Metal spinning services use a positive-pressure process where a rotating tool (lathe) or roller shapes a spinning sheet metal workpiece such as a pipe, camshaft, or crankshaft. Spinning is accomplished by affixing a preform or blank to a mandrel or chuck on the rotating member of a lathe. The tool used to form the sheet metal is called a spoon. Spoons can be automated (CNC spinning) or guided by a machinist (manual spinning).

Spun metal is used in many industries, including the aerospace and automotive sectors. Depending on the application, spin forming services process metals ranging from aluminum to zinc. When selecting a metal spinning service, customers need to consider the supplier’s material capabilities, primary and secondary services, and geographic locations.

Types of Metal Spinning

Metal spin formers use various methods to produce spun metal products.

  • Manual spinning involves a machinist who operates a lathe while the spoon forms the metal.
  • CNC spinning involves the use of computer-controlled machinery including a CNC lathe. It boasts ease of setting and operation and compatibility with modern processes
  • Flow forming services extrude preforms over a rotating anvil. Instead of a lathe, rollers are used to extrude the material.
  • Metal expanding services stress the inner surface of a cylindrical object with the spoon head. Internal flanging and external flanging are achieved with specialized tool heads or spoons that are used with a corresponding mandrel or chuck.
  • Necking is a process where the cross-sectional area of the formed product or shape is reduced through the exertion of tensional forces as the pre-from is stretched.
  • Reducing is accomplished by exerting compressional forces on the exterior surface of a preform by using a spoon or tool head.

Secondary Operations and Additional Services

Metal forming services may perform secondary operations such as welding, grinding, painting, and power coating. Companies may also offer assembly services, CAD and/or CAM support, design assistance, prototyping, and low-volume or high-volume production. Metal forming services may also be selected based on parameters such as diameter and thickness capacity and geographic location.