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DIY Grain Mill ideas?

Nicholas Covey

Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 180
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
Ok permies...

Necessity is the mother of all invention. I am growing several different cereal grains in small garden plots this year.

Now the most obvious thing to do is save the whole grains and eat what I want or need and plant the rest next year. Problem is, a grain mill is anywhere from $120 - 1500 for a good one.

Anybody have any innovative, get by type of solution besides, obviously, the blender?
Leah Sattler

Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
southwest mortar and pestle style......a flat rock and a round rock.....


"One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
Nicholas Covey

Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 180
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
That's simple, yet effective.
Leah Sattler

Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
only real problem (other than the work of course) is the little bits of rock that end up in the grain that will slowly grind your teeth away. shuddering at the thought of chewing on sand 
paul wheaton

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 17432
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
Of course, in community, the cost of that grinder gets a lot cheaper per person ....

There's an idea:  used grinder?  Or, maybe you can find a neighbor that has one and borrow their grinder?

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Susan Monroe

Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
A cheaper grain mill will probably do a much better job than any make-do method.

Look at Lehman's:

What kinds are you growing?  I am thinking of doing that, too, if the weather ever warms up.

Nicholas Covey

Joined: Oct 09, 2008
Posts: 180
Location: Missouri/Iowa border
I've got three different kinds of wheat, 1 kind of triticale, hulless oats, quinoa, grain amaranth, and 1 kind of flint corn. I'm pretty set on the grains...

I have a vita-mix and a blender would work too... But as Bill Mollison has been known to say... "put several ways of doing a certain something in place and if one or two of them break down, you still have the means to complete what you were trying to accomplish..." In other words. I don't like to rely on any one thing.
Leah Sattler

Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
water mill. beast of burden power........

Joined: Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
Some appliances have grain mill attachments that essentially piggyback on the motor that you already have.  For instance, the Champion Juicer has a grain attachment for about 50 bucks or so.  Also, KitchenAid  mixers have them as a extra.  Sometimes you can find them used on ebay.

Leah Sattler

Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
wow! I didn't know I could get a grain attachment for my mixer! never even thought to look. thanks!
Joel Hollingsworth

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
A rolling mill.

They use much, much less energy than grinding, so hand-cranked should be OK.  They don't have wear surfaces like most mills, and are mechanically fairly simple.

Rolled fine enough, sourdough can be made without any grinding.  Rolled a little coarser, you can make hot cereal...if I understand it correctly, rolling your own fresh and coarse enough has all the benefits of steel cut.  If you really need flour, rolling will save you a lot of time at the blender or mortar.

The ones available on eBay are all for metalworking: set perpedicular to how you need, with overkill in hardness, stiffness, and mechanical advantage.  But they'll give you some ideas for the mechanism.  A grain rolling mill should have a hopper that feeds grain from above.  It's still important to be able to adjust the gap.  I think you can get away with one un-powered roller, which means no gears at all.

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Neal McSpadden

Joined: May 04, 2009
Posts: 269
Something like this?

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Joel Hollingsworth

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA

I hadn't seen any like that in previous searches. 

I would be tempted to design a larger hopper, but I guess shipping the thing is important.
Ken Peavey

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2523
Location: FL
Pipe Mill, about 5 bucks
HD or Lowe's has black iron pipe for a couple bucks, look in the plumbing section. you'll need 3 pieces a foot or two long they should be able to cut them.  Remove the orange plastic end covers, wash them real good.  If you are highly motivated, season them as you would a cast iron skillet, grease and a fire, clean well.  Tape these together with the ends lined up.

Save your cans.  Save the lid, drop it into the bottom for extra strength.  Fill a can half full with your grain.  Set it on a hard surface.  Use the black pipe as you would a butter churn.  THis is great for upper body strength development.  Pound the bejezus out of the grain.  From time to time, run the grain through a fine mesh screen to harvest the flour, return the course pieces to the can, add more grain as needed, keep on pounding.

Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.

Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 148
There are some recipes around where you sprout the grains and bake them in a loaf- no grinding.
Another work-around might be to soak overnight enough wheat for a loaf of bread, then drain and run thru a blender, then add the other ingreds and bake.
Or just eat a lot of sprouts and no bread, you're still getting grain in your diet.
Max Kennedy

Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 465
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
How about and use steel pipe instead.  You can cut shallow spiral grooves to have a better grab on the grain.

It can be done!
tel jetson

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3328
Location: woodland, washington
careful with any kind of manufactured stone for grinding; bits of it will get into your food and, beyond hurting your teeth, they may contain things you don't want inside you.  aluminum comes to mind.

if you need the exercise, go ahead and beat the shit out of your grain with iron pipes.  I can't think of a cheaper method.

that roller mill mekennedy linked looks pretty great, though I can't imagine most folks have access to the necessary tools.

