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Otto Frei's Economy Rolling Mill


#1

Orchidians NOTE!

Otto Frei has just announced an economy rolling mill, coming into
stock around end of February, $275.00.

Made in India, 76 mm wide rollers, comes with seven (7)
interchangeable rollers.

With all the traffic involving rollers I have seen on Orchid,
thought might be of interest to folks.

I was told by Frei customer service that sale price will not last
long, and price once in stock will be $325.00 (not the $295 mentioned
on the website). Call them for details.

See it here:.
http://www.ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=16093

Jon


#2
Otto Frei has just announced an economy rolling mill, coming into
stock around end of February, $275.00. 

This is the exact same mill I recently bought from a jewellers’
tools supplier on ebay. I got it for a similar price. I was warned
not to buy a rolling mill from India as they don’t tend to use
hardened steel in their tools, but one of the specs of this mill was
a decent Rockwell hardness figure of 80-82 for the rollers.

I’ve been happy with it so far although I’ve not used it extensively
yet. I’m still just reducing the thickness of square wire or sheet. I
thought it had broken a couple of weeks ago but my husband just took
it apart and tightened everything up and it was as good as new
again. It seems to be a very good beginner’s or small studio rolling
mill. I’ve not swapped out the rollers for any of the alternative
ones yet as I’m not sure how. I’m sure it’s pretty easy but I’ll get
hubby to sort that out for me when the need arises.

It would be useful if someone with more experience of this mill
could comment, as a beginner like me recommending something doesn’t
necessarily inspire confidence to more experienced people who want
such a tool.

Helen
UK


#3
It would be useful if someone with more experience of this mill
could comment, as a beginner like me recommending something
doesn't necessarily inspire confidence to more experienced people
who want such a tool. 

Indeed… and with all respect to Helen… ( who has the
tenacity to become an excellent jeweller)

I am experienced.

I will say this on the list.

Indian and Chinese tools are cheap, and because they are cheap, you
will buy another better quality tool when the first one that you
bought, breaks. Make no mistake about this. It has happened to me
more than once.

Again… you buy cheap, you buy twice.

Hans Meevis


#4
Otto Frei has just announced an economy rolling mill, coming into
stock around end of February, $275.00. 

I know someone who purchased the eBay Rolling Mill.

They have 12 in stock and are auctioning them one at a time starting
at US$175 or Buy It Now US$225. They come with 2 flat and 2 V groove
rollers. The concern would be how well the gears hold up - a broken
tooth could cause a problem. I wonder if there is any warranty or
replacement parts. Otto Frei’s also looks very similar to one
advertized by American Jewelry Supply but with more rollers.
http://www.americanjewelrysupply.com/products/jewelry/mills5.html

jeanette


#5
but one of the specs of this mill was a decent Rockwell hardness
figure of 80-82 for the rollers. 

Everybody should be careful with specifications. There are 2 Rockwell
scales B and C

Scale C examples:

cast iron - 16 rw
chef's knife average quality - 58 rw
chef's knife japanese - 64 rw
file top quality - 72 rw

So specification of Rockwell 80 - 82 has to be on the B scale.

Scale B 82 corresponds to Scale C 0, so we talking even bellow cast
iron.

Caveat emptor!
Leonid Surpin.


#6

Hi Helen,

I was warned not to buy a rolling mill from India as they don't
tend to use hardened steel in their tools, but one of the specs of
this mill was a decent Rockwell hardness figure of 80-82 for the
rollers. 

Which Rockwell scale A, B, C or one of the others ? The typical
scale for rating hard steels is the Rockwell C scale. Steel does not
reach a hardness of 80-82 RC It tops out in the 60s for high hardness
tool steels. So either this was a misprint or misrepresentation.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#7

Hello all!

I am willing to bet that the unit that they are selling is the same
one from Harbor Freight for $189.99 it is ITEM 4832-0VGA. I have seen
this model on Ebay and other outlets. A friend of mine has one and he
does not think to much of it.

I think we have already been down this road about cheap rolling
mills. Friends don’t let friends buy cheap tools!!

Rodney


#8

I have a mill that looks pretty similar, and it’s served me well-
for mostly very light uses- for 10 years. It did object when I was
dong mokume game with it, but I felt that was pretty reasonable all
things considered. I tend to not push it for the most part, and to
anneal often, and I’ll accept that I’ve probably been lucky as well.
Still, for light uses, like filigree wires and some thinning and
texturing, it’s served me well thus far.

Now, I do have my eye on one of the really spiffy ones…

Amanda Fisher
http://www.afmetalsmith.com


#9

Hi James,

Which Rockwell scale A, B, C or one of the others ? The typical
scale for rating hard steels is the Rockwell C scale. Steel does
not reach a hardness of 80-82 RC It tops out in the 60s for high
hardness tool steels. So either this was a misprint or
misrepresentation. 

