The Virtual Coffee Machine

Europiccola, La Pavoni

So, this video is the conclusion of my recent project, well really a sub project. As part of the rebuild of my old La Pavoni Europiccola I thought while I have it all in bits I might as well 3D model all the bits, seemed like a good idea at the time, maybe a bit of a time waster, but it did serve two fairly key roles, 1) remind me how it all goes back together and 2) generate a bit more familiarity with the ever changing jugganaut that is PTC Creo (thats 3D modelling software).

I bought this old machine secondhand several years ago for a 400 bucks, there are many things I could say about this machine but besides making awesome coffee and being very portable, its best feature of all is; in a world of rampant consumerism and throwaway mentality its a little beacon of hope, there is pretty well nothing on this machine that cannot be repaired or replaced to bring it back to the original performance and function as the day it was unpacked.

This particular Europiccola is a 1998 model, which was probably the worst era for La Pavoni, it was the era they brought in a plastic piston and plastic boiler ring, they did learn and soon reverted back to tried and trusted items :) thankfully my one already had the plastic piston replaced with a brass one, it did however have the plastic boiler ring, which for me, did not give me any problems ie no swivelling boilers etc. My machine also now has a few little after market mods now, a pressure gauge (thanks and now the brass bolier ring in place of the old plastic one. I will also try out one of those steam wand tips, the ones with a single hole rather than 3.

So back to the project, the main part being the rebuild and the reason for it was the gasket between the boiler and base had all but disappeared and not surprisingly some rust was developing at this point, also there was some minor surface rust on the inner surface of the base. Additionally the scale build-up was getting a bit hectic, even with fairly regular de-scales, the buildup on the lower side of the sight glass fitting and the pressure switch intake was growing. So several weeks back it all came apart and got cleaned and then slowly parts migrated from a box in the kitchen to my desk for a date with my vernier calipers and ruler from which were borne 3D parts in a virtual world – now note these parts and the models are good enough manufacturing, so in case La Pavoni ever stop making spares (or I am the only one left on the planet), which I highly doubt it, I can always knock up every part (with varying degrees of difficulty i suspect :) ) I can also 3D print the entire assembly – this will happen soon I hope, thinking scaled down version for the kids ;)

So go on, check it on out, its even got colour and movement :) check out how it even represents the correct mechanism of the lever handle, roller pins and piston. When you see the section view and the mechanism in operation you can see how the lever handle concept works – this is sooo much easier than trying to explain it. As a educational bend, remember the old days in the chemistry lab.. no not the bits where you tried to burn magnesium strips (yes that was cool) but the bits about ideal gas laws and those famous dudes Jacques Charles, Gay-Lussac and Avogadro (yeah hes the dude with the moles who gave me no end of pain in high school) look familar ? PV / T = C anyways before your eyes glaze over just remember as the pressure goes up, the temperature also goes up, and vice-versa simple huh. So as the boiler heats things up and then the pressure goes up, then you lift the piston up and then the steam/water enters the piston chamber where its then forced thru the coffee grinds under more pressure and yep you guess it :) higher temperature :)

So there ya have it, forgive my crappy video skills, its the first screen grab video I have done, all in one take 'cause I got no idea how to edit videos.

and of course a little plug for my local La Pavoni Distributor, who not only supplies awesome machines (and parts) also has awesome coffee Euroespresso (Caffe' EuroBlend).

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C = Courageous

H = Helpful
A = Adventurous
O = Optimistic
S = Smart

Reframing Chaos.

This is what my childhood was full of, riding my bike around, playing in dirty creeks, catching tadpoles and coming home with all sorts of leeches and parasites attached – but hell it was fun :)

I think I have forgotten the feeling of mud between my toes and the carefree nature of not knowing, nor caring what I was treading on..only concerned about the chase :)
I gotta say, i never read books in trees tho, whilst Chaos can't quite read a novel yet she enjoys the audio books of Roald Dahl and JRR Tolkien and reads them like she can't wait to be able to do it all by herself…

Courageous – for getting in that water which if swallowed would prolly give you the runs for a month.

Helpful – willing to play and help other kids there get in the water – much to other parents dismay :)

Adventurous – never shy of trying something different :)

Optimistic – not giving up when there were no tadpoles to be found in the bottom dam.

Smart – packing herself a change of clothes for the ride back home – yup I never did that

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Ya'all gonna have to forgive my unforgiving swathe of kid pictures :) its about the only pictures I have been taking lately :)

Our house might be the size of a shoe box and messy as hell, but when I come home to Chaos barrelling down the hallway for a hug before I have even got in the door and asking how my day was, followed by Tickles with the warmest hug and gentlest 'i love you dad' and then little E with guaranteed toothless gummie smile – and of course my best pal and partner Sarah who if i am really really lucky I might get a kiss off, makes any day …. the best day.

