Grain mill broken...

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Zenmeister

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After about four years, my two-roller Barley Crusher grain mill appears to be broken, but for the life of me I cannot figure it out. Two brews ago, the rollers started spinning as if there was no grain in it, even with a full hopper. Short story on this is that when set to the right gap, it appears the rollers wouldn't grip the grain. (BTW, reversing the drill didn't work.) So I manually set the gap on the fly, adjusting it manually while the rollers were spinning to get any sort of crush. And the crush was really bad, with a good chunk of the grains not even getting milled. Afterwards I went into the roller box, and tried to adjust them properly, locked them down and did a test run. It did a pound or so, and appeared to run fine.

Well, that didn't last long, and the crush i did last week was really bad, and took about an hour+ to accomplish. So I broke down and spent the bucks and am purchasing the Blichmann Mill. (I have been intending to buy it anyways, but this forced the issue.)

Problem is, it looks like the Blichmann's are out for at least a month, and would really like to fix my BC Mill instead of going to my LHBS to get it done.

Thing is, these mills are really pretty simple...Roller A, which is attached to the power source. Roller B which you set the gap with. Grains go between the two. Get crushed. That's it.
Any ideas on fixing this???
 
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DBhomebrew

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Seems to be pretty typical of the BC. How do the teeth of the knurling look/feel? Worn a bit?
 

bracconiere

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knifejump.jpg


yeah i've been with mine for a while now, sometimes she needs a little persuation with a knife.....but it catches....
 

bkboiler

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Could be a variety of things...
Bad knurl, friction in bearings on "idling" roller, grain isn't feeding...
sometimes some vibration helps get these things started.
Stupid question but did you try hitting it?
 

grampamark

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Some folks here have reported getting a little more life out of a BC by reversing the rollers. Take the base apart, remove the rollers, turn them end for end, and reassemble. This puts the opposite edges of the knurling in contact with the grain providing enough ”bite“ to produce a useable crush.
 
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Zenmeister

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Seems to be pretty typical of the BC. How do the teeth of the knurling look/feel? Worn a bit?
Yup, I just tested and the knurling is definitely worn. I think it has been gumming the grains lately instead of milling them. :)


Some folks here have reported getting a little more life out of a BC by reversing the rollers. Take the base apart, remove the rollers, turn them end for end, and reassemble. This puts the opposite edges of the knurling in contact with the grain providing enough ”bite“ to produce a useable crush
Good Idea. I will try that for the hell of it. If it works, it will be a good temporary solution until the mighty Blichmann arrives!
 

CascadesBrewer

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Any ideas on fixing this???
I have a Barley Crusher that I purchased at least 15 years ago. It is starting to show its age...though I had zero issues until a few years ago when I started milling finer for BIAB. These days, sometimes it mills fine and sometimes I have a hell of a time getting the rollers to engage.

A few batches ago I was using some really plump barley from a local maltster and I could not get it to mill. I ended up widening the gap to a bit wider than the factory setting, milling the grain, resetting the gap, and remilling. It worked well enough that I have been doing the exact same steps for my last couple of batches. So maybe my Barley Crusher will live for another year or longer!!

In theory, crushing twice would be a huge pain and time suck...but it much faster than having to fuss and empty out the hopper to fix an issue.

As a replacement I have been looking at the Monster Mills. I like the idea of "All of our products are Made in the USA from USA made materials!"
 

Golddiggie

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I have a Barley Crusher that I purchased at least 15 years ago. It is starting to show its age...though I had zero issues until a few years ago when I started milling finer for BIAB. These days, sometimes it mills fine and sometimes I have a hell of a time getting the rollers to engage.

A few batches ago I was using some really plump barley from a local maltster and I could not get it to mill. I ended up widening the gap to a bit wider than the factory setting, milling the grain, resetting the gap, and remilling. It worked well enough that I have been doing the exact same steps for my last couple of batches. So maybe my Barley Crusher will live for another year or longer!!

In theory, crushing twice would be a huge pain and time suck...but it much faster than having to fuss and empty out the hopper to fix an issue.

As a replacement I have been looking at the Monster Mills. I like the idea of "All of our products are Made in the USA from USA made materials!"
Zero issues with the Monster Mill I picked up over a decade ago now. At the time they only had a single two and single three roller option. You could get a couple different things changed on those, like roller diameter and material. I opted for the 2" hardened steel rollers since they have a significantly longer lifespan than the stainless ones. I'm not in a part of the country where I need the corrosion resistance of stainless in the mill.

