Metal spinning is a unique manufacturing process that has been around for centuries. Moreover, the method is versatile and cost-effective for creating various metal objects. From decorative items to industrial components – the options are endless.
A report by MarketWatch highlights the uses of metal spinning in various industries, including aerospace, energy, automotive, and industrial applications. The high-speed manufacturing of great quality parts and prototypes drives its use in these markets.
To find out more about metal spinning, how it works, and its benefits, keep reading and exploring here:
What Is Metal Spinning?
Metal spinning is a process that involves shaping a flat sheet or disc of metal into a three-dimensional object. A spinning lathe, which rotates the metal at high speeds, turns it, while a skilled metal spinner uses various tools to shape it.
The result is a seamless, symmetrical, and high-quality metal product. Below are some of the most common industries using this metalwork style:
- Vehicle parts
- Gas cylinders or bottles
- Satellite communication dishes
- Lighting – home and industrial
- Musical instruments
But how do they get the metal into these shapes? You may need to know how the entire metal spinning process works to understand this.
How Does Metal Spinning Work?
The metal spinning process begins with a flat sheet or disc of metal that workers load onto a lathe. They then clamp the metal down securely and rotate it at high speeds. An experienced metal spinner then uses various tools, including a hand-held device called a spoon and a metal bar called a mandrel, to shape the metal.
The spinner applies pressure and pushes the metal against the mandrel, stretching and shaping it into various forms or shapes. The metal spinning process requires high skill and precision to ensure the final product is symmetrical and defect-free.
However, there are many different types of metal spinning, including the following:
- Conventional metal spinning
- Hot spinning
- Adjustment spinning
- Sine Law spinning
- Shear spinning
- Tube spinning
Each of these types produces a different product. The choice of style may rely on the metal material used for the project.
Metal Spinning Materials
The type of metal used for metal spinning depends on the application and the desired properties of the final product. Additionally, the spinner chooses the material by considering the following aspects of their project:
- The Material’s Tensile Strength: Referring to the amount of tension the metal can withstand under pressure before it breaks, it may make a difference to the lifespan of the finished item.
- The Material’s Heat-treating Capabilities: Metals are usually alloys, meaning they are a mixture of metal elements. Not all of them will react well after heat exposure, causing some to become brittle or bend and break. If so, the project may require cold forming that doesn’t generate excess heat.
- The Purpose of the Final Product: Some metals are softer, while others are more robust. Depending on the client’s use of their products, the spinner decides on the best material fit for that purpose.
- The Material’s Malleability: The size and shape of the project will also affect the type of material the spinner chooses. The spinner will find suitable materials to produce a viable product for their clients to work efficiently within the metal spinning process.
Whether they are creating lightweight components or decorative items, here are some of the materials most spinners will prefer:
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
Precious metals like gold and silver can also make for excellent metal spinning materials, even though they’re not the most popular.
Benefits Of Metal Spinning
Metal spinning offers several benefits over other metal fabrication methods like casting, stamping, hydroforming, or forging. It’s a cost-effective and versatile method for producing complex shapes and forms. Otherwise, it’s impossible to create some of these items.
Along with this benefit, there are other advantages of metal spinning listed below:
- The tools are more accessible and cost-effective to maintain and repair.
- The final products are durable and reliable.
- The setup of the tools for a project takes less time.
- The process produces fewer waste products.
- The altering of the final product costs less than other methods.
- There is no need for welding or joining processes.
Now that you know the advantages, it’s time to consider the drawbacks or limitations of the metal spinning process. These include the following:
- Completion may take longer than other methods.
- Manual operations could produce minor inconsistencies.
- Skill levels differ between metal spinners.
- The process is limited to axially symmetrical shapes.
- Defects are challenging to repair or change.
- It may be a dangerous method for workers to use.
Manufacturers nowadays counter most of the drawbacks by using technological advances. Instead of employing a metal spinner to complete the work by hand, they oversee the process while machinery completes the projects.
By shaping flat sheets or discs of metal into complex three-dimensional forms, skilled metal spinners can create various metal objects. Metal spinning may be the perfect solution if you need high-quality metal components, among other items.
If you opt for metal spinning for your project, having the right tools is crucial. A lathe machine is a fundamental tool used in metal spinning, enabling precise and controlled shaping of the metal. Lathe machines are versatile and can handle various sizes and shapes of metal workpieces, providing efficient and accurate results. With a skilled metal spinner using a lathe machine, you can achieve the intricate and customized metal components required for your project.
After considering all the information in this article, including the use of a lathe machine, it may be easier to decide whether metal spinning is the right choice for your next project. With the capabilities and expertise of metal spinners and their tools like the lathe machine, you can bring your creative metal designs to life and fulfill your project requirements with excellence.