[Nicholas DiPatri] very much loves his Gaggia Pro. It’s an amazing espresso machine, but it’s also kind of fussy and requires a lot of manual attention to brew a cup. As an engineer, he set about fettling the machine to run with a little less oversight. Enter RoboGaggia.
Stock, the Gaggia Pro requires regular water refills. The coffee-thirsty user must also wait for the brew heater to reach temperature before clicking the go button. Knowing the weight of coffee in the machine is key to getting the brew right, too. Steaming must also be done by hand. Overall, it’s a lot of work.
[Nicholas]’s goal was to get the machine to a point where he could load it with fresh ground coffee, hit a button, and walk away. On his return, the machine should be ready for steam. To achieve this, he went ham on outfitting the Gaggia Pro with fancy modern equipment. It scored a scale that sits in the drip tray, PID temperature controllers, a flow rate controller to manage the extraction profile, and an auto-fill water reservoir. The entire brew process is carried out under the command of a microcontroller, with live telemetry also sent to Adafruit.io for logging.
It’s by no means a lightweight project, but [Nicholas] has shared files on Github for the curious. However, if you’re in love with your Italian espresso machine and don’t want to switch, this might just be the kit you need to end your morning headaches. After all, when we’re in need of coffee, we’re at our worst for managing a complicated chemical processing plant. Video after the break.
Continue reading “RoboGaggia Makes Espresso Coffee On Its Own”
For those that don’t know, Gaggia is a company that produces a line of affordable “entry-level” espresso coffee makers that offer good quality consumer espresso machines at reasonable prices. The entry level machines don’t offer fine grained control over temperature, pressure and steam which is where the Gaggiuino project comes in.
The Gaggiuino project is an “after market” modification of many espresso makers, such as the Gaggia classic and Gaggia classic pro. The main additions are a MAX6675 thermocouple module paired with a K-Type thermocouple sensor for closed loop control over the temperature. Options for adding an AC dimmer module that attaches to the pump motor and a 0 Mpa to 1.2 Mpa ranged XDB401 pressure sensor, installed in line between the pump and the boiler, provide further closed loop control over the pressure and flow profiling.
Load cells can be attached to the drip tray to allow for feedback about the pour weight with a Nextion 2.4″ LCD touchscreen provides the user interface for profile selection and other interactivity. The project offers a “base” modification using an Arduino Nano as the microcontroller, in line with its namesake, but has an option for an STM32 Blackpill module that can provide more functionality beyond the scope of the Nano.
The Gaggiuino project is open source with code and extensive documentation available on GitHub. There is also a Discord community for those wanting help with their build or that have the inclination to share their passion for DIY espresso modding with the Gaggiuino. Espresso machine hacks are a favorite of ours and we’ve featured many projects on espresso machine builds and mods ranging from PID control of classic espresso makers to beautifully minimal closed loop homebrew espresso machines.
Continue reading “Homebrew Espresso Maker Modding With Gaggiuino”
[Ben Katz] is in the process of building a compact, closed-loop espresso machine, and really seems to be pulling it off in the first shot. Though it may not be the final product, we’re in awe of the beautiful guts and would love to taste-test the early results.
This machine will hit a sweet spot between lever-type espresso machines that are like driving a manual without power steering, and those fully automated machines that squeeze all the fun out of playing barista but are easier on the joints.
Here’s how it works so far: a motor drives an electric gear pump that pumps the water through a heater. It’s a closed-loop system, so there’s a 3-way valve after the heater that keeps sending the water back until it’s deemed hot enough. Once that happens, the valve switches functions and begins to pump water through the group head and on to the coffee grounds.
[Ben] designed and milled a beautiful group head that’s designed to fit a La Pavoni portafilter and some other parts he already had on hand. Grab a coffee and watch it pull the first shot after the break, then stick around to see the milling and the drilling.
Ready to kick that Keurig to the curb and get an espresso machine? Don’t just throw it out or take it to a field and smash it with a baseball bat — turn that thing into an automatic drip for a small houseplant.
Continue reading “Homebrew Espresso Machine Has Closed-Loop Control”
This thing has what plants crave! No, not electrolytes exactly — just water, light, and moisture polling every 30 minutes. We think it’s fitting to take something that once manufactured liquid liveliness for humans and turn it into a smart garden that does the same thing for plants.
So let’s just get this out of the way: the espresso machine was abandoned because it was leaking water from a gasket. [The Plant Bot] cleaned it up, replaced the gasket, and got it brewing, and then it started leaking hot water again from the same gasket. We might have gone Office Space on this beautiful machine at that point, but not [The Plant Bot].
Down in the dirt, there’s a soil moisture sensor that’s polling every 30 minutes. If the moisture level falls below the threshold set appropriately at a life-sustaining 42%, the Arduino is triggered to water the plant through a relay board using the espresso machine’s original pump. If the plant is dry, the machine will pump water for two seconds every minute until the threshold is met. [The Plant Bot] tied it all together with a nice web interface that shows plant data and allows for changes over Bluetooth.
[The Plant Bot] started by disconnecting the heating element, because plants don’t tend to like hot steam. But if the cup warming tray along the top has a separate heating element, it might be neat to reuse it for something like growing mushrooms, or maintaining a sourdough starter if the temperature is right.
[Rulof Maker] is a master at making things from salvaged parts, and being an Italian lover of espresso coffee, this time he’s made an espresso machine. The parts in question are a piston and cylinder from an old motorbike, believe it or not, and parts from an IKEA lamp.
Why the piston and cylinder? For those not familiar with espresso machines, they work by forcing pressurized, almost boiling water through ground coffee. He therefore puts the water in the piston cylinder, and levers the piston down onto it, forcing the water out the bottom of the cylinder and through the waiting coffee grounds. Parts from the IKEA lamp form a base for the waiting cup to sit on.
Of course, he takes great care to clean out any burnt oil and gas before starting. We also like how he centers a lever arm on a U-shaped bolt using two springs. Clever. But see the master in action for yourself in the video below.
Continue reading “Espresso Machine From Motorbike Engine Parts”
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.
The 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:
Continue reading “Brasilia Espresso Machine PID Upgrade Brews Prefect Cup Of Energy”
Several years ago, [Cameron] added an ATMega328-based PID temperature controller to his espresso machine. It has performed admirably to this day. But behind that cool bezel and LCD, all of the electronics are just sitting there, exposed. [Cameron] decided to give it a makeover. He has a better machine at home these days and wanted to take the old one to work. In order to keep untrained hands away from it in the office’s shared kitchen, [Cameron] installed a 4-digit keypad.
This makeover didn’t end with hiding wires and locking out noobs, though. [Cameron] added a float switch that will disable the pump when the water level gets too low. This is a nice touch. Otherwise, machines like this one will try to brew when the tank is dry, and then the pump has to be primed once the tank is refilled. [Cameron] also replaced the buttons’ back-lighting bulbs with bright LEDs. A small LCD mounted on the front of the machine shows the boiler temperature and shot-pulling duration.
If you’ve add PID temperature control to your espresso machine but have done nothing to improve the steam wand, why not add a pressure gauge?