Bat Rolling Advantages

Bat rolling is a process that widens the sweet-spot and is proven to increase the distance and mile per hour of the batted baseball, softball, or fast pitch softball. On average the increases are 20-40 feet and 2.6-5.2 mph to the batted ball. A composite bat has glue (resin) holding together fibers throughout the barrel. Normal usage of the bat will cause the glue holding the fibers together to break down and become more flexible. A normal range for a bat to become “broken in” would be around the 300-700 hit mark depending on the bat. Rolling a bat will eliminate the time it takes to hit 300-500 balls; therefore, duplicating the natural break in process within 20 minutes.

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Heated Bat Rolling

February 21, 2012 4 comments

Heating up a bat has long been an idea that I have experimented with.  I would heat the bat up and proceed to bat roll with the normal perpendicular followed by parallel process.  I wasn’t completely sold on the idea although my personal MV-1 Maxload hit very, very well.  I had attributed this mostly to the quality of the bat.  I was using the one of hardest roller material in the industry and breaking up the composite was not a problem and heating just wasn’t necessary.  The new harder plastics are only used by two rolling machine companies, one of them is Panther Rollers.  In the past bat rollers only had the softer plastics and big barrel bats, especially BBcor bats, were so thick the roller material broke down quickly and caused a wave in the rollers.  But as I said the new material rollers do not have this issue and heating wasn’t necessary.

Let’s fast forward to 2011 when Miken, Easton and Worth came out with bats that would crease the laminate (or paint) with too much pressure or the same pressure as the earlier model bat.  I noticed that the bats were not getting as broke in as in years past.  I had to act quickly because my livelihood was on the line.  The answer had brought me back to my MV-1 and heat.  I took a FX700 that was all creased where I had ruined the bat on one side.  I used this as my test bat with heat and a perpendicular roll (this is when the bat creases the most).  I was able to use the same pressures as the year prior and the bat did not crease, I then knew I was on to something.  I started using heated rolling on Salvos, SRV4s, SSR2s, Super Freaks, Mayhem 98s, etc.,  At this point no other bat had the problem of creasing and others were able to be broken in fully because of the hardness of the rollers I was using.

Fast forward to late 2011 when the USA implemented the spiral shell technology just like most of the ASA bats.  I had talked to quite a few bat representatives and found that the new technology was just what ASA bats already were equipped with.  I already knew I had the trump card for this (heated rolling) and often wondered how other bat rolling companies were selling these new type bats as “fully broken in” because they were not.  Some of the new baseball bats had the same types of problems and I had to implement the heated rolling to them also; even a few in 2011 would crease under the great pressures needed to bat roll them.  Heated bat rolling is necessary to break in a bat with creasing problems.  If you have a roller that is not the harder plastic (like I said only two rolling machine manufacturers use the harder plastics) you might need to employ heated bat rolling.  This method could help with the break in process and creasing but your roller will not have the hardness to break in the thicker composites of big barrel baseball bats, especially the BBcor bats.

What I (Big Dawg Bat Rolling) have been doing for a little over a year now is heated rolling for the bats that need it.  This was a trade secret that I chose not to pass on to my competitors.  I am sure this problem was as critical to them as it was to me.  Acting fast was key because I could not advertise a 20-40ft of distance gain with the old methods.

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Bat Shaving Alloy or Aluminum Bats, is it possible?

Seems like a pretty simple question until we dig a little deeper.  The quick answer is yes and after that comes the “but”.  Very few bat shavers will shave Alloy bats (this is to include aluminum when alloy is mentioned).  This is not to say they cannot perform this service they simply understand the physics of the process.

