What is Metal Spinning Process

What is metal spinning process
What is metal spinning process

The metal spinning process is a technique for shaping sheet metal into hollow, rotationally symmetrical parts. It’s a versatile and cost-effective method for creating a wide range of products, from simple cones to complex rocket nose cones. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps involved:

Metal spinning

  • Material Selection: The first step involves choosing the right sheet metal for the job. Common options include aluminum, steel, copper, and brass. Each metal has its own working properties like hardness and formability, which influence how it will respond to shaping.
  • Mandrel Selection: A mandrel with the desired final shape is chosen. Mandrels are typically made from steel or wood and precisely replicate the form the metal sheet will take.
  • Sheet Metal Cutting: A flat sheet of metal is cut to a size slightly larger than the final product to account for material maneuvering and trimming.
  1. Machine Setup:
  • The metal sheet is securely clamped onto the mandrel on the metal spinning lathe.
  • The appropriate spinning tool, usually a roller with a specific profile, is mounted on the tool rest.
  1. Shaping:
  • The lathe spins the mandrel and metal sheet together at high speed.
  • The operator guides the spinning tool along the length of the mandrel, applying controlled pressure to progressively shape the sheet metal. This pressure causes plastic deformation in the metal, essentially stretching the outer areas and compressing the inner regions to conform to the mandrel’s shape.
  • Skilled metal spinners use multiple passes with the tool, strategically adjusting pressure to achieve the desired form without exceeding the metal’s capacity and causing cracks.
  1. Trimming and Finishing:
  • Once the shaping is complete, the excess metal around the edge of the formed piece is trimmed away.
  • The finished part may undergo additional processes like polishing or finishing depending on the desired outcome.

Metal Spinning Advantages:

  • Cost-Effective: Compared to other metal forming methods, spinning can be a relatively inexpensive way to produce high-quality parts, especially for short to medium production runs.
  • Complex Shapes: Spinning excels at creating intricate, rotationally symmetrical shapes that can be challenging with other techniques.
  • Material Versatility: The process can work with a variety of sheet metals, offering flexibility in material selection based on the application’s needs.
  • Fast Production: Metal spinning can be a relatively quick way to form parts, especially for simpler shapes.

Overall, the metal spinning process offers a balance between cost-effectiveness, versatility, and the ability to produce complex shapes. It’s a valuable technique for a wide range of metalworking applications.

Metal spinning, also known as spin forming or metal turning, is a metalworking process used to create axially symmetric parts. The metal spinning machine plays a critical role in this process, enabling the transformation of metal blanks into various shapes such as cones, cylinders, and hemispheres. This article explores the workings, components, advantages, and applications of metal spinning machines.

What is Metal Spinning?

What is Metal Spinning?
What is Metal Spinning?

Metal spinning is a manufacturing process in which a metal disc or tube is rotated at high speed and formed into a desired shape using localized pressure. This process is typically performed on a lathe, but specialized metal spinning machines are often used for industrial applications.

Components of a Metal Spinning Machine

  1. Lathe Bed: The base that supports the entire machine.
  2. Headstock: Houses the spindle and drive mechanism, which rotates the workpiece.
  3. Tailstock: Supports the other end of the workpiece and can be adjusted for length.
  4. Tool Post: Holds the forming tools that shape the metal.
  5. Forming Rollers: Tools that apply pressure to the spinning metal to shape it.
  6. Control System: Manages the speed, pressure, and movements of the machine.

How Metal Spinning Machines Work

  1. Setup: A metal blank is mounted onto the spindle and secured in place.
  2. Rotation: The spindle rotates the metal blank at high speed.
  3. Tool Application: Forming tools, typically rollers, are applied to the rotating metal blank, gradually shaping it against a pre-formed mold or mandrel.
  4. Shaping: The metal is stretched and compressed to conform to the shape of the mold.
  5. Finishing: The formed part is trimmed and finished as needed.

Advantages of Metal Spinning Machines

  1. Versatility: Capable of producing a wide range of shapes and sizes.
  2. Material Efficiency: Minimal waste compared to other metal forming processes.
  3. Cost-Effective: Lower tooling costs and shorter setup times.
  4. Strength and Quality: The process enhances the strength and grain structure of the metal.
  5. Customization: Easily adaptable for custom and short-run production.

