Grain Mill question...

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Rob2010SS

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Those of you who have a grain mill that you're powering with a drill, do you add the grains to the hopper and THEN start the drill or do you have the drill running and then start pouring in your grains?

I just used my new mill for the 2nd time yesterday. The first time, it was quite a learning curve and I couldn't seem to get the grains to go through the rollers if I loaded up the hopper with grains before starting the drill. So I had to start the drill so the rollers were running and then pour the grains in, but slow enough where they didn't pile up in the hopper. If that happened, the grain would stop going through the rollers and I'd have to dump the hopper and start again.

This time around, it seemed to work just fine pouring in the grains in the hopper and then starting the drill. Curious on what others do is all.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, it's the 3 roller Monster Mill.
 

VikeMan

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I put a very small amount of grains in at first. Just enough to "catch" in the rollers. Once the rollers are moving, I fill the hopper.

If you ever find the rollers stuck again, you might be able to encourage the reluctant roller by pushing on it (rolling it) with the tip of a screwdriver (with the drill turned off), allowing a few grains to drop and catch.
 

Golddiggie

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When I was using a cordless hammer drill to power my old MM2 (2" rollers) I never started it before adding the grain. Always filled the hopper then got the drill running.

IMO, if your drill has enough torque/power you won't need to worry about this. My old 18v DeWalt cordless hammer drill, on the lowest speed range setting, had zero issues. When I started brewing again (early 2020) I went and got the motor from Monster to power the mill. Zero issues with that. I'll be using the new 3 roller mill (also from Monster, geared, pro model) with the coming batch since it's on the cart and connected to the motor.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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I put a very small amount of grains in at first. Just enough to "catch" in the rollers. Once the rollers are moving, I fill the hopper.

If you ever find the rollers stuck again, you might be able to encourage the reluctant roller by pushing on it (rolling it) with the tip of a screwdriver (with the drill turned off), allowing a few grains to drop and catch.

Good tip! Thanks. I didn't think of it as being a stuck roller, I just figured for some reason the grains weren't finding their way between the rollers. But I'll give this a shot if it happens again.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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When I was using a cordless hammer drill to power my old MM2 (2" rollers) I never started it before adding the grain. Always filled the hopper then got the drill running.

IMO, if your drill has enough torque/power you won't need to worry about this. My old 18v DeWalt cordless hammer drill, on the lowest speed range setting, had zero issues. When I started brewing again (early 2020) I went and got the motor from Monster to power the mill. Zero issues with that. I'll be using the new 3 roller mill (also from Monster, geared, pro model) with the coming batch since it's on the cart and connected to the motor.

This is actually the one I bought to run the drill with. It seems to work, although does get stuck on occasion if I go too slow with it. Would love to get the motor for this mill one day. That'd be a nice setup!
 

MaxStout

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I use a motor and pulley with a 2-roller Monster Mill, but have had similar issues. I usually start the mill, then pour in the grain. My first motor was only 1/4 HP, and hard grains such as wheat would occasionally jam the rollers. I'd have to shut off the motor and manually back the pulley a half turn then start the motor again.

I later found a used 1 HP Baldor real cheap. Nothing stops it now. :)
 

Golddiggie

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This is actually the one I bought to run the drill with. It seems to work, although does get stuck on occasion if I go too slow with it. Would love to get the motor for this mill one day. That'd be a nice setup!
The cordless drill I used had three speed ranges. I would use the lowest speed set and try to only use 1/2 trigger pull on the mill. I had to use the side handle on the thing otherwise it would leap out of my hands when I started it.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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The cordless drill I used had three speed ranges. I would use the lowest speed set and try to only use 1/2 trigger pull on the mill. I had to use the side handle on the thing otherwise it would leap out of my hands when I started it.
This one doesn't have speed ranges, it's just a variable trigger. The only setting it has is Drill vs Hammer Drill. So when I was milling the grain, I just tried to go about half on the pull.
 

