Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Pimp My System => Topic started by: lbrewski on February 19, 2014, 04:46:34 PM

Title: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: lbrewski on February 19, 2014, 04:46:34 PM
Like a lot of you (mxrob as well I'm sure) I got tired of hugging the bucket while holding onto a wimpy 3/8" drill that overheated before I could mill enough for a strong (or large) batch. Unlike mxrob, my solution is much more on the low end, employing mediocre carpentry skills and less than elegant (ghetto?) engineering.
For the motor I found a low-speed heavy-duty 1/2" drill at HF that just needed a way to apply latching speed control and a method of mounting to the cart. Not so pretty, but it works just fine:

(http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee29/ElBrewski/Vistamar%20Brewing/Motorized%20Mill%20Cart/P1010487_zps76af7262.jpg)

I had a hard time finding a real motor (with gear box) to fit my budget, so I looked elsewhere. The drill does not have a trigger lock, which is kind of lame - even for $50 (I believe that Blk&Dkr make one in the same price range but I think it only locks at high speed). So as you can see the latching speed control is provided by a bar clamp. Actually quite functional and adjustable.

I figured once we're on the low road, let's keep the theme alive for the whole project. The drill is mounted into a cutout and positioned in a "saddle" provided by some pieces of vinyl baseboard screwed down to the cart top. I mounted my trusty Barley Crusher on it's original baseboard to shim it up; the drill and the mill mate up very well indeed.

I had thought of wiring up a nice switch box to take it up a notch, but for $7 the power strip does the job, and again - stays with the theme.

A couple of coats of poly, some medium duty casters and two blocks placed provide foolproof positioning of the bucket and there you have it.

Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: klickitat jim on February 19, 2014, 05:00:52 PM
Clamp is a good idea. They used to make drills in the old days that had a set screw on the trigger but haven't seen one in years. I like the clamp.
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: troybinso on February 19, 2014, 05:09:54 PM
Great work. Nothing wrong with looking for ways to make something work well on the cheap. Can you describe a little more how you attached the drill to the table top?
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: klickitat jim on February 19, 2014, 05:32:02 PM
I wonder if a real handy guy could gut an old drill and run it off a dial rheostat, maybe build it in s plastic project box so it was nice n tidy.
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: lbrewski on February 19, 2014, 05:42:09 PM
Here is a photo of the cutouts. The drill cutout is to allow a portion of the body of the drill to recess into the cart top, not the handle of course.
(http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee29/ElBrewski/Vistamar%20Brewing/Motorized%20Mill%20Cart/P1010477_cr_zpse14801fd.jpg)

I had assembled everything and then removed it to apply the finish, hence the holes you see.

Here is the drill "saddle". It was a matter of cutting the baseboard pieces, screwing one side down and positioning the drill into and conforming it into the depression with the mill attached, then screwing the other side of the saddle pieces in while it was set where I thought it was level. The vinyl baseboard piece under the handle is sitting on top, not recessed.

(http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee29/ElBrewski/Vistamar%20Brewing/Motorized%20Mill%20Cart/P1010476_cr_zps8b15bb92.jpg)

A closer look at the drill as mounted, note that there are two large tie-wraps holding the it down. It is tight enough but in a way it kind of "floats" in the saddle so that alignment to the mill shaft is not strained.

(http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee29/ElBrewski/Vistamar%20Brewing/Motorized%20Mill%20Cart/P1010488_zps0c5bcbea.jpg)

Here is a "before" photo and you can see that the drill body has to go down, and the mill needs to come up.

(http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee29/ElBrewski/Vistamar%20Brewing/Motorized%20Mill%20Cart/P1010466_cr_zps99b4b228.jpg)

I was going to make a shim for the mill but then thought having the mill's original base (fiberboard) as part of the assembly distributes the torque better on the cart top as well.

(http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee29/ElBrewski/Vistamar%20Brewing/Motorized%20Mill%20Cart/P1010472_cr_zps1c9d0738.jpg)

(Edit: noticed I had a duplicate photo, so replacing it with one of the bucket stops)

(http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee29/ElBrewski/Vistamar%20Brewing/Motorized%20Mill%20Cart/P1010489_zps3da1e564.jpg)
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: lbrewski on February 19, 2014, 05:50:14 PM
I wonder if a real handy guy could gut an old drill and run it off a dial rheostat, maybe build it in s plastic project box so it was nice n tidy.

If the bar clamp had not worked I was ready to pull the drill apart and (at the least) remote the speed control with a rheostat. As far as making it tidy, it could certainly be better.

It was a fun project, but now it's time to get back to brewing... Oh wait, I keep thinking I need a better solution for fermentation than just better bottles...

BTW, instead of completely building my new brew system, which I considered, I was lazy and ordered one. Here is a short video from this past Sunday
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6oObAX6FWk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6oObAX6FWk)
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: james on February 19, 2014, 06:13:59 PM
I just replaced my old drill with a similar one from harbor freight.  It was $40 including tax with a 25% off coupon.

It does have a trigger lock. 

I mounted mine underneath so the only thing on top of the cart (I used an old microwave cart) is the hopper.  I mounted a switch that turns on the outlet the drill is plugged into and my scale is plugged into the other outlet that is always on.

Sure is nice not sitting crouched down holding the drill and dumping grain in a little at a time
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: lbrewski on February 19, 2014, 06:57:25 PM
I just replaced my old drill with a similar one from harbor freight.  It was $40 including tax with a 25% off coupon.

It does have a trigger lock. 

