Download PDF version (43k) The full article is available as a free PDF document.

Cooking and concrete have more in common than you might think, thanks to a new "motorized rolling pin" device for texturing precast concrete walls. Unlike its culinary cousin, which only flattens, the concrete rolling pin is used to contour horizontally cast concrete panels with various textures.

Conventionally, horizontally precast panels use form molds to apply contours on one face of the panel.

Methods for two-sided texturing include vertical casting through the use of battery molds and use of an ink-blotter-like machine equipped with form liners that work in conjunction with additional form liners on the bottom of the casting bed.

In contrast, the rolling pin may require less setup time than these two-sided texturing methods because it replaces form liners for the top surface.

A hydraulic drive system coupled to one end of the roller shaft drives rotation about its axis, pulling the roller along and cutting grooves into the fresh concrete.

On the first pass, workers pull back to slow the roller, causing spin and increasing the cutting action. They make a similar second pass.

Finally, in partially hardened concrete, the workers make a third pass while slowing the roller even more, thereby troweling the surface of the wet concrete to obtain a smooth, high-quality finish.

A number of configurations are available with varying heights, spaces, and shapes.