Manual and CNC lathes are a fixture in practically every machine shop or metal fabrication facility. In most cases, their function is to remove material and produce round parts using the dimensions and tolerances from a drawing.
However, there is another method for achieving axially symmetrical parts without removing or stripping away any metal: it’s called metal spinning. Sometimes referred to as spin forming, metal spinning deforms a flat sheet of metal over a pre-shaped mandrel without cutting or heating the material. And with steel costs on the rise, it makes sense not to waste any of it by turning it into chips.
Metal spinning works with any ductile metal, including carbon steel, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and even titanium. While the process was once used exclusively for prototyping and low-quantity runs, CNC technology has made it possible to manufacture parts in high quantities.
Since metal spinning is a unique process that might not be as well known throughout the metal fabrication community, the following example may help:
Metal spinning offers significant benefits, not the least of which is its ease of use. Because it is a cold-working process requiring no heating of the metal as it is reshaped, it’s simpler and safer than other processes.
Another advantage occurs as the metal is deformed. Metal spinning tends to compress the material, often making the spun metal stronger than it was before. As the metal is exposed to the rotational force of the lathe, the compression increases its tensile strength and provides a high-performance finished product.
Other benefits include:
Metal spinning offers an economical and versatile method for an assortment of commercial and industrial applications, including:
Metal spinning lathes typically fall into three broad categories: manual, power-assisted, and automatic.
There are also four operations associated with metal spinning. These include: