Using a pasta maker to mill grain.

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TerapinChef

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I was hoping to cut the center of the base away and kind of fold the vertical legs out at the bottom for bolting to something...it wasn't a well thought out plan
 

Revvy

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I was hoping to cut the center of the base away and kind of fold the vertical legs out at the bottom for bolting to something...it wasn't a well thought out plan
I'm looking at the bottom of mine..what happens if you unscrew where the feet plates are, wont the whole bottom base come off?

It would leave the two vertical supports...then you could use some small "L" brackets to bolt to a piece of wood...maybe a shelf with a big hole in the center.
 

Gonefishing

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That's what I did...took the end covers off so I could get to the nuts on the base bolts, then just mounted it to a board with a hole cut in it. Here's the board (sitting on the cover to a Homer bucket).
And here's the completed mill
Use 8-32x1" screws for this and you won't have to enlarge the holes in the uprights like I did with my 10-32 screws.
The board is a plastic composite thing that I got on a jobsite thinking I'd use it in my camper project...way handier in the brewery!
 

Revvy

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That's what I did...took the end covers off so I could get to the nuts on the base bolts, then just mounted it to a board with a whole cut in it. Here's the board (sitting on the cover to a Homer bucket).
And here's the completed mill
Use 8-32x1" screws for this and you won't have to enlarge the holes in the uprights like I did with my 10-32 screws.
The board is a plastic composite thing that I got on a jobsite thinking I'd use it in my camper project...way handier in the brewery!
WOOT WOOT!!! :mug:

It looks great. SO are you gonna motorize it at some point?

Have you run any grain through yet? How's the crush?

How did you mount the board with the opper on the top?
 

Gonefishing

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All those questions and more are answered in my new blog entry...and a whole lot more pictures.
 

Revvy

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All those questions and more are answered in my new blog entry...and a whole lot more pictures.
Great Blog..

FYI you can motorize them. Fimo Heads have been modding them for years, in fact IIRC you can find some motors for them digging around on some polymer clay sites.

It's doubtful they can take a high speed drill motor buy a mid speed gear motor at about the same spped as a fast turn can be rigged up.

Also for all of you contemplating this here is a nice piece on a fimo site about dissaembling and maintaining one.

HowTo Use a Pasta Machine - Basic Use

You can see her motor here,




The commercial motors for them cost around 100 dollars though, so that puts it at barely crusher range...



They also use a foot pedal like the one on a sewing maching to controll them. I have one I used on my animatronic electric chair at halloween.

 

Gonefishing

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Oh geez.... you're gonna get me going again! I already have a foot pedal... hmmmmmmmm.
You know what? I'll bet you could run it with a wiper motor too... would just be battery operated. Those gears can take it ...I'm amazed.
 

Revvy

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I've seen them with just a long screwdrive put in the handles shaft with a pulley on it a motor with another pulley on a platform or shelf below.

I think as long as you took it slow and steady you should be okay on the geers.
 

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Damn, I just found this thread. Very Cool. SWMBO has a little bit of shopping to do for me, so I'm going to drop hints like crazy. If she doesn't pick one up for me, I'm going to Michael's with that coupon!
 

Gonefishing

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I'm going to have to try it.... handcranking is just too slow, enough grain for a 5 gallon batch would take forever. I'm excited with this though...doing AG means I can brew more because grain is a lot cheaper than extract.
 

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Well, I think this is one of the things where HBT has just contributed to the body of knowledge of homebrewing once again, in a big way...

Googling it shows that it has been brought up on a couple beerboards, but the discussion is usually shot down, or dies at the idea phase. (Probably because no one's come in and mentioned it's use in polymer clay for the last 2 decades.) So it looks like this thread and 'fisihing's blog are the difinitive discussion on it.

In fact the blog is now the top of the google hit's on the subject. (In fact buddy, why don't you post a link back to this thread on your blog, so that any homebrewing googlers who stumble upon you blog, can come in here to see the development of this idea AND can discover the wonderful world that is HBT.

