If you have used composite bats many times before, you know that there is an amount of time which is needed before they will actually be able to be used in a game, this is known as the break-in period.
However, this does not always have to limit you and force you to wait, and you can use a bat rolling machine to be able to speed up this process and make it much less frustrating.
The problem with bat rolling machines however, is that they can be quite costly and on top of this often require specialist skills to both use as well as maintain.
However, you should not less this discourage you, and you can even make one yourself, and this guide is here to help you through this potentially daunting process.
If you do not know, a composite bat is called that because they are made from composite materials like graphite or carbon fiber.
But when these bats are freshly bought, they will not be ready for a game right away, and need to go through a break-in period to be ready.
The quickest way to prepare a composite bat for a game is to use a bat rolling machine, and this will have the bat ready almost instantly, however, these machines cost quite a lot of money to use and buying one yourself is not usually worth the cost.
The most common place you can find a bat rolling machine is with a rolling service provider, but getting to use these machines will cost you.
This is why there are more and more people who are making their own bat rolling machines to save on this cost and to be able to roll their own bats from home.
If you want to know more about the easiest ways to make your own bat rolling machine, make sure to keep reading!
What Is A Bat Rolling Machine?
The method of making it, so your bat will get rolled and instead get a quick break-in period is known as bat rolling, the machine which is able to do this process is therefore known as a bat rolling machine.
To use one of these machines, the operator who is using it will insert the bat into the area it should be in, and the process of rolling is able to work either parallel, or perpendicularly.
When the machine is working it will simultaneously heat as well as squeeze the bat. By doing this the break-in rate will be drastically accelerated and the performance of the bat will be higher faster.
While the bat rolling is taking place, the bat will go through a heated bat rolling, this is because the more you use a composite bat for baseball, the more it will eventually get heated.
It is also worth noting that by using a bat rolling machine, you will be able to help your baseball composite bats in many different ways which make the bat more useful, however, the most important is the increased break-in rate.
The main use of bat rolling for composite bats is to compress the carbon fiber which is used for the bats.
This compression will ensure that the carbon fiber will be flexible and by doing this, the composite bat will become more soft. Once this has happened the bat will be properly broken-in and game ready.
By using a rolling machine, you will be able to see how much pressure is needed to get to this stage, and it will not go anywhere over this pressure and risk damaging your bat.
Another thing worth knowing about rolling your bat, is that you will not need to rotate your bat when you are manually breaking it in.
In spite of this, you will need to buy your own bat rolling machine to be able to do this process regularly, or if you are part of a larger coaching facility, you may be able to get your bats rolled there.
You also have the option to take your bat to a service to get it rolled, however this can sometimes be incredibly costly, and this is why so many people try to make their own bat rolling machines.
How Does A Bat Rolling Machine Work?
When you will go to a bat rolling service, the operator of the bat rolling machine will place your composite bat into their rolling machine.
After this the bat will be compression tested for its rolling. Part of this compression test will ensure that you know the current rate of break-in the bat has before it has been rolled.
This is why it is recommended to check the testing facility of your bat rolling servicer to make sure that you will get the best results when your bats are rolled.
The new bat will then be inside the rolling machine which tends to have 2 upper rollers and then one down roller as part of it.
Then there is an upper T shaped handle which is used for adjusting the position of the roller as well as the pressure which is needed. There is also a side handle which is used for reeling the bat.
You can also find automated roller machines as well which of course require a bit less effort than a manual rolling machine will need. All you need to do for a manual roller is to rotate the bat through moving the side handle.
You will want your rolling machine to be focused on the hot or sweet spot of your bat as this will help improve its performance the most. This will properly soften the carbon fiber of the bat and help it become even more flexible.
By doing this the rolling is able to increase the trampoline like effect the bat has as well as its pop, this will give the bat an even higher exit velocity and will ensure it is fully game ready.
If you want to see exactly how a bat rolling machine works before you start making one yourself, there are plenty of examples on YouTube which exemplify the process for you.