Applications of Metal Spinning Machines

Metal spinning machines are used in various industries to produce parts such as:

  1. Automotive: Wheel rims, hubcaps, and exhaust components.
  2. Aerospace: Nose cones, engine components, and structural parts.
  3. Cookware: Pots, pans, and lids.
  4. Lighting: Reflectors and decorative fixtures.
  5. HVAC: Ductwork and ventilation components.
  6. Medical: Surgical instruments and components.

Safety Considerations

Operating metal spinning machines involves several safety risks. Adhering to safety protocols is crucial:

  1. Training: Operators must be adequately trained.
  2. Protective Equipment: Use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  3. Regular Maintenance: Ensures the machinery operates safely.
  4. Emergency Procedures: Clear guidelines for handling emergencies.

Future Trends and Innovations

The future of metal spinning machines looks promising with ongoing technological advancements:

  1. Automation and CNC Technology: Integration of computerized controls for increased precision and efficiency.
  2. Eco-Friendly Processes: Development of more sustainable and energy-efficient methods.
  3. Advanced Materials: Exploration of new materials that can be spun, expanding the range of applications.
  4. Smart Manufacturing: Use of IoT and AI for real-time monitoring and optimization.


Metal spinning machines are vital tools in modern manufacturing, enabling the production of high-quality, axially symmetric parts with efficiency and precision. Their versatility, cost-effectiveness, and ability to enhance material properties make them indispensable in various industries. As technology continues to evolve, metal spinning machines will play an increasingly significant role in advancing manufacturing capabilities and meeting the demands of diverse applications.

Shaping with Metal Spinning

Shaping with Metal Spinning
Shaping with Metal Spinning

Shaping with metal spinning involves transforming a flat sheet of metal into a desired, hollow, and rotationally symmetrical form. Here’s a deeper dive into the mechanics of achieving this transformation:

Core Principles:

  • Plastic Deformation: The essence of shaping with metal spinning lies in plastic deformation of the sheet metal. Imagine stretching clay on a potter’s wheel; metal spinning works similarly. By applying controlled pressure with a spinning tool, the metal undergoes plastic deformation. The outer areas of the sheet experience stretching, while the material closer to the mandrel compresses slightly. This combined effect allows the sheet to conform to the shape of the mandrel.
  • Work Hardening: As the metal sheet is deformed, it work hardens. This means the metal becomes stiffer and requires more force to shape further. Skilled metal spinners are aware of this phenomenon. They strategically apply pressure and use multiple passes with the spinning tool to achieve the desired shape without exceeding the metal’s capacity and causing cracks.
  • Tool Path and Pressure Control: The path of the spinning tool and the pressure applied are crucial for successful shaping. The operator’s skill plays a vital role here. They need to maneuver the tool along the mandrel with the right balance of pressure to achieve the desired form throughout the sheet metal.

Shaping Techniques:

  • Basic Shapes: Simple shapes like cones, hemispheres, and cylinders can be formed using a basic roller tool with a smooth, cylindrical profile. By varying the pressure and path of the roller, the operator can achieve different depths and curvatures.
  • Complex Shapes: For more intricate shapes, specialized spinning tools come into play. Forming rollers with specific contours matching the desired shape are used. Skilled metal spinners might also employ sipe rollers to create sharp corners and folds, or beading rollers to introduce decorative ridges.
  • Multi-Pass Approach: Metal spinning rarely involves shaping the entire piece in one go. Typically, the operator works in stages, using multiple passes with the spinning tool. Each pass might focus on a specific section or progressively refine the shape. This multi-pass approach allows for better control and reduces the risk of imperfections or cracks.
  • Speed and Lubrication: The spinning process is often performed at high speeds to minimize friction and heat generation. Lubrication is also important, as it reduces friction between the tool and the metal sheet, aiding in shaping and extending tool life.

CNC vs. Manual Spinning:

  • Manual Spinning: In manual machines, the operator’s skill and experience are paramount. They rely on their hand-eye coordination and knowledge of metal behavior to manipulate the spinning tool and achieve the desired shape.
  • CNC Spinning: CNC machines utilize a pre-programmed digital blueprint. This computer-controlled approach ensures precise and repeatable movements of the spinning tool, making it suitable for complex shapes and high-volume production.

