After looking at what bat rolling is, and how it is done. We will now take a look at the differences in the equipment being used.
The clamping method to secure the bat between the rollers has evolved into two basic designs. The very first parallel rolling machine had two rollers, a top and bottom. plate rolling machine It also had four points of adjustment to regulate the amount of compression to the bat surface. The newer machines that have copied this design, have a combination of top and bottom rollers, and just a single central point of adjustment. A much more simplistic design, and as they claim, possibly better.
I prefer to use the machine with the much more precise, four individual adjusters. One at each corner of a heavy steel plate, to which the large aluminum blocks, that hold the bearings the roller shafts are set into, are fastened. These adjusters are a machine nut, on top of a machine washer, threaded onto a heavy duty 1/2″ steel shaft. The machine nuts can be turned at very small increments to give an exact degree of adjustment to the steel plate the rollers are secured to. This in turn adjusts the exact amount of compression to the bat being rolled. And the amount of pressure being applied can be determined by using a very precise inch pound torque wrench. It is like assembling an engine or delicate piece of machinery. All the pieces have to be put together with the exact amount of pressure or the engine will not perform up to its potential. The same thing is true for your bat. Exact pressures and compressions, during the rolling process, will give you the ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE from your composite bat.
Is it what they claim it is? I don’t think so. The central adjuster is just a single threaded bolt, that is secured to the roller plate, with a bar welded to the end to be used as a turning handle. The person rolling your bat turns this handle by hand, to determine the amount of compression, and the amount of pressure being applied to the bat surface. He determines the amount of pressure by how hard it is to turn the handle and also how hard it is to turn the bat while between the rollers. The amount of compression is determined by the amount of turns to the handle, which really is pretty accurate. If there are 10 threads per inch, it is easy to figure out how many turns you need to get the amount of compression you want. Very simple. I think the manufactures of these machines should supply a socket, adapted to their handle, that can be used in conjunction with a torque wrench. This would a least allow then to determine a more precise amount of pressure being applied to the bat surface. If any of them read this article it won’t take them long to catch on, you wait and see.
To me the roller length is one of the lesser important factors in the rolling process. The area to be rolled should be 1 1/2″ from the and of the bat, and 1 1/2″ from the start of the barrel taper to the handle. The sweet spot. However there is no rule of thumb as to how long this area is. If the rollers are shorter than this area, the bat will have to be repositioned between the rollers, to make sure the entire area is covered. If not you will have an erratic bat. I have seen some of the videos the newer single point adjustment roller manufactures have put out, as well as the people using them. All the videos show the bat being rolled in one area only, near the end. They are not doing a complete roll, because they are missing the area near the taper on the longer barrel bats. The whole barrel is used for hitting, it should be rolled as completely as possible.
My rolling machine has 7 inch rollers. I take my measurements and tape off the whole sweet spot area using blue painters tape. It comes off easy and doesn’t pull anything with it. This gives me the exact area I need to roll and protects the bat surface from being scared if the rollers happen to spin while rolling. Now, if my rollers happen to be longer than the sweet spot, I just add some white athletic tape on top of the painters tape, which raises the surface enough so the roller only contact that area. Simple I always roll the complete hitting area no matter how big or small it is. When a bat is rolled properly all aspects of the being rolled must be taken into account. You can not use the same methods on every bat as the new single point machine manufactures would suggest. It takes much more than just the turning of a couple handles to get the ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE out of your bat.