Metal spinning.


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Hi,

I bought two very old large coach lamps from Rufforth Auto Jumble and am now attempting to fully restore them; there are six reflectors which are in very poor condition so why not make new reflectors?

I've been around lathes for over 50 years and have never attempted or needed to try "metal spinning". I enjoy leaving my comfort zone to try new things so now's the opportunity to try metal spinning for the first time. Metal spinning looks easy on YouTube videos but only with practice and I'm a raw novice so I'll make all the mistakes first. I must point out the dangers though of not only metal spinning but lathe work in general which can be highly dangerous and a big engineering lathe can easily kill.

Below are a few pictures on my humble beginnings showing the amount of scrap I was spinning; this morning at last I finally spun my first nice piece. The aluminium used for metal spinning like this are grades 3003 or better still 1100-0. The pile of scrap is actually scrap aluminium sheet bought from our local scrap yard and it's proved to be very unsuitable. Even the correct grade of aluminum takes quite a bit of practice to spin but I'm now well on my way; the new reflector in the pictures is just a test piece; I can now start to spin to exact requirements but I still expect to destroy a few more discs.

I've fancied having a go at metal spinning for many years and now I'm getting to grips with hand spinning I'm finding it an highly interesting hobby. I'm spinning on my fully restored and highly modified Union Graduate lathe.

Hope this is of interest because it's a very old skill and many of these skills are dying out.

Kind regards, Colin.

Metal spinning._001_01.JPG

I don't regard this as a total failure because it's a steep learning curve and as such this kind of thing is expected.

Metal spinning._002.JPG

Unsuitable aluminium bought from the scrap yard but OK for practicing tool control at little cost.

Metal spinning._002_01.JPG

Time to give up a try another hobby; not likely because what I lack in skill I make up for in being downright stubborn never knowing when to quit once I try something new.

Metal spinning._004_01.JPG

I've only just started metal spinning learning from scratch and making all the mistakes but with perseverance I'm rapidly picking up metal spinning by hand.

Metal spinning._005.JPG


The camera doesn't do it justice due to the shine.
 
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Hi,

Things are now moving along nicely; I've just spun another reflector so am getting the hang of this metal spinning. The reflector shown in the previous post was the first success but I hadn't realized I was "spinning on air" for a lot of it so using the same mandrel I spun the one this morning and this second attempt conforms to the mandrel shape which really pleases me; the mandrel is proving slightly too large in diameter and also the mandrel being turned from Ash the grain pattern is being transferred to the inside of the reflector; not a problem because this inside isn't seen. So far I've only been practicing and spun quite a number of scrap items but now I understand the technique I'm doing much better.

A few days ago I visited a metal spinning company and was made very welcome indeed to the point of receiving masses of generosity from the owner. I was kindly shown around the site seeing metal spinning being performed by hand and also CNC which was absolutely fascinating for me because I love anything to do with machines and lathes in particular. All the while I was asking basic questions and I also asked if I could buy correct grade aluminium plus had he an old hand metal spinning tool; I was more than willing to pay for everything; I'll not go into detail but believe me I was truly astounded by this guy's generosity. Since then as seen in the pictures I've made great strides in mastering the basic metal spinning technique; what I was shown was just as seen on on YouTube videos but how wonderful to see the metal spinners in action; during that short visit I learned so much including the aluminium grades stated earlier and these are ever so important; I'm using 0.9mm thick aluminium and this appears to be a much used thickness for many spun items. Once spun the aluminium can be quickly brought up to a mirror finish; I'm using Solvol Autosol applied with blue workshop paper towel and the finish is superb. All this in only a few days and what a lovely hobby; once the coach lamps are completed then I'll experiment adding metal spun adornments to my woodturning?

I've emailed the company asking if I can please buy 100 aluminium discs then I can settle back and fully enjoy metal spinning.

Kind regards, Colin.

Spinning._001_01.JPG

The aluminium discs I was generously given are too large a diameter for these reflectors and cutting them to size proved a problem; I had been cutting by hand using the shears then this morning came up with the idea of nipping the shears handle in the big engineering vice as seen above; pity I didn't think of this earlier but it works a treat.