In conclusion, shaping with metal spinning is a balance between art and science. It requires an understanding of metal properties, work hardening, and controlled application of force through the spinning tool. While manual spinning relies on the operator’s expertise, CNC machines offer a more automated approach for consistent results. Regardless of the method, metal spinning allows for the creation of a vast array of unique and functional shapes from sheet metal.

Plastic Deformation with Sheet Metal Spinning Machine

Plastic Deformation with Sheet Metal Spinning Machine
Plastic Deformation with Sheet Metal Spinning Machine

Plastic deformation is the heart and soul of shaping sheet metal in a metal spinning machine. It’s the magic that transforms a flat sheet into a beautiful, curved object. Here’s a closer look at how it works:

The Big Squeeze: How Plasticity Happens

Imagine kneading dough – that’s essentially what happens to the metal sheet during spinning. As the lathe spins the mandrel and sheet together, the spinning tool applies controlled pressure against the rotating metal. This pressure creates a non-uniform stress distribution across the sheet. The outer regions of the sheet experience tensile stress, which stretches and elongates the metal fibers. Conversely, the areas closer to the mandrel undergo compressive stress, causing them to be pushed together and slightly compressed.

The Art of Work Hardening

There’s a catch, though. As the metal deforms, it work hardens. Think of it like repeatedly flexing a paperclip – it gets stiffer with each bend. Similarly, the deformed metal becomes less willing to stretch further. This is why skilled metal spinners employ a multi-pass strategy. They use multiple passes with the spinning tool, gradually shaping the sheet in stages. Each pass applies a strategic amount of pressure, allowing the metal to work harden progressively without exceeding its limits and causing cracks.

Tailoring the Tool for the Task

The type of spinning tool used also plays a role in plastic deformation. The most common tool, a roller with a smooth cylindrical profile, is great for basic shapes like cones and cylinders. The pressure applied by the roller determines the amount of stretching and, consequently, the final depth of the curve. For more complex shapes, specialized forming rollers with specific contours are used. These rollers precisely match the desired final shape and guide the metal sheet during deformation.

Thickness Matters: The Trade-Off of Shaping

It’s important to remember that plastic deformation isn’t always uniform. The stretched outer areas of the sheet will become thinner, while the compressed regions might see a slight thickening. Experienced operators consider this when selecting the initial sheet thickness to ensure they achieve the desired final thickness after shaping.

The Role of Speed and Lubrication

The spinning process typically happens at high speeds to minimize friction between the tool and the metal sheet. This reduces heat generation, which can negatively affect the metal’s properties. Additionally, lubricants are used to further reduce friction and extend the tool life. By minimizing friction, the focus remains on the controlled plastic deformation for shaping, not unwanted heat or tool wear.

In Conclusion

Plastic deformation in metal spinning is a fascinating interplay of force, material properties, and strategic tool application. Understanding this process allows metalworkers to precisely shape sheet metal into a vast array of useful and beautiful forms. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of metalworking techniques that can transform a flat sheet into a complex, three-dimensional object.

EMS Metalworking Machines

We design, manufacture and assembly metalworking machinery such as:

  • Hydraulic transfer press
  • Glass mosaic press
  • Hydraulic deep drawing press
  • Casting press
  • Hydraulic cold forming press
  • Hydroforming press
  • Composite press
  • Silicone rubber moulding press
  • Brake pad press
  • Melamine press
  • SMC & BMC Press
  • Labrotaroy press
  • Edge cutting trimming machine
  • Edge curling machine
  • Trimming beading machine
  • Trimming joggling machine
  • Cookware production line
  • Pipe bending machine
  • Profile bending machine
  • Bandsaw for metal
  • Cylindrical welding machine
  • Horizontal pres and cookware
  • Kitchenware, hotelware
  • Bakeware and cuttlery production machinery

as a complete line as well as an individual machine such as:

  • Edge cutting trimming beading machines
  • Polishing and grinding machines for pot and pans
  • Hydraulic drawing presses
  • Circle blanking machines
  • Riveting machine
  • Hole punching machines
  • Press feeding machine

You can check our machinery at work at: EMS Metalworking Machinery – YouTube


  • Beading and ribbing
  • Flanging
  • Trimming
  • Curling
  • Lock-seaming
  • Ribbing
  • Flange-punching