Spin forming is the process of creating shaped metal pieces, usually rounded in shape, on a lathe or with other metal spinning tools. Spun metal has surprising strength and can be made into a variety of shapes. Although many factories use molds, rollers, or presses to create metal objects, many factories still use the process of spin forming aluminum. Spun aluminum pieces have the strength of the original metal plus additional strength provided by the shaping process. Spinning aluminum is a low-tech manufacturing option that still produces superior results over more high-tech solutions, which is one of the reasons why it is still so prevalent today. Many metal spinning factories create similar pieces, some of which can include:
Lids: It is easy to make a lid from a flat disc of aluminum. All the operator has to do is bend the metal slightly to create a dome-like shape, then roll the ends over with a special tool to prevent sharp edges and cuts during the lid’s use. Other features, like handles, are added after the spinning process.
Cans: Surprisingly enough, cans can also be spun formed. Usually, the cans are either prototypes, or cans with thicker edges than typical aluminum cans. A special mold is attached to the lathe during the spinning process to help shape the metal into the desired shape and thickness.
Cones: Using the right tools, a metal spinner can also create aluminum cones using the spinning process. A special mold is required to obtain the right shape. The operator simply forms the metal around the cone mold, creating a perfectly seamless cone ideal for a variety of uses.
Hemispheres: An aluminum hemisphere is often created by spin forming aluminum. Bowls, the back of light bulbs, and other metal circular shapes are often formed using the spin forming process. With the right techniques, it is possible to create a perfectly rounded shape from a simple piece of flat aluminum within just a few minutes.