Jim and Donna,
A few years ago, in our UCSD jewelry studio, we made plans to
motorize one of our 2 rolling mills. We were planning to use a motor,
forward and reverse switch and transmission from Granger, and have a
campus machinist make the coupler. As the Craft Center Director and I
were double-checking the parts we had planned to order, one of my
students came up to see what we were doing.
“Oh, you’re planning to make a motorized rolling mill!”, she said.
“My husband has one of those in his machine shop. I was using it one
day and my finger got caught in the roller. The end of my finger
popped like a grape, but it healed OK.”
When we heard that, we cancelled our plans to motorize the mill on
the spot. We didn’t want to take the chance that a student might get
hurt in that machine.
Several years later, I answered an ad for a “home-made motorized
rolling mill”, in fact, I bought it. (I don’t know why, now.) A
jeweler had set it up with an electric motor, chain driven, that had
no on/off switch. You just plugged it in and it rolled. The guy
selling it asked if I wanted to try it out with a piece of silver
sheet he had, but I declined. I had no interest in getting my
fingers anywhere near those spinning rollers! That mill will probably
get converted back to a handle driven mill, eventually. Anyway, if
you’re planning to motorize, be sure you’ve got safety in mind. I’d
install a foot actuated “dead-man switch” to provide a fail safe way
to stop that thing if it grabs you.
Oh, and good luck!