This is an Eastwood Bead roller I got for a fair price. It's not the biggest, baddest or stoutest bead roller out there, but it was what I could afford.
My #3 son Geoffrey volunteered to help.
The first thing we did was practice. Remember, I didn't want to have to remake something with time consuming little swirls on it! With some scrap aluminum, we tried various bead depths. Too little pressure made shallow beads. Too much pressure made deeper beads, but cut the aluminum on the sides.
Geoffrey turned the handle. I guided the metal....
Enough practice. Gathering courage, we made the first beads on the little cowl access door.
Interestingly, the beads make 90 degree angles. I tried rotating the sheet metal in the die but that distorted the metal. What you have to do is make one line, release the pressure of the die, rotate the sheet metal, put the pressure back onto the die and make the next straight line.
I did not like the way it looked using this method. I wanted a continuous, smooth, seamless bead. But when I examined the original cowl, the beads looked the same way. Guess that is how they did it back then.
That was enough beading for one night. The rest of the time we spent trying to build a jig to make the windshields. More about that later.