New Find: Faema Zodiaco

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IamOiman
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#1: Post by IamOiman »

Now I promised myself the next machine I bought would be something a super vintage, early 50's chromed Gaggia or Faema lever, but I succumbed to an opportunity that I was not expecting initially: a 2 group Faema Zodiaco from the late 70's that was no more than 10 minutes from where I live for a very fair price. It works, albeit the heating element gasket leaks and caused some rust on the frame but is nothing serious. I also had to drain the boiler of old water but everything is there and it is also gas powered. The ANCC number is 119077, but like my Tell it is missing the 7th digit, or 1,119,077. This means (likely) that it was made after 1979. I will need to find a date on the machine to confirm this.






It was listed since early November but I waited to see if someone else wanted to buy it since I already have other machines, but after checking the machine out in person the seller told me nobody was seriously interested in it. She was the original owner whose father bought it new for a bakery before it sat in the kitchen for a while. Besides the rust there is no serious damage on the machine. There is a missing corner piece on the plastic cup holder wall and the springs need replacing. Originally I wanted the machine to use for parts but here is what I will be doing. Since the springs need replacing anyways I will take apart the groups and borrow the lever fork and shaft for the President when I get around to restoring that to replace the damaged forks. When I am done with the President I will then buy replacement forks and shafts for the Zodiaco. Whether I switch back the parts with the original machine will remain to be seen but no matter what this will be a fine addition to my collection.





Here is a comparison of the portafilters and levers. The President's lever is chromed and has a curved base on the base of the thread while the Zodiaco is more boxy and I think made of Stainless Steel.


The left portafilter is the President, the middle portafilter the Zodiaco, and the right portafilter a modern reproduction. It appears the latter tries to copy the President style in the handle more.



One final comment is the Zodiaco, though bigger in size than its predecessor, is much lighter than the President or Tell. I estimate it weights a little more than my Bosco, or 100lbs give or take.
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

MemPast

#2: Post by MemPast »

Congrats.

You beat me to it. I have an interview next week in Boston, and was about to contact the seller to arrange the sale. I was waiting a confirmation on my ticket times.

I was planning on getting the group heads only, since they are thermosiphon. They can be retrofitted to many several home machines.

Well, I think the machines is better off in your hands, since you are planning to restore it. Also I have several projects on my hands that I do not seem to finish, so I do not need distractions:)

Enjoy your find.

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

I was initially buying it for parts as well, but I will get it running again. I am just borrowing the lever forks/shafts for the President and possibly the manometer. I appreciate your sentiment in the outcome.

Perhaps the Vipassana Method can be used here, for you or for me :lol:
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

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drgary
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#4: Post by drgary »

IamOiman wrote:Perhaps the Vipassana Method can be used here, for you or for me :lol:
I have collected home levers like you're collecting commercial ones. What a pace!

As a reference for puzzled readers, "The Vipassana Method for Emotionally Charged Decisions."
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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

Giving this some thought I actually decided to do this: I will refurbish the Faema Zodiaco as practice for the President, as they use similar components and the exact group. If I mess something up it will be easier to fix it on the Zodiaco I think. The current state of the Zodiaco is also better as it was running (albeit leaking) before bringing it home, so it should not take as long to clean up.

I wrestled off all the pipes and boiler from the frame. I had a much easier time than with the Tell as the biggest prior issue I had was taking off the boiler lid. This boiler only has two bolts to connect the heating element, which I took off without effort. In fact I could take it out by hand once the bolts were loosened. Nothing was stuck, though I applied heat to some larger fittings just in case. The inside has very little scale, so the water used was very soft or the machine was not used a terrible amount.






One of the poles was actually snapped off when I unearthed the element from the grommet cap. I am not sure how the machine functioned with this issue but I am ok with this as I was going to use a smaller element anyways (2kw or 2.4kw) compared to this 2.8kw element.


The only issue so far is the rusted portion where the leaking gasket sputtered water over time. If I need to media blast it and powder coat it I will need to drill out the rivets that hold the back panel onto the machine, which would make it a little more complicated to do.


The p-stat did function and I was given a spare gasket for it. It appears the gasket was already replaced at an earlier point so if it works when I test the machine I will leave it alone for now. Note the Nema 6-15 plug, meaning it was used on American 240V. It also had no switch, just a plug so to turn it off you needed to unplug it or put a timer switch on the outlet.


