Homebrew espresso machine

On the Home Barista Forum, user Matadero210 is posting running progress reports from an heroic effort to machine and construct the perfect espresso machine:

The design itself: take a Pavoni head, build an adaptor to connect to normal plumbing. Add a machined plate with water inlet (this is a plumb-in system), thermometer, and heater. Mount all in a brazed steel base.
Robo-Pavoni ; learning to make espresso machine from scratch (via Make)


  1. As I am only interested in unicorns, the fact that you would post anything coffee related affronts and enrages me. I will now read the linked page, complaining the entire time.

    This is not the last time you have offended me. Be assured of that.

  2. ERISSIAN@#3: Cory, I wish you would stop posting about plumbing, I’m allergic to it and I despise it!

    *snort* Dupe!

    SCHWAL already said essentially the same thing in the last coffee thread.

    That said, the concept of being allergic to plumbing is at least funny, rendering your comment less CATFOTFIC than sarcastic.

    On to coffee: Hmm, this guy is using the head off of a $600+ espresso machine. So far I’ve only found the part numbers here: La Pavoni PDF parts list. No prices, but it’s likely a few hundred bucks. Not too bad, and I like the lever action, as it divorces pressure from water temperature, plus no noisy pump. He’s got a PID temp controller, next would be adding automation to the plunger. Dial it in, and a perfect shot every time!

  3. Love the copper boiler, all soldered together. Gives a new meaning to the phrase, “Leaded or unleaded?”

  4. Its not reall from scratch is it?

    I mean, “the head” off a fancy machine is basically the hard bits. Pressure fittings are available (if not easy to decipher) over the counter so really its more like….

    “Building a better Espresso Machine”…

    or something.

    Not from scratch tho. That’d involve lathes, mills, and lot of time.

  5. I’ve thought about building my own espresso machine since the prices for a good one are so outrageous and I have access to CAD software and a machine shop. Honestly though I have no idea how they work past the basic principles and phrases like “the grouphead check valve could be a flapper, if the piston is in the grouphead” make my brain hurt.

    Maybe what we need is an open source, easily manufactured espresso machine, kind of like how the Rep-Rap is for rapid prototypers.

  6. Easy, take a block of your favorite non-toxic, non-rusting metal and bore out a cylinder. Then turn a piston out of the same material and put on a PTFE piston ring to get a good seal. May not even need the piston ring if you get the tolerances close enough.

    Rig up a straight-line mechanism (couple levers) to attach the lever arm to and attach it to the piston. This should help keep the piston from slapping so you don’t have to worry about piston length and sealing as much.

    Add a pair of check valves, pressure gauge, a heater ww/PID and you have basically a lever espresso machine thermoblock. Lift lever to introduce water, wait for PID to recover, press down lever to make espresso.

    Make sure you size the bore/stroke appropriately to build the right pressure and move the right volume of water of course.

    The pain is making the part the coffee goes in and boring the tiny holes that act as the filter – though I would just snag it from a cheap dead one at a thrift store, and attach the tube from your homemade thermoblock to where the pump used to attach.

    Anyways, that is what I’m going to do someday. Someday…

  7. The unintentional use of the phrase “an heroic” is guiltily amusing. (see: “an hero”)

    I’m going to hell, yes, I know.

  8. Thank you. We were trying to figure out what we could do about this and this article was the best by far we found.

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