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Engine Turning Aluminum

dash aluminum turning


Utah Smitty
Jul 19, 2012 09:55 PM
A good article. I've engine turned firearms parts using a pencil-type ink eraser (for typewriters), or even just a regular wooden pencil, chucked in a drill press. I put a dab of oil on it and go to town. There is enough abrasive in the eraser to put the nice swirl marks on the part.

Your method is obviously the way to go for larger parts.

Thanks for sharing it.
    • MH81 and jah457 have said thanks
A few years ago I noticed on a tv documentary about a firetruck builder that they did freehand with a palm held rotary (NOT ORBITAL) sander. On the larger side panels of a firetruck the minor inconsistencies of doing it freehand aren't noticable. A worker did a panel about 6 by 4 feet in s very few minutes.
    • MH81 and jah457 have said thanks
cool stuff I think it would really look awesome if it were to be staggered as you mentioned
    • chieffan said thank you

Great article. I like working with Al. It's easy to work with and you can get a nice finish especially when using an alloy like 6061. I've used it to make a front panel for a homemade amplifier and I polished it to a nice shine then waxed it. It still looks the same after 12 years. 

dodge trucker
Jul 04, 2016 10:27 PM

 I remember cars like the late 70s trans am,  had that finish on the dash cluster, still do not know why it is called "engine turned"

Like Utah Smitty I have engine turned gun parts several years ago.  To put engine turning on the bolt of a bolt action rifle is quit a task.  Definitely want the marks staggered and not just lined up at an angle.  I always used the stainless steel turning brushes.  Did a nice job and lasted a long time if used properly.

It sure makes an ugly piece of aluminum POP when your done and you made it possible... thank you!