Return to How To

Building a Compact Crankandstein Mill Base and Hopper


Now all that’s left is assembling the pieces. Start by lining up the hopper and the housing and screwing them together:

Attaching Hopper and Housing

Then place hopper and housing upside down (hopper side down) and place the mill in the housing. Line up the base and attach the base to the mill using the mounting screws that came with the mill. Finally use screws to attach the base to the housing:

Attaching Base to Housing

Assemble the replacement set screws and screw them into the mill:
Set Screws


You’re done! Well, you can do more but you’ve got everything together and it should look like this:

Finished Mill

You can flip it upside down for storage like this:

Mill in Bucket

If you’d like you can apply a coat of wood finish or paint. I may get around to doing that at some point but I don’t think it’s critical.

Other Thoughts

I picked up a nice drill from Harbor Freight. It’s a geared down, low speed, high torque 1/2″ drill. It maxes out at 550 rpm so it’s in a perfect range to run the mill and use for other low speed stirring needs (think mash stirring…) The chuck is nice and solid and the drill works like a dream. All told about $40:

Mill with Drill

I’m super happy with the whole setup since it packs down nicely and grinds solidly. Feel free to shoot me email with questions or feedback.


  1. How much grain does the hopper hold? I can fit about 4 lbs. of grain in the hopper. This may sound small but anything larger would make a fairly top heavy setup. I ran into this problem with my Barley Crusher. When the hopper was loaded up the slightest torque could send the hole thing tumbling. Instead I just have another bucket of grain and scoop into the hopper.
  2. How much did it cost to make? I didn’t keep careful track but I’d guess about $30 if you include the price of two buckets.

Permanent link to this article:


6 pings

Skip to comment form

    • Michael Turner on May 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm
    • Reply

    Nice rig! Although I do not think this is a practical setup for the avg homebrewer/non-carpenter, your example will certainly serve to inform those seeking a similar solution.

    I might add that an inverted bucket lid attached to lid (hopper-side) could make a great way to affix the top for storage!

    Michael T
    Austin, TX

    “Practice what you brew.”

    • Travis on January 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm
    • Reply

    WOW DAVE!!!
    This is the best hopper design I have found. You did a terrific job, and you really impressed me.
    I think this design is perfectly practical for the avg homebrewer/non-carpenter! How do you “practice what you brew,” anyways?!
    I’m waiting for my crankandstein to come in the mail, and I will leave another reply when I am done using my new hopper.
    Thank you!

  1. Nice Design Dave! I brew in a condo where space is at a premium and keeping my mill compact was essential.

    I heavily used your design as a template for creating my own motorized malt mill, but exchanged the drill for a permanent mounted AC gear motor. Pictures and description can be found on the other brewing related projects page of my website

    So essentially I was able to take your design and add a motor to it and still get it to store upside down inside a bucket 🙂

    thanks again dave for the inspiration

      • Dave on November 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm
      • Reply

      Looks great, Jason!

    • Mark on December 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm
    • Reply

    Dave, what does the drive drill react against?
    (I am using a hand crank, but the reactive torque issue must be the same)

    I have built the mill base and hopper as you describe (very clearly) for my Crankenstein 320D.
    My only problem is when I turn the drive handle, the whole lot wants to tip over.
    So I have to “hug” the hopper to keep it upright as I turn the handle.
    (My dimensions are similar to yours – adjusted for the 320D).

    Any insights will be appreciated.

      • Dave on December 16, 2013 at 7:08 pm
      • Reply

      Interesting. I’ve never had the problem you describe but I’ve also never used a hand crank on this setup. Using a hand crank probably applies downward pressure well outside of the center of gravity of the setup, causing the tipping.

      I use this 1/2″ low speed drill from Harbor Freight and it works like a charm.

    • Mike on October 15, 2014 at 12:40 am
    • Reply

    I used your basic plans to build a housing for my 2 roller mill … thanks for putting this up it helped guide me in the right direction! Cheers!

  1. […] This page shows one possible solution. Works well for a small-scale operation. […]

  2. […] but those shouldn't be difficult to fabricate yourself if you have some basic DIY skills. and here is a nice example of a self-contained base and […]

  3. […] Took a little searching, but I finall found it again lol…it's designed for someone trying to conserve space…I'm having a hard time storing all my beer and freezers, figured a large grain mill and hopper would be the last thing I need lying around. I think this guy did a nice job and had a great idea. […]

  4. […] Grain Mill So, once again, I copied some dude's design. I haven't seen anyone on here build this kind of grain mill, and I don't understand why. The same […]

  5. […] and should be able to make my own base and hopper for free. I got my inspiration for this here: This means I only need a cooler bulkhead and SS mesh and I'm ready to go all grain for […]

  6. […] to instructions found at Dave’s Brewing Website, I was able to make a decent base and hopper pretty inexpensively.  Unfortunately, I don’t […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.