DIY grain mill

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by mrskittle, Aug 16, 2020.

  1. mrskittle

    mrskittle Active Member

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    Anyone out there attempt a homemade mill? There are precious few examples and videos out there. I am quite handy and could easily make the hopper in my woodshop but I'm not sure how to go about the rollers. Any ideas?
     
  2. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    There are some things that are much more practical to just buy, and a grain mill is one of them. Unless you have a well equipped fabrication shop, the sales tax on what you'd need to spend on tooling would outweigh the cost of a really nice mill.
     
  3. mrskittle

    mrskittle Active Member

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    Bob, you're not the first to suggest I just buy one but I'm up for the challenge. I am one of the many COVID unemployed with more time than I know what to do with so I figured I'd give it a try. The fact is that I probably wouldn't but too nice of a mill anyways as I a cheap. On top of that, I'm already spending a hundred bucks to get a beverage cooler mash tun set up so I'm looking to save some cash on the mill.

    The roller housing and hopper can all be made of wood, that seems like the easy part. Where I'm getting hung up is with the rollers. What's the most common material for them, metal or plastic? My thought is to use hollow, steel pipe and then put some texture on it with a hacksaw or grinding wheel. I'd just use some bushings in the pipe, bearings in the housing, and a rod to hold them in place. It seems easy enough, I'm surprised there isn't more info.
     
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  4. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Hardened steel for the rollers if you want them to last for any length of time. They'll need to be concentric within about .001 and uniformly knurled. You also need a way to adjust the gap. If you want to save money, look at the Corona or Victoria mills. They're cheap and do a decent job. I used a Victoria mill for several years before springing for a roller mill.
     
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  5. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I was going to suggest the same. For under $40 I can't imagine building anything near as good for the price. I think I'd use a blender, coffee grinder, rolling pin, etc with better results than a homemade jobby. There's probably good reason why there's not more information out there... Not worth the effort.
     
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  6. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Never occurred to me to think about building one, I am a pretty handy guy, but would lack the skill that I think would be needed.
    If you go ahead with something let us know what you do, and how it works for you.
     
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  7. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Instead of rollers, have you considered a modified mortar and pestle arrangement? If you’re brewing BIAB, a consistent crush isn’t quite as important. You’re just trying to break up the grain to get better surface area.

    I was thinking of something like a steel base plate with a weighted steel top plate that will drop on the grains and crush them. You would need some sides to contain the crushed grains and a guide to make sure it drops straight. The amount of grain you could crush at one time would depend on the area.

    While this may not be ideal, I think it would be much easier and cheaper to construct than a grain mill using rollers.
     
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  8. mrskittle

    mrskittle Active Member

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    I like the look and versatility of the Victoria Mill. It reminds me of the meat grinder we used to make sausage as a kid. The price is much easier to handle as well. I suppose a drawback could be the small capacity of the hopper but I see that as an opportunity to keep the kids busy.
     
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  9. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Maybe get that and set your creative juices towards making a hopper to fit it.

    As Bob said you'd need to knurl the rollers.which requires a mettal lathe. I don't know many blokes with one of them in their shed;).
     
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  10. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    @Hawkbox uses a Corona mill and from what I gather from his posts, it does a great job for him. I've gathered the same from many others that use that type of mill also. The hopper may be where you can break out some of your creativity. I've seen some hoppers done with duct work type fittings.
     
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  11. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    Well, I suppose you should buy the corona mill and while you wait for it to arrive.... you can try your idea out!
    If you have the time and want the challange then I say go for it (but be ready to have that corona as back-up!)... You might actually create something folks can attempt themselves in the future - SO - be sure to capture what you do via video or at a minimum photos so others can learn!

    It would be a cool - no one's really done it - experiment. Even if it were a fail you could post the video with the results at the end being: Just buy a mill! :)
     
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  12. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    As Kenny Rogers said, "You gotta know when to holdem and know when to foldem".
     
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  13. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

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    Thank you! I need to grind small amounts of flavoring grains and malts, and more base grains as I do more partial grain batches and was looking for an option to the blender. The Victoria Mill will be perfect.
     
  14. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    I admire your DIY spirit! Just don't get so caught up in your goal that you loose your money saving goal!

    I saw a pretty cool hopper made from a 5 Gallon plastic water cooler bottle...just gotta figure out the mechanics of the on / off part....

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with
     
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  15. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I've seen where people have used cardboard to make a box like extension to their rectangular hoppers. With the round hopper of a Corona mill, a gallon jug and dome duct tape would work well.
     
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  16. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    I know I have seen some threads about home made grain mills. I'm going to find them (hopefully) and send you the links.
    You'll have to use google translate or so, as I seem to remember they are in Dutch.
    If any of them seem useful, but the translation a bit wonky, then let me know and I'll help with the translation ;)
     
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  17. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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  18. Edwards Brew Cellar

    Edwards Brew Cellar New Member

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    Yes. Mostly built with stuff I had laying around. It's not pretty but she works. I crushed 19 pounds of grain two days ago
    mill.jpg
     
  19. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    This is what my mill looks like, it cost me a piece of 2x2 and a 5 gallon pail cut in half.
    upload_2020-8-21_19-58-38.png
     
  20. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    That's homebrewing right there!
     
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