Greeting from New York City. I just purchased my first Atomic on E-Bay. It's in great shape, but the BBK was stuck shut. I found instructions for building this wooden contraption from Paul Howel on the \"Atomic\" homepage and it worked like a charm. It really did remove the BBK in a gentle way, leaving the unit undamaged in any way. The only thing I did differently was I sprayed the knob with an American product called \"Liquid Wrench\". I'm really excited!
I brewed some coffee and it worked fine, but when it came to steaming the milk, all the steam is escaping through the hole in the side of the basket that holds the coffee. (I have one of those brass rods but was advised not to use it). Any suggestions? Thanks for all the tips and especially to that guy Frederick. I've learned more about this machine from him that anyone. THANKS!
Hey! Thanks Leonard !
I know that I covered that a few years back,it's right up here in Atomica 201, here is a recollection:
The Big Black Knob!
To remove the BBBK (big bad black knob) that has seized. Mister-T first said \"I pity the fool...\" after noticing that someone left their black knob on their Atomic after brewing.
You can try:
1- warming up the neck part with a propane torch, around the knob, not THE knob. This method is for experienced handy persons. Remember: Hot gases can burn or injure. Be careful!
2- Take a 4 X 24 inch piece of plywood, 3/4\" thick, at one end trace the shape of the BBBK and cut out the result with a hand jig saw. Takes patience, worth it and fun!
Clamp your precious Atomic on a solid surface. Any vise (padded with rubber) will do - the boiler surface is perfect as a hold down.
Insert the plywood and twist in a slow and steady motion. The aluminum insert has two small lugs cast into it, you can rip the thermo plastic knob. So, gently apply sustained force.
3- Demolish the BBBK with a drill. Bring it to a machinist to pass a tap in the aluminum treaded piece. If you do demolish the female threads, you can always place a stainless insert.
I admit that Paul's method is a little simpler than mine where I cut out the lobs in a piece of plywood....then again I have the use of a complete wood workshop. The important thing is to remove it, right?
If the steam is blowing out through that hole it simply means that you are not using a fine enough grind.
On the other hand, if you are using the bigger filter basket and not filling it to the brim, the grounds do not get packed as they swell up. Use the smaller filter, fill to almost the top with grinds that have the size of slightly smaller grains of white sugar, ever so gently even out the surface of the filled filter basket.
I still highly recommend NOT to use the stupid wand. You really DO NOT NEED IT.
Now, NEVER leave that black knob on, even overnight. Those pesky ions will continue to \"irritate\" the aluminum. Many Atomics have loose knobs, this did NOT happen from wear, they get \"eaten\" up. From time to time swab a drop of vegetable oil on the threads (sunflower is good).
I guess that I'll have to post a picture of an Atomic frothing away full steam ahead WITH that group hole unplugged.
OK, I will give this a go. I am still trying different grinds and have not yet found the right one yet. But I must say, I'm enjoying the journey. Thanks again for the last two pics. They have helped a bunch.
I wonder if anyone has a good clear photo of what the insides of one of these looks like.
I am curious as could be. I have wanted an atomic for the longest time and an excited to finally have one and be figuring this all out. Thanks Frederick.
All you have to do is ask !
Here is a cut up Atomic, research you know....
There is a support in the middle of the boiler for the steam tube, and, if you look closely, very closely.....closer.... at the bottom back end of your own Atomic, you will see a welded shut opening. That was used for.....in due time, when you buy my book...