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Using a pasta maker to mill grain.

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conpewter

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I got a great deal at Hobby Lobby. I signed up for their email list which got me a 40% off one item coupon. I just bought the pasta roller there and I think it was like $15
 

-Nathan-

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I got mine at Michaels with this coupon.

http://www.mommysavesbig.com/printable-coupons/michaels.jpg

Came to 14 dollars total. I was in and out in less than 5 min. Time saved for brewing. I had not expected to use it for a while and do it on an experimental basis. However, my LHBS was having trouble with his mill so I re-ran the grain through this with a cardboard hopper and I was brewing. It worked so well that I am going to just buy unmilled grain from now on.

-Nathan
 

brown_dog_us

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I use #2, but I don't know if they are all the same. You can run a handfull of grain through and see which one works the best.
 

Pickngrin

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Oh, I didn't know they were so inexpensive! Thanks... I will try Michael's with that coupon. No luck at the thrift stores I've checked recently.
 

chefmike

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I am going to run one batch at 3 and one at 4. I think the ideal is right between the two settings, judging from the husks. I am leaning toward the smaller setting, as I think my rollers have some pointed edges from the roughing with the drill bit. I am inclined to think they are tearing the husks a little and this will smooth out with a sack or two of grain.

Work and family is currently interfering with brewing, so the project will continue after easter for me.
 

MOSFET

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What number setting do you guys think gets the ideal spacing?
I use an Atlas pasta maker. Setting 3 is ideal for most grain. I thought it was too coarse but it's real fast and I get the same efficiency as #4. I did my 11th pasta maker batch this morning and it still works perfectly.
 

tipicreeper

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I managed to get a pasta maker at an estate sale for $5.
Now my problem is that it weighs about 3X as much as the the pasta maker at Hobby Lobby. I have a feeling I managed to get a real good machine. Now I'm wondering.... should I take up pasta & buy something lighter for crushing grain?
As I am typing this.. I can feel your leers & answers.
Don't flame too hard.
Cheers
-David
 

TerapinChef

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Well, if you're someone who will actually make pasta, buy a cheap one for your grain. A good pasta machine will be something you can pass on to your children. But if it's going into your cupboard to be used a few times a year, get that thing knurled and grind away!
 

rcm_rx7

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Thanks Nathan for the Michael's coupon. I just picked one up today for $14 brand new. I'll score up the rollers with the die grinder tomorrow. Can't wait to get some grain to try this out!
 

Griffsta

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I have been tracking this thread for a while now becauase I have an atlas pasta maker. I finally took some action tonight. I went with the drill method, and I think it worked pretty well, though I could probably use to score it up a little more. It only took me about 15 minutes to score the rollers, and it was very easy with a small drill bit.

For all your good suggestions, I hoped to return the favor by doing a little experiment. Here are 4 different crushes using the noodler. I ran a little bit of grain through settings 2, 3 and 4, and I ran one sample through the #2 setting twice, as it was suggested earlier in the thread. The smaller the #, the large the space between the rollers.









You can see that it really doesnt matter how many times you put it through, as the #2 setting looks the same whether you run it through once, or twice. I found that it took a while on the #4 setting, as the grains just spun on top of the rolling rollers (maybe I need to score it more). It didnt all want to go through easily, and I had to jostle it to make the grains catch. This could possibly be rectified by scoring the rollers a bit more.

So, what do you guys think is the best crush? Also, I mash in a keggle with a false bottom. I have only brewed one all grain batch so far, so i dont know what the F*#! a good crush looks like. Im still working on my fly sparging technique. Which crush is best for this type of mash setup?
 

Griffsta

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And here is a pic of the new toy. I hope this gives me good efficiency, cause the wifey doesnt want to sign the invoice for a nice malt crusher.





I will send some pics once I get it rigged u pwith a hopper on a bucket. I will only be hooking it up to my drill, as motors (as used by others) are beyond my abilities.
 

wilserbrewer

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I vote for no. 4. I am a crush till you are scared type of guy. Can't tell from the pics, but thee other settings look as if whole grains are still present in the crushed samples??
 

avaserfi

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Four looks like there are many hulls that have been broken. You want to crush the grain, but leave the hull intact. Three looks the best to me when considering both these factors.
 

mw20

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You guy's are brilliant! I can not afford a mill right now and I'm really stoked about this. I saw some knurled handles on some dumbells at a sporting goods store and was gonna try to make one out of them, but I really liked the ideas on this thread and really appreciate everyone's efforts to make this idea work.
 

Griffsta

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In the #3 crush, most of the hulls were released, though, I saw several still hanging out in the husk. Im not sure to what exent that would hurt my efficiency.

The #4 released all the hulls, but also produced a bit more flour. Im not sure if it is enough to cause any lautering problems. The problem with the #4 setting was that it didnt really want to pull the grains through the rollers. Now, with 10 pounds of grain sitting on top, I would suspect that would be enough to keep things moving, as it seemed only the last little bit of grain during that crush didnt want to go through, and the first part went through quite readily.

Knowing that the #2 crush was not enough, I was hoping that running it twice would help. Now, it didnt, but perhaps I could try to run the #3 sample twice to see if it can give me an effective #3.5.
 

brown_dog_us

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Nice pics! I think for fly sparging I would definitely go with three, but for batch sparging I would try four.
 

