The Metal Spinning Process
Metal Spinning is a forming process used to produce round hollow metal parts or shells. To produce a part, a sheet metal disc, or blank is spun on a lathe, while held against a spinning chuck, or mandrel, with a tailblock. As the disc rotates, spinning tools or rollers are used to push the down to the spinning chuck or mandrel. The material thickness of the finished part can be closely controlled, with reduction of 10% to 50%. Metal spinning is a low fixed cost, high variable cost process. Tooling and setup is relatively inexpensive, while production time will run from 5 to 15 minutes.
Metal spinning is the most cost effective way to produce prototypes, small quantity orders and for materials that are highly pliable such as O-tempered aluminum and lighter gage steel and stainless steel.
CNC Spinning is used for high quantity production where consistency is required and short runs of more difficult to spin materials.
Tooling for metal spinning consists of a spinning chuck or mandrel, a tailblock, rollers and a deburr block. The spinning chuck is generally shaped like the inside dimensions of the part to be produced. The chuck can be made from wood, synthetics, soft steel or heat treated tool steel depending upon the material of the part and the amount of pieces to be produced. Depending upon the shape of the part to be produced, multiple spinning tools and specialized rollers may be required.
Almost every metal that is available in sheet
form may be spun, including but not limited to:
More about the Metal Spinning Process
What is Metal Spinning?
Metal Spinning, also called Turning or Forming, is a process by which a disc of ductile metal is spun on a lathe to shape it into a desired form. Metal Spinning can be used to create nearly any shape that is symmetric about a common axis. The Metal Spinning process can range in complexity from a simple spun nose cone for an aircraft to a complex light fixture with many different radii. It can be used for an extremely wide variety of metals and the size is only limited by the equipment used. Our facility allows us to shape metals up to .187 inches thick with a maximum diameter of 104 inches within a tolerance of .002 inches. This allows for production of a virtually unlimited variety of parts and sizes.
The process of Metal Spinning is begun with the placing of a form on the lathe. A metal disc is then placed in the lathe and clamped against the form. The form and the disc are then spun at high speeds as a force is applied to the metal using a forming tool, shaping it to the profile of the form. These tools range from the basic spoon sometimes used on our hand spinning lathes, to the mechanized, rotating tools used on our CNC spinning machines. Rollers can be varied in size and material to allow for different shapes and finished surfaces. In addition, we have automated flanging capabilities and both hand and automated trimming tools allowing for an even wider variety of finished product options.
One of the major advantages of Metal Spinning is that multiple operations can often be performed in a single setup of the lathe. Another major advantage to the Metal Spinning process is that the designs of the parts being produced can be changed rapidly without retooling, which allows for faster and lower cost prototyping of parts as well as easing changes to production parts in rapid time when compared to the costs of changing a stamping, forging, or casting process. Metal Spinning also has the added advantage of lower materials cost when compared to a conventional lathe because the material is shaped rather than having material removed meaning there is far less wasted material.
Whatever your product needs are, the bottom line is this: if it has a radial axis, chances are very good that it can be created through Metal Spinning. Combine this with our six-axis laser cutting and other services, and your options are almost unlimited.
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