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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: Wheat_Brewer on June 25, 2014, 03:43:24 PM

Title: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on June 25, 2014, 03:43:24 PM
After posting a clarity issue with some new equipment and reading the recent grain mill thread I've put some serious thought towards buying my own mill. For those out there that mill their own grain do you have the hand crank or do you have a motor for it? What, if any, advantages are there to each?

Thanks for all your insight!

Casey
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: theDarkSide on June 25, 2014, 03:59:15 PM
I use an electric drill on mine.  I try to go slowly, but it's hard to keep a constant speed.

One advantage is not having to mill 12-15 lbs of grain by hand.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Slowbrew on June 25, 2014, 04:01:21 PM
I have a mill (Barley Crusher) that I motorized after using it by hand exactly once.

First with a 1/2" drill - much faster but the speed was inconsistent.  This may have made the crush uneven but I can't really say for sure.

Then I built a collapsible table with a 1/2hp motor.  Worked great and fit perfectly with my "I'm really kind of lazy" attitude.  No cranking, no holding the drill and it stored easily by hanging it on the wall.

Lastly I built a small table with wheels that I can roll around.  I also found a newer, nicer motor so a rebuild was going to happen either way.  Now it fits perfectly in my "I'm really kind of lazy" attitude because all I need to do is pull the table forward from the wall, plug in the cord, flip on the switch and pour the grains in the hopper.  Then i can busy myself with other tasks until it is done milling my batch.

Besides supporting my laziness, this setup also gives very consistent crushes and is ready at a moments notice with no setup or heavy lifting.  It also cleans up easily with a shop vac.

I been known to work very hard to eliminate work in my brewery.   ;D

Paul

*** Edited to fix a spelling error.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: dkfick on June 25, 2014, 04:41:52 PM
I've used several electric drills with my MM3... They all worked ok but speed was a bit of an issue (as in they went too fast).  I finally ended up getting a DEWALT DWD210G 10-Amp drill.  It has much lower RPMs and much higher torque than my other drills.  I am able to control the speed and go nice and steady when crushing my grains now.  I get a much much better crush with this drill vs the other ones I was using.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: corkybstewart on June 25, 2014, 04:53:12 PM
When I got my mill years ago I was routinely brewing 10 gallon batches of Imperial stouts and Belgian strong ales so 30-45 pound grain bills were common.  Hand cranking wasn't feasible so I have used a power drill for years.  I have a motor I want to mount on my mill table, but haven't gotten around to the mechanics of adapting it for grinding grain. 
I will say that once I started using the drill my efficiency went from mid 60's to upper 70's probably because the higher speed crushes the grain finer.
Look for a higher end drill, one with high and low RPM settings and higher torque so it doesn't burn up as fast.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on June 25, 2014, 05:08:54 PM
I'm thinking the rare, but possible, unanimous decision from this thread to have a powered grain mill  :D

There's a plumbing/electrical supply company down the road from me so I may just stop down to the store and see what low RPM/high torque small electric motors they have.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Stevie on June 25, 2014, 05:35:41 PM
One option that I have seen, that to me looks to be cheap and effective, is a drill with the trigger ziptied to the desired speed and a powerstrip to turn it on and off.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: BrewArk on June 25, 2014, 06:15:35 PM
I'm thinking the rare, but possible, unanimous decision from this thread to have a powered grain mill  :D

There's a plumbing/electrical supply company down the road from me so I may just stop down to the store and see what low RPM/high torque small electric motors they have.

Thanks!
Ok I'll admit that I hand crank.  I'm a cheapskate.  It feels like I deserve my beer if I'm "working" for it.  ::)
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Slowbrew on June 25, 2014, 06:24:36 PM
I'm thinking the rare, but possible, unanimous decision from this thread to have a powered grain mill  :D

There's a plumbing/electrical supply company down the road from me so I may just stop down to the store and see what low RPM/high torque small electric motors they have.

Thanks!
Ok I'll admit that I hand crank.  I'm a cheapskate.  It feels like I deserve my beer if I'm "working" for it.  ::)

Of course you do but admit it... you want to motorize your mill, don't you?    ;)

Paul
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Jeff M on June 25, 2014, 06:57:14 PM
Just make sure any drill you use is variable speed.  Ive burned out a few.  Harbor freight sells a good one that youc an look the speed to a certain setting.  Its a 50 dollar drill.  Also make sure you get the 1/2 chuck.

Jeff
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: narcout on June 25, 2014, 08:16:05 PM
I usually mill by hand (although I will occasionally bust out the drill).  To pass the time, I count the number of revolutions.

Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on June 25, 2014, 08:19:36 PM
I usually mill by hand (although I will occasionally bust out the drill).  To pass the time, I count the number of revolutions.

Now I'm curious...how many revolutions are there in a 5 gallon batch? (I have flash backs to the Tootsie Pop commercials  ;D )
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: guido on June 25, 2014, 08:27:28 PM
I've used several electric drills with my MM3... They all worked ok but speed was a bit of an issue (as in they went too fast).  I finally ended up getting a DEWALT DWD210G 10-Amp drill.  It has much lower RPMs and much higher torque than my other drills.  I am able to control the speed and go nice and steady when crushing my grains now.  I get a much much better crush with this drill vs the other ones I was using.

