machine joints

Joint Rolling Machines or Hand-Rolled?

Monday October 21, 2019

T hough sometimes considered the training wheels of cannabis, the humble joint roller is an often-overlooked tool that deserves a place in any rolling aficionado’s kit. Not ideal for every occasion, these simple contraptions offer a few features unmatched by other joint-rolling methods.

Pros of Joint Rolling Machines

While they may not showcase your ability to hand-roll a joint, joint rolling machines can get the job done quickly and efficiently under most circumstances. Here are some other top features of joint rolling machines:


Hand-rolling more than a few joints can take a considerable amount of time. Joint rolling machines put out a joint in under a minute; about 20-30 seconds if you’re adept. It is by far the most efficient method outside of using industrial, specialized equipment to load multiple joints. If you want to try to skip the rolling altogether and opt for pre-formed cones, anyone who’s worked in a dispensary will attest, hand-filling cones is tedious work.

Many hand-rollers still appreciate the speed of a good joint machine, reserving hand-rolling for times of relaxation and enjoyment; machines are for quick and necessary demands. When you need a lot of jays in a hurry, a rolling machine is a good option.

Ease of Use

Joint rolling machines are incredibly easy to use, with simple instructions. There are few moving parts, most are quite durable, and require only minimal fine motor skills (which can be an issue for consumers with disabilities).

For those that haven’t mastered hand-rolling (or even ventured into it), joint rolling machines allow almost anyone to roll a joint with minimal time and energy invested.

It’s the first and easiest step to stop relying on others (be it more costly jays at a dispensary or bugging a friend), and allows you to take command of your cannabis consumption. Beside, sometimes after a long day, it’s just easier to let the machine get it.


If you’re new to hand-rolling, your jays might not be the most dependable cannabis delivery method. With a machine, you’ll know what to expect every time. While many mean it as a put-down, the “training wheels” description has some merit to it. Hand-rolling takes practice, so in the meantime, you’ll have something to fall back on. If you’re still getting up to speed and don’t have time, product, or papers to risk, consider a roller.

Inconspicuous and Standard Dosing

Although cannabis is gaining international acceptance, many still attach a stigma to bigger joints. The clean, uniform, cigarette-like appearance that joint rolling machines produce is simply easier to blend-in in social settings, and closer to what non-smokers are used to seeing consumed. The standard 1¼ inch size is a manageable dose on the go that’s less likely to attract gawkers (though the smell still might).

Cons of Joint Rolling Machines

As with anything in life, there are several cons to weigh in when determining if you want to use a joint rolling machine. At the end of the day though, none of the following aspects are detrimental to your cannabis consumption experiences. However, they are things that should be considered if you’re new to joint rolling and want to learn about all your options thoroughly. Take a look at some of the most common complaints surrounding joint rolling machines:

Bad Machines Make Bad Joints.

We highly suspect that most people against joint rolling machines have either never used one, or only used poorly made ones, and poorly made joint rollers are everywhere, so it’s a decent guess. The key element to a joint roller is the rolling sheath. These can vary in material from high-quality synthetics to old-fashioned vinyl. The vinyl ones, while cheap and readily found, tend to roll joints unevenly or too tight. You’re left with a joint prone to canoeing and tough to draw; ultimately, less desirable to smoke.

Another thing to look for is that some cheaper joint rollers have a loose close, with a tendency to spring open if packed too tight. They’ll sending flower flying if you even look at them wrong. Look for a firm close, but not too tight. A roller should be able to sit closed with product in it without you holding it clasped, but still roll freely.

All machines take a little trial and error to find the right fill amount, but if your joint roller is constantly making bad jays and flinging product at you, it’s worthwhile to ditch it for a better one. Joint rolling machines are fairly cheap, so if you buy one you don’t like, at worst, you’re out $6-8.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

While joint rolling machines are consistent, they are also inflexible. Beyond a small amount of variation, the machines will require a set amount of cannabis each time. Many smokers adjust the size of their joints to whatever the intended occasion calls for – a big fatty for social occasions, or a pinner for a quick lift, etc.

Rolling machines typically come in two standard sizes, a 1¼” cigarette-sized standard, and 5” or “blunt”-sized. There are a few other non-standard sizes, like king size, so be sure to check that the roller you’re purchasing matches the size of your desired papers.

Hand rollers can fit an impressive amount of flower in a standard joint paper, or almost nothing. As you progress in your pursuit of joint smoking, it’s likely that this one-size-fits-all won’t always cut it. If you don’t desire the size or shape that that machine makes, you’re out of luck.

