When I was in grad school, I inherited the remains of a very large
square wire rolling mill. Having skills, time, and no money, I set
about to machine up a set of flat rolls for it. Yes, it’s possible.
No, you really don’t want to. It was a tremendously inefficient use
I learned a lot about accurate lathe work in the process, but unless
you have a very good, very large metal cutting lathe, and know how
to use it, you’re going to spend a lot of money having someone
machine them up for you, and then you have to have them hardened and
ground. Unless you do this yourself, you’ll end up spending more on
the parts than you would on a whole new mill. (Heat treating:
$50-100, center grinding: somewhere in the ballpark of $100 or so,
plus $25-50 for the steel, and god alone knows how much for the
engineering and machining. Figure $100/hr, and 4-8 hours.) That’s a
(very) rough guess at worst-case cost, but it’s not unreasonable.
I suspect the best course would be to sell off the square-wire mill
to someone who needs it, and put the money towards the purchase of a
Our program has done ‘garage sales’ of donated gear every so often
to raise money for gear we do need.
(There’s some weird rule about summers in Santa Barbara: A rock saw
will appear. Every summer, someone different donates a rock saw. We
already have 3-4 of them, we don’t need more. So we sell off the
surplus gear, and buy things we actually need.)
If you’re still dead set on making your own, contact me directly, I
can share what I learned. The biggest lesson being that except for a
student with more time than money, it’s not worth the trouble.
PS–> to swap in replacement rollers from an existing machine, the
journal diameters would have to match exactly, as well as the width
of the rollers from side-to-side in the frame, and the mounting studs
for the gearing. The odds of this are low. The odds of being able to
find matching rollers by way of specifying all those parameters
are even lower. Sorry.