GRINDER TWEAKS

So far Gaggia MM; Gaggia MDF; Solis 166 (a.k.a. Starbucks Barista); Bodum Antigua

For the Solis Mulino see http://www.sweetmarias.com/solismulino.adjustgrind.html

The smaller cheap grinders tend to need modifying out of the box to grind fine enough to achieve 25second shots on the mid range pump espresso machines.
I have taken these from alt.coffee postings ( i think i've got permissions but my filing is less than ideal...)
One of these days i might get some burr grinder pictures to go with them  - any volunteers welcome - Stop Press - some here

DON'T ATTEMPT ANY OF THESE UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO SHOULDER THE RISK YOURSELF - I CANNOT ACCEPT LIABILITY IF IT GOES WRONG. (Nor is it ethical to return it under warranty if you damage it) 
We know of at least one person who broke his Solis following these instructions. (but equally - most are quite happy)

 

Gaggia MM. By Me.

Disconnect from electricity (sorry - had to say that). Remove two small Phillips screws inside the input hopper. Carefully remove the hopper. Turn the carriage underneath (which previously had been prevented from going all the way round by the hopper) until the two burrs just touch. (You can turn the burr and just see it catching.) Ideally - of course - for maximum range, you need at the most clockwise setting to have the burrs almost touch so that at the most anticlockwise you get a nice coarse grind for cafetiere. Put the hopper back in with this in mind - i.e. almost touching and max clockwise. I decided to drill two more holes in the exact position but you have an espresso range requirement of, at most, 45deg and a total adjustment of, what, 2 times 130deg? so you don't NEED to. Turn anticlockwise - put beans in and try it.
Edge the setting finer until the burrs almost touch and AVOID THAT...Replacement burrs are quite cheap but even so.......

Don't push your hand on the top whilst it is turned on - it upsets the setting. I can get it fine enough to stop my Gaggia Classic and then a bit. Remember you can use the intermediate positions to aim for exactly 23.5 secs if you are that way inclined.

When i was playing, i broke off the "chinaman’s hat and bridge piece" (at this stage i am waving my hands around trying to describe it) but it glued OK with superglue - hence remove hopper carefully

gaggia mm.jpg (12451 bytes)
GAGGIA MDF - courtesy David Hays

Remove the circular cover from the bean hopper  At the bottom you will see two rubber doodads  Pry these out with a pocket knife to expose two screws Remove the two screws and lift off the hopper   Remove the two screws in front of the hopper to expose the "chute" where   the ground coffee falls into the doser  Using a 7mm nut driver, socket, or wrench, loosen the two nuts  You can now turn the adjustment collar independently of the burr adjustment. I "screwed the burrs together" until they were obviously touching each
other,   backed off two "clicks" by grabbing the nuts and twisting (ouch! :-),  adjusted the numbered collar to 1, and tightened the nuts  Before reassembling you can sit the bean hopper back on top (it's not   necessary to screw it down) , pour in some beans, test the grind, and   readjust if necessary.  Make sure the numbers are centered in the little square window! :-) Reassemble

Now a setting of 6 produces a fine enough grind that I get something  approaching a 25 second "pull".  One interesting thing is that with a setting of 4, nothing at all comes out.  Maybe the burrs are so close together that they can't "grab" the coffee beans? Setting it this way gives me some adjustment as the burrs wear down over time.