Spinning._002_01.JPG

Both the above reflectors are spun on the same mandrel; the larger on the left got away from me because for a great part it was being spun "on air" but the one shown right I spun this morning and this conforms perfectly to the mandrel profile so a lot learned this morning. I also found being gentle is the way to go; during first attempts I was being too aggressive ending up with scrap. The finish though is superb and these are only my first attempts at metal spinning.

Spinning._003_01.JPG

In the foreground above are two of the original reflectors showing why I wish to make new reflectors; the one on the left I've spun up and the lathe to try to polish it but the corrosion is too deep as seen on the one to it's right; I'm going to have lots of fun spinning these assorted profiles.

Spinning._005.JPG

Spun this morning and getting much nearer regarding size; one difficulty I'm experiencing is how to determine the size of the disc?

Tool rest_001.JPG


My home made metal spinning tool rest.
 

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Good work Colin, I was wondering how the reflectors were coming along :). I can see a multitude of uses for this new skill in the future too!

The finish looks good, really polished and a near mirror finish :D.
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian. Obtaining the mirror finish was very easy indeed virtually letting the lathe do the work and it's fascinating watching the lubricated spun item change from ugly duckling into a beautiful swan right in front of my eyes; to think this kind of work like metal spinning is being allowed to die out because the younger generations have no interest other than pressing buttons; there's nothing wrong getting hands dirty?

I'm sure metal spinning would also appeal to you Ian because as you rightly say it can be used in so many ways; so far I've only spun aluminium but I hope eventually to spin copper and brass but these are a lot more difficult due to work hardening during spinning meaning the metal will need annealing to soften it and render it ductile once again.

I confess I reached a point wondering if ever I would succeed but I'm stubborn enough to keep trying even when things look hopeless.

I visited the local spinning company again this afternoon to take along a big box of chocolates for their previous generosity to me; it was meant to be a flying visit but the company owner was pleased to encourage me to stay quite a while as we enjoyed a good natter about old fashioned skills; we are an endangered species who can use both their hands and head to make things from scratch; I ordered 100 aluminium circles and I was also generously given a pile of circle offcuts perfect for my needs but these are much thicker at 1.5mm although I'm informed I should find them easy enough and the extra thickness would mean more metal to play with? I think I've found a new hobby right up my street; I can incorporate metal spinning with my wood turning? I spent ages on site this afternoon being shown wonderful items from small to very large some spun in three parts; I now also know what profile HSS tool I need to trim the metal whilst spinning this being a most dangerous operation; I've made the tool since arriving home and also glued up some MDF blocks ready for tomorrow; I've now done the practicing and feel confident to start from scratch spinning to specification; if I can do this learning in only a few days other too can do it assuming a lathe is available; I'll post my progress in the hope of encouraging others to have a go.

A final tip; I used Ash hardwood for my mandrel thinking this would be perfect but on the inside of the spun reflector the grain pattern was clearly seen; MDF is the material to use for mandrels and after turning the mandrel to the desired profile and sanding it smooth; coat the whole mandrel with plenty of wood glue to seal it. I'm doing things the hard way because I don't know better but I'm sure learning fast. :)

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

I'm a metal spinner at last. I'll add details later because I'm out of time at the moment but why do I now think I'm a metal spinner? Below are a couple of pictures showing total success this morning after I spun the first two reflectors; I'm well pleased but had to make the mistakes first and I made plenty of mistakes?

Kind regards, Colin.

Spinning success_001_01.JPG

WOW; only just over a week ago I'd never attempted metal spinning. Here are the first two reflectors. Four more needed but in two different profiles.

Spinning success_002_01.JPG
 
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Hi,

I'm now starting work on the second pair of reflectors; I've just enjoyed a most pleasant morning in the workshop tidying up and I've just turned a new Beech hardwood blank to the correct profile giving me a metal spinning mandrel; the profile of this reflector I'm sure will test me because at first I couldn't make up my mind which was the better way to make the mandrel; interior or exterior; both the new mandrel and original reflector can be seen in the pictures below. I'll try spinning using the thinner 0.9mm thick aluminum because the centre boss is only 3/4" diameter giving little to provide drive grip.

