This is the site I got mine from and the item number on the page.
Item S-223 The price was 169 when I bought it.
First let me say, I don’t think you can hurt a rolling mill short of
your wife throwing it at you, or in my case, knocking it onto the
concrete, it really dinged the concrete and did nothing good to the
plastic handle other than that there was no harm done. They are very
simple machines and by nature of purpose, very sturdy. If you roll
mild steel, make sure any oxides are removed as they will mar the
roller faces. This would include pressing plate etchings into silver
or gold. Our dust here has a lot of quartz and topaz in it and this
also will mar the faces. I would suggest starting with new metal, I
prefer cold rolled, it is cleaner to start with and holds the
features of etching longer for embossing.
I have used the flat rollers quit a lot, the pattern rollers that
come with it are pretty unimpressive for my taste, and it only rolls
half round or triangle wires. If you can machine anything, it is a
very simple mill to make your own rollers for. I have made rollers
for various shapes and it has turned out pretty well. I tried etching
a roller, but it is much simpler to etch a plate and roll it through
with your work piece. I don’t know if all the rolling mills can do
this, but on mine I can tweak one side and roll in a wedge shape on
my wire which makes an interesting feature for a bezel, wire inlay or
jump rings. Yes it does make the wire curl, but I am going to bend it
anyway so what the heck.
As far as maintenance, I just oil it on occasion and about once a
year pull it apart for a full cleaning. There is really not much
there to worry over except the faces of the rollers. The side to
side accuracy for the full 3 inches is. 0003 inches or - .0001
depending on how careful I am in putting it back to square after
trying something new or pulling it apart to change rollers.
Parts - If I ever need any, I’ll buy another mill or make the part I
need. I would be really surprised if they carried any, it’s an import
and it would probably cost more to get the parts mailed in than it
would be worth.
Like you, I am a hobbyist and as such would rather spend my money on
new material, classes and cool rocks as long as the tools I buy meet
fit, form, function and survivability I am happy. The only thing I
finally went and bought a good one of was a draw plate for wire. I
pull wire a lot more than I thought I would, I now have one in
carbide. Until I had enough experience to know what I would be doing
and how much, it would have been a hard sell to get me to spend the
$100 to pull wire, especially since my first draw plate only cost me
$8. I guess I feel the same about rolling mills, the cheap one has
lasted this long and is showing no signs of cashing in.
If you are really going to be doing that much plate and wire, you
may want to consider the motorized versions, this one has a 4 to
ratio and it don’t take long to start getting cramps and get a stand
you can bolt to the floor.
Good luck on your decision.