I guess a final question for now would be should I remove all of the remaining threaded parts on the boiler, or can I leave them on if they do not leak?
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

Sander1981

#6: Post by Sander1981 »

Nice find! You're building quite a collection :D

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IamOiman (original poster)
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#7: Post by IamOiman (original poster) »

I guess my end goal is to exceed Maltoni in machines someday....

Disassembly is basically done and the cleaning phase is beginning. So far nothing has been stuck. The groups could be taken off by hand, no heat, mallet whacking, or penetrator oil required. Nothing is rusted on the groups and a little clean up will make them look new. There was an odd grease on the groups that was more viscous than expected. It honestly looked to be vegetable oil :shock: .





I had an issue with one of the valves and it resulted in a small mistake. This was the one time I needed the mallet to take loosen a nut on a valve. It was really stuck, and after some heat I tried the mallet. I thought I was loosening the nut but in reality I was moving the whole valve, which left a mark on the front panel. This is an example why I am doing the Zodiaco first so I can learn to take precaution next time. The good news is the marks will be covered by the valves when I put them back on. Just shows I am still new in this process.


I am pretty tempted to take the gas assembly and use it on the President to make it complete since I do not intend to use it and insert a switch where the lighting mechanism for the gas sticks out on the front skirt.


Some of the pipes are plated in nickel, which I am still debating to leave on or not. The boiler is starting its soak, which I will flip over so I clean the whole thing after a day or two. Since I have no heating source to have the citric acid work well I am using vinegar instead. I can tell the initial period will be a flurry of work then I will need to wait a bit to tally what parts I will need to order then wait for shipment. I am trying to confirm a subscription with Ascaso (under Repuestos-Holsteleria) for wholesale pricing so we'll see how that turns out. I am looking at the 2400W element used by the Faema Compact for home use. It is quite close to the 20A 110V limit but it should be fine if nothing else is running on the circuit.

-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

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IamOiman (original poster)
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#8: Post by IamOiman (original poster) »

Another day, more stuff done. The frame is completely stripped except for the front panel and skirt panel. I will likely need to drill out the rivets holding them in place to address the rust in the back of the frame. The boiler is still soaking away in its bucket.


The burner was held in by two small metal flaps bent into the frame (burner is upside down to show this). I am likely not going to use it but I will still clean it up.


The drain was not original, and instead an interesting custom box fitted to the machine.


Most pipes are cleaned up after a day of hot citric acid followed by some polishing. I kept the pipes that were plated in original condition, but I noted the caps are a different material than brass.


For comparison I took off the upper groups of the President to see how good (or bad) condition they were compared to the Zodiaco. I will tell you it took much more effort to get the pistons out of the sleeve. There was some corrosion or build up of crud that caused this, and the shutoff valve/flow control are completely stuck at room temperature, so I will eventually need to buy something with more heat than my current heat gun.



I also found out the date of the machine, May of 1977 (text on flange says 220V 2600W B 5 77), stamped onto the heating element. At least this is the age of the element. It is a little strange if the machine is this old as this would mean the Zodiaco was made before my Gaggia Tell, which has a lower ANCC number than the Zodiaco (1,107,459 versus 1,119,077). Common sense would dictate the Gaggia should have a lower number but so far this says otherwise. I guess the other possibility is this is the part number for the element but I cannot confirm.


I am quite happy I found a shelving unit in the basement. I would have run out of space otherwise to put stuff on!
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

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IamOiman (original poster)
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#9: Post by IamOiman (original poster) »

The frame is now completely stripped except for one stubborn foot soaking in penetrator oil in the back. Now instead of going to the powder coaters and paying them for the media blasting + coating I decided to learn something from this experience and do it myself. It will involve some wire brushing and then some rust protector spray you can buy at an auto store. I will try to make sure the frame is rust free when I do this but since I do not intend to use this in a commercial setting I am ok with making small mistakes (but would prefer not to).

The panels were riveted to the frame, and I removed them by using a 3/32 drill bit to loosen them then took a small flathead and did some light tapping to take off the head with no scratches involved. There were 4 rivets on the upper panel and 2 on the lower panel that needed to be removed.


-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

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drgary
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#10: Post by drgary »

IamOiman wrote:It will involve some wire brushing and then some rust protector spray you can buy at an auto store.
The product that gets the best reviews in these forums is POR-15.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!