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Old 09-27-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
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Default My DIY Barley Crusher

On my thread about my brew system, there was some discussion regarding my barley crusher. I said I would post some pics and I thought a new topic would be better.

Anyway, with input from an Old Millwright that has restored mills both ancient and modern for the past 50+ years, I built this mill. It is 5" schd. 40 pipe rollers, steel, with 1/2' shafts on self aligning pillow block bearings. The Motor is a 110v 1/4 hp OLD electric motor with a variable speed pulley tied to the drive roller via a fan belt from Autozone and a 10" (I think) pulley from McMaster Carr. The shafts are very light, but I had the bearings in an old box of junk and decided I would try them out. If I did it again i would use 3/4" stock for the shafts just to ease the machining of the rollers in the lathe. I welded a simple angle iron stand, round tubing legs and flat bar feet and anchored it to my basement floor. Simple but effective. I can adjut the gap from 0-.125" as required for my mash. I typicall leave it set on .055". I have intact husks and crushed kernels. My hopper was made from 1/8" tempered hardboard. I laid it out in Solidworks and had it waterjet cutour with the tab construction so all I had to do was glue it together. Very slick surface and cheap.

Anyway, when asking for advice from Mr. Ogden (the millwright) he said I needed smooth rollers. I told him that everyone on the net said to use knurled rollers. I was told I could listen to the net or to him. If I listened to the former then I would no longer be able to ask him anything again. So, I listened to him. We just finished a restoration at an old mill in Aldie, VA and he took me on a tour of the machines that were used then and are essentially the same machines used today, just on a larger scale. The roller mills for making flour are in 3 stages, knurled (Although a lot less than the crushers you find online for sale), semi smooth and smooth. They are complicated machine that are self regulating and sort the chaff from the good flour. In essence, he said I needed a roller mill in the final stages once I told him that I needed the husks for setting up my grain bed. There was an old oat roller in the mill as well and this machine would be ideal for what I was trying to do if it weren't set up for milling 10t at a time. He offered me a proper barley crusher he obtained a long time ago from a mill that also made whiskey, but it had 18" rollers and would require a 5hp motor minimum to run, so I declined. That would be overkill unless I decided to open a brewpub!! In the end, the need for knurls is caused by the very small diameter of the wheels and the inability of these machines to draw the grain into the crush.

Anyway, that's my barley mill story, flies in the face of modern barley crushers that you can purchase, but it works very well for me. If you have some scrap pipe, access to a welder and a lathe, you could easily make this for a few $$ and see for yourself. In the end, I had most of the crap sitting around and spent $35 for the belt and the large pully.

Here are some pics.

25lb grain bills in no time at all. I never timed it, but I am brewing tonight and will make a video and see how long it takes.

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Old 09-27-2010, 08:39 PM   #2
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Great work, thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:26 PM   #3
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Oh to have skills like you do. Great looking mill that makes my BC look like a toy.
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