The craze seems to be modding your espresso machine to stabilize the temp and pressure, or to be able to see the beautiful streams of brown elixir...
I focused more on grinder mods at first, since the grinder is the most important part of the equation.
There are three things I have done, two of them are original, and one of them is not.Continuous grind mod
The first and easiest, rewiring the switches
for continuous grind on a Rocky SD.Easy access chute
This one requires some metal working skillz, but it really makes life easier. It even looks like it could be stock, hint to Rancilio...
I hope this pic is self explanatory. If I can figure out how to export an image file from my CAD, I will post that up too eventually.note: click on photos to link to larger, annotated pics on flickr.com
Infinite grind adjustment mod
This is probably a med difficulty level trick, it does require one special tool, but the parts are all easily available. I wanted to play with the big boy grinders - I wanted infinitely adjustable grind adjustment!
So, I did it, it needs some refinement, but it works, and it is cheap.
The key was the worm gear part of the drive, which started life as a 6" lag bolt. I cut the head off, and threaded the shank at the top with a 1/4"-20 die (the special tool) to make a long hanger bolt.
Hanger bolts are available, but I have never seen one as long as needed.
The second modified part is the coupling nut that makes a bushing at the left end. I drilled it out about 2/3 of the way with a 1/4" bit to remove the threads.
Everything else is stock parts off the shelf, here is the shopping list:
1 X large hose clamp backed by thin cardboard to protect the hopper
2 X 90 mending plate
2 X flat mending plate
1 X 1/4-20" coupling nut
1 X 1/4-20"x1/2" bolt
1 X 1/4x6" lag bolt
2 X 1/4"-20 nylock nuts
1 X 1/4"-20 wing nut
4 X medium "3M Command Adhesive strips"
1 X wooden wedge to block the factory adjustment button open.
It takes about 2-1/2 turns of the screw to go one notch on the Rocky. Assuming that it is easy to judge an 1/8 turn, I have increased the resolution of the grinder by 20 times. There is a thought that a notch on the Rocky ~ 10s change in shot time... so now I can dial it to ~.5s...
I am really happy with all these mods. I think it has tuned Rocky into a very capable, easier to use grinder. The only thing I would change, is that I think it would be nice to be able to go back to the click adjustment for grinding presspot coffee, or cupping use. I don't think it would be too difficult to make brackets that could easily pivot the lag/hanger bolt out of the way to allow this, although it would probably necessitate drilling the case to attach.