Make a pedal-powered grain mill

Make a pedal-powered grain mill

When there is no electricity you still may want to use your grain mill. Manual mills have this added advantage.

However, hand milling is hard work. Much easier is using leg power. Larger muscles make milling an easy task for anyone.

We made a pedal powered grain mill from a hand mill and an Exercycle.



Colin Stutt and I made a pedal-powered grain mill so it would be much easier to mill fresh flour. Colin did most of the work.

At the stake welfare day, anyone could have a turn at milling.
It is a very simple plan. We used a 2nd-hand Exercycle which cost $20.

We used a manual grain mill and an exercycle. A drive belt joined them. Quite simple. Colin had the idea to adjust tension on the dive belt by using two wedges which he made out of wood. See them above. They are not fixed in place.

Ammon tried it out. The whole thing packs away into three separate parts: 1. The plywood base 2. The grain mill 3. The exercycle.

Many people had a turn milling grain. We tried wheat, rye and buckwheat.

The flour we made was very fine. Ideal for baking. I do have a concern about the bush bearing in the mill. As all the weight of the belt pulls in one direction I wonder if this will last many years or if I’ll need to replace it with a ball bearing race in the future.

The mill is not fixed to the large plywood base. Gravity holds it in place. The exercycle is not bolted to anything. You can lift it up, the belt goes loose, and remove it.

We set the wedges by hand. No need to force them. Slide them in by hand. Lift the exercycle slightly to slacken the belt. The exercycle is held in place by the person’s weight.

Here we had a problem. Notice that the pulley on the exercycle is the same size as the pulley on the grain mill. This 1:1 gearing made it difficult for some folk who had knee injuries, were older or very young. To improve on this gearing replace the exercycle pulley with a smaller pulley. Go from small to large, about 2:1 ratio i.e. 2 turns of the pedals to one turn of the mill. This needs to be tried.

Sister Templeton tried the pedal-power mill and found that wearing a dress was not a problem when milling.

The flour was fine and the mill very quiet. Not an intrusive sound. Great to be able to exercise while watching TV or reading, and get fresh flour too. Above: The wheat containers are weighing down the small plywood with the mill attached. A far better way is to tuck the front edge of this small piece of plywood under a lip to keep it from lifting, then put the exercycle down afterward and then put in the wedges to achieve tension on the belt.

A healthy way to exercise. Also, we use a pump at home and the exercycle can be moved to the pump so we can pump water into our pressure tank during a power cut. We need to use a longer drive-belt to do this.

Notice the thin wood rail under the bowl. This keeps the plywood mill base from moving sideways. There’s a thin rail on both sides, left and right, of the plywood base.

The grain mill is bolted to a small piece of wood which is screwed to a small piece of plywood. This sits, unfixed, on the plywood base.

This grain mill has a flour guard. It keeps flour from flying around the area. So tidy. I like it.

I think youth and children will be able to use this and enjoy it if the ratio is geared to be 2:1

Brother Gaastra tries it out.

Elder Papple tries out the pedal-powered grain mill. Elder Papple is a fit cyclist.

Youth can provide service to give horsepower to drive the mill.

Geared down it easy for people of any age to use.

It has easy-to-hold handlebars; adjustable and comfortable.

I’ll bake some bread with flour milled on this machine in 10 minutes time.

Brother Gary Templeton was keen to try out the pedal power mill.

Gary had no problem milling flour.

Design Update

3 Months Later: We changed the gearing to make it easier to mill. The flywheel between the two pedals is smaller. This changed it so that it now goes from a smaller pulley (between the pedals) to a larger pulley (on the grain mill). For every one rotation on the cycle there is one rotation on the grain mill.

Learn how to do this at Gearing your mill. Includes the photos we took. It was not easy to add the pulley. It took engineering skills and tools. Also, the V pulley which I bought new from an engineering shop, cost me quite a lot.

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