KRYTON Metals Blog

Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Hand Spinning vs. CNC Spinning

Metal spinning plays an essential role in CNC machining. That’s because it’s a metalworking process that combines speed, precision, and efficiency. So, many fab shops integrate CNC spinning or hand spinning to deliver accurate, cost-effective metal fabrication regardless of geometries. However, some CNC machine shops offer both.

So, what is CNC metal spinning and how is it different from hand spinning metals? While both are beneficial, they each have a unique list of pros and cons. Still, professional metallurgy can help modern manufacturers stay ahead of the competitive curve. And that’s why it’s important to understand the differences.


What Is Hand Spinning in Metal Fabrication?

Hand spinning is a metalworking process that involves high speeds and hands-on precision. First, machinists attach the workpiece of a vertical or horizontal lathe. Then they machine the part by hand using various tooling techniques.

While the workpiece spins, an operator can control the speed and forming force to create customized cuts. Experts also flex their intuition to manipulate structures through subtle hand movements. And many times, machinists can use one hand to shape the workpiece and the other one to apply lubricants or adjust the pressure.

DID YOU KNOW: Because hand spinning uses minimal automation, it allows for an infinite number of tailored designs.


The Pros and Cons of Hand Spinning Metal Parts

There are several advantages to hand spinning, especially for certain industries. However, hand spun metals may not be the most feasible option for all manufacturers. After all, you’re probably looking at longer lead times when you skip automation.

In some cases, hand spinning is more than just time-consuming. It can cost extra as well. Plus, it’s not always wise to use hand spun metals for high volume production, mass manufacturing, or large-scale production. On the contrary, hands-on metal spinning is ideal for branded products, prototypes, and one-of-a-kind parts.

FACT: Machinists may use some automation, but the primary focus is on detail instead of demand.


How Does CNC Spinning Work?

CNC spinning is sometimes called automatic spinning because it uses collaborative robotics (Co-Bots) to control workpieces and cutting tools. By eliminating operator error, automated spinning helps streamline production and generate easily repeatable designs. Thus, it’s a trending service at advanced metal fabrication facilities around the globe.

Machine operators program the Co-Bot computer using intuitive software and intelligent inputs. Then, the rig automatically executes commands using predetermined tooling methodologies. So, experts can decide the lengths and depths of cuts, but they can’t correct mistakes mid-production like they can with hand spinning.

DID YOU KNOW: Countless industries rely on CNC spinning to craft identical parts for mass production using ISO certified methods.


The Pros and Cons of CNC Spinning Technology

Automatic spinning technologies help manufacturers in several ways. For one, the machines can save project specifications for later use. Plus, operators can transfer computerized design data from one rig to another. So, by default, CNC spinning helps metal fabricators run efficiently.

It’s also easy for experts to refine blueprints before progressive runs when they use automated metal spinning. However, the downside is that operators must understand the many intricacies of metallurgy while controlling machines and programming software at the same time.

FACT: You might be able to achieve tighter tolerances with machine-assisted tooling.


Hand Spinning or CNC Spinning: Which One Is Better?

Both metalworking processes have their benefits and drawbacks. For example, hand spinning is great for intimate designs and small batch orders. But it’s not the best for large scale production where identical parts are crucial. And CNC spinning makes the most sense of mass manufacturing, but it may not be ideal for projects that require great attention to detail.

Either way, try to work with a combo-spinning facility to keep the competitive edge at your fingertips. You can benefit from CNC spinning and hand spinning without having to choose one or the other. Remember, individual craftsmanship isn’t dead despite computerized advancements. However, automated metal fabrication is one of the biggest trends in CNC machining. So, take advantage of both.


Make the Metalworking Process Your Ally

Machining professionals have many options, with either CNC spinning or hand spinning on the table. And while neither are perfect metalworking processes, both provide numerous advantages to the shops and clients who use them. Meanwhile, some projects call for even more creative collaboration.

That’s why KRYTON Engineered Metals keeps CNC spinning and hand spinning on the books together. Many clients want to begin with automated spinning then end with hands-on detailing. Whatever the case, our experts can determine the most cost-effective approach regardless of the lead times, tolerances, or materials. Plus, we offer specialized metal manufacturing services for a wide range of industry sectors to help keep the American economy strong.

Contact a metal processing pro at KRYTON to receive more information or to get started.

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