Whilst spinning the above two reflectors I had an horrible day where nothing went as planned; I followed the advice regarding using MDF for mandrels and I turned a new MDF mandrel to profile which was easy enough then I sanded it and applied a liberal coating of woodworking adhesive to fully seal it this being done late morning. After dinner keen to have a go I really did struggle spinning the heavier 1.5mm thick circle but I stuck at it and eventually had a decent reflector spun; oh boy what fun I had next; I tried to remove surplus aluminum using my new trimming tool and it was terrible but after a lot of chattering I finally cut through but unfortunately the new reflector refused to let go of the mandrel; it ended in disaster; not only a ruined reflector but also a destroyed mandrel; I hadn't let the glue completely dry so now the reflector was part of the mandrel; never mind I'm on a steep learning curve and there's always another day to make more mistakes in. I've given this new Beech mandrel an heavy coat of shellac sanding sealer which I know dries very quickly but I'm leaving it well alone for a couple of hours to be perfectly sure it's dry then I'll buff it with wax polish. All this is totally new to me so I'm making it up as I go along; mistakes don't worry me because I learn from them.

Kind regards, Colin.

More spinning_002.JPG

Amazingly the only metal spinning tool I have is the one shown above kindly given to me free of charge and I've practised until now I feel comfortable and confident in using it; the shorter tool is my home made high speed steel metal trimming tool but I need lots more practice with this; I must add that metal spinning is highly dangerous especially whilst trimming.

More spinning_004.JPG


The new hardwood Beech mandrel I've just turned to correct profile of the original reflector shown beneath it; at the moment I'm only guessing it will work but if not I've enjoyed turning it.


104_0132.JPG


If I'm going to fail I might as well fail in grand style; this picture shows the MDF mandrel and spun reflector which refused to separate; the reflectors in the foreground are practice pieces; to me metal spinning is truly fascinating; I've got 100 aluminium 145mm diameter circles on order and hope to collect them tomorrow; I haven't yet got a clue as to what I'll make with them but once I've completed the reflectors I'll have lots of fun and interest to look forward to.
 
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Hi,

An update after an interesting session in the workshop this afternoon. The new aluminium circles I have to hand weren't suitable for this small reflector they having an oversized hole in their middle so just to try the new mandrel I used a circle of the rough aluminium I bought from the scrapyard; this has corrosion running quite deeply; it's the thin gauge at 0.9mm but with a clean up it was worth experimenting with it.

The result can be seen in the pictures below. When I first tried spinning this scrap aluminium I encountered lots of problems due to my ignorance but I'm very pleased this afternoon to have spun the scrap aluminium without destroying it; so far I've only got one spinning tool and access was limited; in places where corrosion was deepest there are small splits but I must be getting better because this time I didn't destroy it; the circle I used was much too big in diameter but I just wanted to see what I could do. sorry about picture quality but it's been a dark overcast day here today.

Kind regards, Colin.

104_0141.JPG

The outside of the reflector; this experiment went well and once I collect the new aluminium I'm confident of success.

104_0142.JPG


The inside of the reflector this side was subjected to the spinning tool hence the superior finish.
 

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Cracking job on those first two reflectors, Colin :). You're getting closer with the 2nd pair, you're definitely along the right track :D.
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian; yes I'm getting nearer and learning all the time. :)

I'd like to make it clear though that my success isn't entirely all down to me; over the last couple of weeks since I contacted a metal spinning company I have nothing but praise for the company owner; not only did he quickly respond to my initial email but since then he's been hugely helpful and immensely generous towards me; I visited his company yesterday to collect the aluminium circles; during my previous two visits I've been shown around the entire works; I've been allowed to watch professional metal spinners spinning by hand and also seen CNC spinning close up; I've been kindly given masses of information and each and every question I've asked has been replied to in full.

