This is a story of a long jorney but first I think a picture is needed.
My Great Great Grandfather was a miller in England. He chose to move his family to the United States and ended up here in Paso Robles, California. He was the miller here in town and the building that he worked in still stands. Now that I'm baking bread I wish I could talk to him about milling but that isn't possible since he has long since passed away. I have asked other relatives if they have any of the milling knowledge from him past down to them and so far there is none. There is this part of me that wants to keep the milling aspect part of my family heritage alive.
One day I'm surfing around the internet and I found this flour mill. This is a hand crank flour mill. I really liked the design so I did some more exploring to see if I could alter the design and figured I had everything I needed to power it with a motor so I ordered the mill. When I got the mill I milled about 1,000 grams of winter red wheat and it took over an hour. I could see that if that was the only way to make flour I would do it but now I motivated to power it with an electric motor. I started looking around the place here and I had motors, pulleys and other junk needed to most likely to get the job done but it was getting really complex with having to do a major gear reduction of the motor. There had to be a better way.
I'm a cyclist, I used to lead bike tours in Alaska, and figured that would be a simple way to power my mill. First off I needed to take the handle off of the mill and get a bike gear put on the mill. I went to the local bike shop and told them that I was looking for junk. Then told them I wanted a steel chain ring and what I wanted to do with it. They gave me three three chain rings from BMX bikes. The hole in the chain ring of the BMX bike gear is almost the perfect size for the shaft of the mill. I had my brother in law weld a nut in the gear and then threaded it onto the mill. Next I asked a friend of mine if he had a bike that he didn't want any more and he gave an old junkie mountian bike. I did some test runs with the mountian bike to see if it looked like this was going to work and the results were good.
I took a bunch of scrape metal, the mill, and bike over to my neighbor and we weilded up this pedal powered mill.
I'm really surprized at how well the contraption turned out. I don't think I could have purposedly designed a better pedal powered mill. Yesterday I ground about 1,000 grams of red winter wheat in the mill and it took 35 minutes. This is twice as fast as hand powered milling. The pedal stroke is a little different feeling than riding a bike because there is constant preasure for the pedals all the way through the stroke. The flour is the very light and fluffy and sucks up the water more than regular flour. I have increased my hydration for my current loaf by 5% and I'm thinking I might even need more water.
To finish the pedal powered mill I had to figure out how to sit and pedal the mill. I finally hooked a chair with an adjustable strap to the mill. You can see the strap in the above picture. I then sit with my back to an object and pedal away like I'm out for a bike ride. Now I will get even more exersice every week. Here is a picture from the front of the mill so you can see the chair.
The flour flows out of the mill and ends up in the 5 gallon plastic bucket. There are definitly some minor modifications that I'm planning on making but as it currently sits it gets the job done very well.