The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help with Marcato Marga

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Help with Marcato Marga

I bought a Marcato Marga manual mill a few months ago and am really struggling with it.

Latest attempt is to flake some oat groats. I set it on 1 and start. Sometimes the groats go through, but most often after 5-10 seconds everything stops and I am turning the crank with nothing coming out. I use the brush/my finger to agitate the grains in the hopper (which is not overloaded) and keep trying, I reverse the direction for a few turns and try again, but nothing fixes it.

I've taken the hopper off and tried to direct the grains into the gap between the two cylinders to no avail. 

And then, every 30 or so attempts, it'll start working again and go for 10 seconds or so. Then stop.

I can't help thinking there is something wrong with it. The crank handle turns the first cylinder, yes, but shouldn't the one next to it move too? When I try to get this second cylinder to move by itself (by taking the hopper off and encouraging it) it will not move.

Pulling my hair out here! Can anyone help? 

Thanks, 

Alison

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Hopefully you will get some help from someone who has used such a mill, or at least seen one,  While I have not done either, I googled it, and the layout looks very similar to a pasta machine.  The way a pasta machine works, the handle turns one of the rollers, and there are gears or teeth on the end of each roller which mesh together to cause the other roller to turn.   There is a nice diagram at the bottom of this page  http://desiredcreations.com/howTo_TLAdvPQueenMaint.htm  Getting the covers off to look at the gearing is not that hard on my pasta machine -  though if you take it further apart, at least on a pasta machine, it can be quite challenging to line everything up to put it back together.  Here is one video, though the lighting is not great, showing someone taking it apart ,  you see the gears at about the 4 min mark  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msOtgK0cU8U 

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Thank you! Seeing the pictures of a similar machine taken apart has really helped me understand the workings.

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Ciao Alison,

At least pulling your hair out will help you tolerate the heat of Agosto.

I'd never heard of the Marcato Marga but their YouTube suggests it has terrific potential as a home roller mill.  That adjustment knob is a big bonus over my one-trick Komo FlicFloc.  Everything from flakes to flour, yes?

I routinely encounter your non succede niente syndrome with my Komo now.  The rollers have lost their edge and bite less surely than when it was new.  The solution has been to imbibe the grain and dry it down to complete surface-, but incomplete internal dryness so it yields to and squeezes through the rollers rather than snapping back out.  The challenge is getting it soaked and dried al punto.  If they imbibe long enough to start germinating, you lose starch and the product is soup.  So you want imbibition, not germination.  I'm doing this weekly with wholegrain rice, not oats, although I recall Komo specifying soaking oats as well.  I imbibe overnight and dry 2h in the dehydrator with no heat.  That maximizes intact flakes and minimizes grit + flour.  Reduces cooking time by 2/3 and only imagination limits how it can be flavored.  Comes out (and used) ~like polenta.

So try soaking and drying.  It's a pain but it works.  Note that the shortened shelf life of imbibed, flaked grains is such that refrigeration is advisable for medium-long term storage.

Ciao ciao,

Tom

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Come stai?

Thanks for the detail. I hope I don't have to do this! But it helps to hear it...Trailrunner sent me a note saying something similar. 

I'm trying to establish if my machine is actually working or broken before I start trying to soak. I think perhaps the gears aren't working...

Che caldo qui! 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

In our Komo FlicFloc, only one of the flaking cones is driven by the handle (yours has flaking cylinders).  The opposite cone spins freely and only does so when grain engages (syncs) it with the handle-attached cone. 

It would seem to us non-engineers that the non-handle cone should be geared to the handle cone.  But clearly it is not necessary and therefore not the design of the Komo nor probably of the Marga's cylinders.  Linking the cones with gears would compromise the elegant simplicity of the Komo's design, even though I've often thought it would flake more efficiently if they were gear-linked/sync'd.  Doing so would have been relatively straightforward with the Marga's opposing cylinders.  So don't necessarily expect it or interpret the free-spinning of the non-handle cylinder to be a defect.

Tom

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Thank you, Tom, this is really clear and helpful.

When I put my finger through the grating that covers the top of the cylinders, I cannot move the second (non cranked) cylinder for love nor money. Surely that's not right? What do you think?

 

 

 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

I’ve never seen a Marga but I suspect it’s like the Komo:  the handle drives only one cylinder. That you can spin the other is therefore normal and expected. 

Tom

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Hi Tom,

Trailrunner send me a PM - his second cylinder turns when he turns the crank on the first. Seems that mine is broken. Marcato haven't replied yet on my support request...

Hope you're both well there and not going too stir crazy.

Alison

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Good news is your Marcato sounds better designed than the Komo.  Bad news is maybe it isn't as robustly built.  I hope the manufacturer is responsive.  Or the retailer?  Keep us posted.

We're well, thank you.  Acclimatizing to New England.  Like another country from California.  And winter isn't here yet.  Ask me then ;-).

Be well.  Ciao ciao.

Tom

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

That's different. I hope you like your new home!

We bought it from Amazon, it's too late to send it back. I've second-contacted Marcato again today as I've heard nothing. Fingers crossed.