I can't believe the amount of generosity I've received and the amount of time I've spent in the works being shown all aspects of not only metal spinning but design. On my first visit I was kindly given one of the special metal spinning tools; a huge block of wax; a large plastic cup of tallow and ten 8" dia aluminium circles of correct spinning grade aluminium; I was given these entirely free of charge; I never intended to be a pest or on the scrounge offering to pay cash for everything but right from the very start we had a great deal in common and I was treated like royalty; I go back over 50 years regarding mechanical engineering and industry so we could discuss things in depth; I was told that the usual person to visit his works hadn't any or very little interest in how the actual metal spinning was done so I was a very rare visitor genuinely interested in all aspects of the process and we got on extremely well indeed.

Yesterday was my third visit to this company this time I expected to pop in collect the circles and pop out but instead as on previous visits I was treated like royalty once again; the 100 145mm x 0.9mm thick aluminium circles had arrived and I gladly paid the asking price without hesitation; when I say generosity I mean generosity; I've kindly been given a total of 130 circles too these entirely free of charge they being offcuts that would be going to scrap but they are brand new and at 8" diameter x 1.5mm thick are perfect for me to experiment with in fact the two reflectors I've succeeded in spinning are made of these offcuts.

Each time I said I've kept you from your work long enough I've been diverted whilst being shown even more; yesterday I took along examples of my spinning both good and bad and was kindly given information as to why my failures occurred; the MDF mandrel which broke in half I should have added wood screws as well as woodworking adhesive ensuring the screws didn't encroach into the profile area; the experiment on the reflector using the scrapyard aluminium in the bottom picture post #7 I approached wrongly; I should have turned two wooden mandrels for this reflector profile a male and a female which is my next priority.

I've been trying to obtain Birch hardwood to turn tool handles from without success; I've emailed two companies without reply; I mentioned this yesterday and a phone call means this company owner in the near future is to drive me to a chum of his who is to get back to me once he's checked his stock; he doesn't have Birch but possibly does have Pitch Pine or Beech; when I measured the diameter of the tool handle I was given it was 2" so I've been trying to obtain 2" square turning blanks; I was taken back into the works to be shown full sized tools; the tool I had been given is plenty strong enough for my spinning needs up to around 8" diameter in aluminium but for heavy spinning I need 3" square turning blanks to turn handles from; oak isn't a good choice because under maximum leverage it can suddenly shatter making it highly dangerous.

As I type I'm awaiting a phone call regarding the timber for the tool handles then we three can arrange a mutual day and time to collect. I'm in total awe and gratitude regarding the owner of this metal spinning company and the sheer amount of spinnings they turn out; during my visit yesterday a fork truck unloaded spinning circles from two large vans; the whole works was alive with activity. I'm immensely grateful to this company owner and as I say we just hit it off right from the start; he knows I'm not a scrounger and that I not only know engineering but I've demonstrated I'm not a time waster; I departed with 200 aluminum circles so I've got enough to last me forever; I was also generously given two spinning tool blades hence the need for the new tool handles; two weeks ago I was well aware of metal spinning but had never tried to do metal spinning; due to this company owner I've been on an incredibly steep learning curve and am looking forward to doing lots of metal spinning in future.

Metal spinning is highly dangerous and difficult to master for a complete novice; I've had a lifetime working on both wood and metal lathes so for metal spinning I was off to a very good start understanding the full dangers involved.

Metal spinning is a high skill and here is the second of two videos showing how difficult it can really be; this guy tried his best but in the end gave up; he has an engineering lathe so must be used to running a lathe; I've done much better due to excellent help and advice but even so I found the process of metal spinning to push me to the limits;


I've rambled on because during our 42 years of marriage I've received more generosity and kindness from the company owner than I've received from my entire family over the last two weeks. :):):)

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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That is immensely generous of the company to help you out so much - wonderful to hear :D. They must really appreciate the engineering side of things and to have a customer interested in the details. It's not often that you hear of things like this!

