What Are Homemade Slip Rolls?

Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of fdecomite

A slip roll device smoothly bends flat metal stock into various shapes. Although it can be built in different sizes, the slip roll is essentially a triple-roller mechanism through which a metal sheet passes, bending as it passes along the first “forming” rollers and exits through the pair of “pinching” rollers. Depending upon the design, you can rework the metal to the desired shape and dimensions.


The slip roll system allows the smooth working of flat material into shapes such as tubes, pipes and cones. Depending upon the range of adjustment, the slip roll also can bend existing pipes, rods or other round materials to specifications, accomplishing multiple bends with multiple passes through the mechanism.


The slip roller mechanism provides a smooth, secure flow to allow shaping of a flat, rigid material. The primary design includes two roller cylinders that sit above each other, serving as tensioning guides for the material. These vertically and horizontally adjustable cylinders allow for material thickness and the amount of gripping tension required for the job. The third roller, called a forming roller, serves two functions: It provides an adjustable feeding source to promote the bending process, and due to its much wider adjustment range, enhances the bending process to meet shaping needs.


After initial measurements to adjust the clearance for the sheet metal stock to travel through the trailing pinch rollers, you feed the metal across the forming roller into the pinch roller set. These rollers—controlled manually or automatically via a power source—utilize a pinching or trapping action to grip the stock and pull it across the forming roller. During this process, you can stop the stock, allowing adjustment of the forming roller to accomplish a second bend. You can also shape, bend or weld the stock during this process to accomplish the desired result. If required, you can remove the stock from the machine using a drop hinge installed on the top pinch roller.


The primary benefit of home use is the ability to do the work locally. Depending upon the composition of the material, you can bend the stock multiple times or adjust it until it reaches the needed dimensions. When built, the system’s design can allow use of interchangeable rollers of varying diameter to accommodate a wider range of bending needs.


In more advanced systems, a fourth forming roller may be used to create additional bends.