You get over that hand cranking "organic connection" with the grain real quick after you hand mill a barley wine.  I spent the extra money and got a high torque drill, too.  It hardly breaks a sweat, very consistent crush,  It's one of the smartest purchases I've made.  (If you're married, tell your wife you need the drill for projects around the house.)
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 26, 2014, 02:13:11 PM
I hand cranked more than a ton of grain through my first Schmidling Malt Mill before leaving the hobby for an extended period.   I went back to hand cranking malt through a new Schmidling Malt Mill when I re-entered the hobby last summer.  I am an AARP card-carrying, fifty-something, "get off of my grass" curmudgeon. ;D
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: realbeerguy on June 26, 2014, 02:27:02 PM
Motorized Schmidling for years.  Made the decision after milling a 10 gal batch of wit with all those wheat berries by hand.  Found a DeWalt tablesaw at the dump, took motor and used pulleys from Grainger to reduce the RPM's to around 350.  Gives a nice, consistent crush that a drill cannot.  I hit 80-85% efficiency.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on June 26, 2014, 02:37:20 PM
I hand crank most of my batches but when I brew larger batches I hook up the drill. Most of my batches are small (1-2 gallons) so I can hand mill about as fast as I can hook up the drill and mill with power.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: denny on June 26, 2014, 02:37:57 PM
I hand cranked more than a ton of grain through my first Schmidling Malt Mill before leaving the hobby for an extended period.   I went back to hand cranking malt through a new Schmidling Malt Mill when I re-entered the hobby last summer.  I am an AARP card-carrying fifty-something "get off of my grass" curmudgeon. ;D

I'm an AARP card carrier who's enough older than you that I hardly recall being 50 something.  I use a drill fro my JSP and wouldn't consider and cranking.  AND I'm also a coot and geezer, besides a curmudgeon!  ;)
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: rjharper on June 26, 2014, 02:55:49 PM
I have an MM3 that I use a power drill on. I used to use a cheap corded drill but it was to variable and the keyed chuck was a PITA. Now I use my 18v LiIon Makita on the slow setting. 400rpm is still a little fast but its more consistent, and less cables / keyless chuck etc is nice.

Never even contemplated hand milling.  :o
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 27, 2014, 04:09:06 AM
I just finished assembling, aligning, and setting the gap on the MM3 that I ordered last week.  It has a 1/2" drive shaft; therefore,  I will not be hand cranking this mill.

I have word of advice for anyone who is contemplating purchasing a Monster Mill hopper.  Follow the directions, so that you can avoid having to assemble the hopper twice.  Resist the urge to attach the hopper side plates to the hopper end plates before attaching mounting brackets to the the side plates.   

Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: rjharper on June 27, 2014, 04:49:46 AM
I just finished assembling, aligning, and setting the gap on the MM3 that I ordered last week.  It has a 1/2" drive shaft; therefore,  I will not be hand cranking this mill.

I have word of advice for anyone who is contemplating purchasing a Monster Mill hopper.  Follow the directions, so that you can avoid having to assemble the hopper twice.  Resist the urge to attach the hopper side plates to the hopper end plates before attaching mounting brackets to the the side plates.

Lol I did that too. But who's going to read the instructions when you can just jump right in!
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 27, 2014, 10:28:05 AM
I just finished assembling, aligning, and setting the gap on the MM3 that I ordered last week.  It has a 1/2" drive shaft; therefore,  I will not be hand cranking this mill.

I have word of advice for anyone who is contemplating purchasing a Monster Mill hopper.  Follow the directions, so that you can avoid having to assemble the hopper twice.  Resist the urge to attach the hopper side plates to the hopper end plates before attaching mounting brackets to the the side plates.

When assembling, I figured that out and set the gap before attaching the side plates. All of those years working as an engineer pay off sometimes.

I hand cranked more than a ton of grain through my first Schmidling Malt Mill before leaving the hobby for an extended period.   I went back to hand cranking malt through a new Schmidling Malt Mill when I re-entered the hobby last summer.  I am an AARP card-carrying fifty-something "get off of my grass" curmudgeon. ;D

I'm an AARP card carrier who's enough older than you that I hardly recall being 50 something.  I use a drill fro my JSP and wouldn't consider and cranking.  AND I'm also a coot and geezer, besides a curmudgeon!  ;)

+1

Of course I am right behind you in age.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: klickitat jim on June 27, 2014, 02:17:10 PM
I chose the Cereal Killer because it was reasonable priced. It also comes with a free dust cover.
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/27/qa3a3u2a.jpg)

