Author Topic: Proper Drill for Milling Grain  (Read 8568 times)

Offline hopshead

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Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« on: September 27, 2011, 05:53:43 PM »
I have a barley crusher  and have hand cranked grain for about 5 years.  At some point in time, I will have to replace my grain mill.  But, I also want to buy a drill and hook it up to the grain mill - I am tired of the hand crank.  I wanted to know about homebrewers  experiences using drills to power their mills, and what kind of drill should I buy?  I really know nothing about the various power tools out there and I feel lost looking at all the models speeds etc. for power drills.  All I can say for sure, is that I am leaning towards a corded drill and I prefer to have it cost less $100.  Let me know what you all think and thanks in advance.

Offline tygo

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 05:58:11 PM »
I have this:  http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-CDC180ASB-18-volt-Accessories/dp/B00173CFT8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1317171326&sr=8-2

It gets the job done at the highest torque setting.  I got it because I have a few other pieces of B&D equipment that use the same battery pack but if you're not looking for cordless I'd go with something else.
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Offline hopshead

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 06:23:31 PM »
I browsed the internet and found this:  http://www.harborfreight.com/1-2-half-inch-heavy-duty-spade-handle-drill-93632.html

What do you think about that drill.  Like I say, I am not sure what I need to get the job done.

Offline Kellermeister

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 06:40:24 PM »
I think any 120V drill is going to be enough to grind with a barleycrusher.  I use an old Black and Decker that has been going for many years, just a 3/8" type, nothing special.

This one will do the job just fine.  The keyless chuck makes things a little easier.
http://www.harborfreight.com/3-8-eighth-inch-variable-speed-reversible-drill-3670.html

If you have the extra cash, you might go with a 1/2" chuck.  It would have enough power to twist the mill, no problem.
http://www.harborfreight.com/1-2-half-inch-heavy-duty-variable-speed-reversible-drill-3273.html

Just be sure to hold the mill down when you start grinding.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 06:43:13 PM by Kellermeister »

Offline EHall

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 07:33:16 PM »
http://www.harborfreight.com/3-8-eighth-inch-variable-speed-reversible-drill-3670.html

I actually have this one... that dial on the trigger is for variable speed... works like a champ.
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2011, 08:36:13 PM »
A 12V cordless won't cut it.  I had to buy a Plug in but I'm so glad that I did!
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Offline euge

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 11:49:01 PM »
I browsed the internet and found this:  http://www.harborfreight.com/1-2-half-inch-heavy-duty-spade-handle-drill-93632.html

What do you think about that drill.  Like I say, I am not sure what I need to get the job done.

This is too much drill.

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-8-eighth-inch-variable-speed-reversible-drill-3670.html

I actually have this one... that dial on the trigger is for variable speed... works like a champ.

I have one similar to this one but gray instead of black. Handy for stuff around the house too. An 18v cordless won't perform well at all IMO as I have tried it a few batches and it didn't cut the mustard. You need something with staying power and the only practical way is a corded drill.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 05:46:38 AM »
I have a 7 Amp. corded 1/2" B&D that I bought at the big box store.  It is used with a JSP malt mill.

If you do high gravity 10 gallon batches, a drill can start to get hot while milling all of that grain, so I went with the 1/2 inch.   It does warm my hands on a cold morning.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 09:57:51 AM »
http://professional-power-tool-guide.com/power-tool-guides/other-guides/power-tool-amps-horsepower-and-volts/

A corded drill is better/more powerful than a cordless one.

A bigger, more powerful drill with higher amp and hp ratings will last longer and not over-heat.  Heat kills drills.

Ideally, it is best to get the mill running before pouring the grains into the hopper and through the mill.

Ideally, it is best to have another person help by pouring in the grains while you hold down the base and run the drill.

Always hold down the base of the mill while milling/operating the drill (assuming no limitation of torque, if the mill rollers don't turn, then the entire mill/hopper and grains will!)

If doing high-gravity brews, a 5 gallon bucket may not be big enough to hold the entire amount of grist.  You may need to pour some of the crushed grains into the MLT before completing the entire milling process.

Offline etbrew

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 05:06:12 PM »
I use a 19V cordless craftsman drill and have no problems as long as I use a fresh battery.  It probably wouldn't make it through the grain bill for ten gallons of barley wine but it makes it through 5 gallon size fine.

I think any good cordless drill will work fine.  I use an 18V Milwaukee drill at work everyday and that thing could easily grind any size batch you need to grind.  The lithium ION batteries work great.  This is of course well over the $100 budget listed by the OP but I felt the need to defend the cordless drill... ;D   Plus you can use it for all sorts of other projects around the house you've been meaning to get to  :-\

The downside is you will loose muscle tone developed over all those years of hand cranking...


Offline hopshead

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2011, 05:53:23 PM »
After reading these posts and doing some homework, I opted for the 1/2 heavy duty low speed drill from harbor freight in my earlier post.  Drill specs are:
variable speed control from 0 to 550 rpm
double gear reduction motor for increased torque
120 volts, 7.5 amps

Someone mentioned that this may be too much drill... nah... let her rip, lol.  Thanks for your help.  I can't wait to brew a double IPA and mill the grain with this bad boy.

Offline maxieboy

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 06:47:37 PM »
After reading these posts and doing some homework, I opted for the 1/2 heavy duty low speed drill from harbor freight in my earlier post.  Drill specs are:
variable speed control from 0 to 550 rpm
double gear reduction motor for increased torque
120 volts, 7.5 amps

Someone mentioned that this may be too much drill... nah... let her rip, lol.  Thanks for your help.  I can't wait to brew a double IPA and mill the grain with this bad boy.

Let her rip indeed.. I use a Milwaukee Hole Hawg...  ;D

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Offline oscarvan

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2011, 05:32:08 PM »
Careful using a large high torque heavy drill.....it can bend your shaft.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2011, 05:56:32 PM »
I use a corded Dewalt DW511, 6.7Amp, 1/2" drill that works very well. You really need at least 4 amps to power through some wheat or Rye malt.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 06:32:47 AM by bluesman »
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Offline richardt

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Re: Proper Drill for Milling Grain
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2011, 06:20:21 AM »
Oscar is correct--Just because the BC is made of steel/aluminum doesn't mean it can't be damaged with excessive forces.
I've bent my drive shaft by just hand cranking malt that was excessively malt conditioned which essentially coated my rollers with flour-based "concrete" (corn-dog rollers!).  I never worked so hard to grind a batch of grain.

Always support the weight of the drill--don't let it hang unsupported.  You want the drive shaft to remain perfectly straight or else you'll get a nasty wobble/vibration when you use the drill.