I've got a country living grain mill.  they're expensive.  it works very well, though, and they have great customer service in my experience.  you might call them and ask if they've got any less-than-perfect mills that they can't send to retailers.  you may get lucky and get an excellent deal.  like paul suggested, we split the cost between a few folks, and it wasn't so bad.

we've used this mill for grinding all manner of grain from very fine to cracked.  hard winter wheat, teff, amaranth, rice, et cetera ad nauseum.  I've split soybeans for tempeh.  in season, it gets frequent use grinding chestnuts into flower.  cracked corn.  I wouldn't say we use it daily, but definitely several times each week.

haven't attached it to a lectric motor or a bicycle yet, but I plan to do both.  neither of those projects should be too difficult once I actually get started on it (pay no attention to how long it's taking me to finish a solar heater).

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Logan Streondj

Joined: Nov 02, 2010
Posts: 45
Hey, so have been investigating making of beer.
Malt is made by sprouting and then drying grain.

A saddle quern mill consists of a large flat base rock, and heavy top rock.

Had a flat piece of shale I picked up at the river initially for sharpening knives.
And a hand sized quartzite stone with a semi flat side got at river recently.

Anyways so I ground the some lentil malt I had made,
it turned into a fine powder quite quickly.

In short I think old style stone quern works great.
Pick up some suitable stones at an unfrozen river near you.

Later on I'll probably get a larger quern top stone,
though for small quantities this is quite sufficient.

As for grinding pre-sprouted grain, if it's just a few handfuls,
then can use an ordinary coffee grinder to accomplish the task.

I've also had success with quern grinding pre-sprouted grain,
though admittedly it does take more time and effort.

Considering that sprouting increases nutrition,
it's probably the best to grind malted grain.

Jordan Lowery

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
i paid 350 for mine and i have maid up for the price in 3 months by not having to buy flour for bread, pasta, cookies, tortillas, cakes, etc... i can mill it from coarse to fine at the turn of a dial. it requires no electricity, the other day power was out for over a day, i milled flour and baked bread in my cob oven, my neighbors had no power, could not use the electric well, no stove, stores were closed. so they came over here.

from my experiences if you get a good one its well worth the money considering you will actually use it. i use mine 4-5 days out of the week and sometimes all 7.

i also put it off for months and months, staring at the website to order it because sadly no local or even semi local stores sold mills. when i finally purchased it i felt sort of dumb for not doing it earlier.

i have a schnitzer manus mill btw. stone mill, German made, very high quality.

i have been using it for about 6 months now and will ALWAYS have a mill around.

The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Olanga Jay

Joined: Jan 22, 2012
Posts: 31
Our neighbor gave us his mill, very expensive ... because he did not use it. I was happy, but also here already 5 years I did not use it and I gave it a new neighbor. Because the flour is not good for health. For good health you need to germinate grains and then you do not need a mill. You can use a meat grinder.
Logan Streondj

Joined: Nov 02, 2010
Posts: 45
oh btw update to stone quern,
I realized I had a large granite rock,
that I picked up from river before,
for spiritual grounding, and as an anvil.

Anyways so it has a a few sides, two are relatively flat, one is rougher,
so I took to grinding a variety of grains, it was accomplished quite
While the grains are still large, I used the rougher side, in a wobbling rotation motion.
Then to get them to be more of a powder I use the flat side,
it's rather quick, and it has the lowest cost, at free,
though there is potentially transportation cost,
and camouflage if you're guerrilla harvesting .

In terms of meat grinders, ya they are $20-40 on ebay with shipping,
was planning on getting one for use as a pasta extruder,
though it's great to hear it can also break down sprouts.
Olanga Jay

Joined: Jan 22, 2012
Posts: 31
Yes to germinate grains, you have to soak it in water and then you get juicy seeds with sprouts. They are soft and meat grinder grinds it with no problems. You will get a juicy pulp! From this pulp you can make pancakes (bake or fry ) and it is a very nutritious primitive bread. Use in any cooking with less water, because you have moisture from the juice of germs. Or you can smear a thin layer on wax paper and dried it in the oven! Then you'll get flour. Keep in the air closed pot and when you need for cooking, just add water. You see, you do not need a mill!

Joined: Feb 21, 2012
Posts: 1
Our local health store had and up looking for a free Exercycle to make a grain mill. I'm sure plans could be googled!
Olanga Jay

Joined: Jan 22, 2012
Posts: 31
It shows how to make flour in a blender:
subject: DIY Grain Mill ideas?