Making an Espresso Pot In the Machine Shop

[This Old Tony] was cleaning up his metal shop after his yearly flirtation with woodworking when he found himself hankering for a nice coffee. He was, however, completely without a coffee making apparatus. We imagine there was a hasty round of consulting with his inanimate friends [Optimus Prime] and [Stefan Gotteswinter Brush] before he decided the only logical option was to make his own.

So, he brought out two chunks of aluminum from somewhere in his shop, modeled up his plan in SolidWorks, and got to work.  It was designed to be a moka style espresso pot sized around both the size of stock he had, and three purchased parts: the gasket, funnel, and filter. The base and top were cut on a combination of lathe and mill. He had some good tips on working with deep thin walled parts. He also used his CNC to cut out some parts, like the lid and handle. The spout was interesting, as it was made by building up a glob of metal using a welder and then shaped afterward.

As usual the video is of [This Old Tony]’s exceptional quality. After quite a lot of work he rinsed out most of the metal chips and WD40, packed it with coffee, and put it on the stove. Success! It wasn’t long before the black stuff was bubbling into the top chamber ready for consumption.

Brasilia Espresso Machine PID Upgrade Brews Prefect Cup of Energy

Coffee, making and hacking addictions are just bound to get out of control. So did [Rhys Goodwin’s] coffee maker hack. What started as a little restoration project of a second-hand coffee machine resulted in a complete upgrade to state of the art coffee brewing technology.

coffee_hack_arduinoThe Brasilia Lady comes with a 300 ml brass boiler, a pump and four buttons for power, coffee, hot water and steam. A 3-way AC solenoid valve, wired directly to the buttons, selects one of the three functions, while a temperamental bimetal switch keeps the boiler roughly between almost there and way too hot.

To reduce the temperature swing, [Rhys] decided to add a PID control loop, and on the way, an OLED display, too. He designed a little shield for the Arduino Nano, that interfaces with the present hardware through solid state relays. Two thermocouples measure the temperature of the boiler and group head while a thermal cut-off fuse protects the machine from overheating in case of a malfunction.

Also, the Lady’s makeup received a complete overhaul, starting with a fresh powder coating. A sealed enclosure along with a polished top panel for the OLED display were machined from aluminum. [Rhys] also added an external water tank that is connected to the machine through shiny, custom lathed tube fittings. Before the water enters the boiler, it passes through a custom preheater, to avoid cold water from entering the boiler directly. Not only does the result look fantastic, it also offers a lot more control over the temperature and the amount of water extracted, resulting in a perfect brew every time. Enjoy [Rhys’s] video where he explains his build:

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Data from your coffee maker turned into art

This is what your coffee looks like as it is being brewed. The three different art pieces seen above were generated based on data from different parts of a high-end coffee maker. This isn’t a bargain basement single switch drip maker (we reserve those for NES retrofits) but a top-of-the-line espresso machine. And before you cry foul we’ll warn you that the project is a marketing device for the manufacturer. But we still think it’s interesting so read on or jump directly to the video after the break.

We’re unsure if the sensors are normally included in the machine or if they were added during the hack. An Arduino pulls in data about the brew process from two flow meters, a steam indicator LED, and three thermistors. The measured values are sent to a Processing application which turns them into the generative art seen above. What results is a widescreen display that aims to turn your bleary-eyed wait for morning coffee into something interesting.

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Hackaday Links: May 11, 2012

Three days of work in 5 minutes

[Celso] bought himself a Ultimaker kit and put together a time-lapse video of him putting it together. There’s a lot of work that goes into these machines, but being able to print a nearly perfect cube on the first run is nearly magical.

How about a CNC mill, too?

