I created the helical spring GIFified1 above by using the Trotec rotary attachment in a Speedy 300 to laser cut a 3D printed PLA plastic tube.

It is one of many helical springs I've laser cut over the past three months2. The springs vary in design and material - so far, I have used 3D printed PLA, clear acrylic, and cardboard shipping tubes. Take a look at the bottom picture for a sneak peak of the whole collection.

The 3D Printed / Laser Cut Spring concept is pretty cool, I think, and a decent lead in because it's recognizable, but definitely not what I'm most excited to show in this Instructable. So before I lose you, scroll down to Step 1 and check out the wave springs. Lots more pictures and videos after that. Eventually, I'll give an explanation of how they are made (starting at Step 7).

1 Props to audreyobscura for her extremely helpful instructable on turning videos into GIFS.

2 What's the point? For a little while, I turned my attention to finding an application for these, but that proved to be way less fun than experimenting with the process and cutting new springs. So for now, they are what they are.

I made it at TechShop

Step 1: Wave Springs

These acrylic springs were made by cutting each coil along sine wave or zig-zag paths. As you can see in the GIFS above, when you twist them, the waves and zig-zags line up and form helixes that wrap around the spring. The springs want to untwist themselves, but with just a little pressure from the ends they hold the pattern.

Check out the video below to see how they move in real time.

And another of a similar design but in cardboard and with more wave cycles.


<p>Excellent research into the subject and many thanks for sharing the results!</p>
<p>This is great!</p>
<p>Thanks Aaron</p><p>I'm pretty sure I saw your <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Parametric-Twisted-Lamp/" rel="nofollow">parametric twisted lamp</a> a few months ago when I was scouring Instructables for all things spirally. Checking it out again now. Very cool design!</p>
Laser cut helical springs also known as a slinky

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