What sort of things were they making when you were there?
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian; I think this amount of generosity from any company these days must be a one off in a lifetime:) The items the company make are very diverse indeed and in all sizes; if it can be spun then they spin it and I was very surprised they not only spin; mild/stainless steel; brass; copper but also lead; I'm told lead is particularly bad to spin because it can suddenly fracture without warning making it very dangerous indeed; having worked in industry all my life I take a bit of impressing but I was deeply impressed by this metal spinning company.

I'm keeping my head down Silentrunning regarding Blackie and his fierce sister Gale; I've never for many years enjoyed such a long spell without their constant company but I've put it down to my usual bad luck; I planted hundreds of pounds worth of assorted plants and immediately we were into drought conditions; I'm thinking of planting a lot more next year if Blackie and Gale will leave me well alone; lots of the plants have died possibly due to shock it being dry for so long.

WOW; two more reflectors spun this morning and I really did enjoy this session; the Beech mandrel I initially turned I changed its profile firstly turning it into a male mandrel then I spun three circles; this same mandrel was then modified again to give a female mandrel allowing me to complete the profile as seen below; I could kick myself because of my enthusiasm I forgot to take a picture of the male mandrel but I did remember the female mandrel.

Now I've grasped metal spinning basics I no longer worry about roughing up the aluminium circles during spinning; if the tool bites then it's running dry; I stop; apply more lubricant and ensure the tool hasn't picked up any aluminium then gently apply pressure whilst spinning but keeping the tool moving all the time; this smooths rough rings out; the tool needs to be kept moving then it's lubricated but if allowed to linger in one place it displaces the lubricant and roughs up the surface; I did a lot of roughing up at first; there's a lot of skill involved but as in my case with a great deal of practice and determination decent items will be spun; these small reflectors seem happy to be spun around 800/900 rpm which works for me.

I'm over the moon at this success and am looking forward to enjoying years of metal spinning; I'll try spinning both copper and brass but I need to spin the last two reflectors for these lamps meaning yet another pair of mandrels but I can still use the mandrel I've just spun these two on by again changing it's profile twice it still being thick enough; this one piece of beech will have made four mandrels.

Kind regards, Colin.

104_0143.JPG


200 aluminium circles; the tall stack of 100 are the 0.9mm thick I bought but the other three stacks at 1.5mm thick with the center hole are the ones generously given to me I also have another 30 circles kindly given to me on my first two visits to the company. Aluminium from the scrap yard is not the stuff to buy but its OK to practice with; these circles are the correct grade.

More spinning_002_02.JPG

The two spinning tool blades kindly given to me just needing big handles which I'm sourcing the timber for.

More spinning_003_01.JPG

The beech hardwood mandrel to my first design; I thought I could spin the profile in one go but for such a profile I'm wrong it takes two mandrels; a male and a female involving wood turning skills which I already have plenty of experience of; I forgot to take a picture here because I completely removed the outer profile just leaving the male center profile for the first spinning; a lot of care was needed because only the outer face of the middle circle was driving the aluminium; too much playing around would leave the aluminium with a hole ruining it.

More spinning_004_01.JPG

My heavily modified Union Graduate woodturning lathe; the lamp is a warning to let me know power is supplied to the VFD inside the enclosure; I completely rebuilt this lathe it looking like scrap when I bought it. It's not a toy to play with having a VFD powered 1.5hp inverter rated 3 phase motor on variable speed with reversing function; this same VFD also powers my Lorch engineering lathe via suitable switching. The Wilmac bandsaw is another machine I fully restored.

More spinning_005.JPG

The second profile added to the mandrel allowing completion of the two reflectors; its sealed with shellac sanding sealer and highly polished ensuring the centre section is left as bare timber.

More spinning_006.JPG

Two weeks ago I could only dream of producing such items; these are the two reflectors spun successfully this morning.

More spinning_007.JPG

The original reflector on the left these images are the inside of the reflectors.

More spinning_008.JPG


Before and after; the middle is the original clearly showing the need for replacement; the corrosion refuses to buff up to a mirror shine even when spun at high speed on the lathe; the two new reflectors are the 0.9mm thick and only require a small hole in their center; most of the shine is directly from the tool with just a quick spin using Solvol Autosol. I'm delighted and am looking forward to the next and final pair of reflectors.
 