The folks over at Inventables have put together a tiny CNC mill kit designed from the fruitful mind of [Edward Ford]. The Shapeoko mill is designed around the Makerslide linear bearing system, so you’re getting a lot of precision very easily. Here’s some more info on the Shapeoko

Update the firmware on your RasPi

[Hexxeh] has been playing around with the Linux images for his Raspberry Pi, so he needs to reinstall the firmware on an image quite a lot. He wrote a tool to automate this task, but it should be useful for RasPi users that want to keep kernel and firmware up to date. You can get the rpi-updater at [Hexxeh]’s GitHub.

Your robotic barista is still always on the phone

Zipwhip is a company that provides a bridge from your phone to your computer so text messages can be displayed on your desktop. To show off their tech, they created a text enabled espresso machine. Everything on this robotic barista is automatic: the cups are grabbed from a warming tray with a servo arm, coffee is automatically brewed, and the last three digits of your cell phone number are printed on the foam to identify each cuppa. Check out the video; action starts at 1:30.

Awesome reading material

If you’re looking for something to read on that fancy tablet computer of yours, here’s every issue of New Scientist from 1956 to 1985. The early 60s issues say fusion power plants are about 50 years away, so we should be just fine in a couple of years.

Espresso upgrade gives you more data with your caffeine

Whether you take it as a single shot or a double, a great Barista want’s to know the details on what’s happening with the espresso machine. [Tobi] was happily generating the morning cup when he realized that the needle-thermometer on his machine wasn’t working any longer. Instead of shelling out a lot of money for a direct replacement, he built his own display and controller for this espresso machine (translated).

He had a few goals with this hack. Obviously he needed to replace the temperature meter, but he also wanted a colorful display and some timing options. He was able to get his hands on a nice little OLED display that would fit in the vacated opening and it only cost a few bucks. He’s got his own mini-mill which came in handy when fabricating a board to host the ATmega16 which drives add-on, but he also used it to make a bracket for the screen replacement.

Now his machine is fixed, looks a bit more modern, and it has more features which are shown off in the video after the break. If you’re looking to add some custom circuitry to your coffee ritual you may also take some inspiration from this similar espresso machine hack. Continue reading “Espresso upgrade gives you more data with your caffeine”

Kitchen Hacks: Improving an espresso machine

The heat sensor in [Cameron]’s espresso machine doesn’t work very well. He sees some pretty crazy variations in temperature when pulling an espresso shot, and when the boiler is just sitting there the heater element will heat the water full-bore then shut off for a while. Since this is a pretty low bar from a control theory standpoint, [Cameron] decided on a PID makeover on his espresso machine.

Instead of going with a commercial PID controller like we’ve seen on a few kitchen hacks, [Cameron] decided to roll his own Arduino derivative based on an ATMega328 microcontroller. The newly designed board reads the state of the ‘Steam’ button, a few relays for controlling the heater and the pump, and of course an LCD display.

[Cameron] still has to do a little tweaking to get his PID algorithm down, but already the new control board keeps a much more stable temperature than the old thermostat. The fancy new bezel and LCD display adds a lot of techy class to his espresso machine, to boot.

Kitchen Hacks: [Dino’s] egg tricks

[Dino’s] latest weekly hack plays right into our Kitchen Hacks theme. He’s sharing some obscure tips and tricks involving eggs.

It should come as no surprise that he knows a thing or two about using eggs. After all, he keeps chickens and you’ve can’t just let good eggs go to waste. Which is where his first tip comes in. Eggs will keep for weeks, but if you don’t know if they’re still good you can put them in a bowl of water before cracking them. Eggs that float are on the way out!

Need some scrambled eggs but don’t have a pan to cook them in? His next feat is to cook up a breakfast of steamed eggs using the steamer nozzle on his espresso machine. It’s messy (egg seems to be flying everywhere) but the final product does look appetizing.

The rest of the video (embedded after the break) shows his methods of making Hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict, and how to blow the innards out of an egg-shell.

Now we have a picture in our minds that [Dino’s] daily routine is surrounded by eggs… like the egg farmers in Napoleon Dynamite.

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