Cremina Boiler Exposed...and Covered

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
RCMann

#1: Post by RCMann »

For those of you with the dread asbestos coated Cremina boilers, here's what's underneath the magic mineral.

I'm in the middle of a thorough acid wash and gasket replacement, and noticed as I was cleaning the machine that when the asbestos got wet, it got soft and flaky.

So I tossed the boiler in a bucket overnight, scraped off the asbestos with a putty knife, than sanded the remaining bits off with 220 wet/dry under running water.

Image

Image

Image[/img]

This looks pretty much like what I've seen in photos of 80's machines, except those appear to be plated, and of course have a different steam setup.

The extra hole on the right side of the top bar is where the pressure gauge screws in.

This leaves me with a few options-

1) Plate it. But what's to be gained?

2) Paint it with engine paint. What's the point?

3) Go to Home Depot (or Lowe's for me, as I'm temporarily in eastern NC in the middle of BFE) and find some sort of insulating material.

I'll try option 3 tomorrow.

Any other suggestions welcome.

If I can't find suitable insulating material, the tank will be going back in as is tomorrow.

I've been using my Pavoni the last couple of days, and will be very glad to get back to the Cremina...Rod
Matt Chester fixed gear

RCMann (original poster)

#2: Post by RCMann (original poster) »

After searching Lowe's for awhile, I finally came up with Frost King Pipe Wrap.

Image


Image

It looks pretty crude, but works.

I'm not sure if it really does anything that will affect the extraction process, but it keeps the boiler surface cool enough that I can put my hand on it when it's up to pressure/temp.

Maybe it will prove to be detrimental, as it keeps heat in which ultimately transfers to the grouphead.

Pressure is what controls the boiler switch, not temp, and it doesn't look like Oly uses insulation on their newer machines, unless the boilers are perhaps double-walled.

Hmmmm...RC
Matt Chester fixed gear

User avatar
srobinson

#3: Post by srobinson »

Mad Maxx returns! I really don't think you need the insulation. Since you have a boiler gauge modded for that machine, see if it makes any difference with regards to cycle time or recovery from steaming. Looks like you have new wiring and the switches are offset about the same as a 67, don't think there is any risk of overheating there. Since you normally only have these machines running less than 30 minutes, I would just go naked. I'm not going to ask how you disposed the asbestos.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001

RCMann (original poster)

#4: Post by RCMann (original poster) »

Looks like you have new wiring and the switches are offset about the same as a 67, don't think there is any risk of overheating there. Since you normally only have these machines running less than 30 minutes, I would just go naked. I'm not going to ask how you disposed the asbestos.
The wiring is original, but it's in good shape and I'm not really concerned about melting it. Don't notice a difference in cycle time, so I'll eventually ditch the insulation, I suppose.

Am I correct in assuming your machine and others of the 80's/90's have a plated brass, single wall, noninsulated boiler?

I wonder if Oly discovered the asbestos insulation didn't really affect performance, or discontinued it because of the asbestos scare.

Does the 2002 have a double-walled boiler?

I dried out the asbestos, powdered it, and put it into envelopes a la the anthrax terrorists of post 9/11. Beware of suspicious mail!
Matt Chester fixed gear

User avatar
srobinson

#5: Post by srobinson »

The only thing that I accept in the mail is good home roasted coffee. If I am pull it in a lever and get a good shot, then send it on.

On the 67 it is a single wall boiler as is the 2002. Most levers are like this. Put your hand on the side of a Pavoni or Elektra to emphasize that point. The goal of temp management on a lever is pressure stability. If your brew pressure gauge holds, the machine is not over cycling and you have enough pressure for adequate steam and recovery then you are fine.

On modern machines where you see tank insulation is when they are continuously left on and become space heaters. You probably see this on the early Olympias Creminas and Clubs, because they were doing this on their commercial machines. I would assume they got rid of it when they found that asbestos cement is not a very robust material on a machine with a long planned life history that needed occasional maintenance. Thus having to deal with the issues of asbestos and the additional issue with it on existing machine, I assume they determined it was not needed.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001