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Topic: Zass 169 Grinder hack (6 msgs / 186 lines)
1) From: Mark A. Chalkley
I just made a quick and dirty hack to a Zass 169 grinder that some
here may find useful.  The pics are about 225k.  Is it legal to send
pics to this list, or is that frowned upon?  I don't have a site I can
post them too, unfortunately.
Mark C.
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2) From: Ed Needham
If you want, I can post them on my site for a couple of weeks, or until
everyone here has a chance to see them.
Just send them to me with text (use Notepad for the text if you can, it makes
for smaller files).
Ed Needhamhttp://www.homeroaster.comed

3) From: jim gundlach
     It is not a good idea to send it to the list.  If you send it to me 
at jimgundlach, I'll post it up where people can look at it.
         Jim Gundlach
On Saturday, November 16, 2002, at 09:57 PM, Mark A. Chalkley wrote:
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4) From: Mark A. Chalkley
Fulton Martin has put the pictures of my Zass 169 hack up on his site:
, and
. They're pretty
self-explanatory, but if anyone has any questions, just ask.  (I
appreciate all the other offers to host them, too - he was the first.
Thanks, guys!!!)
A while back, we had a discussion about my Solis Maestro beginning to
produce a lot more "dust" and I determined, as Mike M. predicted, that
the burrs were worn out.  So I bought a Zassenhaus 152 from SM.  I was
very impressed with the evenness of the grind, but I didn't like the
wooden drawer in the case.  It's so small that I have to dump it three
times for each morning batch of coffee; grounds tend to fall on the
sides and end up in the base; and the drawer is too wide to make
dumping the grounds into the Royal brew glass practical, so I had to
dump them on a paper towel first, etc.  In addition, the top reservoir
is small enough that it was tough to get the beans for a batch in it.
So, I decided to buy a Zass 169 and make my own base to hold a glass
instead.  But I couldn't find just the grinder mechanism, so I had to
buy the complete unit.  Then when it came yesterday, I had an idea for
a quick and dirty hack that wouldn't take long and might work well.
The Zass base for the 169 is even worse than the 152: it has all the
same shortcomings, plus the drawer doesn't sit flat on the bottom, so
about the only way to get the grounds that spill into the base is to
vacuum them out.
I'll still probably build a complete base out of walnut later but, for
now, here's what I did:  I took the top off and measured everything
carefully.  Then I went down to a local antique store and found
several things that were the right size, 2.6" tall and about 3" in
outside diameter.  I settled on a silver Jefferson cup that cost me
$10. Then, I took a Dremel with a hole-cutting bit and cut a 3.1"
diameter hole in the exact center of the base.  Using the same bit, I
cut the bottom out of the drawer.  Now, I just set the cup on the
counter, drop the grinder over it and grind away.  When I'm done, I
just give the grinder a little rap or shake to make any loose grounds
stuck to the burr drop into the cup, lift the grinder up off the cup
and I'm done.  A bonus is that it doesn't modify the appearance of the
grinder in any way (unless you have a habit of storing it on its
The drawer holds the cup in the middle and keeps it from trying to tip
if the grinder slides around while you're using it.  The cup fits
tight up against the bottom of the top plate the grinder is bolted to,
so no coffee falls outside the cup. The cup holds just a little over 8
oz., enough for a full pot in the Royal and then some.  I'm still
going to glue a small strip of wood to the inside of the front of the
drawer to make absolutely certain the cup is centered in the box, but
it doesn't seem to matter.
FWIW, the 169 seems to be an even better grinder mechanism than the
152.  For one thing, the burrs are held by the steel mechanism itself.
On the 152 (and most other Zass models, I think), the lower burr is
seated in the wood top, which makes it harder to align properly.  On
mine, I was able to detect a slight misalignment of the lower burr.
The lower burr on the 169 also has deeper teeth and seems to grind a
little faster as well as more evenly, probably because of the perfect
Anyway, if you want an excellent grinder and don't mind getting a
little (very little) exercise, this modification gets rid of the
Zass's shortcomings, as far as I'm concerned, and only takes half an
hour or so, an hour if you're particular.  If anybody wants the mods
and doesn't have the tools, I'd be glad to do it, as long as you don't
mind it being a little rough underneath.  I can make a jig to do it,
and probably will if more than a couple people want it done, but I did
mine free-hand. That's the reason for the rough spots you see in the
picture.  The antique store down the road even has 3 or 4 Jefferson
cups left...
Mark C.
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5) From: Mike McGinness
From: "Mark A. Chalkley" 
Great ingenuity Mark. Looks like a very functional and at the same time
aesthetically pleasing solution. I was too was/am very happy with the grind
of the Zass Turkish Mill I used on vacation. It is much slower than the
other models though I believe. Smaller burr set... But then, on vacation I
wasn't in a hurry!
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
Miss Silvia brewin'
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6) From: Mark A. Chalkley
Thanks, Mike. It satisfies me, which isn't all that easy to
accomplish. ;>)  I actually posted the info at John Abbott's
suggestion.  I had seen from a message in the archives that he owned a
169 and privately chatted with him about my plans.  He was kind enough
to take his apart and send me a picture of the bottom of the grinder,
so I knew what I was getting before I took the plunge.
I've decided to not bother with another electric grinder, at least not
unless the Zass surprises me by wearing out long before its 10-year
warranty expires.  The 152 is going to become my backup grinder and
the one I take on trips, since it's a fair bit smaller than the 169.
And eventually, as I said before, I plan to make a complete base out
of walnut big enough to hold a taller glass.  Knowing me, though, I
probably won't get around to it as long as this one continues to
Mark C.
On Sunday, November 17, 2002, 2:44:56 AM, Mike McGinness wrote:
MM> Great ingenuity Mark. Looks like a very functional and at the same time
MM> aesthetically pleasing solution. I was too was/am very happy with the grind
MM> of the Zass Turkish Mill I used on vacation. It is much slower than the
MM> other models though I believe. Smaller burr set... But then, on vacation I
MM> wasn't in a hurry!
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