La Pavoni Europiccola "Ultima" Build & Restoration

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
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KalWadin

#1: Post by KalWadin »

Hi!

After searching for a really, really long time I finally managed to get my hands on the infamous pre-mill EP. My particular model however was... not very "infamous" but rather beat up. Badly. As you can see, many pieces were missing and almost the entire body was covered in dirt, grime and rust (and on the inside hay and cobwebs; don't ask me how hay got in there).



Now, what are my goals with my little diva? I want to transform her into the best EP possible. This means:
  • Complete disassembly, rust removal, chrome restoration and surface protection
  • Complete replacement of all gaskets and brass washers
  • Complete rewiring of the electric
  • Addition of a pressure gauge for the boiler
  • Addition of a pressure gauge for the piston
  • Addition of an analogue thermometer for the group head
  • Addition of the B-Push steam valve mechanism to replace the current bent screw-style steam mechanism
  • Replacement of all plastic handles with wooden ones
    And finally:
  • Replacing the boiler cap with the infamous La-Pavoni-Eagle emblem
Let's just see how long it'll take me to get all those things done... and maybe discover or learn a new thing or two?

In any case - I hope you'll have a fantastic day :)

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guijan12

#2: Post by guijan12 »

Welcome aboard, Cornelius.
Nice find and a lot of work.
You got yourself a new hobby! :D
Regards,

Guido

MNate

#3: Post by MNate »

Awesome. I think you've convinced me I should sell my Europiccola. They are nice! And a fun bit of history too.

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KalWadin (original poster)

#4: Post by KalWadin (original poster) »

Today was the first part of the real work (besides disassembly). The boiler is missing the complete heating element, so it is "bottomless". Somewhere you can definitely make a bad pun out of this. Removing a huge pile of cobwebs and dirt revealed... lime. It was very thick on the walls and crumbled off in whole chunks in places, only to expose another layer of lime underneath.

So the boiler was scrubbed out completely with medium-soft steel wool soaked in acetic acid and is now lime-free. I left all other components in acetic acid for several hours until they were also completely lime-free.

I collected all the small parts in a can and then let them soak in acetic acid for the first time; this loosened the coarsest rust. Then I put them in rust remover (MC-51) for several hours and they came out wonderfully rust-free and usable.

Then the most tedious part began: I carefully brushed out every rust spot with the micromotor and fine steel and brass brushes. It sounds so simple now, but it took me 1 1/2 hours on the bottom part in the area of the drip tray. But - now it is done. After that, I cleaned the base and the boiler properly and they shine and even reflect again (cheers for fine steel wool!).
Next, the base gets black stove enamel on the complete underside (which was also very rusty) and the "tub" of the dripping tray.

The first spare parts from Tudor (coffee-sensor.com) also arrived during the week.... we're moving forward. The special tool for the nuts of the pressure valves served its purpose well and is indispensable.

Thanks for reading! :)

- Cornelius

henri

#5: Post by henri »

My goodness... that poor boiler!

Fascinating to see this machine transform. Keep us posted!

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KalWadin (original poster)

#6: Post by KalWadin (original poster) »

So, today the base got its layer of stove enamel. First, of course, all holes were taped so that nothing of the paint gets somewhere where it should not. You can also clearly see the rust spots, especially on the two holes through which the logo emblem is inserted.

Unfortunately, the paint was a bit more uncooperative than I would have liked and has drawn brush stripes. Well, fortunately it is only the bottom and the tub (ie: you can't really see anyway). Nevertheless, decidedly annoying.

After that, the part went into the oven at 180°C for 1 hour. The paint is then extremely hard and robust. After cooling down, it really didn't look that bad. Here once all previous parts nicely lined up.

Since I now wanted to spend the 1h "baking time" somehow productive I grabbed the switch and cleaned it once very thoroughly with the Novus set and polished it. Before...

...and after. You can see it only slightly in the pictures, but the pile of dirty cotton swabs should actually clearly represent the degree of contamination :D Micro cotton swabs turned out to be particularly practical - in the end, one-sided toothpicks with a bit of absorbent cotton. Very useful to get into all the nooks and crannies that you can't reach with a normal cotton swab.

So... now it's time to wait and drink coffee (or tea, hot chocolate or if it's late also a beer) until the remaining spare parts are delivered.

Thanks for reading! :)

- Cornelius

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JB90068
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#7: Post by JB90068 »

This is fun to watch your progress. Thanks for keeping us updated.
Head of lifestyle maintenance.

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KalWadin (original poster)

#8: Post by KalWadin (original poster) »

I had one thing in the back of my mind the whole time that really bugged me: the logo emblem.

The base has a vaulted wall structure, but the emblem is straight. Consequently, it wobbles and has a gap at the top and bottom. This is unacceptable for my Ultima, so I tackled the problem today. The plan was as follows: Heat the emblem to make it bendable, insert it into the base, and reshape the emblem to fit the contour of the base.

Using a precision butane torch, I heated the aluminum part to make it bendable....

...then inserted, one side fixed with a clamp (in this case the left side in the picture) and then with a piece of wood with tape to cushion the emblem piece by piece bent it into the correct contour.

This is how it looked after the first cycles, already better, but still not perfect...

...and here at the end. I can live with the small glimpses of light that still come through :D
And here's just a picture of how it currently looks put together. It's something, right?

Thanks for reading! :)

- Cornelius

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KalWadin (original poster)

#9: Post by KalWadin (original poster) »

Yesterday I finally got my solution for my little chrome chips. I use a technique from scenography and use a fine paint pen from Molotow, more precisely their "liquid chrome" which looks almost identical to real chrome on a flat surface.

The final result looks really promising (who can find the corrected spots at first glance?).

In order to protect the surface from renewed rusting, a layer of high-gloss stoving enamel is applied, specifically Motip 04033. This is a high-strength enamel for the automotive industry that is resistant to direct heat up to 800°C and at the same time is one of the few that is high-gloss. So all the holes in the base, boiler and brew group were masked off from the inside and then sprayed with the paint evenly in several coats outdoors. After an hour of drying time, it then went into the oven at 160°C for baking for 1h. Just a hint: don't use the "good" oven, otherwise your kitchen will stink... so always leave the window open :D

Now the parts are all polished to a beautiful mirror shine and look perfect.

Unfortunately, the whole thing also has a small catch: the clear coat lays over the corrected areas of the Molotow liquid chrome and dampens the shine significantly. For correcting the touch-up pen is great, but rather without clear coat then so that it shines evenly.
I still have a small surprise: all gauges are now there, so soon the assembly can begin ;)


Thanks for reading! :)

- Cornelius