TerapinChef

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Soo....I have found a ton of older electric motors in my basement, along with various size "wheels" for attaching belts to. I was hoping to do more of a direct drive, but I really don't know too much about any of this yet. Checking the motors, they seem to be either about 3100RPM or 1200RPM. I'm assuming both of these are WAY too fast. Can I just wire these things through a dimmer switch or something to turn them down? Or do I have to set up some kind of pulley system? How big of a project am I adding to this job?
 

TerapinChef

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Also the hopper thing is just making me crazy. I don't know what to make it out of, how I want it to look, what size I want it...How much grain will the 5G water jugs hold?
 

wilserbrewer

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Also the hopper thing is just making me crazy. I don't know what to make it out of, how I want it to look, what size I want it...How much grain will the 5G water jugs hold?

A quart of two row grain weighs about a pound...so I would guess a 5 gallon bottle will hold around 20 pounds of grain, plus - minus.
 

RedIrocZ-28

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Right, a 5 gallon hopper would be able to hold north of 15lbs for sure. I have done a mash that was right at the limit of my Mash tun (a 5gal pot) and I was able to cram in just about 13lbs of grain along with 15qts of water. A 5gal hopper would allow you to do a Barleywine or a RIS in just a little more than 1 full hopper. Hell mine only holds 10lbs and I thought that was a lot!
 

Catt22

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Also the hopper thing is just making me crazy. I don't know what to make it out of, how I want it to look, what size I want it...How much grain will the 5G water jugs hold?
I've had upwards of 20 lbs in my water jug hopper. Capacity isn't a big deal really. It's very easy to load a 7 lb hopper two or three times. The whole milling process is relatively fast. Smaller hoppers take up less space in storage. Sometimes that can be an important consideration. The same for having an easily removable hopper.
 

avaserfi

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Just got my rollers back from RedIrocZ-28. Great knurl job done on them, especially for $20 shipped both ways. Quick service too, took about a week and a half including ship time both ways.

Pictures will be coming later tonight when I get everything put together.
 

avaserfi

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SO how does it work? Send us some pics of your crush.
I haven't crushed anything yet. I have some grain on the way and after I build the hopper I will be brewing using the mill.

Based on the pictures I have seen in this thread, it will do very well.
 

mw20

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I just tried mine out. I textured the rollers with the drill bit method. It worked really well. I had a couple of grains that bounced around some before being pulled through, but I was really happy with the results. The crush looked really good. I bought some bulk grains yesterday so now I can brew pretty much whenever I want.
 

jajabee

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I just finished brewing my first batch using my pasta grain mill, worked great! My cardboard-and-tape hopper kind of sucks, a few whole grains were leaking out around the sides, but for the most part it went swimmingly. I ended up crushing it twice at the "5" setting, went pretty fast that way and I was happy with the crush. Target OG for today's brew was 1.057 according to BTP, I hit 1.052. My best yet! :)
 

wilserbrewer

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Nice coupon here for one of these rollers

http://www.mommysavesbig.com/printable-coupons/michaels-40.pdf

15 bucks w/ coupon. Even though I am very satisfied w/ my corona and big a$$ drill, i thought I would play w/ the clay roller.

I put a drill bit on it tonight, for the first few minutes, I was just scratching the rollers and they didn't really feel rough and I realized that I would probably need a little more "bite" on the rollers to pull in the grain.

I started applying moderate pressure to the drill w/ one hand while turning the crank w/ the other hand, (w/ the mill clamped to the countertop). Place the drill bit b/w the two rollers as if the mill is trying to suck it in. I had excellent results by letting the drill bit chew on the rollers as the rollers were turning in. I found it helpful to keep going until the rollers were fully marred, where there is almost no original surface left at all. If you keep going w/ the drill bit you can produce a nice rough surface. Probably as functional as the knurling, almost as pretty, and likely very effective. I chose to roughen mine more than the photos posted previously.

Worked beautifully, the rollers are nicely marred and will pull the grain in even on the tightest setting. IMO don't be afraid to give the rollers a good marring as I feel this is needed to pull the grain through.

I also used a little larger drill bit, 3/16 or 1/4 not really sure, for an effective texturing you should have a noticable amount of metal shavings under the mill during the process.

Thanks for the tip! Now to come up w/ a nice mount and hopper.
 

Munsoned

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I just found this thread today and have read the whole thing from the beginning. I'm still getting started in the hobby and am still extract brewing, but I've been looking for a cheap mill to do some steeping grains (so I don't think I'm as concerned with efficiency as most on this thread are).

I think I've found a solution! I'm going to Michaels this weekend to pick one of these up, and I'm going to do the drill bit marring method.

An idea for Griffsta if he's still checking this thread:

The problem with the #4 setting was that it didnt really want to pull the grains through the rollers.
Why not run once through at 2 or 3 (which seems to catch the grains easily), then bump it up to 4 on the second round? Maybe they would pull through the rollers easier on the 4 setting if they've already been "lightly" crushed on 2-3?
 

Munsoned

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Should have mentioned in my last post---I'd love to see or hear some more hopper ideas for this thing if anyone has any. Since I'm not currently dealing with 10+lbs. of grains, I don't want to construct a big hopper for this just yet. Still, I'd love to hear what others are doing out there so I can start formulating ideas...
 
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