Yet another bead roller mod thread

  1. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    This is my take on modifying a cheap Metz Chinese bead roller

    There is a lot of chat on the net on how crap Chinese tools in general are and this bead roller in particular is, but I think they can be quite remarkable value for money and opens up specialist tool ownership to the DIY market.
    I think I payed £85 for it on the bay of thieves.

    The frame is pretty useless but there is no way you could make the gears and rollers for the money and the lack of substance to the frame gives unlimited scope for modifications without having to remove any stiffening (as there isn't any).
    I did not try it out straight out of the box as that seemed pointless (the two rollers could be flexed more than an inch by hand without any bother) but I could see the potential.

    For the mods I just used whatever scrap and off cuts I had laying about (don't we all?) and found a piece of 4" x 2" galvanized thin wall box that could be used for most of the strengthening mods.

    I wanted to keep the dimensions of the roller as neat as possible so decided to cut the box in half (long ways) and installed each half over a roller drive bar.
    To provide a moment connection between the two now 2" x 2" bits of box I welded a section of 2" x 4" box with holes drilled in it to allow the roller drive bars to pass through.

    I used tig for the welding (and a lot more than necessary), as I'm trying to learn and I find making something is better practice than just laying down beads on scrap.

    I did grind off the galv before I started welding.
    Even without the health risks, its bad enough welding it with mig or stick but it's almost impossible if using tig.

    Sorry for the long-winded ramble to describe how I got to this



    slim_boy_fat, DAPPH, gav0994 and 3 others like this.
  2. optima21 Forum Supporter

    halifax, England
    I tried mine as it came, and then found it it was a bit flexible.

    you might also want to fit grease nipples on the shaft supports and I also tweaked it so that it would lift the bead roller too


    I used used 2" square tube stitch welded to it


    enclosing the shafts does look neater though, and what are the brackets on the middle for?
  3. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hi Optima, very similar approach and I also did install grease nipples and a way of moving the roller up and down. I drilled through the bolts and installed the grease nipples from that end.



    For lifting the top roller I took a similar approach to a G clamp cup and drilled and tapped the thread to M12



    The bracket in the middle is a guide that can be set and used if running multiple beads at different offsets.
  4. Wallace

    Wallace Member

    Staines, Middlesex, England.
    I hope you have a better set of rollers than came with my Metz bead roller, they're all eccentic in varying degrees!
  5. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Wallace, I haven't noticed any eccentricity in the rollers I have, but I haven't measured them.
    All the beads I have run seemed to have turned out fine, but in fairness I have only started getting to grips with it.

    Did the run out in your rollers effect the function of the brad roller?
  6. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    With these mods the tool works really well but it's still a pain to operate because the handle is at the "wrong" end relative to the business end. (Sort of a function of the design)
    Most people seem to replace the supplied handle with a wheel but that's still just a partial solution.
    If you have help, it's not a problem but that's not a luxury I normally have (the kids or the better half always seem to have better things to do than to stand about in the garage) so another options was required.

    I has always intended installing a motor to drive it and bought a small 3 phase motor and gearbox from one of the members on here.
    When I bought it he did say it could do with a set of bearings and he wasn't wrong.

    So full strip down and ordered a full set of bearings and seals from Simply Bearings

    IMG_3626.JPG IMG_3629.JPG

    IMG_3646.JPG IMG_3644.JPG

    Which everything cleaned and new bearings, seals and gaskets fitted and re-assembled it all worked perfectly.


    Next issue was getting the key out of the drive shaft
    It was solid so I welded a bit of flat to it and pulled it out, then a quick tidy up so I could reuse it.

    IMG_4070.JPG IMG_4072.JPG
  7. Wallace

    Wallace Member

    Staines, Middlesex, England.
    Most of the work I have used it for gas been structural repairs and quality of finish has not been a necessity. The rollers being eccentric cause a bit of unevenness in any rolled edges where they have a tendency to pinch the material. Rolling through a few times changing the start point on the rollers can add a little consistency and indexing the gears a tooth at a time to get the roller high spots away from each other helps.
    Dcal likes this.
  8. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    I haven't had any issues like that.
    I will have a go at measuring run-out and report back.
  9. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    With the drive sorted I got back on to Simply Bearings and ordered some sprockets and chain.
    The small cog was a good fit for the shaft so I just cut the shaft and welded it on.


    It's a bit off, but good enough for my needs.
    I intend to use the motor and drive part time for a welding rotater / lathe I have in mind, but that's for another thread if I ever get around to making it.

    I then just drilled out the big sprocket and tapped it for a locking screw.
    I didn't have a lath at the time (I do now :laughing:) and I don't think the hole drilled exactly in the center (I just used a blacksmiths drill bit and think it wondered off a bit) but again good enough for the speed involved.


