How to make Imprinting Roller

Here is the procedure for making an imprinting roller from your existing drum which is 48” O.D. x 42” long. I’m assuming your drum has ends welded in it so that it can be liquid filled. Otherwise you’ll need to weld ends in your drum using ¾” thick steel plate.

The drum is converted to an imprinting roller by welding angle iron pieces to the outer circumference. Use 6” x 6” x ½” angle iron square cut into 56 pieces 10” in length.

The step-wise procedure is:


  1. Cut center holes in the ends of the drum for the axle housing pipe which is about 3 ½” in outside diameter.
  2. Mark the position of all angles on the surface of your drum with a soapstone pencil. The angles should be positioned such that there are 4 star rings (as viewed from the drum end) with 14 points (angular teeth) in each star. The points should be staggered with respect to the adjacent star ring. The angle toe spacing in the ring should be about 2.3 inches or 2 ¼”. The spacing between each star ring should be about 2.7 or 2 ¾”. The star ring at both ends of the drum should overhang the drum ends by 3 inches (extend beyond) to increase the imprinting width to 4 feet.
  3. Tack weld the angular teeth (all 56 of them) in the positions marked with soapstone. When satisfied with the position of all the teeth, permanently weld them to the drum by running a penetrating bead about 1” long at each corner of each imprinting tooth.
  4. Install axle housing pipe (3 ½” OD x 2 & 9/16” ID) through center of drum with 3 inches of the axle housing pipe protruding beyond each drum end to align with the extended imprinting teeth. Now weld axle housing pipe to drum end with penetrating bead to ensure strength and water tightness.
  5. Slide cold-rolled steel axle (2 ½” D) into and through the axle housing with ends extending beyond the housing enough to accommodate axle collars and bearings.
  6. Slide 2 ½” axle set-screw collars onto both ends of the axle and push until they butt up against the axle housing ends. Then weld them onto the ends of the housing pipe. Tighten set-screws to secure the imprinting roller to the axle. The welded set-screw collars eliminate any free-play between the axle and axle housing. Free-play can result in destructive mechanical hammering during operation, thereby shortening bearing life.
  7. Slide 2 ½” pillow block bearings onto both axle ends and push until they butt up against the axle collars. Now, lock bearing to axle using the bearing set screws. For bearings, use Dodge double-tapered-roller type bearing with cast steel (Note: Standard bearings with cast iron housings may break from the shock associated with impacting large boulders or other obstructions.)
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