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The New Karat Rolling Mill


#1

Greetings, all.

I’ve been hearing about the new model Karat rolling mill from the
grapevine – apparently it has changeable top and bottom rollers,
allowing for a full length selection of square wire grooves and
shallow half rounds, as well as full length flat rollers. Although
their web site is still under construction, Arjan Enterprises reports
the mill is already in stock, priced at $275, with 5 rolls. Has
anyone seen or used this mill? My only concerns relate to how the
interchangeable structure holds up under steady use. Just wanted to
check around a little before I buy.

Thanks in advance.

-Christopher Rains


#2

Christopher… It means a lot of changing sounds like do you really
need all that?.. I have one large flat roller and one smaller wire
roller and it works perfect…I am not changing rollers which is not
an easy thng to do… maybe
i’m wrong hope to hear more later about this … calgang@aol.com


#3

Dear Chris,

If you have monitored the board for awhile, you will know that I
really enjoy the Karat mills which I consider the best bang for the
buck. You have to remember that they are made out of case hardened
steel. I have dropped rollers and cringed, but it is almost
impossible to to hurt them. The mechanisms for changing rollers is
very simple and don’t see how it could “go bad”. My mill is an
earlier design in which only the top rollers are interchangeable. I
have 5 different top rollers that I am constantly changing and have
no trouble at all. I have been looking at the new one also as I have
two rollers that I use alot and find myself going back and forth
between the two and that takes time that I would rather be producing,
so my second mill will be for convenience as I will keep each roller
on its own mill. If I could afford it and had space, I could use
three or four of them. What you get for the money on these mills is
unbelievable. Hope this helps you, Suzanne

P.S. If you get one, it is a good idea to write down (or draw) which
side goes where when you change the rollers as unless they do now,
mine did not
come with a diagram which would have really helped the first time.


#4

Hi, Suzanne-

I too have a Karat Rolling Mill which I am pretty happy with. It did
not come with a manual, though, and I have no idea how to remove or
change the rollers. Can you shed some light on how to do this?

Lee Einer


#5

I had one of these mills (not the Karat brand, but same mill) for a
couple years. Mine came with the full sets of rollers, so I could do
flat, square, triangle, round, and half round, and I also had one
pattern roller. Here are my impressions:

First, it pretty much did everything I asked of it, with some
limitations. The main one is that the rolls barely open wide enough
to admit a 3 mm ingot, so if you are making your own stock, you will
have some forging to do to get ingots from the common molds to fit,
initially. Second, unless Arjan already does it, you WILL need to
replace all the hold-down bolts with decent quality alloy steel bolts
– the OEM bolts stretch out in use almost immediately. You can’t take
quite as heavy a bite as with a bigger mill, but it works OK.

I used it for about 8 months before I had to change the bottom
rollers for the first time (I initially installed the “combo” rollers
on top and bottom for flat, round, and square). When I went to change
them, I discovered several of the gear teeth on the driven roller had
cracked, and one actually fell off when I removed the roller. After
some conversations with the supplier again, not Karat, it developed
that he had gotten what he considered a “bad batch” of rollers, not
properly heat treated. He sent me an entire new mill to replace the
defective rollers. No complaint over that service! After that, no
problems. I did eventually replace it with a Durston, mainly for the
6 mm sheet capacity on the Durston. Now the Durston is a much finer
mill, but at almost triple the price. I sold the old mill for only a
few bucks less than I paid for it, so not bad for two years service.

Hope this helps–

Regards,

Bob Edwards
Chromis Designs


#6
Christopher.. It means a lot of changing  sounds like do you really
need all that?.. I have one large flat roller and one smaller wire
roller and it works perfect..I  am not changing rollers which is not
an easy thng to do... maybe
i'm wrong hope to hear more later  about this .. calgang@aol.com

Folks,

This is not brain surgery. It takes less than 5 minutes to change a
roller. The flexibility and options are so well worth it. You can pay
$800 or more for an expensive mill that can’t do one third of what
these mills do. Your choice.

Suzanne


#7

Hi, Suzanne-

I too have a Karat Rolling Mill which I am pretty happy with. It did
not come with a manual, though, and I have no idea how to remove or
change the rollers. Can you shed some light on how to do this?

Lee Einer

Hi Lee,

It took me a while to figure it out too. Here’s what you do: First
get a pencil and paper and write down or draw every step you take
when you do for next time! Next: Remove the four bolts on top of the
mill next(kinda under) the top gears. Set aside the top part. Pull out
the roller complete with square steel blocks on each end. REMEMBER
WHICH SIDE OF BLOCKS IS FACING UP BEFORE YOU REMOVE!!! mark them if
you have to. One block will slide off and the other one has a bolt
that you remove from the end of the roller. Inside this will be a
small metal “horseshoe” (?) piece that fits inside the block to hold
the roller in place. Remove all that and then place the new roller in
the position of the removed one remembering to replace the little
metal horseshoe and bolting the block on. Replace everything as you
found it and you are in business. Here are some other things I have
observed: 1)Make sure that the side gear wheels are meshed (not on top
of each other) when you replace the top gears. You will know when you
haven’t gotten it right because you won’t be able to tighten the top
bolts and will gaze around in bewilderment as I did the first time it
happened to me! 2) To true up the mill (or any mill), remove the
handle on top and turn the top wheels until there is no daylight
between the rollers and you sense that the rollers are truly parallel
to each other. Then replace the top handle into the gears and your
metal will roll true. I know all this sounds complex, but when you do
it a couple of times, it is real fast. Also remember to keep ALL
mills oiled well. I use Singer sewing machine oil (DO NOT USE SILICON
PRODUCTS SUCH AS WD 40 as they will turn gummy!) and at night when I
am done, I throw a rag soaked in the machine oil over my mill and
then place a plastic grocery bag over that to keep the dust out. Hope
all this helps, if you run into trouble with it,give me a holler.
Keep rolling along,

Suzanne


#8

While I agree that WD-40 will turn gummy, it’s because it’s mostly
kerosene. It’s NOT a silicone (spelled with an e on the end. Without
it, it’s the metal which when oxidized, becomes quartz…). silicones
don’t become gummy. they’re good lubricants, but not really the best
for heavier equipment such as rolling mills. Your singer sewing
machine oil, or any light oil is fine. for those with environments
more prone to cause rusting on the tools, you might want to use plain
automotive motor oil, since these oils also contain some rather
useful corrosion inhibitors. When rolling if you want the finest
surface, especially if using a heavier oil, you’ll want to wipe most
of it off before rolling your metal, as the oil can leave an imprint
on the rolled metal. With most rolls this isn’t detectible, as
they’ve just got a ground finish anyway. But if you’ve polished your
rollers, for example, which can give you brightly polished metal right
from the rolls, then cleaning the oil off before rolling becomes
important.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe