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Pattern Roller


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  I have in mind an idea to make a machine similar to a steel rolling mill but instead of smooth rolls, using gears to impress a uniform pattern on hot steel.  Spur, helical, herringbone, etc...  Kind of like the Hugh Mcdonald machine, only narrower....:)  I suppose it would take a long forge to heat bar stock, say 2' or more, but I'm sure I can build that.  Has this been done?  I don't want to re-invent the wheel.  I must say this is just an idea at this point and a long term project, but I have machine tools, material and a lot of time.  I would aim for starting on 1/2" square mild steel.  Any input most appreciated.

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Scott, this sort of process is done commercially but I have never seen it done myself.  IIRC, it is a continous process where the stock is fed into a frunace and then progresses out through the roller mill to impress patterns.  So, in a single piece of steel will have a portion that is cold, a portion that is being heated and a portion that is being impressed all at tyhe same time.  I think there can also be a process where a pattern is stamped at regular intervals on a moving piece of hot metal by an oscillating stamp.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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  Thanks George.  I sure wouldn't be doing continuous rolling, just relatively short pieces.  I got kind of excited when you mentioned the oscillating stamp but then realized it would need a feed system of some sort.  I'm rely on the gear teeth to pull it through.  Still, an oscillating stamp or eccentric gear is an interesting idea for intermitant or alternating patterns.  Or ground off sections of teeth.

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For me, the thing to consider, especially as a one off commission type blacksmith, is How often will I be using this pattern, or,,, more to the point,,,  ;)  is how long til I get tired of repeating the pattern.  A corollary,,, When figuring in time, material, how much of the pattern do I have to make to justify the cost. Just a variation on the ole debate of commission vs production.  For me, any tool that speeds up tenon making is a welcome addition whilst a texturing tool would have limited repeated use.

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I think you have the essence Anvil, will you use the tool enough to be worth it. I have an old Pexto roller in the Conex I picked up thinking I'd use but after trying it a couple times discovered it had a learning curve longer than it took me to hand form what I needed. Unfortunately I discovered why it went so cheap at auction, nobody's shown any interest in taking it off my hands so there it sits. 

It would make a decent texturing roll, all I'd need do is bore and broach a keyed female and turn dies. I have a lathe and the skills rusty but quick to shine up. Years ago I'd maybe adapt it just to do it, I made many things just because I like making tools as much or more than using them.

Now though I need more practical reasons. I can think of a couple few patterns I use often enough to make texturing tools, I have two ball peins I've textured the faces on to make wood grain texture, one has the knot holes. Wood grain texture rolls fit the "probably" criterium, I've made enough shelf brackets and stand alone shelf units alone that would look nice with a wood grain pattern. I've done enough small scale pieces to  know people like wood textured items. If it was indeed popular it'd be experimenting with fine grain, weathered, maybe driftwood and knots. Make each texture roll about 2" wide and guides in the machine for smaller stock and whatever. 

Herring bone, scales, etc. are all doable and maybe worth it.

Heating the stock feeding the rolls is as easy as making a tunnel forge and several small-ish burners, an afternoon's work at most.

The question is still would a person use the machine enough to make it worth building? My feelings about a pattern is secondary to what the customer wants were I a professional. As a hobbyist my tastes and feelings count enough to do or not do projects. As a pro. producing a safe legal, profitable product is what counts. For example, were someone to wish to pay me to make 100 linear feet of porch and matching balcony railings to represent weathered picket fence. I'd be standing at my lathe making texture dies for the rolls I'd fabricate from the Cannibalized Pexto rolls. I have those concept plans in my head, they're lived there for decades.

It's like anything we do it comes down ROI. Is the Return On Investment great enough to be profitable. Profit isn't only measured in $ it includes time, effort, wear and tear on tools, equipment and YOU.

Frosty The Lucky.

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  You both make good points.  Thanks for the input.  It would get pretty old fast making the same old bird sculpture with jigs and fixtures, over and over...  ;).  The reason I am interested in this project is I have a item I want to make that may or may not sell well and make me a fortune. :)   Part of it I want to have a uniform pattern, the rest I can add my own personal touch to. 

 Giving it more thought, I may just widen it, add a third roll and make it a heavey duty ring roller with the option to change two of the rolls out for gear "patterns".  That way if all else fails I will have a power roller to replace my old one that I wore out and sent to the scrap pile (also too heavey for moving).  The truth is I like planning, constructing and trouble-shooting machinery, tools and other things.  I once spent a scary amount of time building a stirling engine that just sat there puttering away.... :)

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We have that in common Scott, I like making and tinkering around with devices just because. A set of texturing rolls don't have to be connected with gears, feeding the stock through should cause the unpowered roll turn as a slave. As an experiment or one off tool I'd put the powered roll on the top and the bottom roll on a swingarm with a hydraulic jack for pressure. If I didn't have a suitable gear reduction drive I have a pile of pullies and belts. Heck there's an old trailer axle with springs and wheels that got dumped on me I haven't gotten around to hauling to the scrapper. Heavy duty trailer spindles would work a treat, I could put my 50ton bottle jack on them. 

I don't always do the practical thing or I wouldn't have much fun. Why else would I take up Curling or flint knapping? B)

Frosty The Lucky.

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The real deal is having an idea, creating the tooling, fine tune process, satisfaction with product. And the journey is an individual thing. Being able to share others journey in any manner is a joy. 

My business practice was a bit different. As a farrier I started out never saying no to a horse. Then I began to be too busy for the hard ones. I never refused the job, but just couldn't get to them for a week or so,,, And then I became more selective for my customers in general.

Same with my blacksmithing. My standard one liner has always been: " Theres always more bumpers to build than hot iron to beat. If ya want to beat hot iron, then always say no to bumpers,,,"  

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Mum's the word, if the check clears. :ph34r:

Coming from a welder fabricator's career in conjunction to being an equipment operator means I've done more stuff not worth talking about than interesting.

 Frosty The Lucky.

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I toyed around with using gears in a vise to pound the texture into hot steel but never thought of a roll mill type thing to do it. 

I could see that working well in a lot of ways including some of what Frosty mentioned with the wood grain. Maybe a feather pattern too. 

Cool idea that gets you thinking. 

 

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On 12/31/2022 at 2:50 PM, Frosty said:

We have that in common Scott

:)

On 12/31/2022 at 5:21 PM, anvil said:

Being able to share others journey in any manner is a joy.

  So true!

9 hours ago, Daswulf said:

Maybe a feather pattern too

  A great idea!

  I have some skatches I'll try to post later.  I'm stuck on something now.

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On 12/31/2022 at 2:50 PM, Frosty said:

I'd put the powered roll on the top and the bottom roll on a swingarm with a hydraulic jack for pressure.

  You described my old roller to a t.  I copied a Buffalo roller I used in a shop I worked at years ago, only on that one, the top roll came down to bend the pipe.  I built mine as you say.  We did some heavey work in that shop.  There was a pedrick bender I always wanted to copy at home on a small scale but never got round to it.  The dies were heavey and we changed them with an overhead crane.  There was a bender called "The Wrapper" for very large pipe....

  Having to have the pattern rolls opposite each other on my rolling machine presents some difficulty if it is to be a ring roller as well.  On my sketch, the first two sketches  are pretty obvious, the third I don't know if it would work, slippage on the rolls, flat sections, etc... and the fourth sketch would be to make the top roll movable which would be fiddly (moving the top spindle and bearings to middle position and bolting to the frame) unless I could come up with a "quick change" idea.  Sometimes my ideas are gibberish to others but clear in my mind.  Sorry for any confusion.  Maybe back to the drawing board....:ph34r:

 

 

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You can synchronize and drive the rolls with a roller chain and use a take up sprocket to allow adjustment. Maybe put one of the die rolls on a slide frame to adjust for thickness. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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  These ideas are both worth looking into.  I didn't consider having the bottom rolls on a slide, Aric and I like the idea of synchonized power rolls which would require a take up sprocket if the lower ones were moveable.  I was thinking just one powered roll.  Thanks Jerry.

  I have a reprint of "1800 Mechanical Movements, Devises and Appliances" I have been looking through for ideas too, which will help to overcomplicate it, but that makes things interesting.  B)

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