Dumb Coffee Grinder Gets Smarter with Time

[Forklift] has a Rancilio Rocky, a prosumer-level coffee grinder that’s been a popular mainstay for the last few decades. It’s a simple machine with a direct-drive motor. Rocky has one job, and it will do that job in one of 55 slightly different ways as long as someone is pushing the grind button. What Rocky doesn’t have is any kind of metering technology. There’s no way to govern the grind length, so repeatable results rely on visual estimates and/or an external clock. Well, there wasn’t until [Forklift] designed a programmable timer from the ground up.

The timer interface is simple—there’s a D-pad of buttons for navigation through the OLED screen, and one button to start the grind. The left and right buttons move through four programmable presets that get stored in the EEPROM of the timer’s bare ATMega328P brain. Grind duration can be adjusted with the up/down buttons.

We like that [Forklift] chose to power it by piggybacking on the 240VAC going to the grinder. The cord through the existing grommet and connects with spade terminals, so there are no permanent modifications to the grinder. Everything about this project is open source, including the files for the 7-segment font [Forklift] designed.

Tea aficionados may argue that creating their potion is the more time sensitive endeavor. We’ve got you covered there. Only question is, one button or two?

10 thoughts on “Dumb Coffee Grinder Gets Smarter with Time

  1. When I run my kitchen aid grinder I watch the quantity filling the cone whilst jiggling to know when to stop.

    The point is sometimes beans don’t fall consistently and I hear that and respond but timing will result in light brew.

  2. Funny I went the exact opposite way with my baratza conical burr grinder. Their burr grinding unit was nice but their electronics sucked. I replaced everything internally twice including the motor before I went crazy on it, one of their power boards that i was sent was so bad the traces were pulled up on it before I even installed it, they did not care. There is a reason they sell all the parts to fix their grinders on their site it is because they are not a good product. I ended up gutting it and adapting it to my kitchenaid mixer, not one problem since.

      1. The grinding rate will vary depending on the type and quality of the coffee used, if it is dark, oily, it will likely need a different grind. A timer is only reliable if the same conditions are used everyday

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