Yes Leonid has just said the same. I was not personally familiar
with tool hardness scales so asked whether or not it was a good buy
and told that if the rollers were indeed what they purported to be,
then yes it was a good buy. It is perhaps a misrepresentation as you
say, quoting something that sounds good to the uninitiated in order
to make a sale. It’s working on sterling silver just as it should and
is good for a beginner on a budget, particularly at the price offered
by Otto Frei. NOTICE that Otto Frei will be offering a 12 month
warranty with the mill. Mine came from a UK ebay store and I paid
double for the same machine but with no warranty. Perhaps a good idea
for someone wondering about purchasing it, would be to ask Otto Frei
for the technical specs of the machine with regard to steel hardness
and they can then make a decision based on that

I posted because I have the same machine, even though my experience
with it is limited. I was hoping that for the of others
considering this machine, someone else might also own the same model
and be able to offer some insight as to its usefulness/worth. For
me, so far, having this mill in my possession and being able to use
it successfully, is obviously better than having no mill at all and
it may well give years of use. We’ll see.

Helen
UK


#10
Scale B 82 corresponds to Scale C 0, so we talking even bellow
cast iron. 

Well if that’s the case, then I stand corrected, but I was told by
someone on this list that a hardness of 80-82 was good and therefore
worth purchasing.

If I’m wrong, I will always hold my hands up, but that is what this
list is for, sharing and learning from it. If the
rollers are a poorer quality steel than cast iron, then maybe it’s
not all it’s cracked up to be, but I work in sterling silver and the
rollers cope perfectly well with that so far.

Helen
UK


#11
I am willing to bet that the unit that they are selling is the
same one from Harbor Freight for $189.99 it is ITEM 4832-0VGA. I
have seen this model on Ebay and other outlets. A friend of mine has
one and he does not think to much of it. 

No, I’ve just looked at it and I can categorically tell you that it
is a different mill. In fact, when I purchased mine (the same as Otto
Frei’s model), my decision was between a mill identical to the
Harbour Freight mill and the one Otto Frei will be selling. I have a
number of people on ebay who I buy tools from and these two mills
were from different sellers, but the blue one had a better write up
so I bought that. Compare the pictures - they’re very similar but are
actually different animals, obviously made by different manufacturers

  • the top mechanism is different and the actual cast iron frame is
    different too.

Please, does anyone else out there own this mill like Otto Frei’s -
I’m sure someone must have one? Or am I the only one in the world
who has ever bought one? D’ya know, there are times on this list when
I swear I will go insane as I bang my head against a brick wall.
Tongue in cheek!

Helen
UK


#12
Indeed........ and with all respect to Helen...... ( who has the
tenacity to become an excellent jeweller) 

Thanks Hans, but I’m sure you mean pig-headed stubbornness rather
than tenacity! :wink:

It would be useful if someone with more experience of this mill
could comment, as a beginner like me recommending something doesn't
necessarily inspire confidence to more experienced people who want
such a tool. 

I really meant perhaps someone else had this same mill and could
testify as to whether it had stood the test of time and use/abuse,
rather than someone with years of jewellery making experience
commenting generally on cheap tools. I posted what I did because I
have the very mill but as I’ve only had it a few months and only
started using it a few weeks ago, felt that I wasn’t really
qualified to recommend it without further comment from someone else
who also has it and also, I’m obviously aware that as I’m new to the
world of jewellery making, some on this list don’t put much store by
anything I might say on the subject.

Having the same mill, I am also interested to see if anyone else
also has the same model and can tell whether it has been of good
service for a long while or otherwise. Remember also, that some of us
beginners (and perhaps some of the more experienced) are often on a
tight budget and so have to compromise on quality to buy something
that we can afford, with a view to upgrading later. I would dearly
love a Durston rolling mill and hopefully one day will be able to
afford one but until that day, this Indian one will have to do.

Helen
UK


#13

the problem here is not so much how the gears hold up, as how they
match up the teeth on these gears are shallow so you lose a majority
of the top range because of tooth skip on the gears. also the blocks
that the rollers rest in are cast and subject to failure under
stress… sadly this is a fatal design flaw as the majority of the
stress in the machine will occur at the top of the blocks for the top
roller and at the bottom of the the blocks for the bottom roller…

my recommendation would be to spend the extra cash and buy from a
known… reputable company… less chance something will break… and
should something break… you can get replacement parts

Jon P.


#14
They have 12 in stock and are auctioning them one at a time
starting at US$175 or Buy It Now US$225. They come with 2 flat and
2 V groove rollers. The concern would be how well the gears hold up
- a broken tooth could cause a problem. I wonder if there is any
warranty or replacement parts. 

