A few weeks ago, Brian from HomeBrewWest announced on Beoir that their grain mill has been reduced to €39.95 making it very affordable. Here is the one in question. When I asked the question, can the arm come off and a drill attached it created a bit of a buzz. Brian then offered a free mill to a few of us to find out how easy it is to modify, showing what a decent fellow he is.
One of the other members already did a bit of a report in that Beoir post but here is what I did.
Firstly I spent a bit of time in Woodies DIY and in the end I settled on an end which is more or less the same as the arm bolt (also pictured above). It's just a bit longer. All you need is an M8 bolt or even just a rod. Either way it needs to be cut.
I used my Dremel (great to have an excuse to use it) to cut the end off and then square it so the drill fits better. It will also make it easier to remove if I want to use the handle and get some exercise. Holding pints just does not build the muscle mass you might dream it does.
Perfect fit and works just fine, though I need to run a batch through it to be sure but I imagine the lowest setting is all I need. I have heard that battery drills are better than electric for the lower speeds.
The second part of the project was actually the first. When I got the mill I brewed the next day and used the handle. Actually it was quick enough with the handle for the just under 1kg of grain I was milling but I imagine the drill might be useful for milling 3kg or more.
I attached it to my workbench (another excuse to use DIY stuff), put a bucket underneath and then a big pot on top to catch the grain. I could just use the bucket but that might create dust.
I also attached half a ventilation pipe (cut with the Dremel) as a chute. It looked simple and I figured it would work.
It did but enough grain was lifted over the edge to make a mess. So I added the other half to offset that and make another little chute.
This worked a lot better but still, some of the grain escaped over the edge. I needed a roof so it was back to the drawing board.
This time I took another ventilation tube and just cut it down one side. I was then able to wrap this around the bottom. It's not perfect but it stays in place with a little gentle persuasion.
I then took one of the halves and taped it to the top. There is pretty much no escaping grain now other than the odd crumb.
Here is a better view of the grain chute. There are probably better ways of doing this but I just happened to have the ventilation tubes sitting around so they seemed perfect for the job.
Thanks again to Brian in HomeBrewWest for the opportunity to do a little DIY on brewday. I encourage anyone in Ireland looking for a grain mill to check it out as it is by far the cheapest. Also if you live near Galway, drop in to the shop and have a browse.
I will probably be kegging the beer I brewed using the mill this weekend so expect a report in a few weeks.