Author Topic: Hand Cranked or Powered?  (Read 1459 times)

Offline Wheat_Brewer

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Hand Cranked or Powered?
« on: June 25, 2014, 08:43:24 AM »
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
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 09:22:17 AM by Wheat_Brewer »
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 08:59:15 AM »
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.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 09:01:21 AM »
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.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 09:03:22 AM by Slowbrew »
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline dkfick

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 09:41:52 AM »
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.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 09:53:12 AM »
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.
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Offline Wheat_Brewer

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 10:08:54 AM »
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!
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2014, 10:35:41 AM »
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.

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2014, 11:15:35 AM »
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.  ::)
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2014, 11:24:36 AM »
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
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2014, 11:57:14 AM »
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.

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Offline narcout

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2014, 01:16:05 PM »
I usually mill by hand (although I will occasionally bust out the drill).  To pass the time, I count the number of revolutions.


Offline Wheat_Brewer

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2014, 01:19:36 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 )
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Offline guido

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2014, 01:27:28 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.)
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2014, 07:13:11 AM »
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
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 08:21:33 PM by S. cerevisiae »
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Offline realbeerguy

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Re: Hand Cranked or Powered?
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2014, 07:27:02 AM »
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.
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