I have an inexpensive rolling mill that has a few spots of rust on it.
What is the best way to clean it up without damaging it?
It really depends on how deep the rust has penetrated the rolls. If the
rust is basically surface rust, a light polishing (shoe shine fasion) with a
clean strip of crocus cloth might get rid of the rust. If the rust has pitted the
rolls a more aggresive approach may be called for. Depending o
n the depth of the pits, 400 or 600 grit wet/dry paper may do the job. In
severe cases grinding with a cylindrical or centerless grinder may be th
e only way. If it’s necessary to grind, both rolls should be ground to the
Even when using the 400 or 600 wet dry paper, the entire width &
circumfrence of the roll should be dressed. If this isn’t done, you will
have areas on the roll that are smaller (albeit quite small) in diameter
than the rest. This will result in some parts of any metal rolled having
areas thicker than the rest. Depending on your requirements, this may or
may not be a problem.
The other consideration in resurfacing mill rolls is one of finish. A rol
l should have a uniform finish (pattern, shinny, matt or someplace in
between) over it’s entire surface. Ideally both rolls should have the sam
e finish, unless you are creating a sheet with different patterns on each
side. Any metal (softer than the rolls) will acquire the surface finish o
f the roll that last touched it.
If the rust isn’t severe enough to require ‘grinding’, but to bad for ‘sh
oe shine’ polishing; the rolls could be polished (not turned) in a metal
lat he of suitable size.