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Problems with my mill

Oginme

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One of the reasons that the commercially sold grain mills need a knurled roller is that the roll diameter is way too small to achieve a good crush and material flow.  I have experience with size reduction methods (grinding phosphorescent pigments from blocks down to fine particles and making specialty pigments).  We typically use rollers that are in the range of 12" to 14" diameter at a minimum for fine particles.  This means positive feed into the gap.  The narrowness of the gap due to the large rollers ensures even distribution and action upon each kernel, focusing on crushing rather than pinching and ripping.  Very little of the material being ground is rejected from the nip.

It's for this reason I purchased a corona type mill instead of one of the standard barley crushing units commercially available.  After modification, my grind comes out with mostly intact husks and large sand sized grain particles.
 

Wingeezer

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Wingeezer said:
This discussion is of interest to me because by coincidence I just experienced the same thing for the first time with my last batch.  Couldn't figure out what had happened - suddenly the drill was turning but nothing getting milled.

I dumped the remaining grain from the hopper back in to the grain bill pail and checked the rollers.  Everything looked fine, so I just added the grain again and it worked.    For a minute or so, then the problem repeated.

I did get the grain milled but not sure what gives.  I thought perhaps the roller adjustment had come loose but everything seems ok and the adjustment still looks good.  I will re-check with feelers but I don't think it has moved - I have ot set at .039"

The mill is not that old so surely cannot be worn out - I only have maybe 15 loads  of grain for  5 gallon batches through it so far.

I bought this mill because it seemed to come well recommended - hope I don't now need to got buy a Monster Mill instead!
   
Think I will go take a look at the knurling on the rollers to see if it is plugged - I plan on brewing this Wednesday.


Brian.

Further to the above,  I checked the gap yesterday and all seemed fine, nothing had changed. 

Also there were no signs of any problem with the knurling.  So today I tried it with a 13.5 grain bill for a 5 gallon batch using my cordless drill as before and all worked perfectly.

No idea why I had problems with my last batch!

I read where someone had referred to the Barley Crusher as junk - I don't feel that way at all (at least not yet!) 

While I don't understand why I had problems with my last batch, all I did was to dump the grain back out of the hopper and put it back, and it was business as usual.

With today's grain bill, it seems to be working fine.  To me,  it seems decent value for money.  Of course there may well  be better mills at higher price, this does the job for me.

Brian.



 

Mtnmangh

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I'm watching this one intently, because I really want to get a mill, but not the WRONG mill.
 

MaltLicker

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Maybe it comes down to usage and volume?  I hand-crank, but thought the recommended speed was 80 to 100 rpm regardless of arm or tool-powered.  I was brewing monthly but less so now. 

Seems like drills would be difficult to maintain at a lower speed like that.  And it seems like speed and worn knurling (after time and high usage) would be at odds with each other. 

And certainly, if I had had to pay a lot more for a better one, and also had to attach it to something or build a box contraption of some sort, I am not sure I would have taken the plunge for a grain mill.  The BC was priced right and sits on a short bucket I already owned.  And comes apart for pretty easy storage. 

Like many  brewing things, YMMV and it comes down to your specific case.
 

jomebrew

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When I purchased mine, I am pretty sure the instruction sheet advised not to use a drill.  The website clearly states a drill motor at 500 RPM.  Mine is variable up to 500 and I keep the trigger near max so I am guessing I am at 450 RPM.  http://www.barleycrusher.com/barleycrusher.php

I will reiterate, you should clean the mill after each use and follow the maintenance procedure.  I get a lot of grain dust in mine each batch.  I fear this would cause me problems if I left it.
 

BeerSmith

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You might want to try contacting BC products.  I believe Randy offers a lifetime warranty on his mills and can probably help get it back in working order.  I've had mine for many years with no problems, but I don't usually run it on a drill.

He has a contact-us form here as well as mention of the warranty.
  http://www.barleycrusher.com/barleycrusher.php


Brad
 

grathan

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From what I've read he is pretty slow. Plan about 6 months and 2 or 3 emails to get to the point where you can ship it back for replacement. That is, if he doesn't try to sell you a new set of rollers for $80 instead.



