Metal spinning…

by Devin on May 11, 2010

… is like making love? Not really, though there are whole host of lewd comparisons I could make, but won’t. Actually, it’s most often compared to throwing pottery. Thanks to the power of levers and the amazing ductility of aluminum, the metal miraculously flows over the mandrel. But just like throwing pottery, all this plasticity can make things a bit squirrelly, and it takes a lot of practice to really control the piece you’re working on.

How to spin metal in 10 easy steps:

1. Insert and center blank between mandrel and follower-block
2. Apply wax-based lubricant
3. Seat part and rough-out contours with round section of combination tool
4. Cut rim true with trimming tool
5. Define details and smooth finish with flat section of combination tool
6. Remove excess material with trimming tool
7. Remove excess lubricant with shop towel
8. Apply satin finish with abrasive pad
9. Finish rim with beading tool
10. Break part loose from mandrel

The part I’m working on in the video is a relatively easy one – the fire bowl for the boiler. The chimney and outer wall are a good bit harder, and joining them for a water-tight seal is the real trick. On to them later this week.