Type Of Bat Rolling Machine
If you did not know, there are 2 types of bat rolling machines which are available and which roll your bat in different ways.
The two types of bat rolling machines which are available are parallel and perpendicular, this section will serve as an overview of both and let you know the similarities and differences between them.
Parallel Rolling Machine
For a parallel bat rolling machine you will have 2 upper rollers and 1 sown roller. For this type of machine you will need to insert the barrel of the bat into the bat rolling machine and ensure it is parallel in position to the rollers.
After you have placed the barrel of the bat into the roller of the machine, the operator of the bat rolling machine will start to compress the bat to its required pressure.
Once this has been done the machine operator will start to spin the handle of the bat which will roll the bat’s barrel with its rollers.
This rotation will happen somewhere between 20 and 25 times. After this it will have been effectively rolled and will have a much faster break-in leading to higher hitting power and an overall improve in performance.
Rolling of this kind will increase the bat’s exit velocity, this will mean you will not need to replace your bat during parallel rolling.
The main issue with parallel rolling however will be that the sweet/hot spot will entirely be rolled at once.
This may lead to a less natural style of break-in than different methods of bat rolling.
Perpendicular Rolling Machine
Unlike parallel bat rolling, using a perpendicular bat rolling machine will let you insert your composite bat on a 90-degree angle.
While doing so you will be able to set the position of the bat backwards and forwards to your liking.
While you are doing perpendicular bat rolling, you will need to ensure that you are rotating the bat to make sure that the entirety of the barrel is covered, as well as pushing and pulling your bat.
You will need to carry on doing this until the process is done, making this a much more active process than parallel bat rolling.
It is worth noting that for each turn of compression for your bat, you will need to cover at least 8 points, to do this you need to remove and then re-insert the composite bat on at least 4 separate occasions.
When you are using a perpendicular style bat rolling machine you will need to be quite careful.
This is because you can quite easily end up getting excessive pressure, and by inefficiently rolling you may end up with a flat spot on the barrel of your bat. This will lead to decreased quality of your bat.
If you roll your bat’s excessively you will usually end up accidentally changing the shape of your bat and this could lead to it not having the legal shape the bat needs to be played in most official games.
You will want to avoid this, and you can do this by looking up what type of bat is illegal to use. If you know exactly what type of bat you want to achieve, reaching this goal will be significantly easier.
How To Make A Bat Rolling Machine
Before we go in–depth on how to make your own bat rolling machine, we will need to know the different pieces which the machine is made up of, once you know this you will be better equipped to go forward and start putting the equipment together.
Parts Of A Bat Rolling Machine
This shell will be one of the internal pieces of the bat rolling machine, this part tends to be made from either steel or aluminum.
This piece will hold the internal design of your machine, it is usually going to be a welded design.
This piece is what will be holding up the upper rollers of your bat rolling machine. This piece will be bale to shift both up and down as well as having a high tolerance.
These pieces will ensure that your machine is doing the correct motions of the parts are being done, they are usually on the rollers as well as the carriage.
This piece is the rotating element of the bat tolling machine and is what is used to transmit the power into the end of the machine.
In a manual bat rolling machine there will be 2 handles usually, one of these will be a T handle which balances the pressure which is being output by the rollers.
The other handle will be used to rotate the rollers which are used rolling the bat.
Of course the most important part of the rolling machine will be its rollers. These rollers will tend to be made from plastic or steel or sometimes aluminum.
The quality of this roller will greatly depend on what material is used to make them. You will also need to ensure that your roller has very high tolerance to work properly.
The sizing of the holes which are on the rollers will need to be exactly on their middle point and need to be the exact size needed.
The Process Of Making A Bat Rolling Machine
The main structure of your rolling machine will be the shell of the machine. You will need to construct this shell first to make sure you can secure the integrity of the structure of the entire machine.
You also want to keep in mind that after you have finished making the structure, the all welded design will not allow you to change anything and making repairs will be incredibly difficult.
