Metal Manipulation Basics: Metals Ideal for Spinning

Metal ShavingsMetal spinning is a highly efficient metal forming process that involves spinning a piece of metal at high speeds and applying controlled pressure to manipulate it into the desired shape. Also known as spin forming, this process allows the manufacturer to form metal into various shapes without using heat and without losing any material. This minimises overall product loss and saves time collecting metal shavings for recycling.

Metal spinners UK use this spin forming technique to produce a variety of different products, including hubs, vases, wheels and even musical instruments. Metal spinning is very similar in concept to clay pottery sculpting, only it uses metal instead of clay. The process, however, is limited to creating rounded objects.

Ductile Metals Only

Since the technique involves shaping metal by spinning, not all metals are suitable for spin forming. It requires the use of ductile metals. Ductility refers to a substance’s ability to withstand stress without breaking. It is different from malleability, which refers to the ability of metal to be formed into different shapes.

Metals that lend themselves well to the spinning process must be ductile – for example, gold is very malleable, but not particularly ductile. It breaks when under stress, which is why pure gold is not a suitable material for metal spinning.

Common Ductile Metals

There are several types of ductile metals that are commonly used for metal spinning. Brass, aluminium, and copper are some of the most common metals used with this technique.

As for steel, not all types of steel are suitable for spin forming. Depending on the type, it can be too brittle. Typically, harder types of steel, such as carbon steel, cannot be spun due to its hardness and brittleness.

Instead, it is better to use stainless steel or mild steel. Stainless steel is ductile because it is an alloy of several more malleable metals, which may include aluminium and chromium. On the other hand, mild steel only contains a small percentage of carbon, making it more ductile than carbon steel. 

There are many more types of metal that can be spin formed. Metal spinners must have an in depth understanding of the properties of a metal before attempting to use metal spinning techniques on them.