Take care,

Alison

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Finally got hold of the manufacturer. We took the machine apart yesterday and one of the cogs has completely fallen off! We fixed it, but if I turn the handle the 'wrong' way the same thing will happen again. Not sure if that's supposed to be what happens and have asked Marcato...

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

You inspired me to lube and adjust my Chinese-made Shule (German) brand version of this machine.

No guarantees here. This is my machine, my experience and observations.

--

On mine, there was a rough spot, slight resistance of the gears, at a certain roller position, as if the gears were rubbing there. it happened every turn of the rollers,  about about every 2 turns of the crank since there is not a 1:1 gearing.

I checked the Marcato Marga site , and externally it is identical to mine except for cosmetic differences.  

You only need to remove the 4 screws, two from each side. Then gently pull on the big adjustment knob, and the _core rod only_ of that cylinder comes out with that side cover.  Do not attempt to remove the knob from the side cover or core rod. Knob, side cover, and core rod (axle) stay together.

After removing the two screws per side, the other side cover, the one with the crank socket and the hex nut can be pried off.  Mine was held pretty tightly via friction after removing the two screws holding it to the inner side cover.

There are four stand-off rods with nuts holding the inner side covers together. Leave those alone.

There are four hex nuts holding the feet and the base to the two inner side covers. Leave those alone. I mistakenly removed them, thinking they held the outer side covers, but they are attached only to the inner side cover. 

That hex nut on the side with the crank socket, is not threaded. It is a _bushing_ with an offset - meaning the hole is not centered with the outer diameter.

The offset bushing is part of the system that allows the knob to adjust the distance of that roller to the other top roller and keep them parallel.

 The "clock position" of that hex nut matters!  On mine, the thin edge, I'll call it the index position, needs to be at about 1:30,  or 45 degrees clockwise from noon. Just for reference, I had the knob set to 1, but I don't know if that matters.

I mention this here because it is important:  If this hex nut bushing gets out of alignment, meaning it's not in the correct clock position, then the rollers might not stay parallel as you adjust the knob, but the gears will _definitely_ NOT mesh correctly.  I learned this by trial and error upon re-assembly.

In fact, upon reassembly, I turned the hand crank and "felt" for the smoothness of the gears, as I used a wrench to rotate the hex nut bushing.  Adjust - test - adjust - test, until you find the sweet spot for the clock position of the hex nut bushing.

I am not guaranteeing the correct clock position of your hex nut. So observe and record what clock position its  "thin side" is at before disassembly.  In fact, you do not need to remove it.   I thought it was threaded, and needed to be removed. But it is held in place in the outer cover by friction only. 

If your gears are not meshing properly, your hex nut bushing may already be out of adjustment.

Never force the crank. If very gentle pressure doesn't turn it (without grain, that is) then something is out of alignment.

This system of a cam shaft type of axle and the offset bushing allows the gears to be properly spaced regardless of which position the knob and roller are in.

--

Mine has been used for 4 years or so, and lots of flour was absorbed in some grease.  I read somewhere to use peteoleum jelly to lube it, so I added that to the gears with two toothpicks held together.

You are also supposed to add a little oil between the rollers and the inside cover. 

I got smudges of grease on the rollers, and wiped them off with a paper towel. I will also clean with isopropyl alcohol on a paper towel. And I will mill and discard some white rice and some wheat to further clean.

After the clean/lube, re-assembly, and adjusting the hex nut bushing, the rollers and gears turned smoothly, and the rough spot in the gearing (ie, resistance at a certain roller position) was no longer there.

On mine, the 4 side screws are phillips (cross), and the hex nut is 10 mm.

As you re-attach each side cover (two screws per side), only _loosely_ affix the first screw (that is, do not tighten it all the way) in order to allow wiggle room for getting the second screw aligned and started.  If you tighten the first screw all at once, the second screw most likely will not align.

The outer side covers have a tight, but imperfect, fit. So you may have to "finesse" them a bit before you insert and tighten the second screw.

Again, no guarantees. This is just my explanation of my perceived experience with my machine.

--

Update: On this other person's blog page: https://seedforsecurity.com/blog/79

in the first photo, the Shule is the pink box on the left. And it's the mill featured in the 4th photo. Again, that page is not mine; I'm just using it as reference.

Here it is on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Norpro-1056-Grain-Grinder/dp/B001FB59K4?tag=froglallabout-20

 

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

We took the machine apart yesterday. The smaller cog on the same side as the crank had fallen off. We fixed it, but if I turn the crank anti-clockwise (which might happen by mistake) it falls off again. I've asked Marcato if this is supposed to happen!

Thanks for your help.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Alison,  can you post a photo of what the cog  fits onto to see if that sheds any light on what it going on.  There are some components of machines that have what is called a press fit -  a hole is sized in the cog ever so slightly larger than a rod, so that while the cog will fit over the rod, it take tremendous pressure  ( often applied by press ) to force it in, so that the cog stays on.  The other option is usually some mechanical fastener that keeps a part on, such as an E retainer clip or ring, and usually , there is some sign of that towards the end of the rod that the cog fits on, such as a slot or hole..   I wonder if that is what is designed to keep the cog in place.

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Thanks Dave for taking the time to write this. We don't have a tool to open the hex nuts yet and all is shut here in Italy as it is August. When we do, I think your information is what we need.