If you have ever wanted to build a beaded panel for a project, then you know that very often the bead roller is the way to go. Of course it depends on what kind of beads you are trying to make, but sometimes a T-Dolley and hammer can be used, or a press. But if you want deep beads, and crisp edges, there is nothing better than using a hammer form. Hammer forming is a very old process, that has been used successfully for many years, and the added bonus is that your hammer form can be kept and used at any time in the future to make more of the same parts or same shapes in other parts.
A hammer form clamps your material in between two wood or MDF dies that you then hammer the material around. You have to think in negative and positives a little, but when you watch this video you will understand and it will make sense. The best part of this process is that you can make the dies with simple tools most people have. Hell, you can do it without a router event. A jigsaw, a drill and some sandpaper will make a hammer form if that is all you have and with a hammer and the right punch you can make all kinds of stuff.
The example in this video is pretty extreme, because the bead is very deep and that means it takes a lot more force to make it. To make it easier he uses an Air Hammer instead of just doing it by hand. The air hammer is a cheap and easy tool you can get at Harbor Freight for $20 so with air chisels and everything. Spend some time on the grinder, or weld some attachments to them, and you’ll have the forming tools you need pretty quick and easy!
Also keep in mind that this example here shows one form for all the stuff being done to this panel, but it could have also been done with multiple forms. So if you have a form for making a specific size panel with a flange, you could have smaller forms that are just for making the bead pattern for example, and they could be used in just one area of your larger panel.
Check out the video and be inspired!