Super cheap grain mill

December 14, 2008 at 12:02 am 13 comments

OK, in case you haven’t figured this out…I’m cheap. (Or frugal for you PC types). I look for the lowest cost way to do everything… and I think I managed to get milling grain to the lowest cost ever! How cheap? How about under $20?
It all started because of a thread on (if you don’t know this board you should check it out…it’s a very informative place to spend time) when someone wondered “aloud” about using a pasta maker as a mill. Someone else posted a picture of one that Micheals sells …and that was all it took to get me to get me to take a drive to the craft store and check them out. The price was $24.95…. until the wife told me she had a coupon for 40% off. Moments after that I was the proud owner of a pasta maker.
This is the one I bought and modified.


The first thing I did was give it a try of course. It wouldn’t pull a single grain through because the rollers are smooth and small. So I took that baby apart! I found a big coarse file and just beat the hell out of the rollers with the edge of the file. This would have been easier with a file that had teeth on the sides, but because the teeth were large there was a sharp edge that many tiring minutes later resulted in a nice “knurl”.
These are the rollers, in the first picture you can see one roller before the roughing up, and one after. The second shot is of both rollers done and reinstalled in the machine.


You can see that these have already done some milling!

You can see that these have already done some milling!

I first tried milling grains by using the supplied clamp and fastening it to the kitchen counter. Didn’t work at all! So I removed the base plate and made a board to mount the pasta maker-grain mill to.

That's a Homer bucket (from Home Depot) lid my board is sitting on.

That's a Homer bucket (from Home Depot) lid my board is sitting on.

Mounted to a bucket the pasta maker on a board now resembles a real grain  mill! Especially with the high teck PET grain funnel.

dsc01347The small board that the 2 liter bottle is attached to is held to the mill with double sided tape. This works very well, but I should have taken some pains to close up the gap between the bottom of this board and the top of the sides of the machine. There’s a space about 1/8″ tall that malt was able to get out and bypass the rollers. I made a plug for this with some aluminum foil and tape, which worked fine.

Milling 7.25 pounds of grain with this is NOT fast! It’s downright slow…. and makes your arm pretty tired. I timed one of the bottles full  and it tokk a full 9 minutes to empty it. I’m sure that powering the mill with a drill would speed things up, but I don’t really think the gears would take it long.  Here’s the grain after it’s milled…

dsc01355I found it best to hold the whole thing down with my left hand…and for a while had an audience while I milled my grain….

dsc01352That’s about it for this entry… but I’ll close with a picture that I think is pretty cool…my doughed in grain!



Entry filed under: Homebrew Stuff & Notes. Tags: , , , .


13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DaleJ  |  December 24, 2008 at 11:39 am

    How is the crush?
    How does the grain run through this compare to what you had before, as in efficiency and any sparge issues?
    Is the gap adjustable?

  • 2. Bill Clark  |  December 28, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Cool blog .. I have been using wordpress for a blog at work ..

    When I get a decent AG setup, I might take the plunge to make a blog abt brewing …

    A Pasta maker ! Nothing like Yankee Ingenuity !

    Happy New Year !

    Bill Clark
    Windham, VT

  • 3. Doug Tihen  |  May 24, 2009 at 6:05 am

    I just went out and bought one of these babies at Michaels and had a 40% off coupon so it cost me a whopping $16.09. You can’t go wrong with that pricing. I did take it apart and rough up the rollers. I used a saw-zaw and it only took about 5 minutes. The worst part was trying to put the thing back together. One of the goofy springs shoot out on me and I spent almost an hour looking for it. After I found it and got the whole thing back together it worked like a champ. I will say that it does take a lot longer than a JSP Maltmill and I had to run it through twice to get a good crush, but look at the bright side.

    $16.09 vs. $116.95 I would say you just saved me $100.00 + shipping.

    Thank you very much
    Home Brewer in St. Louis MO

  • 4. Matt Savage  |  May 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Ken,

    Get in touch with me because the club is up and running but I have no way of contacting you.

    Shoot me an email or a pm on homebrewtalk


  • 5. ALC  |  October 29, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    How hard is the grain you are milling? How does it compare to wheat, for instance? I have an electric mill for wheat grinding to make homemade bread, but I would like to have a hand-crank one in case of power outages. Would this be strong enough to do the trick? Does it mill the grain fine enough for that sort of thing?

  • 6. foeddyhah  |  December 12, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I’m often looking for new posts in the world wide web about this subject. Thanx.

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