No announcement yet.

Tried my hand at spinning (semi success)

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Tried my hand at spinning (semi success)

    Well with my ongoing surch for a way to make copper cones I tried spinning. It was a semi success. This was the first time I ever tried it. I hammered a tool out of some ¾ sucker rod it’s some good steel. I let it cool slow and it gave me long sparks with the grinder about 3’ long. I used a grinder and file to shape the modified (duck bill, sheep’s nose) tool. Then reheated to bright red and water quenched. Now with the grinder I got 3” sparks. I eyeballed an anneal and was able to lightly cut it with a file. The copper I used was whatever they had at the scrap yard some 2 ½ DWV pipe. I heated and water quenched it to soften. I don’t think the copper pipe got as soft as the water pipe I have annealed before. Douse anyone know if DWV copper pipe is the same alloy as water pipe copper?

  • #2
    That is a lot of metal to move. The tear is probably telling you that is work hardened and needs to be annealed again. I think the people making brass instruments lay out the cone as a flat pattern and roll it around and silver solder the joint and then finish spin the part.
    You have so much material to move, if you could spin it, the cone would be twice the length of your mandrel. If it did not get longer, it would have to get thicker.

    I only tried spinning once and that was a scary operation. I blew pieces of aluminum all over the shop. I had some 24 inch diameter tables spun out of steel. They put on a 1/2 inch radius by 180 degree rolled edge including furnishing the material for less money than I could buy the material.


    • #3
      You are on the right track!

      When I worked for Spinco back in the day (long before this job...) I used to anneal copper parts in between operations.

      This was an interesting thing to do, at least to me. I had a long chain belt that I put nests, mandrils and other work-holders on.

      It ran between six multi-port gas jets. I'd get the chain moving dead slow, and load parts on to the fixtures.... then set the speed so that by the time the parts reached the end of the burners it would be a radiant orange color.

      Then I'd grab the part with nothing more than needle-nose pliers and toss them into a tank of 50degree F water. KER-WOOOOOOOOOOM.

      ...after that I'd take baskets of parts and dip them in nitric to clean them up. Nitric, nitric, cold running water, cold running water, cold running water then dip in BOILING HOT WATER for 60 seconds to allow them to heat up... then pull them out and they flash dry with no spots.

      Perhaps there is something you can use in all this? It's been a long time since I worked there. I don't recall any of the other details other than "radiant orange" color for the anneal.
      Last edited by Grind Hard; 12-04-2011, 09:13 PM.
      "The Administration does not support blowing up planets." --- Finally some SENSIBLE policy from the Gov!


      • #4
        It looks to me like you are pulling the metal up at too sharp of an angle. You really need to get the metal out over the mandrel before starting to pull it up to the mandrel. By not doing so you are thinning the metal and causing it to tear. Imagine the entire disk angled over the mandrel at about 45 degrees and then starting to pull it up and seat it to the form. What gauge of copper disc are you using?

        There are some great DVD video tutorials available for purchase at These videos helped me to develop a line of pewter cups that I sell in my studio. It took me awhile to understand the forces involved and how to prevent thinning and tearing of the metal.


        • #5
          Process has always had a "pull" for me too, it just appeals to me for some reason...on the "to do" list.
          Anyway, this

          pretty much describes what I think has happened but also gives ideas and is quite good on the whole process.

          Somewhere in the ocean of threads around here, there was one that linked to a good set of videos, tutorials and IIRC and opportunity to go to class (a 3 day weekend?) but I can't find it with the way Google is constantly reconfiguring how it acts (its "learning" from past searches and its getting really annoying)

          Edit: typing too slow, that's the one, thanks Ken!
          Last edited by RussZHC; 12-04-2011, 10:14 PM.


          • #6
            Thanks for the helpful words so far. I think the DWV copper has a wall thickness of .042. I was wondering about how to collapse the disk around the mandrel. I have enough copper for 3 more tries. I didn’t cut them up. I didn’t expect to get that far along that day. The disk is the diameter of a 1gal paint lid. At one point in the spinning it felt like butter and moved very easily. I think that is what I want. Of corse I couldn’t get to do that another time. I also need to make a dedicated toolpost.

            Ken thanks for the link. I might order some of their aluminum disks to practice with. How fast is there shipping?


            • #7
              I haven't ordered from him for several years now so not sure on shipping times. I had ordered around 100 disks aluminum disks to start with and he shipped them right away. If you have questions just give him a call, he is a very nice fellow and extremely knowledgeable.

