Fixing difficult to insert portafilters - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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#21: Post by Psyd »

another_jim wrote: A beefy owner operator may stay with something like this for a few days before he takes action; but at any shop with hired baristas, a group requiring this much force would be out for repair within the hour.
On a new machine. The tolerances may be that tight so that in three years, when the machine is starting to get sloppy, you're still pulling shots without any leakage.
Some of us replace brute muscling in the F= m x a equation (where 'm' equals muscling, and 'a' still equals accelleration) with a teensy bit more acceleration to overcome the resistance to locking in, and I give the starboard side of the PF handle a bit of a smack when unlocking. Improvise, adapt, overcome
another_jim wrote:There is also the POS factor. Having a $2500 home espresso machine spit out the PF unless you hug the machine with one hand and twist it in with the other will not inspire confidence that you made a wise purchase.
And usually, in that range, the machine is a result of someone taking parts our of a commercial machine and modifying them to accommodate home use, yeah?
I'm guessing that the issue is primarily using pro kit in a domestic environment, but as I say, it's just a guess.
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175


#22: Post by jlhsupport »

Totally agree with you Jim. Seems as if some manufacturers don't fine tune the fit of parts like others.
Rancilio has fixed their problem with the Silvia. If I have time, I'll be reviewing the DC Mini this year; if not, next year. They may have made the change as well.

Sometimes in manufacturing, it comes down to the Quality Assurance tolerance of multiple parts just not being a good fit for each other. In this case we've got 4 parts interacting with each other (group bell, portafilter ears, basket, and gasket). If each of them are within their own tolerance range but far enough to either their respective upper or lower limits, it can cause a situation that you're experiencing. Depending on how the QA tests are done (I've not yet toured any Italian factories), with each part in spec, a difficult-to-lock portafilter may go unnoticed. I would think something like this would have been caught at some point, but maybe not in the factory.

I reported the portafilter issue to Rancilio's Chicago office last year, and while I have since seen better fitting portafilters, I have no way of knowing if I was the source of the fix or if it was caught in the factory and adjusted for on the next run. I'm really in no position to comment on how it was handled, but based on my experience working in manufacturing (corrugated paper and chemicals), if a similar situation had come up, someone has to make the judgment call. Sometimes they make the right one, and sometimes not. But none of that matters to the customer; they simply deserve a product that works as intended, and portafilters that back out are certainly not SOP.
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