Metal spinning – also called spin forming– is a metalworking process by which high-performance, axially symmetric parts are created. Unlike other metal forming processes that cut and remove material to produce a desired shape, metal spinning transforms a metal disc or tube by rotating the disc or tube and forming it to a mandrel, clamping it on a horizontal or vertical lathe, and producing a conical, toroidal, or other round shape. The process can be performed either hot or cold, depending on the particular material to be spun.
The metal spinning process is achieved through either automatic CNC spinning or manual hand spinning. The most suitable metal spinning type is chosen with consideration to the production volume and the required intricacy of resulting parts.
Advantages of Metal Spinning
Metal spinning offers a range of advantages to those looking for a very versatile, streamlined process, including:
- Lower Costs
Compared to the tools employed in alternative forming methods, metal spinning tools are typically 10% of the cost.
- Shorter Lead Times
The metal spinning process amounts to significantly shorter turnaround times – tools and spun components can be available within weeks rather than months.
- Maximum Design Flexibility
Metal spinning tools can be quickly and easily changed to accommodate evolving product designs, enabling flexibility when it’s needed most.
- Seamless, High-Quality Construction
Metal spinning produces smooth, durable objects without seams or welds, for parts require feature superior strength and great aesthetics.
Metal spinning is compatible with a wide range of metals that each yield a unique set of advantages. The intended application and project requirements influence material selection. Several common metal spinning materials include:
- Stainless Steel
The highly corrosion- and heat-resistant properties and excellent strength-to-weight ratios of stainless steel – particularly the 300 and 400 series – make it one of the most common materials used in metal spinning, and an ideal choice for industrial parts and equipment, cookware, high-precision instruments, decorative parts, and more. Stainless steel is easy to fabricate and one of the most cost-effective metals available.
- Carbon Steel
Carbon steel is a very popular choice for rigid parts, and it is easy to paint and coat. It does not possess a minimum requirement for chromium, nickel, titanium, tungsten, molybdenum, and other elements. The more carbon that is added, the greater the durability of the resulting material. When used in metal spinning, both cold rolled and hot rolled carbon steel are compatible – hot rolled tends to be more malleable and flexible. Metal spinning carbon steel results in strong, uniform, and cost-effective products that are also fully recyclable.
When product weight and costs are primary considerations when selecting a material, the inherent properties of aluminum make it an ideal choice. Its remarkably low density, malleability, and strong corrosion resistance are applicable within the construction, transportation, and aerospace industries. 2000, 3000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 series aluminum are all commonly spun.
Copper, a non-magnetic metal, makes for both solid and aesthetically pleasing metal spun parts – perfect for applications that require functionality, beauty, or a great balance of the two. Its resistance to tarnishing and corrosion, along with its high ductility and workability, make it a prime choice for metal spinning. Additionally, copper has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as natural antimicrobial properties.
Other metals that can be used in metal spinning:
Inconel – also known as high-strength steel – contains iron and chromium (with a higher ratio of chromium). As there are various series of Inconel alloys, the most suitable type must be chosen according to the application’s requirements. High strength, superior corrosion and oxidation resistance, and its resilience in high heat and high pressure environments are distinctive Inconel qualities.
An exotic metal alloy that is highly corrosion resistant, hastelloy performs very well in high-stress environments that other traditional metals may not be able to withstand. Hastelloy is composed of varying ratios of more than 22 elements, including but not limited to chromium, iron, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, and manganese.
Similarly to aluminum, titanium features an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, low density, and great corrosion resistance. Its tensile strength is often better than that of steel, albeit at typically higher costs. Titanium’s durability and light weight are employed towards aerospace parts and applications that depend on consistent, long-lasting performance.
Hailed for its aesthetic value and mechanical strength, bronze is another highly corrosion-resistant metal used in metal spinning. Bronze, a metal about 10% heavier than steel, is packed with a unique set of characteristics owing to its combination of alloys – copper and tin. Applications that require higher material strength than copper alone may benefit from the durable properties of bronze. It is also known for its heat and electric conductivity, corrosion resistance, and ability to hold up against high temperatures and high friction. Bronze makes for seamless machining and welding.
Much of the thermal and electrical conductivity, workability, antimicrobial, and corrosion resistance properties of copper are also found in brass, an alloy typically made of copper and zinc. However, it is stronger than pure copper, and all variations of bronze offer malleability, ductility, and low friction. Aesthetic appeal is a notable appeal in choosing brass.
Metal Spinning Applications
Metal spinning presents a cost-effective, versatile opportunity for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, including:
- Aircraft components
- Food service equipment
- Architectural and Lighting
- Gas cylinders and pressure vessels
- Heavy industrial components for oil, con ag, and land vehicles
- Musical instruments
Metal Spinning Services & Tooling at Helander
Helander creates metal spun components tailored to the specifications provided by our clients. We spin parts as large as 60” inches between centers, and our machinery handle parts up to 100” inches in diameter. We can also accommodate a variety of material thicknesses, including:
- Stainless Steel .018” to .375”
- Carbon Steel .018” to .375”
- Aluminum .018″ to 2.00”
In addition to metal spinning, Helander also offers in-house tooling, welding, abrasive polishing and hydroforming, helping to drive down your costs and streamline production. Quicker turnaround times and lower costs are two of the most attractive advantages of metal spinning. The ability to form very thick components and large diameters with uniformity and high quality at low and high quantities, are more appealing reasons to consider metal spinning.
To find out if metal spinning would be beneficial for your application or end product, contact us today.
Up to 0.250" Stainless Steel
Up to 0.375" Carbon Steel
Up to 0.750" Aluminum
Manual (Hand Spinning)
Double Roller Shear forming
Tube End Closing (Hot Spinning)
Common Metal Types
1 to 50,000
Typical Delivery Time