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A Compact Crankandstein Mill Base and Hopper.

When I started brewing in the late '80s there was not much by way of grain mills on the market. For consumer grade mills the old Corona was pretty much it.

I got back into brewing late last year. I made one grain adjunct ale in October, and then spent literally months fabricating all-grain equipment. On 1/11/09 I made my first all grain, and I hadn't cranked my way through the first hopper of Marris Otter before I realized that the old Corona just was not going to cut it.

A search through the equipment sections of brew sites revealed a bewildering array of mills. TBN posters were about equally divided between the PhilMill, Monstermill and Crankandstein. After some research I shot an e-mail off to CrankandStein.

---Charlie wrote:

> Which of your mills would produce the best product? I'm not afraid of a
> little DIY.

From: dr_crankandstein@bellsouth.net

The malt crush you get at the supply shop is usually coarse, but not all that conducive to
high efficiency extraction. If you're willing to spend time milling, a 2-roller adjustable
mill can be set different ways with multiple passes to get the crush you're looking for.
The more passes, the more starch separation from the husks. A 3-roller does this in a
single pass. It can look somewhat floury, but the husks are intact enough to float the
grain bed. It's just the nature of the material to get finer particles as the separation
increases. If you keep the crush coarse or slow the pump or sparge rate, you're less
likely to have the grain bed pack down and retrict flow.

I liked the tone of the reply and the look of the mills, so I PayPal'ed him on the spot.

The following Friday when I got home there was a rather heavy USPS flat rate box sitting on my doorstep.

My first thought was; "This thing looks nice, and it's built like a tank!".

The Crank and Stein is bare bones; I was going to have to design and build the base and hopper.

I searched the net to see what other people had done, and right away I found Building a Compact Crankandstein Mill Base and Hopper. This was a bit of luck. The author had a design that fit well with my application.

I built the base out of 3/4 and 3/8 plywood circles. The idea is that the step sits inside of the bucket and prevents the mill from walking off.

The plywood circles were glued, screwed, stained and urethaned. Note to self: remember to score the cut lines first when sawing plywood.

Another view.

Now on to the hopper.

Light gauge stainess was cut and bent to match the mill sides, then drilled for the mounting and adjustor screw holes. 12 inch poplar was sawn for the hopper sides.

Voila! Bunny ears!

With the popular uprights bolted to the mill measurements were taken for the angled sides.

The same light gauge stainless used for the mill sides was cut, drilled and de-burred, and affixed to the poplar uprights with brass screws. My calculations indicate that the hopper will hold approx 4.8 lbs of grain, and that's good enough for me.

The mill was bolted to the base with 2" 1/4 X 20 stainless bolts and washers, and the hopper was bolted to the mill using the 1 1/4" 1/4 X 20 bolts and washers supplied with the mill.

Note: When assembling your mill be sure to leave some end play in the mill rollers!

My tolerences were so tight that the drive roller was binding, and I had to disassemble the unit and widen the base and hopper mounting holes. My roller end play is now approx 1mm.

Here's the completed mill in working configuration. I'm still looking for a motor (please feel free to make a recommendation) and will drive it with a hand drill in the mean time.

And here's the mill in storage configuration. That's one of the things I like most about it. Hats off to Dave at SLO Brewer for sharing this excellent design.

Back to the DIY page.


Photos by Charlie.

20090512, C2.