I use a Ryobi D260H Hammer Drill to power it. $50 at local chain home improvement store. High torque, and has trigger dial speed control. Obviously you have to flip the hammer switch so its not hammering. Zip ties hold trigger down. Waterproof switch with extension cord makes turning off and on a breeze.
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/27/zegyvu2y.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/27/3yzuryju.jpg)
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: 69franx on June 27, 2014, 02:26:17 PM
Looks awesome Jim! I will be in the market for a mill and drill set up in the next year or so
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: klickitat jim on June 27, 2014, 02:36:05 PM
Mill, drill, cord, switch, and table all for under $200.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Delo on June 27, 2014, 04:11:58 PM
I hand crank because I am a glutton for punishment.  I’ve been thinking of hooking up my drill but what I want to know from the powered mill users is how bad is it when you have a pebble in your malt?   I have had two the past year that have stopped my rollers.  I would think it would be worse with a drill.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: dkfick on June 27, 2014, 04:26:06 PM
I've either never had a pebble in my grain in the last 150 batches or the mill has just 'processed' the pebble and I didn't notice it...
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Delo on June 27, 2014, 04:43:15 PM
I had one pebble when I started milling about 6 years ago. And two within the last year probably from this sack of Golden Promise that seemed like it had a lot of junk in it.  I will say that I am blessed with getting the stuff that shouldn’t be there. Like seeds in seedless fruit, a pit in a slice of pie, hair in my food. Great things like that.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Slowbrew on June 27, 2014, 06:23:12 PM
I had a pebble or two over the years.  i had one stop the mill but that's it.  The motor was running, the belt was turning but the shiv was standing still.  It didn't hurt anything.

I think I had once while using a drill and it made the whole mill jump pretty good.  Other than my wrist not being very happy about it, nothing was hurt.  I had to dig them both out in order to get things rolling again.

Paul
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 27, 2014, 11:33:44 PM
I just milled my first batch with my new MM3.  Holy smokes, I am going to mount this thing on stand before I use it again.  Keeping the mill on my grist bucket during start-up was like riding a bucking bronco.   I used my big DeWalt DW511 1/2" hammer drill on the drill setting.  It absolutely refused to budge at slow speed.  Running the grain through two crushing surfaces at once takes significantly torque than running it through one surface.  There's no way anyone is cranking this bad boy by hand. 
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Jeff M on June 27, 2014, 11:54:55 PM
Cranked me MM3 with a clamp one time, it sucked but it worked:D
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on June 28, 2014, 12:08:24 AM

I've either never had a pebble in my grain in the last 150 batches or the mill has just 'processed' the pebble and I didn't notice it...

Just get Muttons MO and you will have them.


Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 28, 2014, 12:54:55 AM
I've either never had a pebble in my grain in the last 150 batches or the mill has just 'processed' the pebble and I didn't notice it...
I had 2 in some ccisp MO this week, but those were not too big, just made noise and the mill jumped, but then was OK.

Had a bag of Baird MO that had 3 rocks. Each almost made the mill flip off the bucket when the rollers seized. Had to empty and dig those out from the rollers. Thosre were pea sized.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: dkfick on June 28, 2014, 12:55:58 AM
Guess I've just been lucky lol
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 28, 2014, 01:15:10 AM
I only find rocks in floor malted barley. 
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: Jeff M on June 28, 2014, 12:22:12 PM
Ive seen more rocks and other debris in European malt then ive seen in malt from NA.  And they always seem to be laying on the top of the bag when i open it.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 28, 2014, 12:39:07 PM
Ive seen more rocks and other debris in European malt then ive seen in malt from NA.  And they always seem to be laying on the top of the bag when i open it.
A good friend and I agree that there is mor debris in the EU bags of malt. Will have to look for rocks on top when I open a bag.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: dkfick on June 28, 2014, 04:02:28 PM
Hmm I brew with Warminster floor malted maris otter all the time... I do stay away from Muntons MO because I find the flavor 'meh'... It really just taste like american 2 row to me... I dunno... knock on wood I don't encounter rocks I guess ;D
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: klickitat jim on June 28, 2014, 11:28:02 PM
Give it time. This thread will get miss quoted and someone will insist that Scottish 80/- has pebbles in it.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 29, 2014, 12:33:10 AM
Not to change the subject, but I brewed with the malt that I crushed with my MM3 yesterday.  My domestic malt extraction rate fell three points per pound per gallon from what I get with my fixed-gap Schmidling Malt Mill.  It was a humbling experience.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: pete b on June 29, 2014, 12:41:05 AM
I've done the drill thing but with a normal 5 gallon batch I have gone back to hand cranking. I just really enjoy the feel of the malt being crushed and the resistance against my turning the crank.I also like the sound, which I don't hear when I hook up the drill. For an ordinary batch, even though I put it through twice, I like hand cranking. In fact its one of my favorite tactile parts of brewing, it feels like I'm part of history.
Title: Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
Post by: a10t2 on June 29, 2014, 02:35:56 PM
Assuming we're talking about 5-15 gal batches, don't be a wuss. I have a Barley Crusher and it will process about 1.5 lb/min with the hand crank. From what I've seen at NHC, a few minutes of exercise wouldn't be the worst thing we could do. ;)

As an aside, I'm pretty sure the reliability issues so many people report having with their mills are due to the combination of (relatively) cheap bushings and improperly aligned motors.