Metal Spinning a Skillet
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    Default Metal Spinning a Skillet

    I run a small blacksmith shop, and am looking into spinning skillets/frying pans. I was curious what size lathe, and if I could convert a wood lathe, in order to make frying pans from 12 gauge discs? Don't wanna invest in a lathe only to find I won't be able to spin my intended items with it.

    Thanks!

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    Spinning there be more to that than meets the eye. I am by no means an expert, I've toyed with it just enough to know that I don't know what I don't know. And what I know is just enought to limp by.

    But having said that I've watched a couple of guys on youtube fail miserabally.

    What you need to know is that you are not simply bending metal, you are causing it to flow. And as such you can thin the metal out or gather it up as you form. Know what you want and then work that direction.

    As for a wood lathe, yes if it's old school gnarly, with big robust bearings. Me personally "on the cheap" I'd find someting like an old Logan 2500 where the bed has seen better days and double up on the spindle bearings, which you could do on those lathes without too much fuss by sacrficing a spacer. The bearings were preloaded by a belville washer so you had a little wiggle room to work with.

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    You generally don't need bed length in a spinning lathe as most of the work is done close to the headstock. There is a lot of force applied and usually a big swing, so large bearings are best. There is a bunch of ideas here: Lathes modified for metal spinning by James P. Riser
    This is what a real one looks like: Manual metal spinning lathes for sale with mandrels, molds and tools in USA Pennsylvania, Mexico
    Note - big and wide spacing on the headstock bearings, huge swing and big tailstock ram to support the clamping force.

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    comments from the past

    Metal spinning on light lathe

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    If you're Hoping to spin 12 ga steel you will want a real spinning lathe or metal lathe. That's a lot of metal to move.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbforge View Post
    I run a small blacksmith shop, and am looking into spinning skillets/frying pans. I was curious what size lathe, and if I could convert a wood lathe, in order to make frying pans from 12 gauge discs? Don't wanna invest in a lathe only to find I won't be able to spin my intended items with it.

    Thanks!
    So your used to bashing steel....use your current skills & tools:
    #CHINA WOKS - YouTube
    70 people hammering woks together - YouTube
    Making Wok From Steel Sheet by Talented Guy | Simple Steps With Amazing Skills | How to Make Karahi - YouTube

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    here are 3 approaches. 3 different guys I have met who do this professionally.

    1 spins
    Home - Hand Forged | Carbon Steel | Northwest Skillet Company

    1 presses, then forges
    Blu Skillet Ironware

    1 just has it pressed in a BIG press
    Home | Darto International

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    Do a lot of research before you enter into metal spinning! You will also need a heavy circle shear for 12 gage steel.
    I have close to 50 years experience spinning metal and was lucky to have purchased a new lathe in the early 70s. If I had found an old used lathe and tried to figure it out my self it might have been a disaster!
    I had a few old timers spin for me and slowly picked it up. It’s a very tricky process - Not Easy to teach your self.

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    A skillet or frying pan is a relatively easy spin job due to the shallow depth to diameter, you have 8 or 10 inch diameter flat support to spin a few inches deep, unlike a Wok that would have around 3” diameter nose.
    Also - don’t bother spinning on a wood mandrel you’ll want steel for this job.

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    Here's a former aerospace engineer who makes handmade copper cookware; he uses metal spinning. Not skillets though.



    Duparquet copper cookware — Duparquet Copper Cookware

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    Will a thin spun skillet really be thick enough to be useful? Woks are not used the same way as an american style frying pan.
    Bill D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    here are 3 approaches. 3 different guys I have met who do this professionally.

    1 spins
    Home - Hand Forged | Carbon Steel | Northwest Skillet Company

    1 presses, then forges
    Blu Skillet Ironware

    1 just has it pressed in a BIG press
    Home | Darto International
    I watched a YouTube video of Northwestern spinning a skillet and his lathe looked very familiar - it’s a lathe I sold to Peter 12 - 15 years ago when he was in CA. I’m very impressed with his work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    Woks are not used the same way as an american style frying pan.
    Even with woks, the good cooks don't like the cheesy thin spun ones. That's why there's videos of guys hammering thicker metal over a form.

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    If I was going to make it by hand, I'd hammer form it on a buck out of thicker-than-12 gauge-material. Hot vs cold form would depend on the thickness. Maybe forge the 'rim' and weld it to the bottom.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Even with woks, the good cooks don't like the cheesy thin spun ones. That's why there's videos of guys hammering thicker metal over a form.
    right. Thin pans have hot spots. Thin woks, too. Cookin' don't change cause of the geography. Heats still heat and the food don't change that much.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    right. Thin pans have hot spots. Thin woks, too. Cookin' don't change cause of the geography. Heats still heat and the food don't change that much.
    Great cooks, ANY ethnicity or cuisine, instantly assess whatever is to-hand as to cookware and heat-source, then do their magic, regardless.

    What they select when they have control is nowt but the very BEST, OTOH. Anything less wastes their time and annoys them.

    But If I wanted to SELL Woks or skillets, rather than providing a home for wayward girls for their already near-as-dammit infinite variety. our kitchens HKG & USA alone?

    I'd look for a gimmick. Not spinning, either.

    Hydroforming a known-difficult alloy with small explosive charges might be on the menu?

    Original plan is so "vanilla" one could just re-brand PLA army surplus!



    On which score... usta enjoy stopping and watching a fifty-something guy, lone-wolf, on a back side-street in Wanchai as did repairs and custom goods for a lot of the space-challenged Dai Pai Dongs and big-rigs alike.

    Had him a small trip hammer and a pressure welder. Hand tools. Not a lot of 'em, either. Make anything in any size or shape of stainless or 'loominum or sheet steel you could sketch or hand him the wore-out example of.

    In mere minutes.

    His real product?

    Low / No downtime at their cash tills.

    He ate well.


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    Have you looked into explosive forming ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Have you looked into explosive forming ?
    I know someone who did that .... on an experimental basis he kept adding explosives until the material was fully formed. That worked until half the die set disappeared into the sky. He knows it came down, just not where.

    And he didn't go around the neighborhood asking, either

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    "Here's a former aerospace engineer..."

    I gotta ask...what difference does it make that he used to be an 'aerospace engineer'? That seems to imply something...I just can't put a handle on what.


    It's like these headlines I constantly see...."Man chases mother of 3 after she stabbed his leg". As if being a mother has some bearing on the story....

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    I'm not easily scared but spinning gets my hackles up (because I know how quickly things get nasty) so I've only done a few small pieces from thin soft metal.

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