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Useable width of flat rolling mill rollers

Is there a typical percentage of the flat portion of rolling mill rollers that should be used – to the exclusion of the rest? I vaguely recall an instructor telling me to use only the middle half and not using ¼ each side, but I’m not sure if this is specific to the particular mill in that studio or always the case.

If the latter, which I suspect is the case: Does this vary according to different brands? I’m considering Pepe. Maybe Durston is different – such that I can get more useable width out of, say, 100mm of flat Durston vs 100mm of flat Pepe. … And does it make any difference whether the rollers are strictly for flat or a combination of flat and wire? I’ve consulted what I would consider to be the logical resources at my disposal (McCeight, Young, Ganoksin, the Internet at large) but not found specific guidance on this matter.

Thanks very much!

My experience with machinery & tools. Is you usually get what you pay for.

I use all of the available space and purposefully move from one end to the other as I roll a piece if it is not as wide as the rollers. If your rollers are a bit out of adjustment you may find that the wider pieces will tend to curve away from the narrower part of the gap. You can either re-adjust the rollers or flip side to side. You can also use this condition on purpose of you want a curved piece of stock. This will happen regardless of adjustment when you roll fold forms. Lots of fun…Rob

I have a Durston DRM C100mm mill. I also have what RED Co. sold as an Economy Combo Mill 25 years ago.( No broken down). Prior to the Covid-19 shut down I was preparing to buy a fully flat mill, 80 to 100 mm wide. That money had to go to day today needs. I am well aware that no matter which width I bought I would wish I had bought the other. The economy mills are really OK as a gate way drug into the world of rolling mills. They are adequate as long as they come with gear reduction.

This is the place where I would say, “Spend the money.” Nicholson files will remove metal. Tru-temper ballpeen hammers will plannish and texture a surface as long as you tune it up a little first. And even a Bernz-o-matic torch will solder and anneal. But nothing will create sheet and wire like a solid, well made rolling mill. I don’t know about Pepe tools. I like Durstons. They are the Touchstone of the rolling mill industry as far as I am concerned.

Don Meixner

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I had a flat Pepe 110mm which served me well for a few years more for impressions than for rolling sheet. I sold it to buy a Durston combo 130mm when I moved to actual melting metal for sheet and drawing down wire for using a draw plate. I found the Durston has a more solid feel and the 5 to 1 gear reduction much easier to use than the 4 to 1 which was difficult. It’s a beast! Pepes are less expensive, and they work fine too. It all depends on how much you want to invest. You’ll probably never upgrade again if you get a Durston though. I have never heard of not using all your available flat space. I have heard that you should get as much flat space as you can afford.

I’ve had three Durstons. Currently I have a D158 over/under wire and flat Durston and a Pepe power flat only mill. Both work fine.

Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…