Just saw King Martin's picture of a beautiful "engine-turned" dash panel on the,.... "What Did You Do on Your Model T in February" thread. Didn't want to clutter up that thread so thought I'd start this one:
I've always found it fascinating, how engine-turning can turn a plain piece of sheet metal into a real "work of art"! I have the feeling that there certainly must be a right way, a wrong way, and a lot of just "so-so" ways of doing this. The right pattern I'm sure, must make a big difference in the attractiveness of the finished product.
My question is, is there a time-proven pattern for the most effective technique for doing this sort of work? What I mean by that is, how much should each "swirl" overlap the adjacent swirls, how far apart should the horizontal rows be apart, or should they also overlap, and, should the swirls be staggered like in laying floor tiles, etc, etc. There must be some "rules" for the best way to do this. I have a little "mini" milling machine with which I've experimented a bit, but so far, obviously have much to learn as my results were not all that great. I'm sure this kind of work could be accomplished with a drill press too, but I keep thinking that with a little milling machine which can get the rows perfectly even, should be no excuse for less than excellent results.
Anybody have any "tips" for doing this kind of work? Thanks in advance for any suggestions,.....harold
Just about any pattern can be done, most use a 50% overlap of the standard circular swirl.
Did it once using the eraser end of a lead pencil, chucked in my drill press. Fairly easy to do.
Don't be afraid to get carried away! If you get enough swirls on there, no body will be able to find the imperfections.
I used a 1/2" cratex round rod and 0.40" spacings. Mine are not staggered. I sprayed wd40 on the aluminum and with slight pressure and a three count was all it took. I will say your aluminum needs to be polished before you start.
Thank you for the kind comments. This was my first attempt to engine turn anything, so I might chalk it up to beginners luck. I used a drill press and made a index table out of two boards . My wife printed off a series of lines 0.40" apart and these sheets of paper were attached to the board.. The piece to be turned was polished and then screwed to the top board in the wooden jig.the piece was slid back in forth indexing to the lines. The wd40 obscures the design that's where the indexing lines come in handy. When finished I sprayed the piece down with carb cleaner then hot water and lightly wiped dry with a terry cloth. Once clean I used painters tape to cover the turned surface, I then cut my holes from the backside of the piece. Hope this helps