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Starter Guide to Bead Roller Tooling: What Every Shop Needs

Bead rollers are among our most popular machines. When you buy a bead roller from Baileigh Industrial, you have many tooling options to choose from. While we pride ourselves on offering a wide selection of tooling, we realize that all those sets may be confusing if you’re just starting out with a bead roller.

“What tooling should I buy to cover my bases for most projects?” is one of the most common questions that our customer service reps get. Baileigh product trainer Eric Breske recommends the following 6 bead roller tooling sets as shop staples.

¼”, ⅜”, and ½” Round Beads

These widely used roll sets will let you create simple round profiles in 3 different sizes. Remember: a ¼” bead will be ¼” wide, not ¼” deep. For round and square bead tooling, the number indicates the horizontal, not vertical, dimension of the tooling.

½” Flat Bead

A flat bead, also known as a square bead, creates a square track in sheet metal. It’s essentially the same thing as a round bead, only with a square shape.

⅛” or ¼” Step Roll

This type of bead roller die creates 2 different levels in a panel, separated by a step. The key measurement of a step roll indicates depth not width, unlike round rolls. In other words, a ¼” step roll makes a ¼”-deep step in the material. We recommend the ¼” step roll for our 18-series bead rollers and the ⅛” step roll for our 16-series bead roller models.

Art Set

This type of tooling allows you to make light marks on metal. You could potentially buff out the indent made by an art set without ruining a panel. An art set is perfect for intricate, challenging designs. You don’t want to lose all your work if you accidentally make a wrong turn.

“Something like that would be the norm to start with,” says Breske, “to get yourself going with the profiles that should do 75% of what you’ll ever want to do, unless it’s something really specific.”

In addition to those must-have sets, Breske mentions 2 popular but more specific types of roll sets that shops should consider buying.

Tipping Roll
These rolls are perfect for light embossing work. You can make a sharp indent before you come through with another, heavier profile. In other words, a tipping roll can score material so you don’t run off your line. Though similar to an art set in purpose, the shape is different. A tipping roll has a round top roll, shaped like a fabric cutting wheel or a pizza cutter, and a flat bottom roll.

Hem Roll Set
This series of 3 rolls (sold separately), used in the right order, enables you to fold material 180° onto itself. You’ll end up with a rounded, smooth edge.

Bead Roller Tooling Materials: Steel vs. Nylon

Most of our bead roll sets are made of steel for strength. These rolls will work for the majority of projects. However, some clients working with stainless steel as a material, especially for food-grade or medical applications, require nylon rolls. We offer nylon rolls in a number of popular profiles.

Do you have questions about our roll sets or bead rollers? We’re happy to answer them! Give us a call at 1-920-684-4990 and talk to a Baileigh expert.

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