Oh, and it appears that we weren't too far off to begin with. Marcato, which is a maker of fine quality pastamachines, also makes a grain mill. :D Evidently the only difference is that the rollers are knurled rather than smooth, otherwise it appears that the chassis is identical.




Marcato Manual Grain Crusher model ME171
 

Revvy

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I wonder if the gears could be swapped for stronger ones. I was just reading the marcato link and they mention that the gears on the grain mill were "heat treated" for extra srength. I wonder if any machininsts on here know about it, or can suggest replaceing these gears with something stronger.

 

talleymonster

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So for about 1/4 of the price, you can just buy the Pasta model and DIY it a little bit and BAM! Now you have a Grain Mill.
 

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Once again, the collective genius of HBT produces yet another furtherance for home brewing.
 

Revvy

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So for about 1/4 of the price, you can just buy the Pasta model and DIY it a little bit and BAM! Now you have a Grain Mill.

Looks like it. We need to see some tests on efficiency with these things. Get a few brews going and see how good the crushes are on them. I betcha since it's exactly the same setup as a barley crusher (parallel rollers) it's gonna be just as good.

(Which will piss off the malt mill and barley crusher nazis to no end, some of them get positively apoplectic when you mention that you can get good brews with anything other than there beloved expensive machines. No one wants to even admit that if a 20 dollar corona grain mill can net Charlie Papazian 87% efficiency for 30+ years, then maybe the barley crusher or malt mill isn't the only shizzel on the block. I'm not saying all owners of those mills are like that, but there are a few on here, just like there are AG and Stainless Steel zealots on here as well. ) :D


My only regret is that Someone didn't resurrect this thread before I started jacking up my new freeby corona mill....Otherwise I'd have a go myself....I might still down the line. But until then I'll contend with being the technical/spiritual advisor of this thread...Anytime someone says "you can't" about some aspect of it, I'll dig out another polymer clay article that says you can...Like I said they've been doing this for over 20 years and even before they came out with the 20 dollar version. I think I originally paid at a cooking shop 60 for my first one when I was doing clay.
 

Gonefishing

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Once again, Revvy, good thinking.... blog article updated with a link to this thread, and links list updated to include HBT.
I think efficency is going to be pretty good with this.... it's pretty adjustable and first time out of the box (ok, out of the workshop...) I think I got almost 80% with it, and I'll freely admit that I'm no grain milling expert.
 

TerapinChef

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So I haven't posted in a while, I have to admit it's because I was kind of jealous. Gonefishin snuck ahead of me one this one and I was hoping to be the leading researcher. But I have not given up. That'll teach me to post my ideas before I start working on them...I'm going to play around with the finish on the rollers and see if I can't come up with a good way to knurl those rollers, then work on motorizing and stand building. The nice thing about the mill standing so high off the base is it gives you a lot of room to mount a pulley if you needed to...
 

Revvy

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So I haven't posted in a while, I have to admit it's because I was kind of jealous. Gonefishin snuck ahead of me one this one and I was hoping to be the leading researcher. But I have not given up. That'll teach me to post my ideas before I start working on them...I'm going to play around with the finish on the rollers and see if I can't come up with a good way to knurl those rollers, then work on motorizing and stand building. The nice thing about the mill standing so high off the base is it gives you a lot of room to mount a pulley if you needed to...
I wonder if Harbor freight has a cheap knurling bit, maybe one that couled even fit in a dremel tool, and maybe you can rig up a jig and knurl them yourself.
 
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Been reading this thread and getting excited about being able to afford a mill. But there hasn't been anyone yet actually brew a batch with it and post efficiencey results. Anybody? Only number were Revvy missing by 23 points. I know this was first pass no adjustments, but the only numbers I've seen and not too promising. Anyone. I really wanna see someone posting saying they nailed their OG
 

Revvy

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Been reading this thread and getting excited about being able to afford a mill. But there hasn't been anyone yet actually brew a batch with it and post efficiencey results. Anybody? Only number were Revvy missing by 23 points. I know this was first pass no adjustments, but the only numbers I've seen and not too promising. Anyone. I really wanna see someone posting saying they nailed their OG
Uh missing by 23 points was that old meat grinder I was working with in the summer, to see if THAT could have been modded into a corona mill...Which I never got around to finishing.
 