The Stigma

People like to gate-keep the weirdest things. Some cannabis enthusiasts deride those who can’t or don’t hand-roll. Sure, hand-rolling is a useful and enjoyable skill for any smoker to acquire, but it’s in no way necessary. It’s possible, even probable, that some snob will make a comment about a machine-rolled joint. If someone makes fun of your joint, feel free to not share with them.

Wrapping It All Up

Finding a quality joint rolling machine can sometimes be a bit of a mission depending on what head shops you have access to. To this writer’s experience, OCB makes the best widely available rollers on the market. They have a smooth action, churn out quality jays, and the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) sheaths can last a few years on daily use. There are products to be found above the OCB standard, but they are more difficult to come by for the typicall consumer. The disdain that the common cannabis smoker has for joint rollers is uncalled for. For making a quick jay, few things work better.

Are rolling machines useful or just lame? Weigh in below with your own joint rolling experiences.

Matt Mongelia holds an MFA in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has worked in the cannabis industry in various roles for 4 years, from dispensaries, production and retail to events, content and marketing. He is a writer for the comic Dark Beach, and has previously covered music and cultural content for SOL REPUBLIC.

Joint rolling machines are great tools for beginners or veterans alike. Learn more about the pros and cons of joint rolling machines and how they stack up to hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes.

Types of Kinematic Joints in the Design of Machines

Joints are most important part of a mechanism. The resultant motion on operating a mechanism is determined by the kinematic joints connecting the members of the mechanism. The kinematic joints allow motion in some directions and constrain it in others. The types of motions allowed and constrained are related to the degrees of freedom of a joint. Read more about Degrees of Freedom (dof).


Basically the Kinematic Joints are classified into two categories based on the type of contact between the two members making a joint. It can be point, line or area contact.

Lower pair joint.

Higher pair joint.

But a third category of kinematic joint can also be created which is comprised of the joints formed by combination of two or more lower and/or higher pair joints. Such joints are termed as Compound Joints.

3. Compound Joints.

Lower Pair Joints

The two members forming a lower pair joint have area contact between the two mating surfaces. The contact stress is thus small for lower pair joint as compared to higher pair joints. Lower pair joints have long service life as the wear and stress is spread over larger surface area of contact and also allows for better lubrication. The degrees of freedom for a lower pair of joint is usually less as the requirement for area contact between the members constrains the geometry of the joint.

Examples of Lower Pair Joints

1. Revolute/Hinge Joint, 1 DoF

2. Prismatic/Slider Joint, 1 DoF

3. Srew/Helical Joint, 1 DoF

4. Cylindrical Joint, 2 DoF

5. Spherical/Ball Joint, 3 DoF

6. Planar Joint, 3 DoF

Higher Pair Joints

The contact between the two members of higher pair has point or line geometry. The contact stress for a higher pair joint is large because of very small contact area. If there is pure rolling contact between the members then at any point of time the contact point or line is at rest. There is no relative sliding between the contact surfaces and thus friction and wear will be negligible. The degrees of freedom for a higher pair of joint can be high as the point or line contact allows for less constrained motion of members.

Examples of Higher Pair Joints

1. Cylindrical roller, 1 DoF

2. Cam pair 2 DoF

Compound Joints

Lower pair and/or higher pair joints are combined as per the design requirement to obtain compound joints. Compound joints composed of higher pair joints can be kinematically equivalent to lower pair joints or vice verse. By such combinations desirable features from the combining joints are retained to obtain robust joints.

Examples of Compound Joints

Ball or Roller Bearings: The actual members in contact are balls or rollers with the inner and outer race. These are rolling contact which is a higher pair. But the overall joint has the motion geometry of revolute joint, a lower pair. A ball bearing has low friction properties of rolling contacts and higher load capacity of revolute joints. Ball or Roller Bearings are kinematically equivalent to simple revolute joint.

Universal of Hooke Joint: It is a combination of revolute joints and has two degrees of freedom.

This post is part of the series: Kinematics – Design of Mechanisms

Machines as simple as livers, machines such as James Watt’s steam engine and the industrial robots such as PUMA all are composed of mechanisms whether simple, complex or combination of many simple and complex mechanisms. These mechanisms are governed by Kinematics – the study of geometry and motion.

The moving parts of a machine are all connected through Kinematic Joints, making them a very important part of design. There are several different types of joints, including Revolute, Cylindrical, Spherical, Cam, Ball Bearing, Universal and Hooke Joints.