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Hi,

Total success; I now have the six finished reflectors and have just learnt a new skill it being metal spinning; this has been a very steep but short learning curve; during the two weeks I've learned about the grades of aluminium; spinning tools; mounting methods on mandrels for the aluminium circles to be spun and lubricants to use; as I washed the car this morning a scrap wagon drove along the street so I gave the driver a bag full of my mistakes; a very little price indeed to pay to gain so much knowledge and more importantly to afford so much interest.

It's nice now to stand back and feel rather proud thinking I've grasped the basics of metal spinning in such a short period of time. :)

Kind regards, Colin.

Reflectors_001.JPG


If it can't be bought can it be made?
 
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Hi,

My first metal spinning attempts failed possibly because I tried to run before I could walk; these reflectors weren't the easiest of profiles for a raw novice like me to tackle and to make matters worse the very first was even harder than these; due to running around collecting materials I managed to lose the first reflector but I have a recollection of its shape so now I've had some practice and succeeded I thought I'd have another go this morning and the result can be seen below; this is spun from 1.5mm thick aluminium; I did this just for the enjoyment it not being needed.

Kind regards, Colin.

Spinning._001_02.JPG

My initial attempts at spinning this profile failed miserably; the first I ended up with just a round washer as the centre broke free; the second destroyed the largest diameter so I tried another profile. Just a little practice and making the mistakes I can now spin such a profile.

Spinning._002_02.JPG

Two metal spinning tool blades generously given to me by the aluminum supplier who has been a huge help to me; I hope to collect Beech turning blanks next week then I can turn their handles; the handles of metal spinning tools need to be extremely strong hence the blanks will measure 3" x 3" x 24" I'll post pictures once the handles are turned.

Spinning._004_01.JPG


Here's one of the two coach lamps needing the new reflectors; hopefully once finished they will look better than this?
 

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Brilliant job Colin! I can't wait to see what the reflectors look like once finished :D.

Do you think you'll use this skill again for other projects now?
 
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Hi,

Many thanks Ian. Yes definitely; I'll be doing more metal spinning now I've grasped the basics; I like woodturning so perhaps I'll be able to incorporate both woodturning and metal spinning in the items I turn. Having now succeeded in spinning these aluminium reflectors I'd like to try spinning both brass and copper; the new porch I've recently installed would benefit from a nice copper light pendant? I wish I had more workshop space then I'd buy a dedicated metal spinning lathe; metal spinning has grabbed my enthusiasm. :)

I have the 200 aluminium circles so have plenty to play with; my metal spinning efforts though are tiny compared to a professional metal spinner; how about knocking out 4,000 large lamp reflectors in a couple of weeks hand spinning?

We have British Gas here tomorrow morning changing the gas meter so I've been clearing space for easy access; yesterday I pulled my big heavy oil cooled Oxford welder out and although I'd made a metal trolley adding a pair of wheels it still was very heavy so I set about moving the wheels and also adding a pair of castors then I painted the trolley; this afternoon I'll put the welder back into the trolley and this will be another job out of the way; I can resume work on the coach lamps shortly but I'm also awaiting a phone call allowing me to collect the spinning tool handle wood blanks; I seem to get side tracked from actually spending much time in the workshop but now winter is upon us there won't be as many other more urgent jobs to occupy my time?

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

Out of interest here's the welding trolley I made a couple of years ago and have just upgraded. I initially made it with an axle and two bearings for wheels mounting the axle just off center to the trolley base allowing the trolley to be wheeled around but the welder being so heavy was still difficult to balance and move around the workshop. I've now moved the axle after grinding through the securing welds and re-welding it but also welded on brackets to accept two braked castors.

The paint dried overnight so I've just remounted the welder into the trolley; these oil filled welders sure are heavy; it takes a lot of effort just to lift one end. The welder is a Pickhill Bantam (Oxford) 180A industrial running on either 3 phase 415V or as now on single phase 240V; due to the transformer size it was prone to tripping the "B" type mcb so now this is upgraded to a "C" type mcb; it still trips occasionally. These welders don't have a duty cycle they simply weld 24 hours each day if required without cutting out; I was taught as an apprentice 55 years ago on Oxford welders much bigger than this and always wanted to own an Oxford welder so I'm now very happy.

