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Metal spinning

Does anyone here know anything about metal spinning and/or having tools built at a fabrication shop? I need to get a metal spinning tool rest made for my wood lathe. I can’t find one commercially that will fit. It’s basically a steel plate with a stem welded on that locks into the lathe’s banjo, with a few holes milled or drilled in to hold a steel rod against which you brace the turning tool while you’re working.

Never having had anything custom fabricated, I’m kind of lost.

Seems like I should be able to show them a picture, give some dimensions, and off we go. But no, the two shops I’ve talked to so far want to charge $250 for engineering plus $250 for the piece, or say they can’t get the parts they need to make it. It just doesn’t seem that hard. Can anyone here offer any advice?

They may be concerned about their potential liability should you use a tool that they made and manage to hurt yourself or someone else. $250 for any custom fabricated piece is not out of line. I went through the same experience when I wanted a local, very good, fabrication shop to make me a press frame. They wanted stamped drawings to deal with the potential liability. This may just be an excuse for not wanting to take the job, but I can tell you that, as a jewelry maker, I have turned down jobs for the same reason…Rob

Good point about custom work. I don’t take it, either. Not worth the hassle, usually. Good point about liability, too. I think this may be one of those times you need a friend in the business. Wish I knew a welder. For what I want to do, I don’t think I need to be able to move the fulcrum pin from hole to hole. I think just a steel plate with a stem welded to the bottom and a single fulcrum rod welded to the top will do it. I don’t want to spin vessels. I just want to curl an edge on some bracelets I’m making. I’ll try sketching that up and have another go at the first supplier I talked to. Wish me luck.

I have seen these made successfully and I have seen them fail totally and dangerously. The liability issue with this tool is immense. No matter how small the machine or the product
you are making.

I would buy one before I would make one. And I am pretty fearless.

Don Meixner

Find your nearest Makers Space. They usually have metal welders/fabricators there. It also will keep costs down if you have a whole sale metal steel supply company near you. Most large cities have them. They sell the over runs, and end cuts off larger orders. You’d be surprised at how cheap the metal is even the HSS. Now as to the dimensions. Take your wood working lathe tool rest with you to show. Other than the top of the rest being different, the size of the post and the height are there for them to measure.

Why not check out the Midland pliers? They will bend in the sides for a bracelet. Also a little hammer work against a proper rounded top anvil stake will do it as well. Both of which are cheaper and less dangerous.

Aggie Enjoying perfect Florida weather. It lasts a few weeks then humidity, heat, and mosquitoes return

I’m not really aiming at a synclastic bracelet. I just want to curl the edges – round them over and tuck the edges in. I have no idea if that makes sense. I can see it in my head… :slight_smile:

Oh - and no makers’ space nearby. Wish we had one. They’re awesome.

I would buy one if I could, but my lathe takes a tool rest stem a little less than 1/2" in diameter. Can’t find one like that anywhere – hence the quest for having one made.

The sudden, spectacular, dangerous failure scenario caught my attention. When the failure happened, what happened? Did the weld fail?

My lathe takes a tool rest stem that’s slightly less than 1/2" diameter – hence making not buying. Can’t find one anywhere that fits. When they fail, where did the problem happen? at the weld?

Hi - I don’t fully understand what you need…but you could check with my husband’s company:
They fabricate custom parts. You can either design the part yourself using their free CAD software, or you can submit a request for quote. I have no idea what your part would involve…but might be worth checking out.

I saw eMachineShop when I was searching for a fabricator. Thanks for reminding me of them. I’ll have a look! :slight_smile:

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I bought my metal spinning supplies from Penn State Industries a few years ago. They may still have some available. In the UK has them. Check out they have them in the US. I have a great time with it when I can get to it. There is a learning curve like every thing else.

Penn State discontinued their line, and they have precious few tools left. I’ve ordered tools, some practice blanks, and a DVD from New Product. They arrive tomorrow!! :slight_smile: I first saw metal spinning on-ilne a couple of years ago, and I’ve been itching to try ever since. I’m actually looking forward to the learning curve. That’s what makes it fun, right? I hope I can hit you up for advice when I get stuck.


I have been trying to make jewelry as inexpensively as possible. But I don’t have the equipment to work with silver on my own (I did 25 or so years ago, but no longer). I’ve tried wax molds (sending out to a castor and then to a jewelry “guy” for the finishing). Now that I do 3D printing (the material used is easily meltable) I was wondering if anyone here has cast any 3D printer products and what the results have been and if there’s a way I can find out how much it would cost.



Google “Lost PLA Casting”. It looks like it’s possible. Check this site:

Three years ago they mentioned that investment wax filament would be out soon. Maybe it’s available now?

Then talk to your castor and find out. Safety seems like the main thing. Maybe talk to the filament supplier about how safe it is during the burn-out.

Update: After getting a quote for $250 to make a tool rest, my husband and I decided we could make it ourselves. Spent $30 on steel (and have $20’s worth left over) plus about $80 on drill bits, cutting oil, and other tools and supplies we didn’t already have. Cut the bar to length, drilled the holes, cut a fulcrum pin and stem, and brazed the stem in place. Voila! It works.

Second update: success! Here’s a pic of the world’s most expensive little aluminum bowl. Not much, but I’m proud of it! Now on to bigger and better things.

Congratulations cholman ! It’s always a good feeling knowing that, should you have to, you can make something that you might otherwise be better off buying. That is not to say that spinning isn’t, by itself, a cool thing to be able to do and it is on my bucket list. My brother Don and I were talking about this the other day in reference to the poster who wants to make his own 14K. We both agreed that, if we had a commission to make something out of 14K, we would buy it, but we also understand the desire to make it. We both have made our own solder, not because we had to, but because we wanted to be able to say we could. The desire to make your own extends, for many of us, to recycling metals, rolling, drawing, casting, turning on a lathe, lapidary and more. With these skills, at the very least, we are no longer tied to waiting for the next order from a vendor to finish a project. I remember how liberating it was when I bought my first rolling mill to know that I could “make my own” if I had to. At this point in my life and career I have, and appreciate having, the time and resources to be curious, learn a new skill, make a new tool, study a new or different way to make something or teach someone just starting out how to solve a problem without accounting for my time…Rob