    With these bits sorted I looked about for some way of mounting the motor and with a way of adjusting it.
    Back to the scrap bin and found a bit of 4" angle and water pipe
    Also made up a simple stand out of 2" scaffold tube and angle.

    IMG_4080.JPG IMG_4084.JPG

    IMG_4091.JPG IMG_4104.JPG

    Cut out a mounting bracket for the drive with the plasma, welded it all together and painted it a nice shade of Ford Tractor Blue

    IMG_4102.JPG IMG_4115.JPG

    Assembled up for a trial run with the inverter drive

    IMG_4136.JPG IMG_4138.JPG

    I think I was too quick to paint it, as I still need to weld a nut on the drive bracket for adjusting the chain tension but the broken hammer shaft works well for now.
    I also had to cut off the roller adjusting bracket and remount it as the mod I did to the adjuster screw didn't allow enough movement but at least I caught that on before I painted it.
    As mentioned earlier the black bit is a guide for running beads a set distance from the edge of a sheet. I don't know how useful it will be (haven't had cause to use that feature yet) and apologies for the mess
  10. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Wallace, I just made a tipping roller on the lathe and as part of that process I turned a bolt down to a tight fit for the existing rollers.
    When I installed the rollers that came with the tool in that shaft they all measured great (about 0.1mm run out)
    I then tried them on the bead roller and noticed they were a lot looser fit on the bead roller shaft, after tightening the grub screw the run out was 0.4mm which still seems fine, not precision but I cant see any problems with the beads I have run.


    After a dry run with the inverter, I needed to tidy it up and sort out some speed control.

    The inverter needs a 10K pot to control the speed and I thought I had bought a couple, but as usual I couldn't find one. (found them after, when I didn't need them, of course)

    I had a look at all the bits I could think of that might contain a 10K pot e.g. hi-fi, my sons electric guitar and his effect pedals, but I struck lucky with my daughters Roland electric piano.
    It has a pedal with an on / off switch and a 10K pot all in a robust case and with a nicely weighted pedal action.
    Another real bonus is they are only £32 new so after checking it would work I ordered new one for the piano.


    Only problem is the switch and pot don't work at the same time (there is another slider switch on the pedal to give either option but not at the same time) also the switch didn't work until the pedal was well depressed, which wasn't ideal so I installed another micro switch and rigged it up with an additional cable. (switch is on the red cable in the photo)

    IMG_4423 - Copy.JPG

    Worked a treat but the switch was a bit temperamental and I needed to tidy it up.

    Ordered a few din 5 pin plugs and sockets from RS


    Made a simple lever that connects to and operates with the pot and installed the micro switch. The longer throw allows the switch to connect with very little pedal travel.
    Then wired the pot and switch to a 5 pin din plug
    Also made a bracket for installing the inverter on the bead roller stand and installed a din socket and 3 way switch next to the inverter, so I have forward, off and reverse.





    Still need to install a guard on the chain drive but as I want to reduce the gearing a bit I will do that after I've installed a bigger sprocket.
    Also need to put some proper markings on the switch.

    It's now a brilliant tool with loads of power and control and there is the added bonus that the pedal should work with my tig welder, but I haven't wired that up. yet.

    Thanks for looking.
    Pilzy, tom2207, Olderisbetter and 7 others like this.
  11. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Still not finished (haven't changed the gearing yet, so still no guard) but been using the bead roller and it makes life soo much easier.
    I made a tipping roller which is great for setting an folded edge on a curved panel, but not convinced with the skate board wheel trick I found on the net.


    It's great for starting a fold and is gives you a definite line to follow but I think I need to make proper male and female (are we allowed to say this now) V rollers to see how that works, but that's for later as I don't need one just now.

    What I do need is to set a curved joggle on a patch for a spare wheel well.

    This is the patch

    This is the joggle being formed


    And this is the almost finished article


    And this is where it's to go


    Still needs a bit of fettling and planishing but I'm quite pleased with the results so far.
  12. auswelder Member

    Good job with this, just wondering how many hp that motor is and what is it's reduction ratio? Do you have any issues with power at all?
  13. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    hi auswelder, the motor is 3 phase 0.18KW with I think about 40 to 1 reduction ratio.
    I then put another 4 to 1 reduction on the chain drive.
    The inverter drive can then reduce the speed further and I use the pedal to adjust the speed on the fly for awkward bits.
    I think the final lowest speed is about 1 rpm at the rollers, so considering the motor rated speed is 1380 rpm its a fair reduction.

