How to use a sheet metal roll-forming machine

Written by c.l. rease
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Sheet metal roll-forming equipment uses a series of rolls to form complex seams and flanges on lighter gauge sheet metal. The majority of roll-forming machines are geared toward fabricating duct and duct connectors for the HVAC industry. Properly operating a roll-forming machine goes beyond how to turn the machine on; it also includes daily inspections, oiling and cleaning to ensure that the rolls operate smoothly, that the guards are in place and that the metal does not jam, which can cause an injury.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Safety glasses
  • Socket set
  • 3/8-inch ratchet
  • Air hose
  • Tool oil

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  1. 1

    Put on your safety glasses.

  2. 2

    Place the socket that matches the guard bolts onto the 3/8-inch drive ratchet and loosen the nuts that hold the guard onto the top of the roll-forming machine.

  3. 3

    Lift the guard up to remove it from the top of the roll former.

  4. 4

    Blow out the area between the rolls with the air hose to remove metal shavings and other debris from the series of rolls, and spray the rolls with tool oil to add lubrication and prevent corrosion from forming on the face of the rolls.

  5. 5

    Slide the guard back over the studs and tighten the nuts with the ratchet to secure the guard to the roll-forming machine.

  6. 6

    Inspect the installed guard to ensure that no part of the guard falls into the feed area of the roll-forming machine and that the starting guide located on the feeder bed, in front of the guard, is not damaged.

  7. 7

    Turn on the roll-forming machine by depressing the green start button.

  8. 8

    Rest the side of the metal that is going to be roll formed against the starting guide and slide the metal toward the guide.

  9. 9

    Support the metal sheet as it is grabbed by the roll-forming machine, works its way down through the series of rolls and is ejected from the far side of the roll-forming machine.

  10. 10

    Inspect the finished rolled edge to ensure that the clearances are correct. If you notice that the seam is malformed or jammed tight, adjust the rolls according to the operating manual and run another piece of sheet metal through the roll-forming machine.

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