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SOLIS 166 - courtesy Mike Fronzaglia
    I have done the modification myself (after being talked through it) and then have actually done it myself 2 or 3 times since then.  The process is quite simple.  I will explain it BUT I will assume no responsibility for damages!  :-)   Dismantle at your own risk!  Please forgive some of the "non technical terms" I have used!
1. Unplug the Solis 166
2. Remove the Hopper assembly by turning counter clockwise (past thecoarsest setting) until it won't turn anymore and then lift straight out
2(a). Remove the Grinding dial by pulling it straight towards you (this can be done with bare hands and can be a little difficult). (1)  Be careful so you don't snap the dial and break it.
3. You need to remove the "cover" (big gray gray part of the grinder) in order to gain access to the insides.  To do this you'll need to flip over the unit over.  You should notice 4 slots (2 on each side) where the cover and base meet.  You need to stick a small flat head screw driver in the holes to release the cover locking mechanisms.  This part of the process can be a pain but just be patient!
4.  Once you have released the locking tabs, slide the cover off.  Now you will have access to the "insides" of the grinder.
5. You'll notice now that there is a brown colored cover (has the dots on it that denotes grinding fineness/coarseness).  This is supported on two sides of the grinder (diagonally).  This pulls straight off.  Pull it off.
6. Look into the burr assembly.  You'll notice that the top of the burr assembly pulls straight out (creme colored piece that is straight edged on 2 sides and round on the other two sides).  Pull this out.
7. You will now notice a white ring that has 2 "ears"  on the top surface and 1 nub (my term :-) on the bottom part of this ring.  You will also notice that there are 4 places where there are gaps where you can remove this ring. Note: Make sure that this ring assembly is rotated completely counter clockwise. The 4 gaps should be approximately at 10:00, 2:00, 4:00, and 8:00.  This is if you keep the front of the grinder (the place where the timing dial was) facing your chest.
8. In order to adjust the grind you'll need to stick a small flat head screwdriver into each of the 4 holes to work free the white disk.  BE CAREFUL that you keep the disk in the same place as you pull it free so you can mark with a pen the original position of the 2 ears!  This will help you return to your starting point if you adjust too far.
9.  Once you have loosened the white disk rotate the disk 1 or 2 holes COUNTERCLOCKWISE (I would adjust no more than 2 holes at a time just so I can adjust gradually).  Once you have done this, snap the ring back down and reassemble.
That's all there is to it!  If you want to make sure you didn't turn the ring too far, put back the burr piece and then the brown shield.  At this point try putting the hopper back in.  If it goes in great!  If you can't get it on, you adjusted too far (this might help prevent a headache once you get it back together...trust me! :-).

I almost forgot...when reassembling and snapping the dial back on (the last step).  Make sure the long straight piece is pointing straight down at the "zero" mark.

(1) An a.c poster - Angelo - snapped one of the legs by pulling straight off and suggests putting a flat blade between the casing and cover to release one of the three legs.  On my Barista the dial does pull off easily without this - the legs are at 2, 6 and 10 o'clock and only the top two have nibs on them to hold them in position against the casing.

solis 166.jpg (15059 bytes)

BODUM ANTIGUA - courtesy Paul Hanley

1. Remove the hopper, and clean out any loose grinds.

2. Separate the upper half of the grinder from the lower half by grasping the small protruding mass (that sits in the dividing line of the grinder, slightly above and behind the time/power knob) and pressing it upwards to create a small space, dividing the upper and lower halves enough to slide a flathead screwdriver in there and slowly pry the unit apart. It is held together by 4 integrated fastening clasps.

3. With the unit apart, move on to the burrs and remove the disc that the hopper sits upon (white plastic, approx 3 inches in diameter with two small notches in it for hopper alignment), and approach the disc below it with the holes in it. This is the disc that adjusts the grind density.

4. Wth this disc turned counterclockwise as far as it can go, move it clockwise a few clicks to get a closer grind once the unit is placed back together. I moved mine 6 clicks before I was satisfied. I recommend starting at 4.

5. Place the upper "hopper alignment disc" that was removed initially, back to a position that will allow the hopper to be locked back into the unit. To do this, you can either note its original position when disassembling the unit, or simply line it up with the large slots in upper portion of the unit 's case. There are two grooves in the "alignment disc" that should be within reach of the hopper's extruding grooves for the hopper to lock into.

6. Put the remaining halves back together. If the hopper seems to feel as ift here is excessive resistance when turned to the finer settings, the burrs may be touching (see: not good) If there are metal shavings in the resulting grind, then the burrs are definitely touching (see: extremely bad!!!) Turn the grind back a bit if so.

The 6 clicks that I used allowed me to place the hopper back on the unit and turn the hopper to the finest setting (completely clockwise) without the burrs touching. At the same time, it has provided a grind fine enough for me to
increase the shot time by about 18-22 secs with my usual tamp (haven't weighed my tamp, but it's a heavy one)