How to Motorize Your Bead Roller

One of the best ways you can add good looks and strength to sheet metal is using a bead roller to add beads or joggles to metal. Most standard and entry level bead rollers are operated by using a hand crank. While this works fine on small pieces or when you have a helper, it doesn’t produce the best results. Adding a motor to your bead roller will help free up a hand and also allow you to work larger pieces alone. Below we show how to adapt a motor to a standard bead roller using the Eastwood Bead Roller Drive System in a few easy steps.

Here we have a standard economy Harbor Freight Bead Roller that has customized and been in use for many years at Metal Shop Kustoms & Coachworks . We’ve already removed the hand crank at this point to expose the bare crankshafts. If your bead roller is older or has been used for quite some time we suggest deburring the end of each shaft with a file or sandpaper to be safe.

Once you pull the contents out of the box you can set the drive motor aside and install the shaft coupler first. Tighten the set screws down so it is securely attached to the crankshaft. The dampeners around the metal fingers of the coupler take up the shock of starting and stopping the motor and also allow everything to fit together tightly.

With the coupler attached you can fit the motor driveshaft into the hole in the coupler. You may need to wiggle the motor as you push it into the coupler to allow it fully seat. Now with one hand on the motor you can attach the bolts through the motor bracket and into the bead roller. These should thread in easily by hand until snug. Depending on your bead roller you may need a different combination of spacers or washers to get the drive motor to sit correctly. It should be lined up with the coupler with no major gaps in the fingers.

Now that the motor is attached to the bead roller you can attach the gear guard using the supplied button head allen bolts. With the guard mounted the conversion is done. You can see in the above kit how compact the conversion is and how it will require little additional room in your shop.

The Eastwood Bead Roller Drive kit allows you to change the speed and direction of the motor on the fly right on the motor. You can then keep your hands free by pressing the foot pedal and the motor will feed the metal through the bead roller.


Hopefully this quick conversion will help you raise your quality of work and productivity. This conversion is good for beginners and professionals alike. Anyone can benefit from converting their bead roller and gaining better control of their work! Get your Bead Roller Drive System at Eastwood Here:  

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