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How many people here spin metal, would like to learn to spin metal or would like to discuss the process?


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I am asking if there are people interested in learning the art of metal spinning. I am in no way a master rather a committed beginner. I have been spinning for about 3-4 years and am self taught. I have found getting good information really hard. It seems the Art of Metal Spinning is in this country is dying. It would thrill me to see a revitalization of the amazing metal working process in the way blacksmithing has seen a revitalization. To me the 2 go hand in hand.

I have posted this question with the hope of getting a discussion going with any and everyone interested.

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Hi Fe-Wood,

I am interested in learning to spin, someday. I simply don't have the room for the equipment in my current shop but hope to in the near (1-2 year) future. Spinning really interests me and I agree that it is a nice complementary skill to blacksmithing. I can say that I have read every post about your progress and any others regarding spinning that I have seen. Filing away information for when I make the step into spinning.

So, while I can't really contribute to the discussion, or experiment as you teach, I am interested in learning more! I'd like to see a thread/discussion that starts from the beginning, ie; what is the best lathe set up to look for? what are the limitations in metal spinning (max guage of metal, max diameter, etc. {I know Frosty and his Dad did some big stuff}), do you have to use a certain kind of wood for a backer? etc.

Please share (if other

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I taught myself spinning a couple years ago, to make an element for a project I was doing. I'm a firm believer in the attitude of 'it's the journey, not the destination'. Taking this craft on almost made me question my faith.. I made a scissor tool setup with rollers on a platen that bolted to the carriage of my 1924 South Bend flatbelt lathe. I laminated hard maple and turned it to the bell shape I wanted, had the waterjet guy cut me a bunch of blank discs from 20ga sheet, and went after it. I'm still using my scrapped pieces for shooting gongs 2 yrs later. I messed up dozens of pieces. The addiction came from getting just a little farther along every few times before it folded up. When I finally got the piece I wanted, months later, I found I could sucessfully complete a piece 4 out of 5 times. It seemed like analyzing the issues wasn't working out like it does in normal problem solving. Sucess evolved into having a weird hippy-like semi-cognative state of consience, and the less I thought about it, the better it worked. I haven't set it up in over a year, but I'm sure I will again.

Spinning is hard on my old lathe, the rear headstock bearing isn't as wide as I'd like it to be. I had to keep oiling the headstock every few minutes to keep it from heating up and choking out the lathe.

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Somewhat interested, is an Atlas 10F big enough? It has a 1/3 Hp non-starter, non-directional motor, so I have to grab a pulley and give it a flip to get it going in the direction I choose, and yes, this is the proper function of this motor.

I don't have time for the hobbies I have so...

Phil

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i am interested in spinning because a lot of roman armour was produced by spinning, and also it woul speed up the process of raising helmets, so to me, armour, blacksmithing and spinning are inextricably tied. i have been told that i can have an old flat belt lathe, hence my question, and would like to know if it is worth me getting what may just become another machine i cant use.....

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Wow- I'm glad to see these posts.

As far as lathes go- pretty much any lathe will work. Belt drive is what both of mine are, "V" belt. One is a dedicated Spinning Lathe while the other is a Rockwell Variable speed wood turning lathe. I have seen people spin on the compact or mini Jet wood turning lathe up to huge walk-in size lathes. Frosty' dads was like that, I think. Metal Lathes work too but the 3 or 4 jaw chuck is a bit scary to me. I have my hands all over the work while I'm spinning and those jaws are made for grabbing.

I have tried a bunch of different woods for the mandrel and Eastern Hard Maple or Rock MAple has continued to be the best. Any dense hardwood will work on small diameter work. I have used Mahogany, Brown Oak, Eucalyptus, Bass Wood, Cherry etc. One thing to be careful of is pushing the spun material to the mandrel so hard it can't be removed. Deep and shallow tapers are the worst for this.

Mike- It is that trance state that works. The forming happens fast and if it is over thought... OOPS, its a target. I recently went thought and sorted all the scrap generated from my efforts- Copper, Brass, Aluminum, Galv. and mild Steel. When I sell it as scrap, I bet I get a couple hundred bucks for it all. I agree, its one of the hardest things I have tried to learn!

Woody-
Flat belt lathes will work- Can you get pictures? Are you handy making tooling and modifications? It sounds old and heavy. Nice trait in a spinning lathe! Sight unseen, I say go for it.

I will put up a post with some of the basics for beginning spinning in the next couple days....

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Have done lots of machining on a lathe - but NO spinning (although I would like to learn). I was watching "How It's Made" the other night and they were building brass horns by spinning part of the cone. IIRC, that process looked like it was done on a metal lathe but the machine had a smooth nose over the spindle and some sort of special live center in the tailstock. The operator used a metal bar with a polished round ball on one end then pushed it against the tool rest. I also think they might have used some lubricant but I can't recall for certain.

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Yes- If you have a screw on chuck it can be replaced with a threaded adaptor for use in spinning. I have one for my old Logan. I use it to make steel mandrels. Most wood lathes use 8X1" threads.

Most people I talk to or read from use 4140 for hand tools to spin Copper based alloys. I have a couple Brass tipped tools for hand spinning Steel. A good off the shelf lubrication is sealing wax for toilets or dish soap. I use a product made by fourmax for lubricating metal cutting band saw blades.

Thats a great video! I've watched it a few times....

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I have a small bench top spinning lathe that came from a closed high school shop, and I did a project on my Monarch years ago. I made a custom oval air cleaner for a friend's corvette. The base was aluminum, and I used a shovel handle to push it into a piece of Doug fir 2x6 that I had turned the shape in. Worked for the job.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey there,
As usual, I went and bought something I have no idea how to use-a spinning lathe-old. Now I need to learn how to use it :) I taught at Brookfield Craft center a bit back and Terry Tynan was teaching at the same time. Became friendly with him-now to call and swap some work for knowledge. I'll post pics of the lathe once it's off the truck and reassembled.

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Mark,

You will need at least five tools or spoons, the more spoons (you should be able to make these out of tools steel) the more intricate work, you can do in copper, brass and aluminium, and stainless steel which is much harder, but with practice can be done. You need some soap for lubrication.

You will also need to make a pattern in wood of the object or piece you would like to make...let me see if I can put together a basic requirements, with few pictures to help you out.


250px-Metal_spinning_brass_vase.jpg

A brass vase spun by hand. Mounted to the lathe spindle is the mandrel for the body of the vase a shell sits on the "T" rest. The foreground shows the mandrel for the base. Behind the finished vase are the spinning tools used to shape the metal.


tynan_oil_lamp2-356x269.jpg

You can see the wood patterns made for various parts being made in the above picture.

Actually here you go, this web site explains everything, including describing the tools needed.

http://www.metalspin...l_spinning.html

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I got this lathe (it's a Thomas Fruin-probably late 1800's) and it came with 3 buckets of mandrels-looks like a bunch of lamp bases mostly. It'll take a 16 in blank max. I know the basics-I can handle the tool making. I'll need a bunch of time to play. I'm going to clean it up tomorrow and I'll post some pics.

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