TerapinChef

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Well, I'll be brewing with this come January...I'm on brewing break at the moment, too many projects going on. Now that I have my second burner, I'm going to be plumbing in the black pipe so I can use one tank instead of two. Plus trying to make a grain mill out of a pasta machine. And I just finished my new keggle (part2) and cleaning up my draft tower. And oh yeah, it's Christmas.

Revvy said:
I wonder if Harbor freight has a cheap knurling bit, maybe one that couled even fit in a dremel tool, and maybe you can rig up a jig and knurl them yourself.
I have no idea what a knurling bit is, or how I would build a jig to use one, but I'll look into it. The rollers on the cheap machine from Michaels are very thin...I have a few plans in mind but I'm waiting for the equipment to show up. Does one pattern work better than another? I notice on most of the commercial mills the knurling is done in a diamond pattern, but would a square pattern work out as well do you think?
 

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Here's a link with a video of motorizing it with an electric juicer machine.

Polymer Clay Bytes! - Tina Holden's Beadcomber: Best Pasta Machine Motor for Polymer Clay

Aren't you guys lucky I've walked this world as well, years ago I was a polymer clay artist and in the Natl Guild...

you should be able to motorize it by using keystock from homedepot. with a little grinding on the drill side to make it 8 sided rather then 4 sided should work. ill have to look at my pasta machine and the handle but i am sure it would be pretty easy to do. if all else i could use my press to straighten the handle then cut it off
 

Gonefishing

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Square stock wouldn't work...the hole is round with just a slot for the tang on the handle. However, the shank of a cheap screwdriver might work. All you'd have to do is break the handle off...viola...instant round driveshaft with the correct drive tang on it! (Although I think the handle has only one and the screwdriver (we're talking handle end here) would have two so one might need to be ground off.
 

Gonefishing

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So I haven't posted in a while, I have to admit it's because I was kind of jealous. Gonefishin snuck ahead of me one this one and I was hoping to be the leading researcher. But I have not given up. That'll teach me to post my ideas before I start working on them...I'm going to play around with the finish on the rollers and see if I can't come up with a good way to knurl those rollers, then work on motorizing and stand building. The nice thing about the mill standing so high off the base is it gives you a lot of room to mount a pulley if you needed to...
Hey, I'm sorry... I didn't mean to steal your thunder or anything. I am just one of those impulsive do-it-now-or-never-do-it types and I was intriqued with the idea that I might be able to mill grain for $20. Mine is just a wicked crude prototype, you can certainly be the one who figures out how to make the rollers work really well so the output speed is higher. Please don't be jealous that I jumped on this ... let's just all work together in HBT fashion and make this something that people come to HBT for the tech advice on this beautiful little gadget.
 

Gonefishing

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Ok, this is what I brewed
6 lbs american 2 row
4 oz flaked rye
4 oz carawheat
4 oz crystal 60

cluster hops 1 oz at 60 minutes and another with a minute or two left in boil
us-05 yeast

According to Beersmith my OG should have been 1.061. I boiled off way too much water so my first reading was 1.093. I added a gallon of spring water to get the volume I had planned on having (3 gallons) and mixed well...took another reading, which temp corrected to 1.056.
 

TerapinChef

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Hey, I'm sorry... I didn't mean to steal your thunder or anything. I am just one of those impulsive do-it-now-or-never-do-it types and I was intriqued with the idea that I might be able to mill grain for $20. Mine is just a wicked crude prototype, you can certainly be the one who figures out how to make the rollers work really well so the output speed is higher. Please don't be jealous that I jumped on this ... let's just all work together in HBT fashion and make this something that people come to HBT for the tech advice on this beautiful little gadget.
No no don't be sorry, I was just joking. I'm glad somebody did it first, because now that I know it can be done I'm much more willing to do it. In HBT fashion, I'm just going to throw out the ideas I'm working on for surfacing the rollers.

