Choosing the best option for your metal fabrication needs can be a daunting task with the many versatile processes available. All are nuanced with unique advantages for greater suitability to specific requirements. Metal spinning and stamping are two such methods for prototyping and large-scale production alike.

Metal spinning offers cheaper and faster results than stamping at the expense of some precision and a more limited selection of materials. Even so, the ease of modification and limited need for additional finishing make this an excellent choice for R&D prototyping.

What is Metal Spinning?

Metal spinning, or metal turning, is a process of shaping malleable metals such as brass, copper, and aluminum via a rotating spindle into the final product. It produces seamless, hollow, cylindrical shapes and may be done by hand or with CNC automation.

Best suited to axially symmetric parts, metal spinning may also combine multiple operations into a single automation for more complex geometries. The shapes produced may also be cut after production to meet more specialized requirements. Spinning produces minimal waste to further reduce the overhead on production.

Tooling for metal spinning is cheaper and faster than stamping, with die production taking only four to six weeks and available in a variety of materials. Modifications can be made rapidly, and if no specialized tooling is required turnaround can be in as little as two to three weeks. The flexibility of material also allows for additional performance features to be designed into the automation process. Overall this makes for an expedited production cycle while maintaining superior quality of the final product.

Elements suited to metal spinning:

  • Rapid turnaround
  • Automatic
  • Inexpensive for high and low volume production
  • Minimal waste
  • Seamless design
  • No additional finishing required in most cases

What is Metal Stamping?

Metal stamping is another form of metal shaping that uses a precut die to press desired shapes out of a sheet or blank of metal. It is also automated, but some shapes will require additional finishing to reach the desired outcome.

In addition, the stamping process can place stresses on the pressed material that could affect the integrity of the final product. Many additional modifications are available such as punching and notching to create more complex parts. Metal stamping is particularly well suited to the mass production of complex designs.

The production of metal stamping dies is a more expensive and time-consuming process of up to six weeks. If modifications are necessary, this can further delay production times. While the process of feeding the metal sheet or blank to be forced into the die is relatively simple, the equipment required is significantly more specialized. Manufacturers have also developed a multitude of stamping techniques such as deep-drawn, progressive, and four-slide stamping to meet the many needs of production.

Elements suited to metal stamping:

  • Exceptional Accuracy
  • High complexity
  • Great quality
  • Relatively fast
  • Good for mass production

Choose Metal Spinning for Simple Designs

Both methods of metal fabrication offer quality products ready for mass production, but metal spinning is a great consideration for less complex designs at a fraction of the cost and time. Satellite dishes, mixing bowls, and automotive parts are among the many industries where spinning makes its mark and is one of the best options for rapidly drafting inexpensive prototypes.

While historically limited to ductile materials, advancements in the industry have made available very durable options as well. It is the superior choice for prototyping when quality is needed at a low volume for an affordable cost.

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