When a ball hits a bat the walls of the bat flex to propel the ball, the wall then returns to the original shape.  Composite bats are proven to withstand more flex than alloy bats and therefore more strength on the surface area where the impact of the ball strikes.  The flex of a composite bat has the potential to be far greater than that of an alloy bat because the composite is far stronger.  Composite fibers flex and return to shape with little adverse effects to the integrity of the bat.  On the other hand, alloy bats are not as strong and the same amount of flex will dent the bat because the alloy material will not allow the bat to flex back into shape.  Bat manufactures have created alloy bats that will withstand the impact of repeated ball striking by making the walls a specific thickness.  Alloy bats will dent after a period of time as the material becomes more malleable after repeated ball striking.  Composite bats have been proven to last longer with the same amount of impacts and the same wall thickness.  This was great for people who purchased bats because they stretched their dollar with increased life of a bat.  A caveat to the longer life was greater distance.  The resin in between the composite fibers would break up and increase the flex of the bat, which increased distance.  Baseball and softball associations realized this increase in distance and started to require bat manufactures to take action to decrease batted ball speed at the peak of a bats performance.

Although it is illegal in all associations to do, people can still get their bats shaved to increase performance.  Getting back to the “but” I spoke of earlier.  An alloy or aluminum bat just is not as strong as a composite bat; therefore, when an alloy bat is shaved the flex of the alloy material cannot match that of a composite bat.  The alloy bat is unable to perform even close to that of a composite bat, yielding minimal distances gained from shaving.  Another problem is durability of the alloy after the walls have been decreased from bat shaving.  The thinner walls means the bats will flex more but the dent/crack point tolerance will increase.  The couple of bat shavers who perform bat shaving on alloy bats will shave out minimal amounts of material from the walls of the bat to try to increase durability.  And here lies the catch 22 with alloy bats. If you shave out a small amount from the barrel there is not a noticeable difference in distance but if you shave enough to gain 5-20 feet of distance the integrity of the alloy is gone and the bat will undoubtedly dent quickly.  What does this mean exactly?  A shaved alloy or aluminum bat will dent or crack in a very short period of time and if the bat has been shaved and it does not dent or crack there will be almost no increase in distance.  These facts are why almost all bat shavers will not shave alloy bats.  If they shave the bat to gain performance they will have an upset customer with a broken bat.  Also, if the bat shaver only shaves out enough material so that there is increased durability the customer is upset because there was not a noticeable gain in distance.  It would seem that some bat shavers want to hoodwink their customers with the promise of making good hitters great by shaving alloy or aluminum bats.
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New for Worth in the 2011 Season: Big Changes on the Horizon

With the sucess of the Resmondo World Series Edition, Resmondo and Worth has teamed up with a new bat, the Worth Resmondo “Limited Edition” Titan SBLER-LE.  It will look similar to the World Series Edition, with a flat black and grey color scheme.  Worth has also stopped production on the 2 piece bats (DUOs, Mutants, etc.,).  Some representatives have said they will no longer be in production.  Digging further, we found out that this could very well be true.  Worth has a new undisclosed technology in the works for their bats.  They claim that this technology will truly bring the sweet spot to the entire length of the bat with a series of “chambers”.  This is part of the reason for the hault in production of the 2 piece bats.  What doe s this mean really?  New technology bats for the 2012 season and 2 piece bats will be in high demand for the 2011 season.  The 2 piece bats are already a known as a “hot” bat in the softball community and this news should bring their price up (How far? Who knows?). And these bats hit amazing once bat shaving service is performed.

As always BigDawgBatRolling.com will carry all of these bats.
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How to Perform Bat Rolling

March 18, 2010 Comments off

Perpendicular Roll

You will need to run your bat perpendicular through a parallel bat rolling machine.  I suggest rollers that are of a harder material than the regular nylon rollers, these rollers will not deform.  Pick one of 8-12 points around the bat and also decide what your maximum pressure will be.  The first perpendicular run through the bat rolling machine will be 25% of the maximum pressure and you will run the bat along the entire length of the barrel 4 times up and back on one of the 8-12 points.  Next, increase the pressure 25%, which will be 50% of the maximum pressure; then you will need to repeat above process, keeping on the same point.  You will then need to increase the pressure to 75% and this time only perpendicular roll the sweet spot of the bat (2 inches above the taper and 2 inches below the endcap).  Repeat sweet spot only perpendicular roll at max pressure.  Repeat the entire above process on each of the 8-12 points around the barrel of the bat.

