Pattern Rollers for Rolling Mills

Francis and All,

I read your posting on Orchid today and I have a few questions. You
mention that you made pattern rollers for your mill. Would you
share with the group how you made the rollers? Also, what kind of
patterns did you make? 

Lets me start by saying thank you for asking. Too me this would seem
simple, but I know that to many this is way beyond them.

I own a machine shop, this is part of my metal art studios. Here is
my website:

First I order the right steel, for a roller, generally S-7 type of
steel, then lathe out the rough roller, if the pattern is complex and
the metal to be rolled is gold, I will use another type of steel, but
it still very hard steel.

I lay out my pattern on a pieces of transfer paper or on resist
materials. Ink up or cut out the pattern or the mirror of the
pattern. At this point I need decide which method I am going to use,
grit blast, photo etch, acid removal etc and there a few other
methods, but I use the grit blasting and acid etch the most, can’t
remember when I tried to use any other method. I use my engraving
tools on cleaning up the etched or stock removed areas. Having
several rotary grinders, like Dremels and Foredom are very handy to
have. If working on S-7 steel, carbide and diamond tips are needed.
Don’t over use the bits. Plus use lots of basic coolant and lube
helps, machine tool supply companies will sell you a small amount
like a gallon. My shop generally has 50 to 100 gallons on hand for my
bigger machinery. You can use thread cutting oil from the local
hardware store.

Now that we have the pattern engraved on the roller, clean it off
real well, use warm soap water, WD 40 and warm soap water again, this
will remove the lube and the fine chips and other left overs. If you
are not going to finish the rest of this process shortly, spray the
roller down with LPS 3 to prevent rust. You will have to clean it
again before Continuing on.

We are now to heat treating the roller, most people should send this
out to a heat treating company, because most of us don’t have the
ability to do this.

I do my own HT work, but I highly suggest unless you have experience
with HT ovens and understand HT methods, don’t do this at home or in
a small shop, send it out.

This roller should be hardened to some like Rc 65 or higher. My
hardness tester only goes to 65, so that is my goal number.

Once the roller is hardened, take the roller and check it’s
dimensions. You may have to sand or file the area that goes into your
mill, distortions from heat do happen during this process. That is
why I suggest a commercial place to do the work, they have the
knowledge to HT this steel with minimal distortions.

Now your ready to use your custom roller.

Hope this helps people out there.