Simple hooks were welded allowing neat storage of the cables; the hooks have rubber tube slipped on to protect the cables; a shelf unit was added to store welding rods and my small angle grinder also the welding magnetic clamps are on the job ready if needed; this upgrade has been well worth the time and effort because the welder is now easy to move around. Not metal spinning but still it's metal work. I enjoy such projects which make life easier for me. Before knocking off I've just swept the first lot of oak leaves from our patio and paths; the leaves are falling like confetti at the moment and things are back to normal; Blackie my personal cloud is back from holiday raining on me and it's a black hole.

Once the new gas meter is installed normal workshop duties will resume.

Kind regards, Colin.

Welding trolley_001.JPG

The basic welder trolley constructed of what was to hand at the time costing very little indeed.

Welding trolley_002.JPG

My 180A Pickhill Bantam welder. Please note the hand held welding mask; I also own a modern automatic darkening helmet but I was taught with hand held masks and still prefer using them.

Welding trolley_003.JPG

Simple bent 1/4" diameter steel rod welded on as cable tidies the rods having rubber pipe added to protect the cable insulation. The "earth" clamp is attached allowing anything placed on top of the trolley to be welded.

Welding trolley_004.JPG

Magnetic welding clamps ready for action.

Welding trolley_006.JPG


Shallow shelf supporting welding electrodes and small angle grinder making the trolley a nice self contained unit.
 
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Hi,

Yesterday morning I collected the pitch pine timber to make metal spinning tool handles from; driving conditions were horrible with heavy rain and gridlock traffic; I was thankful I was driving for my own pleasure and not driving for a living.

I have mixed feelings about the timber; initially I had ordered 2" x 2" x 24" sawn pitch pine or beech but having spoked to and been kindly given information from my friend I decided to take his advice and I upgraded the order to 3" x 3" x 24" wanting ten of these.Either I didn't make the order clear or the timber supplier misunderstood but the timber I collected was pitch pine in assorted lengths from 24" to 29" but at 2" x 3"? I had gathered the supplier was a furniture maker so I expected clean rough sawn timber but what I collected was far from this; it had big rusty nails sticking out and the nails were deeply embedded; I was charged £70 which I paid with good grace and we shook hands on the deal so to honour my part in the deal no further comment.

Yesterday afternoon I put everything back in its place the new gas meter having been installed then I had a real struggle extracting the nails before knocking off for the day.

This morning first thing I was in the workshop and after selecting 3 lengths of the pine I ran them through my home made 4hp saw bench bringing them to just under 2.125" square. My Graduate lathe accepts 30" maximum length so the first length was mounted between four prong drive and live tailstock centres. Running the lathe at 1,000rpm I roughed the timber down then increased the lathe speed to 2,000rpm once the corners had been removed. At this point I left the Graduate lathe and moved to my Lorch metal lathe to turn two very heavy duty steel ferrules; I had a 6.5" long length of heavy gauge water pipe so cut this in half to give two ferrules; the outside was cleaned up then I used a boring bar to clean up the bore and add a taper to one end on the inside this would allow the ferrules to be driven home very tightly indeed.

With the ferrules made I could then turn the new handle to accept one of them; after sanding smooth lots of Shellac Sanding Sealer was applied to the new handle; this handle was removed from the lathe and placed safely out of the way to let the sealer fully harden. Now everything was set up and I was feeling at home woodturning the second handle was turned but this is still in the lathe to let the sealer harden. I take safety very seriously whilst running power tools or machines; during woodturning I was wearing my Trend Airshield helmet; this helmet as the name implies blows a gentle breeze of filtered air down the front of my face ensuring I'm not breathing harmful dust; it also protects my head should anything be ejected from the lathe which easily results from lack of concentration or a tool "dig in"; a piece of timber being ejected at 2,000rpm can be quite spectacular resulting in the exclamation of "Ouch" assuming the person in the line of fire is still upright? I also have an ex-police riot helmet I wear for big out of balance timber during woodturning. The Trend helmets are quite expensive but not as expensive as a new head or pair of lungs.