 

Wildrover

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Update:  I did receive the following email below from BC regarding the problems with my mill.  I haven't mailed them in yet.  I did use the mill this weekend, off the drill, and although it did slip from time to time it wasn't as bad as it has been in the past.  The crush seemed good as well.  Having said that, there is no way that mill is working as well as I'd like.  Not sure what I'm going to do....

Thank you for your email,  It could a be a couple different things but most likely it could be the rollers are a little wore. Good news the warrantee does cover this.  We have mills out there I know have crushed 1000s of pounds but everything is machined here and  should be the same every time but The knurl on the roller means a lot on the mill and a knurl can be good and  or bad at times.  even if it comes to a sharp point doesn’t always mean it has a good bite. If not exactly correct it can have a point but smooth at the same time.  So after a few years I can see them getting worn down.

If you would like to take the base and the hopper off and send the mill body back to use I can take a look at the mill and fix and or replace anything that would need to be fixed and ship the mill back to you.

Our address is..

B C Products Enterprises Inc.
P.O. Box 110
Allenton Mi
48002

If there is anything else I can do for you please email me
Thank you
Randy
B C Products Enterprises Inc.

 

MaltLicker

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FWIW, Our club's email forum went bonkers on the BC grain mill gap settings, and most people had left it on factory gap of 0.039 inches. 

I then checked mine, b/c I thought I saw more whole kernals y-day, and it was at 0.035 inches. 

 

Wildrover

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I made another batch since this thread got started.  Like I mentioned earlier I cranked the mill by hand and that seemed to do the trick....sort of.  The mill still slips from time to time but no where near as much as it has.  The efficiency has also gone up a few points as well.  It sounds, from the email from B.C. posted above, that maybe I got a mill that is a little defective or something.  Having said that, I'll probably just drop the funds and buy a new mill sometime soon.  I don't know yet, I've had the mill for  a long time and I brew a lot and I just don't believe that anything with moving parts will last forever but a lifetime warranty is a lifetime warranty.  I'm not sure if sending the mill in is worth it or not? 
 

grathan

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I would ship it back and put the new one on ebay and then put that money towards a Monster Mill. Would you have purchased that same mill if it didn't advertise a lifetime warranty? I know I would have at least shopped around.

I was looking at my mill the other day while I was struggling with it and could swear the gap was widening to let grains through, kinda like a spring action.


Did you try oiling it? Also you could wrap a rubber band a few times around one of the rollers (the one connected to the motor shaft) so that it just barley touches the other roller (enough to cause it to spin, but not enough to stress the band).

I keep a butter knife nearby to fish out the gap when things stop spinning

 

Wildrover

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Oh yeah, I've done everything, vegetable oil, wire brush etc... I haven't heard of the rubber band idea, that sounds pretty smart actually but it goes back to my issue with the whole lifetime warranty.  We shouldn't have to MacGaver our mills to keep them working if the manufacturer provides that kind of warranty.  They only do that if they have such confidence in their products that normal wear and tear shouldn't become a problem.  Its something to think about it.  I've looked at the monster mill, looks like a beast but those things sure ain't cheap.  Have to chew on it for awhile
 

MaltLicker

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Were it me, I'd send it in for replacement, with a firm time-limit in my head, given their reputation for being slow. 

Offering a LT warranty is very different from honoring a LT warranty.  It's like the Seinfeld episode....."you can take the reservation, but you can't keep the reservation." 
 

MaltLicker

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Looking at Midwest's catalog @ grain mills and saw the BC rollers have 12 tpi knurl, and had to Google that phrase up. 

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/general/single-point-knurling-242123/

I am always amused when I find others just as geeked out in their hobbies as we are into ours.  This guy is trying to make a BC roller himself. 


Midwest catalog also says a drill at 500 rpm will crush at 6# per minute.  That sounds fast, and much higher than the usual 80-100 rpm I have read. 

The Monster Mill rollers appear to be much larger in diameter, and thus circumference, so I'd think bigger would mean slightly more surface area in the "area of action" between the rollers.  Whatever the size, excess speed of rotation would seem to decrease the time available for the rollers to grab and crush well. 


 

BILLY BREW

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So? What did you find? One thing I thought might have affected the workings is the rubber gromet in the non power roller...Found it floating around the roller on mine one time and jammed it back where it belonged...No problems since.
 
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