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bead rolling


Well-Known Member
Sep 15, 2006
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I saw the other post about bead rolling and decided to report our progress on our wing tank. The Delta plans call for an 18 gallon wing tank with four baffles and beads rolled each side. This we presume will help with distortion while welding.

We bought an 18" bead roller from Harbor Freight on sale for $129.00. There is definitely a learning curve with this tool! In fact we wrecked our first piece of sheet aluminum. Fortunately it wasn't for the skybolt. We overtightened the tool and the dies mangled the skin. Also the edges of the female die are pretty sharp and left nasty scratches on the underside. We chucked the die in the mini-lathe and filed and sanded the sharp corner off. Then we learned to hand tighten the bolt that compresses the dies followed by a prescribed number of turns for the results we wanted. This just happened to be 2 1/4 turns for us. Below are two pics of the wing tank. The first is before beading and the second is after the beading was finished. I will snap more pics of our progress soon. Right now we are waiting on parts to run our internal vent line. Then we will try our hand at riveting.

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