How to use a Bead Roller

How to Use an HF Bead Roller

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 the  shop 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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 accordingly.

  3. 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 straightedge.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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