Metal Spinning

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Metal Spinning: Hand Spun Cylindrical Metal Components

The metal spinning process starts with a flat sheet of material. This is laser cut into a circular form. Once this has been completed the “blank” or circular disk is loaded on to the spinning lathe. The “blank” is then secured against a “tool”. The tooling is what gives the end component the required shape. The tooling has been designed to the customer requirements from the drawing provided.

The “blank” then rotates in a circular motion at speed. The lathe operator, also known as a “metal spinner”, then applies pressure through a “roller” or spinning tool. The metal spinner will apply a series of passes over the “blank” to form the material over the tooling. The resulting part is a piece that duplicates the exterior portion of the tooling it was formed on.

Metal Spinning: The Process behind the Art

Metal Spinning which is commonly referred to as spin forming, spinning or metal turning is the process of which involves a disc or tube of a specific metal – i.e. steel or copper –  rotating at high speeds on machines known as a lathes. Here, they are formed into axially symmetric shapes. This means they are symmetrical around an axis and therefore their appearance looks unchanged around an angle, for example a plate looks the same when rotated around different angles.

The process of Metal Spinning can be performed by hand or a computer numerical control (CNC).  CNC Lathes are highly automated using Computer-Aided design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) programmes. This therefore produces a computer file to extract commands allowing the trialled machine to continuously spin under the watchful eye of a CNC specialist.