I've enjoyed my day in the workshop running two of my lathes and not being under any pressure; I was very generously given two metal spinning tool blades and these are now the new handles for them. Ideally I would have used 3" square timber because metal spinning is carried out using a lot of leverage and to have a tool handle break suddenly could result in a very serious accident should the broken tool pierce the body. I turned plain handles giving maximum strength and because my Graduate will only spin inboard at maximum 12" diameter my spinning tools won't be used with very heavy leverage so I'm confident I'll remain safe.

Kind regards, Colin.


Pitch Pine timber as supplied rough side obviously sawn from reclaimed timber.

Pitch pine._001.JPG


The same Pitch Pine but as seen from the saw.

Pitch pine._005_01.JPG


Big rusty nails embedded in the timber taking a great deal of effort to remove.

Pitch pine._004_01.JPG


One of my safety helmets this is the Trend Airshield quite expensive but cheaper than buying a new head or pair of lungs; one thing I really do dislike about this helmet is the many hours needed to charge the battery; it needs leaving on charge overnight which is ridiculous but safety is paramount.

Tool handles._001.JPG


I decorate my tool handles using a burning wire as seen here; a small nick is cut where the burned ring is to be located then the wire is pressed firmly against the timber being revolved at high speed; the friction heats the wire to glowing hot hence it burns a deep black ring but this can prove highly dangerous to a novice woodturner; please note the wire is fitted with two wooden handles and these handles mut be used during burning; NEVER EVER WRAP A WIRE OR ANYTHING ELSE AROUND FINGERS OR HANDS ANYWHERE NEAR A LATHE IN MOTION IT'S HIGHLY DANGEROUS.

Tool handles._003.JPG

Please note wooden handles attached to burning wire; never ever wrap anything around fingers or hands whilst the lathe is in motion.

Tool handles._004.JPG


Very heavy duty steel ferrules.

Tool handles._005.JPG


Ferrule driven home on the handle; these ferrules must be extremely tight indeed and this was driven using a heavy club hammer; the hole for the tool blade still need drilling.

Tool handles._007.JPG


Here's the first handle the second handle remains in the lathe allowing the sealer to fully dry.

Tool handles._006.JPG
 
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Hi,

I completed the tools this morning; I was generously given the two metal spinning tool blades which had been extensively used but still in very useable condition; I spun the blades in the Graduate lathe to polish them then I drilled the holes in both handles to a depth of 5" the blades are 3/4" diameter so I rough drilled at 5/8" then used a 3/4" reamer; the blades are a tight fit. These are long tools which are needed to withstand a lot of leverage during metal spinning; Ideally they would have been better and much stronger if they were 3" diameter. I'm pleased though by how they both turned out.

Kind regards, Colin.

Spinning tools_001.JPG

Spinning a blade at speed to polish it in the Graduate lathe taking the effort out of polishing.

Spinning tools_002.JPG

The two blades generously given to me now polished ready for the handles. The round bit of bar stock I bored out to just slide over the outside diameter of the ferrule with a lip on the inside the size of the ferrule; this was used with a club hammer to drive the ferrule home; these ferrules are now very tight indeed.

Spinning tools_003.JPG

I only very recently decided to have a go at metal spinning but my progress has been rapid. I've been afforded great generosity not only in being given two metal spinning blades but also the complete tool which has seen a lot of action and it was this tool I spun the reflectors with. The shorter tool I made it being used to trim the metal edge whilst the metal is spinning; this is an extremely dangerous operation and even professional metal spinners can get caught out suffering an accident.
Spinning tools_004.JPG


A close up of the blades; metal spinning tools require blades with a very hard tip to withstand abrasion and they must be polished to a mirror finish. The bottom trimming tool I made using one of my metal turning lathe tool steel blanks the tip is sharpened to a diamond shape.
 

Ian

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They look great! I wondered how you got those lines on your handles, so it's nice to read about how the burning wire works :).
 

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