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Dad's little helper

Little E helping out finishing off a little project. Shes such a great little work companion, so happy to sit and watch, but ya gotta keep everything at arms length, shes got a mean grip on her and when shes got something she definitely does not like to let it go. We needed to have a little discussion about how vernier calipers are not appropriate for the under 6months olds ;)

A little sneak peak at what we were working on :).
La Pavoni rebuild with a side project of 3D CAD modelling the whole thing…really, every little part :)

In Album 28/11/2017

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Sigma 35mm f1.4

Thanks to Focus Committee crew on such awesome prizes for the awards.
Its great to get a prize second place and one that I can use straight away :)

Pretty sweet lens too, interesting focal length, not what I would normally look for in a prime lens however when shooting at 1.4 it comes alive, definitely looking forward to more with this.

Ta Tickles aka Mayhem for being my little guinea pig, we had a great walk around the harbour and in the Lane Cove bushland

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The Complete Picture

The full set of images from the focus awards – Its taken a few years, but I find less thought and deliberating over the images seems to work better for me – basically just scroll through the last 12 months of my flickr images :) . Each year I say, i'll get my act together and select them with plenty of time, but sure enough everytime, its a Saturday night jobbie with some much valued advice from my dear partner :)

In Album 28/11/2017

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Focus Awards – Seascape

Every year I throw several images into the Focus Awards, an excellent local photography community which a mate introduced me to awhile back.. kinda glad he did :) ..

This year one of my favourite seascape images got second place in the Seascape Category, I have done very little photography by the ocean this year with only a handful of shoots at new spots. A family trip to Tweed heads got me a few new cool spots, one of which was where this image was taken, Snapper Rocks. Like most mornings when considering whether to drag ones ass out of bed to go and shoot some pictures, this one was no different, the temptation to grab that extra couple of hours sleep is sooo very tempting especially with a bunch of kids to deal with during the day :) kinda glad I did get out of bed tho….

Having never had to stand up on stage and try and explain a picture.. and hopefully won't have to again ;) I thought I might deconstruct this image and show people the images behind it and the starting point. I know I always wonder about how others process images and as someone who actually has very little skill in PS its quite useful to see the starting point and a bit of the process of how a image develops start to finish, so here is my stuff behind my final image.

This image, really is just a bunch of rocks in the ocean, I love it because of that, its not of a familiar place, its not recognisable as a location and it has a few elements which for me give it a bit of abstraction and minimalism, not to much to be too wild, just enough like adding lime to your beer but not drinking Bolivian hard pressed chilli-lime ale. There was some level of self awareness of what the final image would look like, I knew it would be a simplified scene, slightly desatured with yet a hint of green, think lime in ya beer kinda green :) I also remember it well since I was trying out a Leofoto pano head in the wild for the first time – thanks Kudos Cameras and Cameron, with out it this would not have worked and it tipped me over the edge to start using a pano head for ultrawide style panoramas.

The image is 6 vertical shots (@17mm) taken in quick succession as one or two waves rolled over the rocks, the shutter was 1.6 s and this was just enough to get a bit of motion in the water but also get through shots quickly before the water drained away off the rocks. I could have probably done it in landscape orientation, however the field of view would have not been as wide.

The 6 images used to make the panorama are included here, a stitched version (uncropped) from a series of images taken several minutes before as a test run are also included, more just to give an idea of the stitching of the images and the field of view. The final stitch and crop also included and also shows the removal of a few rocks and the removal of the skyline of Surfer's Paradise, this is done using content aware in PS, clone tool and also the motion blur. The motion blur is also used on the water near the horizon to give more sense of motion.

The cloud which is that cool abstract element is real and unadulterated. This part of the image just makes it for me and I recall watching this cloud float on by thinking what a awesome little cloud, I just gotta nail that in the right spot, it did move pretty fast which was handy.

Final processing was contrast, vibrancy and various selective applications on parts of the image, like the cloud, (some clarity), the rocks (lots of blacks and clarity) and accentuating the greens on the rocks. This was all done in Lightroom and an obsolete program called CaptureNX2 which I still dabble with for certain things. Photoshop was used for the stitching and clones etc.

Conveniently enough I also have a awesomely out of focus phone shot of my camera setup at the time. It had the 17-35mm f2.8 lens (thanks for the loan Cameron!) Lee graduated 0.9x filter and Hoya circular polariser.

I hope this helps some people understand whats behind this image and also the level of processing that went into it.

Thanks to the focus crew for a wonderful photography competition, its a hoot every year and a pleasure enter and support. Thanks to the Sigma for the awesome prize too!

In Album 28/11/2017

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