Parallel Roll

Next, you will need to parallel roll your bat to break in any spots the perpendicular roll has missed because even the most thorough perpendicular roll will miss areas along the barrel.  The parallel roll will also help if your bat was slightly deformed by the perpendicular roll.  Sometimes a bat will have long flat spots along the length of the bat from perpendicular rolling.  Parallel bat rolling will aid in the removal of these areas of flatness.  Place your bat in the bat rolling machine parallel and centered on the sweet spot.  Just as with the perpendicular roll, you will start at 25% of maximum pressure.  Turn the bat in the rollers 5 full revolutions, then increase the pressure to 50%, and turn for five full revolutions again.  Increase the pressure to 75% and repeat and then again at 100%.  Your bat is now effectively rolled and will yield optimal distance results.

Problems that may occur

Some common problems are laminate creasing, roller slipping, and flat spots; I will talk about all three.  Laminate creasing happens with certain manufacturers of bats (Miken mostly).  This does not occur on every model but a select few.  The main thing is to catch this before it happens.  If you are rolling a bat that you have never rolled before just take it slow and even cut your pressures in half increments.  Every time you increase to a new pressure take the bat out and check it.  Normally a crease in the laminate starts small and increases with pressures.  If you see one of these starting, back of a eighth turn and that will be your maximum pressure.

Roller slipping happens a lot with nylon rollers but one bat rolling machine company has come out with new rollers and bearings that have reduced slipping some bats will still slip.  Athletic tape or pine tar can help slipping rollers but I have found the best way is to grip the bat while rolling and help it along.  The only other advice is to upgrade to a new a roller with upgraded material.

Flat spots happen when the composite does not break down evenly along the bat.  Sometimes a simple parallel roll will get these out.  If these spots do not come out with a parallel roll then here is what I suggest.  Run your hand along the barrel of the bat until you feel the spot.  Put your finger on the high point of the flat spot (this will be on either side of the flat spot) and put the bat back into the bat roller perpendicular with that spot you have fingered exactly on the bottom roller.  Next, roll the bat through at 75% and 100% maximum pressures.  Repeat this process until all spots are gone.

Bat Rolling
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Bat Rolling Baseball Bats; Is this a Good Thing?

Baseball bats are the most widely produced bat in the United States.  In addition, composites have overtaken the top manufactured position that aluminum bats held for so long.  With the new era of composite material, bats are more durable and better performing bats.  The performance is not limited to the distance and pop of the first hit, it will actually get “hotter” with use.  There has been a scandal or controversy in the NCAA about rolled composite bats and they have decided to go back to aluminum bats.  The problem might not have been with the bat rolling aspect but with the increased MPH achieved through breaking in the bat; naturally through batting practice or the bat rolling process.

Big barrel baseball bats have composite that is more durable (thicker) than any other type of bat.  The thicker the barrel the better they are for as shaved bats also. This is part of the reason they hit “hardballs” and not softballs.  Baseball bats do pose a problem to bat rollers who want to break in the bat through advanced break in techniques.  The barrel is larger and shorter than other bats.  The perpendicular roll of a baseball bat is more difficult due to this fact.  If you are not familiar with what bat rolling accomplishes I will go over it real quick; The resin is broken upon within the composite which gives the bat more flexibility (trampoline effect) and equates to more distance.  A complete roll of a baseball bat is impossible with a perpendicular roll only, the taper will pose the biggest obstacle.  This problem is alleviated with a parallel bat rolling after the perpendicular roll is completed.  The parallel roll will cover the entire sweet spot of the baseball bat’s barrel.