After this you want to construct the top carriage, the higher rollers of your machine will be held up by the carriage, to make this carriage you want to use either steel or aluminum.
This upper carriage will be utilized for holding the upper rollers and the shaft will hold onto the bearings and be used for rotating the rollers.
You will also need to make sure that you have placed the handles onto the right place, one of these will be above the upper carriage to ensure the pressure is maintained, and the other handle will be used for rotating the rollers which are used for directly rolling your composite bats.
After all of the pieces are assembled you will be able to use the machine.
How To Make A Softball Bat Rolling Machine?
The process of making a softball bat rolling machine and a standard baseball bat rolling machine are identical and both can be rolled in exactly the same way, so you do not have to worry about getting a specific machine for this function.
Cost And Time
When deciding that you want to make a bat rolling machine yourself instead of buying one, you definitely need to ensure that you have considered both the cost of the project as well as how much time you have to do it.
If you have a lot of the tools and materials already, this will not affect you too much, but if you do not have these, this should maybe discourage you.
Some people opt to make their rolling machine from plastic as it is cheaper to buy, but it will then result in a lower quality final product.
The cost of the project is usually expected to be at least $250 and can go well over $300 and on top of this the project will rake at least 3 to 4 days to make, and this is if you are already well-trained in the foundations of making tools like this.
Does Bat Rolling Actually Work With A Composite Bat
While it is shown that rolling a composite bat, will improve its performance, especially with its pop and exit velocity, you should also not expect too big of a change.
After testing a rolled bat in comparison to a bat which has not been rolled you will notice the change and the increase in exit speed.
You can get this result through manual break-in and practice, but this will take significantly longer.
Benefits Of A Rolled Bat
If you do not understand why bat rolling is used so commonly, we will list some of the main reasons here.
Even More Power Generation
When your bat has much contact with the balls it is coming into contact with, the carbon fiber they are made from will become more flexible and gives you more power upon hitting the ball.
This will be gradual if done naturally, but if you roll it, you will get this result evenly over the bat.
Dead Spots Removal
A common problem with a lot of bats is the dead spots which they have, and this is especially common with new bats.
This is another issue which is solved by bat rolling and should be done if possible. This will give you a more consistent performance in game.
Large Sweet Spot
By bat rolling, your entire bat will have been optimized for a sweet spot meaning that you do not have to rely on luck as much to hit the ball with a sweet spot.
This is the main selling point of a bat rolling machine as it makes it, so you will be able to use your bat as soon as possible without having to wait for it to naturally break in.
Is Bat Rolling Illegal
Bat rolling is not illegal because all it does is accelerate a process which your bat is going to go through naturally.
It does not make your bat perform unnaturally well, just as well as it can without having the potential for any unpredictable play.
Bat rolling is often encouraged as it will get the best game possible, just ensure that you are not changing the physical state of the bat as this could make it illegal instead.
Bat Rolling Machines For Sale
Since bat rolling machines are so expensive, it is recommended to not buy one for personal use, and only buy one if you are part of an institution which can afford the investment and will get lots of use out of it.
The best brands of bat rolling machines to buy if you are in this position are Extreme Black Legacy, and ProRollers Patriot.
However, if you just need bats to be rolled occasionally, it is best to find somewhere you trust where you can get a good price to get your bats rolled there.
If you have the skill however, making your own bat rolling machine is definitely a viable option.
Baseball Bat Rolling Service
A bat rolling service, depending on where you are looking is between $35 to $100 and will usually get great results since you will have a professional to help you get the best results possible, and you will not have to worry about getting your bat damaged. This is usually the most highly recommended choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There Performance Improvement With Bat Rolling?
There is no guarantee in personal improvement, but you will get a more consistent pop and better exit velocity.
Does Rolling a Bat Shorten Its Life?
It will shorten the lifespan, but it will erase the period of usage where the bat will not be as much use to you.
A bat rolling machine is not something everyone needs to own, but if you are a baseball player with the skills necessary, making your own machine is a viable choice to make.
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