    It has plenty pf power and the only issue is I'm running the motor way too slow but this hasn't been a problem, as I'm only running the motor for short periods.
    I intend to increase the ratio on the chain drive but haven't got around to it yet as it works very well as it is.
  14. auswelder Member

    Ok thanks for that, I have a .25kw motor here but it is 20 to 1 reduction, hopefully it will work out with the addition of an inverter. What is the largest material thickness you have ran through it?
  15. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    1.2mm mild steel is no problem.
    I can run beads in one go as long as the rollers can get a bite of the steel to get started.

    Not sure you will get away with just a 20 to 1 reduction. What speed is the motor rated at?
    Will the gearbox output be connected straight to the roller drive? Or can you reduce it further like I did?

    AC motors don't like being run too far below their rated speed as the slower they run they become more inefficient and the cooling fan doesn't really work.
    If you can get the motor running anywhere close to rated speed so much the better but there is scope to run way outside the accepted parameters (like I do)

    A .25kw motor will have more than enough power for a bead roller. Over spec the inverter if you intend to run the motor very slow.
    The limiting factor will be the strength of the bead roller frame.
  16. auswelder Member

    Motor is rated to 1300rpm, I should be able to reduce the reduction further similar to you.

    I know there will be issues running it too slow as the fan isn't going to be doing it's job to it's full potential, and electric fan either ac or dc should with an appropriate cowling should cure that if the need arises
  17. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Sounds like a plan but not sure you need to worry about forced cooling unless you are running the motor for a long time.
    But, things do get hotter where you are so maybe it will be needed.

    Also I don't know your set up, but if you are going for a chain drive putting an intermediate shaft in with a further gear reduction might be worth thinking about.
    Small sprocket on the motor gearbox output shaft to a bigger sprocket on intermediate shaft then small sprocket on this shaft to large sprocket on the input shaft of the bead roller.
    Might do something like this myself as it's a lot more compact but means you need a couple of pillow block bearings or similar to support the intermediate shaft.

    Just a thought and I'll check the speed of my bead roller to see what a nice operating speed is for me.
  18. auswelder Member

    Yeah probably no need for additional cooling as a bead roller isn't something that is used for long periods of time.

    I should have a few pillow blocks laying around, so the further reduction with the intermediate shaft might not be a bad idea. Sorta like the way a belt driven drill press is setup.
  19. Dcal

    Dcal Forum Supporter

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    I got the bits to increase the gearing of the bead roller just after this post and discovered them again after 6 months so thought I should put it together before I lose them altogeather.

    I got my lathe up and running again so used that to enlarge the holes in the sprockets.
    I used one of the MT2 centers kindly donated by @scottmk1 to get the sprocket close to center in the 4 jaw and then the method in doubleboost's videos to dial it in.


    Bits needed were some 20mm shaft, 3 pillow block bearing, a wee sprocket, a big sprocket, chain and a few bit of angle I had laying about.
    First job was to get a rough idea of where it all needs to go in relation to each other.


    Then make and fit a bracket to pickup and support the other end of the intermediate shaft.


    I was trying to keep this compact but it ended up too compact to fit all the sprockets so I had to extend the bracket. (That's what happens when you never plan or draw anything out)

    Hadn't any plate the right thickness so I cut a bit out of the same angle I was using.
    I welded the extension in two half's and clamped a bit of angle across it to stop it pulling. It seemed to work fine.


    I needed to adjust the position of the motor bracket and also added a piece to support the end of the gearbox output shaft.


    Put it all together and spent bit of time lining up the gears starting from the gear on the bead roller and working back.



    It all works a treat and with the motor running at 50 hertz it's a nice speed for bead rolling straight runs.
    I can adjust the minimum and max speed to suit what I'm doing and start, stop and change the speed with the pedal.
    Direction I change with a toggle switch next to the inverter.

    The only slight niggles I have is there is a bit of a delay after pressing the pedal before the motor starts. (I have the ramp up speed set to 0 but don't know if there is another parameter I should be adjusting) and I welded the small sprocket on to the gearbox output shaft slightly off so I need to cut it and re-weld it but it's only a bit of a wobble and doesn't affect the operation of the tool but does flex the motor mounting slightly during operation.

    It still needs a guard, an isolation switch, maybe an emergency stop, a couple of braces to take the spring out of the stand and some more paint.
    • IMG_8489.JPG
    Pilzy, indy4x, dobbslc and 3 others like this.
  20. chevy2

    chevy2 Member

    Altough a lot of folk rave on about motorising a bead roller in reality it would be an occaisional tool for most,
    Not knocking those that do but I've bead rolled for many years and its mostly the odd panel so manual cranking is ok for me,

    The worthwhile mod i made for one man use is to fit an old large diameter steering wheel,
    An old vauxhall cresta one worked for me but to fit it with the dish of the wheel nearer to you,
    You then never have to swing your arm over the top and not see what you're beading,
    Works ok for me on big items like door panels.
    Pilzy, indy4x, stuvy and 2 others like this.