              The 1100-0 aluminum disks spin really well, but you will still have to learn to bring the metal all of the way out over the form before pulling it up. The trick is you have to first seat it to the form, which kind of goes against what I am saying.

              This is why I could never learn to spin by reading about it. Visual is the way to go and his basic dvd shows how to spin the 5 basic shapes including the cone shape you are working on.

              I spoke with him on the phone once and he explained to me that it takes spinning a part about 100 times to really get the feel of it. That was some good advice for me. I still mess up some times and am preparing to watch his dvd again and study the fine points of his technique. Over time it is possible to pick up some bad habits.

              I would also suggest learning to safely use a back stick as you can learn to move metal a bit more aggressively without buckling and or thinning the metal unnecessarily.

              Ken Gastineau
              Gastineau Studio
              Berea, Kentucky


              • #8
                Since metal spinning is becoming popular again. The wood/pen turning supplier Penn industries has added a starter supplies and equipment.
                Pennstate ind metal site they have a free DVD by terry they have copper and aluminum disks that are better suited to turning.
                here is another guy's web site on spinning good stuff

                And you can rent terry's DVD's @ smartflix his vid's are the best.

                Anneal anneal during operations is a must. Along with lubing the disk, while doing the spinning operations.
                Here are some free books on metal spinning E books or PDF's well worth you time to read as not much has changed other than the names of the people doing it and automation
                internet archive metal spinning I have read them and they will help you overcome thinning the disks.

                As to the temper
                Copper tube is manufactured in two distinct “tempers” or strength and hardness. Drawn temper tube is “hard” tube, whereas annealed is “soft” tube. Hard tube is rigid like pipe while soft tube can be bent by hand.
                There are six standard types of copper tube:
                1. Type K (green), is the heaviest wall and is used in higher pressure applications;
                2. Type L (blue), has a medium wall and is used in mid-pressure applications;
                3. Type M (red), has a lighter wall that Type L and is used in low-pressure applications;
                4. DWV (for Drain Waste Vent, yellow), has the thinnest walled and used in drain, waste, vent applications with little to no pressure involved;
                5. ACR (for Air Conditioning/Refrigeration, blue) used primarily in HVAC/R applications;
                6. OXY/MED (blue, green) used for medical gas applications.

                • Type K, L, M, copper pipe is used for domestic water, fire protection, solar, fuel/fuel oil, HVAC, snow melting, compressed air, natural gas, LP gas, and vacuum systems.
                • DWV tube is used primarily in drain, waste, and vent, HVAC, and solar applications.
                • ACR tube is used in air conditioning, refrigeration, natural and LP gas, and compressed air systems.
                • OXY/MED tube is used to deliver medical gas, compressed medical air, and vacuum systems.
                Hope this helps.

                The color they are referring to is the color of the printing on the tube/pipe if I remember.
                Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only


                • #9

                  I love those old books, thanks for the link.

                  Ken Gastineau
                  Gastineau Studio
                  Berea, Kentucky


                  • #10
                    I haven't done spinning but I have done hammered copper work as well as other forming operations. Because copper work-hardens instantly on being moved even just a little it requires very frequent annealing. I would say there is no way you can spin that part without annealing it a number of times during the operation. You also want the least amount of metal that will make the shape.

                    When moving metal by any means the faster it is shaped the more ductile it is. Strain hardening takes a finite amount of time to happen. In particular, it takes place when the crystals stop sliding past each other. The more continuous the operation the better it forms.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                    • #11
                      I tried another one last night. I didn’t get as far but was trying to lay the disk down closer to the mandrel first. And spent some time polishing my tool and used lubricant this time. I used the stuff that comes in a cardboard tube for band saw blades seemed to work well.I think I’ll hold off on the copper and wait for the aluminum and videos to get hear.


                      • #12
                        And spent some time polishing my tool and used lubricant this time.
                        That explains why you didn't get very far.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                        • #13
                          After I posted that and reread it I knew I was going to catch hell. O Well it’s all fun and games tell some gets there tool caught in the lathe!!!


                          • #14
                            You will find that repeated annealings with copper( more is better) and that you need to take it down in steps if you have the disk dia figured out for the finished size. you move it down in sections as the videos will show. Just remember he was schooled in the old country way, and has been doing for the better part of his life he sure does make it look easy.
                            The historic mix for lube is beef tallow and wax applied with a dolly. Which is a rolled up section of denim or other soft weaved canvas material The cutting lube is more on the synthetic side but I have been told that it works.
                            So now you can be accused of polishing your tool, lubing it up and playing with a dolly!
                            Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                            I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                            All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only