*Note*
For most of these, I'm planning on a square grid style pattern, as it will be much easier than a diamond knurl. I'm thinking for most of my ideas, I'll just motorize the thing to cut the vertical lines, then carefully hand cut the horozontal (parallel to the gap) lines. I'm really worried about how thin the metal on the Michaels roller mills are, I took them apart and they don't look very sturdy. Of course, I'm used to my Atlas Pasta Queen.

1) A metal engraving tool, the kind you write your name on kitchen knives and the like with...

2) A cutting wheel on my dremel...I'm thinking this might work, but I'm worried about cutting too deep.

3) If I can find one of these knurling tools fairly cheap, I'm wondering if there is some way I can get these rollers onto a wood lathe, my girlfriends dad has one in his house. I'm thinking just finding the right size dowel to shove through the middle of the tube then hook it up on the lathe.

#3 is obviously my last resort option. I'm going to check out #2 tommorrow, as I don't have the engraver yet. (I'm borrowing).

Also, for a motorized chuck, at least for a drill, I'm thinking a very small spade bit would work. I have a 1/4" one that is just a tad too big. The flat head will fit very nicely into the slotted reciever, and it's already meant for the drill. I'm not sure how the juicer would work with this. I do have some concerns about the juicer, mainly that you need to slow it down significantly, I would think. that's why I asked if the pedal thing worked like a rheostat. I'm thinking AC Dimmer switch to outlet with the juicer plugged in would be another option for those of us without a sewing machine pedal hanging around.
 

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Gonefishing

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Those rollers are hard...I was hitting really hard with my file to get the surface roughed up. I like the idea of the engraver... I think that'll work better than the dremel tool. I also like the wood lathe idea, but think the cost of the knurling tool would defeat the purpose of making these mills
 

TerapinChef

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I'm more worried about "Can I do it on a wood lathe without messing up the lathe because it's not mine" than I am about spending the $25 bucks. I'm pretty sure if I buy that knurling tool, a few people in the area with pasta machines are going to come calling....
 

Revvy

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I'm more worried about "Can I do it on a wood lathe without messing up the lathe because it's not mine" than I am about spending the $25 bucks. I'm pretty sure if I buy that knurling tool, a few people in the area with pasta machines are going to come calling....
I was gonna say the same thing, if you got the knurling tool I would definitely bite the bullet and convert the one I have...
 

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I was gonna say the same thing, if you got the knurling tool I would definitely bite the bullet and convert the one I have...
Might be a stupid question, in fact I know it is, but how does one go about using a knurling tool? Just press it up against the roller while it spins? Any tips?

Thanks.
 

Gonefishing

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I have used them, and basically yes, that's what you do, but there's more pressure there than you could ever do by hand. They do sell hand knurlers though...they look like a big pipe cutter, but I think they're pretty pricey.
I have a wood lathe that I don't use... too bad we don't live close to each other.
 

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Square stock wouldn't work...the hole is round with just a slot for the tang on the handle. However, the shank of a cheap screwdriver might work. All you'd have to do is break the handle off...viola...instant round driveshaft with the correct drive tang on it! (Although I think the handle has only one and the screwdriver (we're talking handle end here) would have two so one might need to be ground off.
good thinking. i couldnt tell and was at work when i posted that. now to find out of this works and finding those old POC screwdrivers i have.
 

TerapinChef

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I have used them, and basically yes, that's what you do, but there's more pressure there than you could ever do by hand. They do sell hand knurlers though...they look like a big pipe cutter, but I think they're pretty pricey.
I have a wood lathe that I don't use... too bad we don't live close to each other.

Since you obviously have more wood lathe experience than me (you have some) what do you think of my plan for the whole putting this thing on the lathe plan?
 

Gonefishing

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well, you'll need to make some kind of mount for the knurling tool holder which will force the tool in to the roller... so, make a support that pushes back on the opposite side of the roller and you should be good to go.Does the wood lathe have a chuck or mounting plate...or screw? Chuck is easy to use, either of the other two would give you a mild challenge to figure out how to hold the roller centered to turn it. You'd maybe have to actually just use hand power to turn it too, I doubt a wood lathe would go slow enough under power, but that's no big issue.
 
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