Grain Mill Stand

I’ve wanted a grain mill for quite some time.  It allows yet more control over your brew day, and you have more flexibility over when you brew: grain stays fresh far longer un-milled.  I finally got one for Christmas: a Monster Mill MM3 version one.  For it to be a practical brew day tool, it needs proper mounting.

If you don’t buy all of the accessories (hand crank, hopper, base plate), there is a fair bit of work to get the MM3 and most other mills into working order.  I decided I would drive mine with a spare drill I have around so I didn’t need to worry about fabricating a hand crank, but something to mount the MM3 to is a must.  As shipped, the two end plates, connected only by the rollers in between, readily slide apart by design.  The end plates are essentially just aluminum plates with holes for bushings and the roller axles to slide into.  Also, a hopper with an appropriately sized feed hole is a must, or grain will get stuck in the rollers outside of where it is supposed to crush.

Like many others, I set out to build a stand with the mill base plate as the top surface, just high enough to slide a large bucket underneath to catch the milled grain.  I also built a hopper which will slide on and off for easy mill cleaning and maintenance.  The result was solid and fully functional, but being built completely out of spare junk in my garage, won’t exactly be winning any beauty contests.  Click to enlarge any images in this post.

grain mill stand

Complete grain mill stand.

A note for those not in the US: most lumber is not actually the specified dimension, but thinner by 1/4 or 1/2 inch (2×4’s are actually 1.5 by 3.5 inches, for example); most paneling/ plywood is an exception, and actually the quoted thickness.  I don’t know if this is true elsewhere in the world.  I won’t give the metric equivalents for lumber in this post because (1) it doesn’t matter anyways, its all just scrap I had and (2) if lumber isn’t sold by inches where you live, I don’t know the closest metric equivalent lumber anyways.

I started with the base plate/ table top.  I found some pre-finished 3/4″ composite ply board, and drilled out the four mounting holes at the specified spacing.  I find pre-drilling with smaller bits and working up through 3 or four bits allows me to drill far more accurately than starting with the large bit, even better than a drill press in many cases.  I used a saber bit for my rotary tool to cut the large hole for the grain to fall through once crushed, though a jig saw would have been a much better idea (the saber bit is very hard to control).

grain mill base blate

MM3 mounted to my mill stand.

I used some 2×4 scrap to make the legs and framing, just high enough to get a large bucket under.  The top is actually supported by some 1×2 screwed horizontally across the 2×4- I find its easier to get the table to sit flat this way instead of screwing directly to the top of the legs.  The table top is wide enough to support the drill I will use to drive it, so it it much wider than it needs to be for the mill or bucket alone.  Its actually quite heavy, but given that it will be top loaded and torqued during milling, I consider this a feature, not a bug.

grain mill stand side view.

The underbelly of the beast.

The next step is the hopper and feeding mechanism.  You cannot dump grain on the entire top of the mill–only the center between the rollers–or it will not feed properly.  So, you want a hopper that funnels down to some maximum feed hole size.  For this, I started with a smaller version of the base plate, again with four mounting holes and a center hole to feed grain through.  For this piece I wised up and used a jig-saw.  This feed plate is bolted to the top of the mill.

feed plate

The feed plate to be bolted to the top of the mill.

Mill with feed plate

Top of mill stand with feed plate bolted on. Bottom of funnel with bolt-head holes drilled shown on the left.

I next built the funnel to go into the bottom of the hopper using some 2×4’s and thicker boards (2.25 by 6 inch actual size oak beams- I have no idea where these came from, but they smell beautiful when cut) cut on my table saw at 45 degrees and built into a rectangle to funnel down to the size of the hole in the feed plate.

grain funnel

Grain funnel to go inside of the hopper and sit on top of the feed plate.

I then used some thin ply board (specified at 5 mm oddly enough) to form a rectangular hopper around this funnel, glued and screwed into place.  The funnel sits on top of the feed plate, and the hopper sides slide down around the feed plate to keep it in place.  Two sides, those on the open sides of the mill, stretch further down to ensure any flying crushed grain is directed down into the bucket.  I drilled out four shallow wide holes into the bottom of the funnel piece for the bolt heads holding the feed plate to the mill to fit into so the funnel would sit flat.  The hopper itself is about 6 by 8 by 13 inches/ 15.2 by 20.3 by 34.3 cm, which will hold 2.8 gal/ 10.6 L of grain.  This amounts to over 10 lb/ 4.5 kg of un-crushed barley.

hopper

Hopper with three sides screwed on before gluing.

Now off to turn some grain into smaller bits of grain!  [2014.01.21 UPDATE: After a test crush with my mill and stand, I glued two additional strips of wood, one on each side, to the bottom outside of the hopper so that the small  gap shown in the first image between the hopper assembly and base plate is closed.  I found that even this small gap was enough to make a mess of flying grain rather quickly.  After this modification, I went through 23 lb/ 10.4 kg of grain for my latest brew in minutes with no trouble.]

– Dennis,
Life, Fermented

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About Dennis
Home brewer, home chef, garage tinkerer. Author of Life Fermented blog.

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