As I said before, the baseball bat’s composite is thicker and more durable than any other type of bat.  For this fact, some rollers will break down after repeated baseball bat rolling.  The bearings and softer nylon rollers will not hold up under the added pressure, this is why some bat rolling companies have changed there roller material and changed their type of bearings the bat rolling machines utilize.  The roller material change is the biggest advancement.  Because so much pressure is needed to compress composite baseball bats the nylon rollers “warp” or deform to the bat and correct pressure cannot be achieved.  This deforming of the nylon roller and added pressure causes the break down of these types of bat rolling machines.  Getting back to the issue of rolling baseball bats; a bat rolling machine with upgraded rollers are needed to properly roll big barrel baseball bats, the nylon rollers will not create enough pressure on the surface of the bat.

After a big barrel baseball bat has been rolled you can expect 20-40 feet of distance to your batted ball, assuming the bat is 34 inches in length.  The longer the barrel the more flex or trampoline effect occurs.  Therefore, as the barrel length decreases the flex decreases by an inch.  In my experiences, the distance lost due to a smaller length barrel is about 5 feet every inch.  So, that means big barrel bats under 30 inches will only gain about 10-20 feet.

In Summary, big barrel baseball bats can be rolled with good distance results but some factors can decrease that distance.  Nylon rollers can deform under the high pressure needed for the more dense and thick big barrel baseball bat material.  A harder roller material is needed to properly roll a big barrel bat.  The length of the bat is also a factor in the distance gained, a shorter length equals a small decrease in distance gained.

Big barrel bats will gain distance to your batted ball when properly rolled.

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**Caution** Perpendicular Bat Rolling is Not Enough

Only rolling perpendicular had been good enough in the past and was the industry standard in the infancy of rolling bats.  That is until BigDawgBatRolling enhanced this older idea of rolling.  Bat rolling services perpendicular followed by parallel generates Optimal Distance Results.

The physics of the composite bat facilitates this type of rolling to achieve your Optimal Distance Results.  Perpendicular rolling breaks resin up in elongated sections along the barrel of the bat.  The perpendicular roll flexes the barrel 1 to 1 ½ inches length wise but width wise that number decreases to just ¼ of an inch.  A normal bat is 7 inches in circumference; this means to effectively roll a normal softball you would have to perpendicular roll on 28 points.  Some would say that parallel rollers were made to speed up the rolling process and this seems to true.  I am sure the creator of the first parallel roller did not realize perpendicular rolling took that long for an effective roll but none the less they wanted a quicker roll.  This eagerness has propelled the bat rolling industry onto a new path for bat rolling.  The technology of the bat rolling machines today do not allow for a systematic 28 point perpendicular roll.  Effectively rolling perpendicular only would be a tedious and unworkable task.  Along came the parallel roller and the bat rolling process was improved.

Easton reveal

Easton reveal 2

easton reveal par3

You will hear that parallel rollers will put too much stress on the bat.  To an extent this is true; with rollers longer than 6 inches you will break up the resin to close to the taper and end cap.  The 6 inch roller only covers the sweet spot and does not come too close to the taper or end cap area. The barrel flexes as pressure is increased.  The flex at maximum pressure in a parallel roller will extend out 1 to 1 ½ inches past the roller.  A 6 inch roller will not damage the end cap or taper area when parallel rolling because the flex created does not extend into those areas.  The width flex stays consistent around the entire length of the bat because the roller never leaves the surface of the bat. This will break up resin at every point along the length of the roller plus 1 to 1 ½ inches past the rollers (which are referred to as the sweet spot).  The area at the top of the bat has been shaven down to facilitate the end cap placement and is susceptible to breakage while rolling.  Also, if the taper area is compromised by breaking up the resin the life of the bat is drastically reduced.  The taper area acts as the fulcrum in the mechanics of a swing.  This area has to be the strongest part of the entire bat and bat rolling near the taper is a big bat rolling mistake.

 

optimal rolling area shadowoptimal rolling area 3 shadow

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I went over the benefits and physics of why to perpendicular roll and then parallel roll your bats.  Just remember perpendicular rolling is good but perpendicular followed by parallel is what the industry standard has evolved to achieve proper rolled bats.

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