I mounted mine underneath so the only thing on top of the cart (I used an old microwave cart) is the hopper.  I mounted a switch that turns on the outlet the drill is plugged into and my scale is plugged into the other outlet that is always on.

Sure is nice not sitting crouched down holding the drill and dumping grain in a little at a time

Amen to that!

When I looked at the drill on their website it appeared that it had the trigger lock but when I got there it was a different story. So it goes with that place.
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: morticaixavier on February 20, 2014, 05:17:49 AM
Clamp is a good idea. They used to make drills in the old days that had a set screw on the trigger but haven't seen one in years. I like the clamp.

they still make them, or did last year anyway. I got my drill for 19 bucks at ace and it has the adjustable trigger lock.

Nice build! Way nicer than my setup
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: klickitat jim on February 20, 2014, 05:23:16 AM
Awesome! I just haven't seen one in a while. I'll hit my local Ace and have them look it up.
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: Slowbrew on February 20, 2014, 05:33:29 AM
I like the tech games feel of the build.  It will be easy to replace the drill with a motor if happen to find one too.  It's always nice to not have to completely redesign to upgrade.

Nice build.

Paul
Title: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: ccfoo242 on February 20, 2014, 05:50:43 AM
Looks nice!

Harbor freight and amazon sell cheap router speed controllers. These work with brew pumps(I use one on a cold transfer pump) and should work with the drill as well. Just clamp the trigger down all the way on the drill and plug it into the controller. Then you'll have a nice way to adjust the mill speed.


Sent from the future using Tapatalk
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: mxrob on February 20, 2014, 06:39:41 AM
Nice work lbrewski!  8) Realistically more members will be able to benefit from your pimping endeavor than mine.
In all homer projects ingenuity is the real value....

Cheers! 
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: euge on February 20, 2014, 07:32:43 AM
I like it! Had thoughts about this exact approach in the past. Great to see it visualized and realized by another homebrewer.

Instead of the valuable wood-clamp how about an appropriately sized hose-clamp? Then you could fine tune the speed by simply turning a screw.
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: Jimmy K on February 20, 2014, 07:38:54 AM
Instead of the valuable wood-clamp how about an appropriately sized hose-clamp? Then you could fine tune the speed by simply turning a screw.
Good idea. I was trying to think of something like that so it would be out of the way.
 
Althought that looks like a harbor freight clamp. Costs about $1 and worth about a nickel. Good to use in an application where you'll never adjust it.
 
Nice build, by the way. Very pragmatic.
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: restlesnativ on February 20, 2014, 08:28:20 AM
This is great!! Thanks for the pictures. I have been stumped on mounting my drill. I don't why I couldn't think around trying to mount it upright instead of just laying it on it's side. I'll be setting up a similar mount this weekend!
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 20, 2014, 08:35:19 AM
Instead of the valuable wood-clamp how about an appropriately sized hose-clamp? Then you could fine tune the speed by simply turning a screw.
Good idea. I was trying to think of something like that so it would be out of the way.
 
Althought that looks like a harbor freight clamp. Costs about $1 and worth about a nickel. Good to use in an application where you'll never adjust it.
 
Nice build, by the way. Very pragmatic.

The bar clamps I use at home have a screw adjustment, like you'd find on a c-clamp.  A tad more expensive than the Harbor Freight $1 clamp, but it could give you the adjustability factor.
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: james on February 20, 2014, 09:13:55 AM
I like it! Had thoughts about this exact approach in the past. Great to see it visualized and realized by another homebrewer.

Instead of the valuable wood-clamp how about an appropriately sized hose-clamp? Then you could fine tune the speed by simply turning a screw.

A zip tie works well like this, though you can't really slow it down without cutting it off and starting over
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: lbrewski on February 20, 2014, 10:56:21 AM
Looks nice!

Harbor freight and amazon sell cheap router speed controllers. These work with brew pumps(I use one on a cold transfer pump) and should work with the drill as well. Just clamp the trigger down all the way on the drill and plug it into the controller. Then you'll have a nice way to adjust the mill speed.


Thanks, did not know about those, seems like a very good way to go. I'm thinking I could use one on my mash recirc pump too.

As far as the bar clamp, yes I used a cheap one from HF and it's quite simple to adjust the speed on brew day. When done milling I removed it an tossed it in the hopper along with the nylon paint brush used for dusting. I thought that leaving it on when I'm not using it might eventually fatigue the trigger spring.

Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: ccfoo242 on February 20, 2014, 01:45:11 PM
Now that I think about it I'm not sure how well this would work with the recirc pumps. I use it with a diaphragm pump that's self priming. I guess I should experiment.


Sent from the future using Tapatalk
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 22, 2014, 10:02:15 PM
I have thought about motorizing my mill; however, I have hand cranked a Schmidling Malt Mill for so long that motorizing it would feel like I was cheating.  :)  If I brewed 10+ gallon batches, I would definitely motorize it. 

Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: klickitat jim on February 22, 2014, 10:20:59 PM
Ya know, my carona worked fine, and the exercise wasn't killing me, I did it because I wanted too. But I haven't brewed a beer from this machine yet, so maybe I'll miss that corona taste. (I'm kidding, don't take me too serious)
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: lbrewski on February 22, 2014, 11:02:46 PM
I hand cranked a couple of 5 gal batches - a real PIA. I realized i wasn't going to get a medal & hooked up a motor. But I do understand the notion.
Title: Re: And now...the other end of the motorized grain mill cart spectrum
Post by: gmac on February 23, 2014, 11:58:39 AM
Needs duct tape.
Otherwise it's pretty awesome though.