Last year I ordered their motor setup for my mill. It's designed for the three roller versions. So I had to make a riser for my two roller mill. Mounted to a metal (aluminum) plate in a cart I made for the entire thing makes it very easy to use and then put out of the way. I just load the [extended] hopper with grain, put the catch bucket under it, and flick the switch. Depending on the amount of grain determines if I need to change out the catch bucket.
 
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Some folks here have reported getting a little more life out of a BC by reversing the rollers. Take the base apart, remove the rollers, turn them end for end, and reassemble. This puts the opposite edges of the knurling in contact with the grain providing enough ”bite“ to produce a useable crush.
Aha! I have an ancient JSP (Schmidlin) mill that I was going to retire, but I might just try your idea. BAM why didn't I think of that!
 

bracconiere

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Aha! I have an ancient JSP (Schmidlin) mill that I was going to retire, but I might just try your idea. BAM why didn't I think of that!

that's what i have too....how are your particle board side holdinig up? i had to drill a couple holes in a hax saw blade, and stick it on mine to keep the two blocks to keep from rotating, and thus making the rollers tighter at one end then the other.....
 
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that's what i have too....how are your particle board side holdinig up? i had to drill a couple holes in a hax saw blade, and stick it on mine to keep the two blocks to keep from rotating, and thus making the rollers tighter at one end then the other.....
Sh1tty. I've been meaning to replace the particle board for eons, but haven't. If moving the rollers doesn't make this 100% better, I'm going to buy a new one.
 

bracconiere

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Sh1tty. I've been meaning to replace the particle board for eons, but haven't. If moving the rollers doesn't make this 100% better, I'm going to buy a new one.

i've been thinking about a new one too. but mostly because although this thing mills grain still, it's got battle damage. trying to wash the base board with water, trying to mill hot wet malt...the stories we share together though! be kinda hard to let it go...

and to the OP, i've also gotten my rollers to catch with the handle of a long wooden spoon shoved into the hopper, and finagle the free roller to catch....
 

Dland

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As has already been mentioned, reversing the rollers on BC buys a few grinds, also sticking a very thin piece of wood in between rollers to help get them going can get you though a crush. Or course that can lead some interesting outcomes, including grain all over the floor.

But replacement is the real solution, as you know. I got about 60 trouble free crushes out of mine, and another 20 or so screwing around w it. Replaced w 3 roll mill & no more issues & better crush. The fact I frequently brew w rye malt may have sped its demise, but the BCs are junk w soft knurled rollers, at least the ones they made a few years ago.
 

Dland

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The Corona is a good and durable mill. I still have the one I used decades ago when I first started brewing. It is good for some types of crush, perhaps BIAB, and of course for corn meal, coffee beans (when the power is out) & the like, but I found my brewing efficiency went up noticeably when I switched to a roller mill.
 

CaptMogul

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My BC is over 10 years old. Never had a problem until last year, after re-gapping the rollers the un powered roller wouldnt spin when grain was added and needed some help. I found that the gap locking screws were too tight. By loosening them it would roll but gap would not hold. Still a problem.
Ed B
 

Mark3885

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. In the grain-transfer method, the grain, when forced between the rollers, transfers the energy from the drive to the follower roller. This is the simplest method of power transfer and is very effective. One of two more-complex methods uses O-rings (belts) or gears. One or more grain-sized O-rings are fitted around the rollers so that the spinning energy of one roller is directly transferred to the other. Gears can be added to the ends of the rollers to transfer the drive power in a similar fashion.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, I had much better luck with my BC than most, and ran almost 3000 pounds of malt through it in 9.something years before "it lost it's grip" too often. I invested in a new CK with bearings and hardened rollers and just an overall superior build (thicker plates - especially side plates - with more screws). I have been using that mill exclusively for barley for a couple years now and have run almost 600 pounds through it, gapped to 0.032", and have been very pleased so far.

Meanwhile I flipped my BC rollers over to use the "opposite side" knurling, set the gap to 0.025", and use it exclusively for wheat and oat malts. Saves the hassle of regapping the CK (which can't be good for the adjusters).

One thing I noticed with the BC is the ends of the two screws that lock the adjusters in place get worn and then try to twist the adjusters in their tracks - taking a free-wheeling idler roller and causing it to bind up. I cleaned up the ends of those two screws so the centers are "pointy" again and that seemed to prevent the twisting thing.

My BC came with that O-ring, which the company stated is used during final assembly prior to shipping and isn't intended to remain on the mill in use. Mine fell off on the second brew and ended up in the spent mash :)

Cheers!
 
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Zenmeister

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... at which point we will all expect (well, 'hope for' sounds nicer) your review here, please! Thanks!
You bet I will. There are several good unboxing and assembly vids out there, but I will post a video and commentary when I do get it and get a couple uses out of it.
Cheers!
 
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Zenmeister

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Well, I tested running the mill today with the rollers reversed, and it worked great, at least with 4-5 pounds of grain in it. So, it looks like I will be able to be brewing next week after all, and then impatiently wait for the Blichmann. (They haven't responded to my requests as to an update on when it might ship, in fact it has been crickets from them except for the order acknowledgement. I am worried it could be 30-45 days out, but hopefully my BC will last that long.)
Thanks for that suggestion grampamark
 

Gusso

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I have a Barley Crusher that I purchased at least 15 years ago. It is starting to show its age...though I had zero issues until a few years ago when I started milling finer for BIAB. These days, sometimes it mills fine and sometimes I have a hell of a time getting the rollers to engage.

A few batches ago I was using some really plump barley from a local maltster and I could not get it to mill. I ended up widening the gap to a bit wider than the factory setting, milling the grain, resetting the gap, and remilling. It worked well enough that I have been doing the exact same steps for my last couple of batches. So maybe my Barley Crusher will live for another year or longer!!

In theory, crushing twice would be a huge pain and time suck...but it much faster than having to fuss and empty out the hopper to fix an issue.

As a replacement I have been looking at the Monster Mills. I like the idea of "All of our products are Made in the USA from USA made materials!"
My BC is around the same age as yours. It had always worked fine up until about 6-8 months ago. I took it apart, cleaned and lubed. Was working fine until today, I had those issues where I constantly had to go from forward to reverse back to forward to get it to feed. My garage is about 85 now and humid. It took me over 30 minutes to mill 14#. I'll try to clean it one more time and if the issues arise again, it's time for a new mill.
 

sharp6

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My barley crusher did the same thing last year, started spinning without pulling grain through. I emailed the company who suggested a few things which didn't work, then they said they would re knurl it. I paid for shipping and send it off to them. Got it back like a week later,and it works like new.
 

CascadesBrewer

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My barley crusher did the same thing last year, started spinning without pulling grain through. I emailed the company who suggested a few things which didn't work, then they said they would re knurl it. I paid for shipping and send it off to them. Got it back like a week later,and it works like new.
Interesting story. They do come with a lifetime warranty. I have read stories of people having a hard time getting a response.
 

day_trippr

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Actually, that is one of the very few positive outcomes I have read here wrt BC rehabilitation by the manufacturer.
I didn't even bother to test the "warranty" because it seemed it so utterly unlikely to lead to a satisfactory ending.
That said I'm happy where I am. Not needing to constantly change mill gaps is worth having two mills and using the BC backwards :D

Cheers!
 

NoCornOrRice

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I've had my BC for over a decade and put approx 2200 pounds of grain thought it. I sometimes have the same problem, and can fix it by stopping the motor and spinning the axle slowly a couple of revolutions in reverse. When this fails (only happened twice) I took it apart to thoroughly clean, and then I ensured when grain exited the mill it could fall freely to avoid it backing up.
 

day_trippr

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I wager anyone running a BC with a reversible motor does as much once "the troubles" start.
Eventually, though, it's no longer a viable "restart" method. And, fwiw, when you run the mill in reverse temporarily to free it up, if you stop right there and check the top of your milled grain bucket, you'll notice it's all uncrushed grains on the surface...

Cheers!
 

Mark3885

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My BC stopped feeding as the OP stated , my efficiency dropped by 10 percent so I replaced the o ring on the roller , I put one on each end figuring if one goes the other should work until it breaks . Efficiency jumped back up to normal, now when I go to use it , I simply look towards the edge of the roller, see that they are in place , mill as usual, no more problems, simple cheap fix.
 

ChuckS1

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I just put a new O ring on mine yesterday. Solved the same problem.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I just put a new O ring on mine yesterday. Solved the same problem.
What type of o-ring are you using?

As I recall mine came with a rubber ring that shredded on the first use of the mill. Is there something more durable? When I have had issues with my mill, it is with getting the second roller to engage. Once both rollers are spinning there are no issues.
 

ChuckS1

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I think it was a #13 I got at Home Depot. 11/16 inside diameter, 7/8 outside diameter. Comes in 10 packs for $2.50 or so.
 
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