp is installed, it doesn't take much pressure to hold the hopper still. I also simply stuck a coffee bean between the housing and the spring loaded pin lever so it wouldn't lock into the hopper.

Take a look:

Image

Note: Here I am using a large clamp because it's the only one that I had, a smaller less ugly clamp would work just as nicely...

Also since I have really liked the Rocky and it's ability to grind for espresso I was hesitant to upgrade to a stepless but now with this mod I have a stepless. And it didn't break the bank!

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oofnik

Postby oofnik » Feb 11, 2007, 3:00 pm

Hah.. well, whatever works! Sure it's ugly, but for some of us, it's just the function that counts :lol:

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TimEggers

Postby TimEggers » Feb 11, 2007, 3:26 pm

Well I'm going to make a more permanent and much better looking clamp system. What I am finding so far after several shots is that this approach really works nicely. Also a side benefit as it seems (and which I cannot confirm at this point) is the grind consistency seems improved. I can't explain it, but after this mod my shots are much better and the extraction is much more even.

My consistency has also gone up. I can't explain it other than perhaps his mod holds the burr more solid and doesn't allow minor grind drift. I can't find any other explanation to the noticeable improvement in my shot quality. I could see getting lucky on one or two shots, but every single shot this morning has been noticeable better and cleaner tasting than yesterday's shots and the only change is this mod.

I also can't believe the difference a half step makes. Sure the Rocky did a nice job when stepped, but now I can really tweak the grind and the results are outstanding. I finally have the Black Cat dialed in and man it's amazing. The chocolate is so much more pronounced. Truly a sublime shot of espresso.

Here's to success!

I'll post follow-ups after more experimentation and especially after my finalized clamp system. Please stay tuned!

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TimEggers

Postby TimEggers » Feb 11, 2007, 9:44 pm

Well I employed a much simpler set-up:

I also padded the sharp metal edge with a split piece of clear plastic tubing, and for the clamping I am using two stainless steel pipe clamps. The big plus here is that it doesn't look nearly as bad as the huge c-clamp and it doesn't impede the other functionality of the Rocky (such as seeing the number dial). I am also pleased that I could achieve a stepless design at little cost, with an easy to implement mod that is completely reversible and of which should not damage the grinder or it's parts. Everything seems to be padded and covered, and I must say this mod works like a charm. Adjustments are made by simply turning the hopper with both hands. That works surprising well because since the hopper is always under a rigid hold it turns smoothly and even very small adjustments are easy (it's tough to overshoot in other words). The force needed to hold the hopper completely still during grinding is less that the force needed to adjust the hopper, so I can make adjustments on the fly without having to loosen the clamps, a big plus! It's great having a stepless Rocky Doserless.

Also as I mentioned above the big perk of this mod is the fact the hopper (and thus top burr) are held in a very rigid arrangement something I didn't see much in others mods. It seems (based on one days tests...about 9 doubles) that the grind seems to be even more uniform. The grind does not drift under load and I suspect that because the hopper is held so firmly (much more so than the standard spring loaded pin) that it results in a more rigid grinding system.

All I know is that my shots today blew me away with a noticeable better taste. Less bitters and a cleaner more defined flavor (it's really nice not having to use steps). Plus if I need to grind for drip I can simply loosen the pipe clamps and bam, I have a stock Rocky grinder!

I couldn't be happier with this set-up and I feel as if my need to upgrade just got pushed way back! Take a look:

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TimEggers

Postby TimEggers » Feb 12, 2007, 12:23 am

Site is up with much more information and more pictures:

http://www.angelfire.com/pro2/pan...oserlessrocky.html

Beezer

Postby Beezer » Feb 12, 2007, 2:40 pm

Cool mod, Tim! I might have to try it. Seems like a large cable tie could work too, or would that not clamp the hopper tight enough?

I'm not sure I can visualize how you blocked the spring loaded pin that normally keeps the hopper from spinning. You just wedged a coffee bean in there? Seems almost too easy...

Eli

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TimEggers

Postby TimEggers » Feb 12, 2007, 3:40 pm

Beezer wrote:Cool mod, Tim! I might have to try it. Seems like a large cable tie could work too, or would that not clamp the hopper tight enough?

I'm not sure I can visualize how you blocked the spring loaded pin that normally keeps the hopper from spinning. You just wedged a coffee bean in there? Seems almost too easy...

Eli



I dunno a cable tie could work...haven't tried that. Yup the bean does the trick!

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Jasonian

Postby Jasonian » Mar 08, 2007, 4:51 am

Reminds me of my own stepless mod for my MDF.

Simple resistance is all it takes to make a grinder stepless. Super cheap, and easily reversible.
Owner - AJ Coffee Company
HB Rocks!

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TimEggers

Postby TimEggers » Mar 08, 2007, 11:05 am

Jasonian wrote:Simple resistance is all it takes to make a grinder stepless. Super cheap, and easily reversible.



Bingo.

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diab0lus

Postby diab0lus » Mar 27, 2007, 12:18 am

TimEggers wrote:Site is up with much more information and more pictures:

http://www.angelfire.com/pro2/pan...oserlessrocky.html



Cool mod. I just did something similar to this on my Rocky where I put 3 or 4 layers of Teflon tape over the threads on the burr carrier (I think that is the right term) and I rolled up black electrical tape and wedged down the grind adjuster button. It takes only one hand to turn the hopper, but it is a fluid movement and the grind setting stays put. This solved two problems for me as well - eliminated the drift while grinding (previously I would hold the hopper while grinding - no fun on a dozerless Rocky) and now I can grind to 10.5 if i want (and my amp now goes to 11 :P ). I also noticed a better taste to the coffee when I was able to stabilize the hopper to keep the grind from drifting, which I did by hand for almost a year.

I would be interested to hear from people that have used both a stepless rocky and a stepless Macap M4 (or MC4) or Mazzer Mini (or Mini E) to see if it is still worth the upgrade after this easy mod. I know there are also other grinder factors to consider between these models - grind adjustment being only one of them. After hot rodding Silvia, I have been thinking about delegating Rocky to drip grind only and getting a Versalab... I mean Macap M4 or a <$500 second hand grinder and new burr set.
-Ryan