Golddiggie

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This one doesn't have speed ranges, it's just a variable trigger. The only setting it has is Drill vs Hammer Drill. So when I was milling the grain, I just tried to go about half on the pull.
IMO, the issue is the HIGH RPM on that single/only speed range. With it going up to 2800rpm, you'll want a light trigger pull to get it into the good range for running a malt mill (typically under 250rpm). IIRC, the low speed range on that old cordless hammer drill I had was 0-500rpm. LOTS of torque at the low speed range. Reduction gears in drills with ranges like that increases the torque applied compared with the high speed ranges. Or on single speed range drills.
 

hbarsquared

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When you had issues with the grain stopping the mill, did it actually stop the rotation of the rollers, or were the rollers spinning freely but the grain was not "catching"?

If it's the latter, I regularly have that problem with my Evil Twin mill. Doesn't matter if I use a drill or a hand crank, sometimes the grains just rest on top of the mill rollers and they won't get caught by the knurling (is that right? the little bumpy bois on the roller bits?). The only consistent solution I've found is to increase the gap size, sadly. I've disassembled and cleaned the mill, as well as loosened the bolts holding it to its base and both seemed to help a bit, but if I try to make a finer grind the problem always returns.
 

FloppyKnockers

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Cereal Killer here. The instructions say to load the hopper first, then start your drill. What do they know? I start my drill, with a light squeeze, just enough to get it going. Put in some grain, increase the speed, add more grain, then lay on the trigger (high torque, low speed setting).

My old, craptastic mill always stalled. As in motor and drive roller turning, but the idle roller just sat there. I fixed that by reaching underneath and giving the idle roller a bit of a nudge. Not nearly as danger-mouse as it sounds. It just got very annoying to have to do that sever times in a row so I put that one out to pasture.
 

WESBREW

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I found that i had problems with the typical 3/8 drill not having enough torque. Hard to get it going and would easily stall if rpm dropped. Got a 1/2 drill from harbor freight. Fill the mill to the top then let it rip
 

hottpeper13

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I found that on my 3 roller if I set the first stage to .039 and the second to .028 it doesn't stall as much and i get 80% efficiency and no stuck sparges. My hopper holds 11 lbs and I always fill it first.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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When you had issues with the grain stopping the mill, did it actually stop the rotation of the rollers, or were the rollers spinning freely but the grain was not "catching"?

If it's the latter, I regularly have that problem with my Evil Twin mill. Doesn't matter if I use a drill or a hand crank, sometimes the grains just rest on top of the mill rollers and they won't get caught by the knurling (is that right? the little bumpy bois on the roller bits?). The only consistent solution I've found is to increase the gap size, sadly. I've disassembled and cleaned the mill, as well as loosened the bolts holding it to its base and both seemed to help a bit, but if I try to make a finer grind the problem always returns.
YES! That. The rollers wouldn't stick, they were freely spinning and the grains just wouldn't go through them. You would see the grains bouncing around in the hopper but never go through the rollers.

Sorry to all previous posters. I thought I was clear on that but I obviously was not.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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I found that i had problems with the typical 3/8 drill not having enough torque. Hard to get it going and would easily stall if rpm dropped. Got a 1/2 drill from harbor freight. Fill the mill to the top then let it rip
This is a 1/2" drill. Torque doesn't seem to be a problem. If I go too light with the trigger, it'll stall it but that's more rare.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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I found that on my 3 roller if I set the first stage to .039 and the second to .028 it doesn't stall as much and i get 80% efficiency and no stuck sparges. My hopper holds 11 lbs and I always fill it first.
On this last batch of Hefeweizen, I went .030" on the Pilsen and .026" on the Wheat.
 

VikeMan

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YES! That. The rollers wouldn't stick, they were freely spinning and the grains just wouldn't go through them. You would see the grains bouncing around in the hopper but never go through the rollers.

Sorry to all previous posters. I thought I was clear on that but I obviously was not.

This is what I thought you meant. And the solution for me (on my mill and a few others I've milled on) has been to get a few pieces to catch, then load up.
 

