Metal spinning, sometimes called spin forming, has been around for centuries and can be traced back to an Egyptian Pharaoh’s tomb. Fascinating – but what is it? What the Egyptians accomplished with manually operated lathes, the Industrial Revolution motorized and gave birth to new possibilities.
What Is Metal Spinning?
The metalworking process known as “metal spinning” goes by many different names, such as spin forming, metal forming, metal turning, CNC metal spinning, or just “spinning.”
Metal spinning is a process whereby a sheet of metal, cut into a flat metal disc, or blank, is formed into different symmetrical rounded shapes through spinning it around a mandrel. A mandrel is a shaft or spindle in a spinning lathe or a CNC spinning metal lathe to form the metal disc’s desired metal parts.
The most common shapes produced from the metal spinning process are:
- Conical (cone-shaped)
- Cylindrical (lid-shaped)
- Flanged; flanged and flued; or flanged, dished, and flued
- Hemispherical (half of a sphere)
- Parabolic (bell-shaped)
- Toroidal (donut-shaped)
- Venturi (hourglass-shaped)
We use many different porous metals to achieve these desired shapes through metal spinning. Common materials include steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and brass. High-strength and high-temperature alloys, such as Hastelloy and titanium, are also becoming more popular, creating more durable metal parts.
Metal spinning produces parts that touch almost every part of your life. We use these in roofing, commercial lighting, satellite dishes, cooking pots and pans, and even funeral urns.
Alternatives To Metal Spinning
Alternatives to metal spinning include hydroforming, stamping, and deep drawn stamping.
While these alternatives can form many of the same shapes as metal spinning, the processes are very different. For starters, these other options all use different methods to craft the metal into the shapes using negative shapes.
Hydroforming uses high-pressure hydraulic fluid to press the metal into a negative form to achieve the desired metal parts.
Stamping and deep drawn stamping use forced pressure to create the shapes by pushing the metal disc into a negative space.
Metal spinning is the only one that uses “positive space” to craft the shape around a piece to achieve the desired result.
Advantages Of Metal Spinning
Metal spinning is one of the most cost-effective methods of forming metal shapes for small-volume and large-volume production. This cost-effectiveness is the highest reason that it’s so popular.
What other advantages does metal spinning offer over its alternatives?
Less machining and finishing needed to finish the job
Because of the high spinning rate needed to form the desired shape, less machining is needed after the part is formed with the CNC lathe. Metal parts finish smoother, and the need for these extra finishing tools is reduced.
Your company can also get set up for metal spinning much more quickly than the alternatives you’ve already read about. Because of this, lead times are reduced.
Maximum design flexibility and more versatility for changes
If you need a design change, it can be made much more quickly with the metal spinning process. This flexibility cuts out “downtime” for your project, should a change need to be made. This is also why metal spinning is perfect for prototyping and small-volume and large-volume production runs.
More uniform finished products
Metalworkers who create parts through the metal spinning process often cite that they have much more control over the finished product, including the finished piece’s thickness.
Finally, because of how the metal is spun, waste is reduced. This also makes metal spinning much more eco-friendly than the other methods you have read about above. In some cases, you can even use recycled materials as the “blanks” for your metal parts.
Higher quality parts
Because of the process of metal spinning, parts are formed without any seams. This seamlessness means that these parts are less likely to “break apart” under high-stress conditions.
What Industries Benefit From Your Metal Spinning Process?
Metal spinning parts touch almost every industry in the world.
Common industries, though, include:
- Aeronautics and Aerospace
- Agricultural & Farming Equipment
- Appliances & Appliance Manufacturing
- Architectural, Building, & Construction
- Bulk Solid Handling & Supply Chain Logistics
- Chemical Processing
- Commercial Lighting
- Commercial Vehicles
- Food Processing
- Food Service
- HVAC, Air Filtration, & Air Handling
- Industrial Machinery
- Material Handling
- Pollution Control
- Recreational equipment
- Retail Fixtures
- Safety Products
No matter what industry you are in, however, Glenn Metalcraft is the expert when it comes to precision heavy gauge metal spinning. Contact us about your OEM project today. We answer inquiries for RFPs/RFQs within 48 hours or 2 business days.