View Full Version : Spinning Machines

05-11-2003, 12:45 PM
I had build a small spinning machine a while back that really did well with light guage material over small forms, but burned up the motor. I am now getting all the parts together to make one that will easily accomidate 24" disks of 16 guage stainless/copper/etc. I found this link


in the process of looking for other self-build machines. Any other success/failure stories out there around home-made spinning machines?

www.exoticforms.com (http://www.exoticforms.com)

05-11-2003, 01:16 PM
Thanks,that looks about perfect for making velosity stacks. I haven't done any spinning yet. but i've been interested in .
Glad you didn't leave!

05-11-2003, 06:07 PM
Hey Rod, that guy has really taken some time to tell people about his machine. I don't know that the one I am trying to get together will be as pretty! I got the 2hp motor yesterday and hope to receive the other parts over the next couple weeks. I'll get pics of it up soon after.

05-11-2003, 11:56 PM
One thing that I have seen done is big old Turret lathes turned into bowl turning (Like 96" bowls) lathes - their mass and power would be great for metal spinning as well - and you can buy them cheap!

Just a suggestion.

Dr. Rob
05-12-2003, 01:41 AM
Hmmm...Spinning, huh? Mind if I ask you guys something? Honestly, man...

I've done some spinning; it should be part of everyone's repertoire. Not very advanced stuff, but I get it right sometimes. But for every job I get right, there must be like twice as many total write-offs.

So a while back, I was at the technical museum, where they have this display of a turn-of-the-century shop, with some old codger doing some absolutely fabulous spnning work, making incredibly fine stu....Heeey, hold on...go look in the guy's garbage can, and sure enough there's like a hundred ruined jobs in there!

So, is it just me, or does everyone have like a 50-50 success rate?

05-12-2003, 03:23 PM
DR Rob: I watched asian workers turn out spinnings that were acceptable one after the other. But they were all the same part. I understand they have a bunch of rejects until they get the proper set up.

Short answer is (i think) that the professionals have lots of scrap, just as you, then when it works they make money by doing the same thing every time. Apparently the lube used, the wood form etc can change by the day. More of an art than a craft. Remeber though, this was what we would call primative conditions.

05-12-2003, 03:48 PM
Dr. Rob:
Hey, everyone has their off days.

Barring those problems, initial setups can be trying - commercial sheet metal ops have very few screw-ups - after initial set up. Like most production shops there is always some scrap especially in the NON-cnc days. Once a good operator is used to the machine and the jobs screw-ups are rare for production - one-offs are another matter. Even with unique items scrap is usually used to "make sure" everything is dead nuts.

I used to make thousands of pieces in production and might have 5 screw-ups in press work - we did our own QC during production and adjusted for +/-.oo1" tolerance. Surprising enough, it is the small bits & pieces we made that they had the most screw-ups on.

When I was building custom electrical cabnetry there was very little room for error and the best people worked on those (no knuckleheads). I was fortunate to not have had any lemons myself - but I did screw up on production boxes - repetition & speed kills!

05-12-2003, 04:52 PM
Because my application thus far is purely artistic or decorative, super tight tolerance isn't a big issue for me. I was spinning little 6" tall cones over a wood form and 48 of 50 or so came out perfectly.

05-13-2003, 05:15 AM
96% is good for small quantities!

05-15-2003, 04:06 PM
I wonder what rollers would do instead of the lubed up sticks? I have a abundance of small rollers here from inline skate wheels to iron casters.
perhaps one on each side? Like a english wheel only faster?

05-15-2003, 04:33 PM
gypsie, I have sticks with both, steel rollers and the hardest grade roller blade wheels i could get. They are both about 2 inches in diameter. It depends on the form and the material as to which works best. For 16ga coppper i use the nylon wheel.

05-15-2003, 08:23 PM
Ohh by the way, I am a artist too.. Tattoos are the most challenging art there is. A canvas that moves.
I also work with metal, tubing and sheet. I got a good design for a english wheel frame if you want it. I am working on a shaper-power hammer also for rapid shaping.
Never done spinning, I wish you would post pictures.
my toys are at =====================> http://www.alltel.net/~decofer

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 05-15-2003).]