The one I bought was the exact same model as Otto Frei’s and I
bought it from a UK tool supply company on ebay. As far as I’m
aware, there’s no warranty or parts replacement. Hopefully there
would be if purchased through Otto Frei. The chap on ebay has put his
prices up to over 300 UKP. I think I paid about 285 UKP for it
back in the autumn, so $275 USD is obviously a very good price to
pay for the same model. If the attachment in this post works, you
can see it’s exactly the same as Otto Frei’s rolling mill. This
photo came from the ebay advert.

What Hans says about buying cheap and buying twice is true but
sometimes one’s budget dictates that one must buy cheap to start
with, in the hope of being able to afford an upgrade later on.

Helen
UK


#15
Everybody should be careful with specifications. There are 2
Rockwell scales B and C 

There are 15 Rockwell scales A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, K, 15T, 30T,
45T, 15N, 30N, 45N

for a quick description of them see
http://www.grantadesign.com/resources/materials/hardnesscharts.htm

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#16

The Economy Rolling mill was designed by me Kenneth Singh in 1992.

Since then it has been copied and reproduced by several Indian
manufacturers. All Mills coming out of India are not bad.

A 20 gram 14kt piece of jewelry made by Tiffany is not necessary
same as A 20 gram 14kt piece of jewelry made by some one who copies
Tiffany.

Fact is they will sell it cheaper and make it cheaper. After 16
years of experience we know what can go wrong and corrected that plus
we carry a full range of our parts.

The difference is that they do not know the heat treating
requirements & the drive gears that take the load cannot be cast etc.
Just because it comes from India and looks the same does not mean it
is same.

If you generalize this then all French wine or Scotch whiskey are
same.

Our Trade mark is KARAT and we have many satisfied customers out
there. Recently Jewelry Arts Magazine did an article on our Mill
showing some of the design rollers etc.

The links is
http://www.lapidaryjournal.com/cooltools

We cannot afford to sell these cheap. What you get at Harbor Freight
and on Ebay Auctions are never Karat.

We called it economical because it was the cheapest at that time.
But evidently now you do have cheap ones and yes they endup being
expensive.

Kenneth Singh
46 Jewelry Supply


#17
Indian and Chinese tools are cheap, and because they are cheap,
you will buy another better quality tool when the first one that
you bought, breaks. Make no mistake about this. It has happened to
me more than once. 

Off topic but in response to this comment I must say…

Lets realise the real world.

Lets just say for arguments sake these following figures are
realistic. It costs $2000 to set up a basic bench with "cheap tools"
It costs $3500 to do the same set up but with "good quality tools"
The person buying is a beginner. The money they are spending on tools
reflects how much money they earn from the work these tools produce.

This rings true on all levels of industrie. A business that turns
over 1/2 a million a year does not shell out for a mulit million
dollar set up with all the lates in technology. They will grow into
it.

Its very easy to sit back and preach “Dont buy cheap cause you buy
twice”. The truth of the matter is you buy what you can afford. This
poor soul will walk into a tool shop and feel that they need to spend
$60 on a pair of pliers when a $20 pair would be more than adequate
for his purpose.

Cheers


#18

Lets realise the real world.

There was a post the other day of one looking for a haptic device.
That’s similar to a drawing pad, thought the action is different
(more like a robotic arm), that gives you sensory feedback when you
are doing 3d graphics. That means that when you bump up on your
model, you feel it in the device, like a real thing. I have never
used one, BTW. List on the high-end version is $28,000, and that’s
without the graphics software, just the driver software. You can buy
a mid-level Wacom pad for $350 that does that same work, but without
the sensory feedback, plus it works with almost every program
(photoshopo, office, etc.) there is. So, the question must be asked

  • should everyone buy “the best”? Is it worth $27,650 just to feel
    the model? The numbers I use are at least close, but maybe not
    precise, too (don’t shoot me). When is the best necessary and when
    is “does the job just fine for the cost” plenty good enough? I think
    that many people saying “get the best” actually don’t have the best
    of everything, anyway - I agree with it on principle, BTW. It’s just
    that “best” is relative. The “best” tool for dressing many wheels is
    a cheap Chinese file…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#19

I have uploaded two pictures onto my flickr account and will provide
the link, which hopefully will make it through into my post by the
time you read it. One photograph is from the Otto Frei advertisement
as provided by the original poster who kindly made the
recommendation for the benefit of those people on a tight budget
wanting a rolling mill - and the other photo is of my rolling mill,
as per the advert on ebay, where I purchased it. If one compares the
photographs, it can clearly be seen that I possess the same model,
made by the same manufacturer as the Otto Frei model. Mine also has
seven rollers.

Anybody else out there with the same rolling mill? Happy or
otherwise with its service?

Helen
UK


#20

JON

The Bearing Blocks which holds the Roller are supposed to be made of
Powdered Metal suppose to generate less heat so that they do not
bind.

The knock off has cast Iron.

Kenneth Singh
46 jewelry supply.