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Building a Compact Crankandstein Mill Base and Hopper

Building a Compact Crankandstein Mill Base and Hopper

I’ve been lusting over the beautiful Crankandstein 3 roller mill for a while now and was fortunate enough to get it for Christmas. One major difference with the mill over the Barley Crusher that I had before is that the Crankandstein arrives bare bones with just the rollers and metal sides. So before I could use my new mill I had to build a housing.

My criteria for the base and hopper were the following:

  1. Quality – of course the mill needs to perform at it’s peak
  2. Size – they need to pack down small as I don’t have room for a dedicated milling station and sometimes I need to take the mill with me
  3. Durability – they need to last a long time
  4. Capacity – the hopper needs to be moderately sized so it can hold enough grain that I don’t have to hand feed directly into the rollers but not so big that it makes the setup top heavy
  5. Cleanliness – when running the mill I don’t want dust blowing all over the place

Taking those requirements into account I designed and built the base and hopper that follow.

Complete Mill

Stowed Mill

Table of Contents

  • Page 1 – Overview, Sketch, Parts, Materials and Tools
  • Page 2 – Procedure, Construction Tips, Base, Hopper, Housing
  • Page 3 – Assembly, Conclusion, Other Thoughts, FAQ


I knew right away that I wanted a setup that would mount to the top of a bucket when in use to minimize airborne dust and would store upside down with the hopper in the bucket. I took some measurements and mocked up something in cardboard. I took those measurements and drew a prototype in SketchUp. Here’s what I came up with:



I’ve broken the project down into three parts. Starting at the bottom there is the round base that covers the bucket and that I bolt the mill to. Moving up there are three rectangular boards that form the housing for the mill to keep the dust from coming out the sides and provide a base for the hopper. At the top is the hopper made of two trapezoidal pieces and two rectangular sides to hold the grain on it’s way to the rollers.

Materials and Tools

To build this base and hopper you will need the following materials:

  • 2′ x 4′ sheet of 1/2″ birch plywood (actually you’ll only use 2′ by 2′ of the sheet if you’re careful)
  • a couple dozen #8 x 3/4″ flat head screws
  • 3 screw on rubber bumper feet
  • 1/4″-20 x 2 1/2″ machine screws with matching wing nuts and nuts (x2 to replace the set screws)
  • 5 gallon bucket (though I suppose you could use a 6.5 gallon)
  • the mill and the mounting hardware that came with it (4 x 1/4″ bolts and washers)

You’ll also need the following tools:

  • jigsaw with a good blade for cutting plywood
  • 3/8″ drill
  • cordless screw driver
  • 5/64″ drill bit (for the #8 screws)
  • countersink drill bit
  • 5/16″ drill bit (for mill mounting bolts)
  • 5/8″ drill bit
  • marking knife or Stanley knife
  • pencil
  • 12″ ruler
  • sandpaper and block (120 grit is fine)
  • straight edge
  • framing square
  • miter saw (aka chop saw)
  • clamps to help with assembly (alternatively an extra set of hands will work just as well)

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    • 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!

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