Golddiggie

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For those who have to force the grain into the rollers before filling the hopper, what gap are you using? I've never had that happen on any malt mill I've used. IIRC, the closest gap I ran (ever) was .032".
 

Dog House Brew

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I always start the mill with a few pounds of grain. One they catch, fill it the rest of the way. I have a 3 roller Monster set at .029. I use a mounted 1/2 Skill from the 70’s, slowed by a router controller. I had issues before getting the controller. The slower speed sucks it right in. I think I’m around 150 rpm.
 

FredF

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I had that issue before and used a paint stick to shove the grain into the rollers to get the idler roller going. Then I threw that mill out and got a geared mill. No problems anymore. I add the grain first, Dewalt drill on low speed, and crush away.
 

Mad Mann

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Had the same issue with my MM3. tried multiple things. Need to follow the gap directions in the manual. Also make sure that the feed lane is shaped so the grain goes straight down. I was still having issues so I asked my SIL to fabricate a housing and gears. Waiting to tap the gears and this will completely resolve the issue. Apparently MM had the same idea a they now sell a geared unit!
 

Golddiggie

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How many people, having issues with Monster Mill units, are NOT using the hopper they offer/sell?? I've been using one of their hoppers with my MM's.
 

scrap iron

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I have an JSP adjustable malt mill that is about 15 years old. It still works great and I load up a large funnel for a hopper that feeds in the middle. I use a 1/2" drive corded drill and it catches and starts right away. I've had the gap set as low as .028" on the mill in the middle of the rollers. I do condition the grains and let them dry mostly before milling so I wonder if that makes a difference. The OP could try conditioning the grains.
 

Dog House Brew

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How many people, having issues with Monster Mill units, are NOT using the hopper they offer/sell?? I've been using one of their hoppers with my MM's.
When I had issues with my MM3, I was using a hopper that I fabricated out of wood. It was not feeding the mill correctly and causing it to hang up. I bought their hopper with extension. It pretty much solved my issue. I also found that my base mount bolts were too tight. I loosened them and away I went. Mine is one of their original stainless models when Fred first opened. I know I’ve ran 2,500# through that thing.
 

Golddiggie

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@Dog House Brew When I ordered my MM2 (back in 2011) I got the hopper and extension for it. I used the included base until I started brewing again in 2020. I've secured the bolts to the unit, from under the cart top plate, fully and haven't had any issues.

I plan to use my new MM3 next weekend now. Provided I can get the new plate chiller mounting item created before the end of this weekend. I have that drawn up and just need to make my cut sheet so that I can get the steel cut, machined, and welded up. Need to get more MIG shielding gas tomorrow for that project (80 cubic bottle is almost empty).
 

bnut

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I occasionally have this problem with my MM3. Normally I can put the drill in reverse and turn the rollers backwards a hair and then I'm good. I try to start milling as slow as I can get the drill to go.
 

TyYoda

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This happens to me since I use a very fine gap .030" ish for biab in my 2 roller mill. I typically put some grain in the hopper and then manually rotate the rollers to get some grain in the rollers. The second roller will only spin if there is grain between the rollers. If it stops working in a milling session, then I lift up the mill and rotate the rollers to get some grain in the rollers.
 

VikeMan

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I just measured the current gap on my ancient Schmidling mill. 0.025"
It's probably worth mentioning that gap size in and of itself doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. Different mills may have different shapes and depths of ribs/knurling, by design and/or due to wear.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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This. Condition your grains (add water). There are plenty of threads explaining how and why you should do this. One benefit is the softened husk is gripped by the rollers better; it solves the reluctant grain frustration.
I'll have to give this a shot! This was my 2nd brew with the mill so just kind of taking it once step at a time at the moment. Doing a mexican lager here shortly so I'll give it a shot on that one.
 

bracconiere

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i have a perment drill now, and i start it and lock the trigger, it's an older model with adjustable speed locking....


it's been years since i held a drill, honestly remember what i did...i think it had enough torque at full speed to crank up with a full hopper....
 
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