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LeadHead 05-16-2008 04:16 AM

Swirling Stainless Steel
How do you put those perfect little circular swirl patterns in stainless steel like what I've seen in vintage aircraft? I have a need for something like that for a back-splash.

bordontn2 05-16-2008 08:51 AM

LeadHead..I think that's called "engine-turned" Seems I remember doing that on aluminum with a wood dowel in a drill press with valve grinding compound on it ...many,many moons ago.........

bordontn2 05-16-2008 01:56 PM

LeadHead........try this..
a web site for an engine-turner

LeadHead 05-16-2008 07:57 PM

bordontn2...It's kind of funny, when my boss was explaining this "50's" style back-splash I was picturing the "Spirit Of St. Louis" in my mind. What you were describing in your first post has got me to thinking...What do you put on the end of the wooden dowel? Just wrap a rag around it and load it up with valve grinding compound?

bordontn2 05-18-2008 07:31 PM

LeadHead........What I remember was from my shop class in 1956. I would think the compound directly on the wood dowel.
I don't think you would have a really defined edge using a rag..Practice,practice ,practice..The process looks so precise
you couldn't use a hand held drill.It has to be perpendicular to your metal..Nowadays they probably use a machine like a plasma table with a motor mounted in place of the torch and their abrasive pad on the motor..programed with software the pad would extend,swirl,retract . move a bit and do it again.Remember tho ,on "The Spirit of St. Louis", no CNC ? whatever you call it..

Stickman 05-20-2008 05:57 AM

I had what I think is one of these 1/2 round emery stick. It was slighty flexable and I put in in my drill press and it worked fine for small pcs. I was given this from a friend at a tool & die shop and can't really tell you where to get is something like these:

these are from 100% grinding they wear down it just keeps going.

TINOKR 05-20-2008 08:26 AM

Swirling Stainless Steel
LeadHead ,

Eastwood sells kits as well as finished blanks of this .
Go to their website and search for "engine turn" .

Here is there website address :

Good Luck ,


martyg 05-30-2008 11:33 PM

ive done the swirle patterns on stainless steel with an angle grinder and a pad like scothbrite. takes a litle practice but you can get the hang of it. just make sure you clamp the down real good.

LeadHead 05-31-2008 07:34 AM

Thanks guys. The idea was tossed, but has got me to thinking... We have a cnc plasma table with a clamp-on torch head. If you were to remove the torch and fasten a lightweight drill in its place with some panduit straps, you could get a perfect pattern and you wouldn't be constricted by the size of the drill press. You could do and entire 5'X10' sheet. Just need to come up with a small, not high-speed, lightweight drill...hmm...

bm1 07-17-2008 10:29 AM

I have done some aluminum panels by clamping them on a piece of plywood, and then clamping the plywood to my mill table. I chuck up a round wire brush, or use one of the scotchbrite disc. I pull down the quill and move the table a little at a time. It takes some time but it will come out nice. Hope this helps.

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