Monday, March 14, 2011

Product test; "Rolling Mill Resources". For sheet metal, metal clay, polymer clay and probably more uses besides.

Through choice, I have a very basic workshop and outlay of tools and machinary, but by far my most expensive and indispensable piece of equipment is my small rolling mill. Not only does it allow me to purchase just a few basic thicknesses of metal and then roll them down thinner when I need to, but it is also a great way of embossing texture onto the metal through the use of materials and home-made paper stencil designs cut with a scalpel or laser-cutter, as well as plates which I have etched.
I was recently invited to try out a product developed by "Rolling Mill Resources", who make a wide range of interesting patterned and textured paper stencils for use with your rolling mill. They use laser cutting technology to 'etch' the designs into high quality card-stock which you can then emboss into your silver, brass, gold, copper, aluminium, etc. Although I haven't tried it, I see no reason why these plates couldn't also be laquered to seal them and then used with olive-oil resist as texture plates with precious metal clays and polymer clays. They also offer a custom service whereby they create texture plates to your specifications.

In the package they sent me, were a geometric, organic and script texture, along with small "depth tester" cards which you can use to calibrate your mill to the correct pressure for the metal you are embossing into. There were also instruction and information sheets.

Here is one of the tester cards shown with the annealled metal which I've left oxidised.

The card goes into the mill, texture down against the metal...

...and above you can see the gap I set on this mill....

....to achieve the results you see here. The metal result on the left, the 'spent' tester in the middle, and a fresh tester on the righthand-side. You can clearly see that I've set too much pressure, the gap too narrow on my mill, for this thickness of copper, so I would make a note of the dial setting on my mill for this thickness and I would be able to use that as reference in future.

Here above, I have again set a little too much pressure but despite this, the designs remain largely un-distorted and are merely enlarged. This means the card stock is indeed good quality and fit for the job. I have left the metal oxidised and rubbed back with fine emery so that you can see the results easily in all the photo's.

This time I have managed to get the gap in my mill just right, the design is crisp and virtually the same dimensions as the original texture stencil. The straight lines of the geometric pattern are intact. I would make a note of the dial setting on my mill as regards to this thickness of copper for this particular design. Rolling Mill Resources say that the stencils have been produced with the added calculation of compressing the designs slightly in one direction, so that the lengthening distortion of rolling results in an accurate impression, a square should be a square. I found this to be the case and RMR helpfully print a little arrow on the back of each texture stencil so that you are aware which direction it should be fed through the mill to incorporate this feature.

Here is another experiment. The metal which was roll-printed from the stencil is on the left, then a rollprint was taken from that metal print, to create a 'negative'....a roll-print from a roll-print. Below you can see the two pieces of copper being fed into the mill


Finally, for another experiment I wondered if I could get a print by laying the textures face-up on the metal (incorrectly), so that the backs are against the surface of the metal to be embossed...
Above you can see sections of the texture stencils, face up on the metal before going into the mill....

...and here you can see the results, just as crisp and clean as if the papers had been placed face down correctly onto the copper surface, testament to the quality of the card-stock used and the precise cut of the design. Although not photographed, I managed to get a second good roll-print from the stencil. If you like what you see then Rolling Mill Resources are based in the US but can be found on Etsy where they sell their product at a very reasonable price, though if ordering from outside the US, I would be inclined to order at least a handfull of stencils to make the postage worthwhile. I received my package here in the UK in just a week from posting.

8 comments:

Lisa said...

Fabulous article; thanks for sharing.

Victoria Takahashi said...

excellent and how fun!
thanks for taking the time to share this,
i will definately go take a peek at RMR on Etsy :)

Three Birds Jewelry said...

this is great! i have been considering adding a rolling mill to my repertoire, what type of mill do you use?

Colleen Mcgraw said...

Great impression, can you tell me what gauge metal you used? I got a good impression but not as good as this. Thanks

Fluxplay Jewellery. said...

Hi Colleen. It shouldn't make any difference what gauge your metal is...as long as it's no thinner than 0.3mm then any thickness in anymetal except steel will give a good print as long as the metal has been correctly brought up to annealling temperature. The only other reason a good print is not achieved (it is feint) is if the pressure is not enough on your mill, it is suprising how much pressure even thin, ordinary paper can take under the mill when cut into shapes for stencil embossing. Hope this helps.

MICHAEL GOMEZ said...

ETP Keyless Bushes are mainly used in Manufacturing of Steel Rolling Machine because which are having a features like High radial load capacity, provides a Radial and axial connection, High transmittable torque capacity Etc

LSRgroup said...

Nice information of rolling mills. I have one more useful site having information of rolling mills.

Harris Scott said...

Nice post. Now a day Steel Rolling Mill is a powerful machine tool for many of the industry across the world. Thanks for sharing such an informative post. Keep posting.

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