What's a Scroller?

A compact, rolling color changer.

Rolling Color changers started in a garage

Forty years ago, there were no Scrolling Color Changers until we invented the category. After we built the machine we then had to build the first gelstring. We went to the Norcostco store in Dallas and bought several sheets of gel. We brought 'em home, cut some rectangles and taped them together. Easy, no? For making the first one that's the way to do it. Half a million gelstrings later we have learned a few tricks.

Scrollers go Mainstream

Scrollers are now available in lots of sizes from many different manufacturers. They vary in approach but all use the original idea of 2 rollers and a motor to drive them. The gelstring runs between the rollers and can be positioned to give you the choice of colors. The gelstrings can have a variable number of frames. The typical number is between 12-32, and attaching them to the rollers can be simple like tape or complex mechanical gizmos. Each size of scroller has a different height and width for the gel frames.


We make Gelstrings for every Scroller.

A simple concept, very difficult to do.

Just like the machines look simple, the gelstring is also deceptively simple. In real life many challenges enter into building the string. Below is a quick look at a couple of them.

Racks of Gel Rolls

Raw Materials

Gelstrings are typically made from colored plastic still called gel. The largest, most popular, brands are Lee Filters, Rosco Laboratories, GAM, and Apollo. Gel is the most costly component of a gelstring and so using the gel efficiently is important to keeping the price low. We have found that rolls versus sheets of gel give the best utilization of the material. We always keep lots in stock so we can make your strings without waiting for gel to arrive from the vendors.

Clear adhesive tape is used to connect the gel frames together to form the gelstring. Heat resistance and flexibility is important in the tape so don’t try to use 3M Magic Mending tape or the really thin packing tape.

Assembly, invented and then reinvented

Earlier, we told about the first gelstring ever made. That method was not very precise or repeatable. The highest priority for making great gelstrings is perfect straightness. This is so a string that may be up to 28 ’ long will roll up precisely on a small diameter roller. We invented a machine which will cut up to 32 feet absolutely laser straight. As a bonus, we can make 4 cuts simultaneously to really crank out the gelstrings. We use a precision ground steel pin for setting the height of the gel cuts. This eliminates errors in measuring.

Trimming the tape precisely is not optional for the string to roll noiselessly on the roller. If the tape is trimmed too short the untaped section can catch on the roller flange and make noise or tear the tape. If the tape is trimmed too long, it gathers dirt and hits the roller flange. The great thing about our process is the tape and gel are cut at the same time yielding a perfectly smooth joint.