Metal spinning is a cost-effective process that’s used across so many industries—aerospace, automobile, medical, military defense and more—and evidence suggests that it has been a vital process for much longer than you might think.

Ancient Egyptian Tombs Tell All

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs found on the tomb of a priest depicted men working a lathe, a tool that we still use today for the metal spinning process. The drawings depicted two men operating a lathe with a vertical spindle holding the material, one man holding the pole that turned the spindle and the other holding a chisel or other type of tool to carve the material. Other evidence suggests that perhaps the lathes were horizontal with two poles on either side holding a spindle.

Primitive, Hand-Operated Lathes

No matter how the lathes were oriented, we know that they started out with manual spinning that was often controlled with a hand bow or pole. Any finished product that was produced with these types of lathes were generally quite simple, as the manual spinning process didn’t allow the workers to put in as much detail as is possible with continuous or computer-programmed lathes we have today.

There’s literary evidence not only from ancient Egypt, but China and India as well, that points to the use of lathes and hand bows for spinning metal, wood and stone. Unfortunately there is little to no physical evidence of lathes or finished products because the materials don’t survive.

Continuous Improvement to the Lathe

These primitive lathes with hand bows eventually turned into continuous, pedal-operated lathes in the Middle Ages, which allowed metalworkers to introduce more detail into their designs.

Like most machines during the Industrial Revolution, the lathe became steam powered and eventually motorized, allowing for a much higher production rate. Industries began relying on the process for quick, uniform production of products such as dishware, appliances, machine parts and more, but workers were still needed to watch over the production process and ensure the lathes were running smoothly.

CNC Lathes

From the primitive, hand-powered lathe to the continuous pedal lathe, and all the way to today’s CNC programmable lathes, this powerful machine and vital process are still highly used across so many growing industries today.

At Tallmadge Spinning & Metal, our CNC lathes offer so many benefits to our customers such as repeatability and deep draw capacity. To learn more about our metal spinning capabilities and what we can do for your project, contact us today!

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