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Harbor Freight Bead Roller Mods

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  • Harbor Freight Bead Roller Mods

    Well, SWMBO bought me a HF 18" bead roller for Christmas. I have spent the last day or so modifying it to be a decent tool. It comes with a big crank handle and says right in the instructions that it is a two man tool. Well, I work alone 90% of the time, so that wouldn't do. I used the windshield wiper
    motor from a '94 F series just because it is worm gear reduction and it was in the part pile. I built a mount that bolts on to the crank end of the bead roller.

    Here are the pictures with further explanation:



    My idea for a coupling sounded better in theory than it worked. I filed the end of the wiper motor shaft to be a reasonable fit to a 3/8" drive socket. I used a cheap chi-com socket that came in a cheap chi-com emergency assistance kit my beloved cheap aunt bought me for Christmas. The idea was to drill the driven shaft of the roller, thread it, install a bolt, set screw it radially, and use this socket on the wiper motor to drive it. Well, I didn't get the shaft filed square in relation to it's center so it had some run out. I will probably either buy a flex coupler from mcmaster, or turn a solid coupler on the lathe. My idea was to do something anyone could do with even basic shop tool collection.



    Anyhow, here is a picture of the socket on the shaft. In the end I eliminated the center screw and let the socket float on the shaft. It kept it from binding so badly. I used the factory mounting plate for the motor and built off that. I clamped it all in position, tacked the motor bracket on with it eyeballed into approximate position. The two mounting holes on the plate are oversized to allow some alignment.



    Here you can see the bolt threaded into the end of the shaft. The shaft is drilled radially as well to allow a 1/4-20 set screw to bind the threads so the bolt wont back out while reversing the motor.

    (cont. next post for picture limit)

  • #2


    Here you can see it all bolted into position and reasonably well aligned.



    Gusseted the bracket to the plate, believe it or not, with just the bit of misalignment the motor and roller had the motor would bend the 3/16" plate every time it turned.



    This is the trigger switch from a Milwaukee 14.4V drill motor that bit the dust. I wired it up to use as a variable speed. The wiper motor is wired to it's low speed setting and that it plenty fast. I still have to build a power supply for it, but that shouldn't be too tough. I am probably going to go PWM speed control and a foot pedal to run it instead of the trigger.

    Next on the list is gusseting the heck out of this thing, it has lots of movement in the 3/8" thick arms, both up and down and back and forth. I am going to probably double it's physical size while keeping the same throat depth, then a permanent stand in the ground and I can start playing with it.

    Later,
    Jason

    Comment


    • #3
      Neat project. One suggestion though. I've used one of those for years (though I used my son as a variable speed power source ). I would set that up with a foot control, guiding even moderately sized panels is a 2 handed job. Or maybe set speed with a pot, and then use a foot pedal for on/off? That would actually work rather well I think, rather than trying to guide while modulating the speed with a foot pedal. <shrug> Anyway, great project and good luck!

      One other thing you might want to do is add a guide fence. The hardest thing to do, at least in my experience, is get a straight bead. Without a fence, you have to scribe it clearly, and sight down it like a cue stick as you guide it through. And my eye still easily detects the waves, enough to bug the crap out of me. I've rigged up temporary guides, but never did enough of it to justify getting around to building a general/flexible/permanent solution.

      The final thing you want to do (above all else for me) is stabilize that main plate. Otherwise the top roller will rock back and forth over the bottom one like a teeter totter, and it gives pure grief on tight turns! The problem is, like your 3/16 plate, any flat plate with no 3D structure is surprisingly easy to flex over some non-trivial span. I've seen (and used) several different ways to stop this. One is to simply gather some 1.5-2.0" x 0.188 wall square tube and scab it onto the side of the plate. I saw another fellow who did a fantastic job of making it rigid in both vertical and horizontal planes while at the same time look like a "vintage" tool (ala Pexto et. al.). My only comment on his would be that it appeared to need a bit more horizontal stabilization, but it apparently worked fine.
      Russ
      Master Floor Sweeper

      Comment


      • #4
        That's a great start! I'm betting you'll dump the wiper motor as soon as you work metal thicker than 22ga. Why, you say? Already been there. Don't make your motor setup so permanent that it can't be changed easily. I see that the newer model uses 10mm plate for the frame. The older versions used 12mm and even it was too flexible. Some angle iron and flat does a pretty good job. Mine will now do 18ga. at full bead depth.

