Bead Rolling is one of those things that you can quickly drain your bank account buying all of the extra dies, accessories, and add-on’s. If you’re just starting out you may be overwhelmed with all of the choices for bead roller dies and we often get asked “which are best?”. That is a tough question to answer but we decided to put together our top 3 “best bang for your buck” dies to have for your bead roller.
Tipping Die- The most common function of the tipping die is to turn your bead roller into a metal brake. This die allows you to turn or “tip” and edge on a panel by putting light upward pressure on the panel as you roll it through the dies. A tipping die on a bead roller allows you to tip and edge in any length panel and even on a radius which even the most expensive brake can’t do! You can use a soft or hard lower die depending on your preference. Tipping dies can also be used to put character or bead lines in a panel with two of these dies offset top and bottom. The spacing, offset, and pressure can all be changed to create endless profiles in the metal.
Poly/Soft Bead Roller Die- This die is most commonly used on the lower shaft and works for a number of functions. Most commonly it is used when using the tipping die on the upper shaft. The soft lower wheel “grips” the panel and deflects a little to allow the sharp upper wheel to push into the metal and set your design/line in the metal. If you’re looking to tip an edge you can run your first pass through the bead roller and the deflection of the lower die will allow the edge to tip on it’s own a small amount. This allows you to focus on following your line on the panel and not be as focused on pushing up on the panel. You can also use the soft lower die with other dies to give you a softer radius or bead in a panel since it deflects more than a hard female lower die.
Offset Dies- If you want to create a step in a panel for a lap weld, or to offset two panels so the surface is flat this is the set of dies for you. By keeping the dies tight to each other you can create a joggle profile in the metal. This is great for floor pan work where you want the floor surface to be flat and the metal to connect together almost seamlessly. You can also create custom joggles or larger designs that mimic a “stamped” look like on a bedside of a pickup truck by offsetting the dies further apart and spacing the joggles apart. There are no rules with these dies and your imagination can run wild!