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TECH...Custom bead rolling.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Kiwi Kev, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Here is a Hydro Man panel I recently made. I took pics that show the process.

    1. First I made a full size pattern and drew the picture on the cardboard. The picture should be as simple as possible. Plan in your mind how you will roll each line. You don't want them too close together or crossing over each other.

    2. The material I use is 3003 H14, .050 thick. I always order it with PVC coating on one side. This protects the panel while you lay it out and make it. Then you peel it off when you are done. Without the coating you would end up with a scratched up mess. I comes white or clear like the sheet seen here.


    3. First I cut the panel to size adding enough around the edges to fold under later. Using a sharpie marker I added the first line that will be rolled. To get even curves you can just grab anything round. Here I grabbed a sanding pad, I often use pain cans.


    4. To transfer the rest of the picture I cut out some of it as shown and clamped the pattern to the panel. I like to keep the pattern for possible later use and also, there is always a chance you can wreck the panel during the rolling process and have to start over. That is why I don't just draw the picture on the panel from the start.

  2. 5. Here are the lines from the pattern, the rest are drawn in freehand to complete the picture.

    6. The outer border is rolled first with these step dies. This will step the inner part of the panel down. It is important when rolling a bead that you will be reconnecting to pick a start/stop point that is kind of not too obvious in case you dont get a perfect joint. I started and stopped at the tail of the tranny. That way an imperfect joint won't jump out at you like it would if it were in the middle of the bottom or top.
  3. 7. Now I wanted the tranny to step up so the dies were switched top to bottom and the tranny was rolled one section at a time. There were many stops and starts before the tranny was complete. I count the number of turns when applying pressure to the dies and 1 1/2 turns made a good line. I didn't go 1 1/2 right at the start of each section because I have had problems in the past with dimples, ripples etc. I find I have better luck if I go down about 3/4-1 turn and add the other half as the wheels start turning.
  4. 8. Here is the tranny outline completed. I should have mentioned earlier one of the most important things. When you have completed the picture on the pattern you have to put the pattern in the bead roller and check that you can actually reach all the lines with the dies. If there is a line you can't reach you may have to change your picture.
    9. After the body of Hydro man was rolled It was time to change the dies from step dies to regular bead dies. The arms' legs and shifter would be rolled as regular beads. It is hard to see where to start and stop so I put lines across the bead lines at the stop and start lines that you can see outside the wheel.
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  5. 10 After the arms, legs etc were done I went with this fatter bead die and made a bump for his eye and Hydro Man was complete.

    11. Since this was just a wall hanger I folded the edges back to stiffen the panel. There was still a slight twist that won't let it lay flat so a brace will be added to the back. This won't be an issue on a door panel. Just wish I had a car with a Hydro so I could put some Hydro Man door panels on it! THE END.


  6. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman

    Boy I always wondered how you did that!!! :rolleyes: :D

    Good lookin piece, as usual!!
  7. Bash'n'Weld
    Joined: Jan 19, 2008
    Posts: 361


    That's bloody awesome!!

    Learned alot and will put it to good use.

  8. langy
    Joined: Apr 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,735

    Member Emeritus

    Brilliant !!!
  9. Freakin Awsome.
  10. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267


  11. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,449


  12. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,277

    from texas

    who cares if you have the hydro in the car. If I had your talent to do something like that I'd run them on anything. Out standing work You younger guys kill me with what your able to do.
  13. publicenemy1925
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 3,187

    from OKC, OK

    Talent, I say, Talent!
  14. Dirty2
    Joined: Jun 13, 2004
    Posts: 8,903


    W O W ! ! !
  15. That's great. Sure helps me understand the process better. Thanks
  16. ALindustrial
    Joined: Aug 7, 2007
    Posts: 852


    holy cow! that looks stupendous! how long did something like that take?
  17. povertyflats
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 8,247

    from Missouri

  18. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,266


    That would also make a cool headliner in an 'A'......
  19. Kiwi, I'm floored you make that look so easy. I've done a fair amount of bead rolling, but all of it just straight or mostly straight lines. I have seen some of the other incredible panels that you have done but didn't really know where to start, this really helps, great tech.

    Maybe you can answer a few questions for me. First, do you always start at the outside edge of the panel (it would make a lot of sense as I tried one and started at the inner most lines and the panel came out all warped)? Second, I have found that a panel will bow as you roll parallel beads into it and was told that I should run the line to be beaded through my E-Wheel to stretch (18g steel) it some before rolling the bead and it seemed to help some but I see that you don't do any of that. Why do your panels stay so flat?

    Thanx for the great tech post I am sure that I will be trying this one. Mind if I use the same artwork, It would sure make it easy to follow along?

    Thanx, Jaysin
  20. 4tl8ford
    Joined: Sep 1, 2004
    Posts: 1,087

    from Erie, Pa

  21. devildog101
    Joined: Apr 24, 2007
    Posts: 49


    Awsome. Learn something new every time I visit the HAMB
  22. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,756


    I have to agree with that.

    Great thread.
  23. Yeah yeah, Kiwi Kev rules.
    I've seen a few panels he made and they are top notch.
    Kevin, do you work by yourself on a panel like that, or do you have someone cranking the wheel?
    I've always had trouble doing both, turning the wheel and with the other hand guiding the sheet, especially on straight lines.
  24. von Dyck
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 678

    von Dyck

    Fascinating work. How do you roll your beads into an intersecting point without flattening the first of two beads at that point?
  25. Bear Metal Kustoms
    Joined: Jul 31, 2004
    Posts: 1,856

    Bear Metal Kustoms
    Alliance Vendor

    Winner..... most guys don't like to show how this kind of work is done. They chock it up to Voodoo and magic...Nice job.. I had been thinking about doing some custom panels.. Jason.
  26. JimSibley
    Joined: Jan 21, 2004
    Posts: 3,190


    I have got to get a good bead roller. that is truely ART.
  27. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,266


    I bet he's got a powered roller....his 'helper' is his foot.....:D
  28. No, I've been to his shop and he's got a steering wheel attached to the beadroller.
  29. Rusty
    Joined: Mar 4, 2004
    Posts: 9,449


  30. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman


    To get sharp points at narrow angles you must stop the rolls at the tip. In the picture you can see there are 2 lines made by the step roll.
    The sharp point is created by the A & D lines stopping on the same point. To the right is what happens if they dont stop at the same point.

    Not trying to jack the thread, just trying to help!

    These things are gonna warp when you put that many lines on them,, if they start to get out of hand I run them across the "english knee" to get them flatter. The only magic and voodoo involved is when you say a few magic cuss words when you get down to the last lines and screw it up!!

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