Harbor Freight exclusively distributes a bead roller kit manufactured by
Central Machinery that is suitable for 18-inch steel and with an 18-gauge
capacity. A bead roller bends sheet metal by forcing a bead along its length
for a variety of different applications; it is commonly used within theshop
industry. According to the racing technology website Circle Track, a bead
roller can provide a less hazardous working environment for mechanics by
rolling a bead onto the sharp edges of components and hemming the metal. The
Harbor Freight bead roller kit contains various sizes of bead and flange
mandrels, has a cast iron base, and the crank operates manually
Bolt a standard auto shop vice to a workbench that is strong enough to
hold the bead roller weight of 27.2kg, the vice and the sheet metal
material. Use two people to lift the bead roller into the vice and turn
the vice pin clockwise to secure it in position.
Push the cranking handle onto the side mounting pin located on the
active roller; this is at the opposite end to the dies. Fasten the
handle by screwing the top bolt on the handle down onto the flat
side of the mounting pin and tighten with a 3/8-inch wrench.
Change the dies to the type you need according to the manufacturer's
recommendation, or leave the pre-assembled ones on the bead roller
in place to practice.
Check that all bolts are tight before operating the bead roller. Use
a 3/8-inch wrench, 5/32-inch and 3/16-inch hex key wrenches, and
12mm and 14mm wrenches to tighten the differently sized bolts
Wear protective gloves and thick clothes, non-slip hard capped shoes
and safety goggles before working with sheet steel. Choose a sheet
of steel that is less than 18-inches wide and no higher than
18-gauge. Mark a beading line onto the steel using a marker pen and
Position the sheet of steel up to the rollers so the metal inserts
between the dies. Align the marker line to the protruding rib on the
die. Use a second person to turn the cranking handle slowly while
you feed the metal through the dies.
Guide the metal by hand to roll a bead along the marker line of the
steel. Stop turning the cranking handle; it will release the active
top roller for you to remove the sheet steel from the dies.