Q: I just got a Cavallin rolling mill, but it didn’t come with any instructions or user’s manual. Where can I get one, or failing that, can anyone tell me how to use and maintain it?
A: Just what did you need instructions for? Rolling mills are pretty basic tools. Instructions for one will generally fit the others as well. The same basic information applies to all of them, with the only differences being in their specific capacities. In most of those respects, the Cavallins resemble the similar-sized Durstons, but Durston is currently a thriving company, while Cavallin is now out of business, as you’ve probably found. So here are some basic instructions that should generally work.
Keep the rolls clean; don’t roll stuff through it, like abrasive grit or pieces of steel, that are harder than the steel of the rollers—this could mar the rollers themselves, which would in turn mar anything you rolled through them. Try to roll only the metal, not your fingers or other tools. When rolling wire through the grooved rollers, turn the wire 90 degrees at each pass, to keep the little flat surface at each corner, in order to prevent flanges from forming.
What else do you need to know? Technique in annealing and rolling metal is generic, suited to all rolling mills; it works the same with any brand. Anneal your metal after it’s been work-hardened by going through the mill; this will depend on how much you compress it at each pass.
Even the power mills are pretty simple and intuitive to operate. Make sure oil reservoirs, if present, are kept at the right level. Other than that, don’t be timid. This isn’t rocket science—unless you bought a mill with a 3-phase motor, and find you’ve only got single-phase power available, as I did. That made getting the mill up and running a bit more complex. But the cheap price I paid for my mill made it still well worth it.
by Peter W. Rowe M.F.A., G.G.