        I went through about 3 power variations on mine. I now run a variable speed setup with a foot controller. It uses a 110VDC motor through a 100:1 gear box with an additional 1.5:1 sprocket and chain drive on the shafts. I'd still like to go lower but I use it too much to have it down. I'll probably just build a new one.

        Do a search on bead roller. I've posted pictures before so I don't think anyone wants to see it again. Or you can just peek around here: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/09...Bead%20Roller/

        Add some grease fittings on the shaft blocks. It helps a lot. Give them a sqirt before each use.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the input and the link. I will be switching to a foot pedal as soon as I build a power supply. I have plans to stiffen it up, I think I have seen the same pics you have BadDog. The back is going to be similar to Ken's.

          I rolled a 3/8" bead in 20g steel yesterday with the wiper motor and had no issues with it. I will leave my options open though, I have no idea what the worm reduction is, but the motor is very slow as it sits right now. Once I finish the frame mods, I may just run it off a 50amp 12V bench supply I have to see what kind of current it draws and if it will remain capable of doing what I want.

          Thanks,
          Jason

          Comment


          • #6
            Here is another version of a modified HF bead roller--

            http://www.garagejournal.com/?p=42

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chester
              Here is another version of a modified HF bead roller--

              http://www.garagejournal.com/?p=42
              Yup, that is the one I have seen before, pretty sure it is the one BadDog is talking about too.

              Later,
              Jason

              Comment


              • #8
                Art

                Wow!!

                You "sheet-metal" workers are certainly artists in what you do and how you go about it!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yep, that's it...
                  Russ
                  Master Floor Sweeper

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Took me a bit longer than expected, but it is pretty much done. I got called into work, so it set me back a bit. Anyhow, it still needs paint on the back, and a floor mount, but I am having trouble deciding where to put it. I don't have a lot of shop room left...



                    Here is the pretty paint. Just used it because it was all I had, I am not sure if I want it to be this pretty, it is just going to get beat up in the shop...



                    Picture of it back together. My motor mount needs trimmed a little, it hits some of the gussets on the back.



                    Here is the back side. Drilled all of the bearing block bolts and installed zerks. The vertical gusset is 3/8" plate, the horizontal ones are 3/16". It seems pretty sturdy now, hopefully I will get to roll some beads tomorrow.

                    Later,
                    Jason

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I realize this is an old thread but I just bought a HF bead roller fully aware of the "fixes" that I need to do to it. But I am curious if you kept the wiper motor or moved to a different motor?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Zombie thread!

                        I think you'll be disappointed with the power of a wiper motor unless you're working with HVAC tin.

                        I run a 90VDC motor (with speed controller) through a gear box and chain drive. It handles 20 and 18ga. 1008 sheet without a problem.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I will be making floor pans so I am more than likely going to be using 18-20 ga. The first mod I will be doing is getting it braced to eliminate the flex in it...I think I can find the angle I need in the scrap bin at work (keeping my fingers crossed). The appeal of the wiper motor is it will be a little easier to pull off the shelf in my storage bldg and carry out to where I will be working with it since I do not have a shop to work in. I can recruit my wife or nephew to turn the crank for me for awhile maybe the second mod should be to replace the crank with a wheel to make it easier for them.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Note the "boxing" at the rear. (Under the gear box.) Most everyone adds reinforcement vertically to keep the arms from spreading apart but the arms will also try to Walk back and forth horizontally. The angle iron helps reduce this. The boxing is to tie the upper and lower angle iron together for added stiffness. Don't cheap-out on the angle iron--Use at least 3/8" thick.

                            The small silver box on top is for a direction switch. I use a pedal on the floor to control speed. I work alone so this was a necessity. It also allows me to handle larger panels or shapes with both hands. I can't imagine trying to hold a piece, guide it AND crank by yourself. It's good that you will have help.

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