05-16-2003, 04:39 AM
Steel rollers provide the most working pressure and a better finish - make one up and try it!

05-16-2003, 09:46 AM
Could I use my metal lathe for spinning? What do the tools look like with the rollers? Anyone have some pics to show? I'm also intersted in doing velocity stacks. I already have to many machines in my shop so another machine would be out of the question, but I do have one big hendey lathe that does almost everything else I need it to do http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

05-16-2003, 11:54 AM
There was a series on spinning not too long ago in HSM. Click on the Home Shop Machinist and Machinist Workshop at the bottom of the page and then use the search at the home page to find the articles. The back issues are still available if you are not a subscriber.

[This message has been edited by yf (edited 05-16-2003).]

05-16-2003, 07:38 PM
If you have a heavy wood lathe it would be better suited to metal spinning.

Lindsay Publications has a small book on spinning and in the book they do use a heavy old metal lathe and adapt it to spinning.


05-16-2003, 09:25 PM
If you would buy some of the sponsor of this BBS' magazines, you would have seen the series recently in HSM. It covered the equipment, methods and machines very nicely.
The author bought a new Harbor Freight 3 in 1 machine and converted it to a spinning lathe. In the process, he scrapped part of the lathe and the milling attachment. Tells you his opinion of these machines.

05-17-2003, 11:41 AM

I don't know by your reply who you are directing your post, but I have every issue of the Homeshop Machinist Magazine ever printed from the very first one.

However, they are buried away in boxes due to a recent relocation so I don't have ready access to them for reference.


05-17-2003, 01:53 PM
I had nobody in particular in mind, just a gentle nudge to remind folks that if some of the host's products were used, a wealth of information would become available to them.

07-09-2003, 04:16 AM
I spin virtually every day of the week - mostly copper on a 26" spinning lathe. Metal spinning can be done on a metal lathe. The biggest problems in doing so are that speed may be on the slow side and swing is often limited. Heavy duty wood lathes tend to have a more appropriate speed range. BTW - I'm the author of the HSM spinning series of last year. I chose the HF 3 in 1 because of:
1. the heavy castings
2. tapered roller bearings which can take speed and stresses
3. flat topped carriage for mounting the toolrest base
4. short lathe bed
5. price

I utilize both roller tools and drag tools in my spinnings. When using rollers, I will often go over the rough texture left by the roller tools with drag tools to improve the finish. This saves much time if the item is to be polished.

The amount of waste is variable. When set up for a specific job and the appropriate circle size/thickness are determined, there will be very few "mistakes". Mistakes cost in both time and materials are are to be avoided. Experience is the best way to avoid mistakes.

07-09-2003, 10:34 AM
We investigated using spun dishes as a starting point for a product a few years ago. I was interested in stuff around 6 ft. in diameter. I called a few places and found a division of Lodge and Shipley that built CNC spinning machines and another company that did large parts. I asked about size capacity and found they could do about 8 feet diameters with no problem. I was interested in aluminum but asked about other materials and about thickness. I was told they could do 2 inch thick stainless steel up to 8 ft. in diameter. I got some pictures in their literature showing a large red hot part being spun on a giant spinning machine. We finally decided on another approach. A few years later I saw several 3-4 foot diameter capacity spinning machines with a lot of rollers and other tooling get sold to a scrap dealer for a few hundred dollars at an auction of an aircraft plant. I would have liked to have one of the machines but they were very heavy and big items as for as floor space. Sure hated to see them scraped. I suspect that a heavy wood lathe is the best machine for small spinning for the speed and swing reasons. I have seen sections in high school wood working text books dealing with spinning on wood lathes. I think Powermatic and Rockwell sell or used to sell rollers, rests and other spinning tools in their catalogs for wood lathes.

10-01-2003, 04:15 AM
For those of you who are interested in such things...
After three years of work on it, my CD-ROM on metal spinning is completed
and shipping.
You may see additional info on it at:
Thanks for the interest.
James P. Riser

10-01-2003, 04:27 PM
I purchased the CD from Jim Riser. I haven't had a chance to review all the material yet (lots of great stuff here) but it is terrific information and well worth the price (IMHO).