I make lots of stuff that needs springs. I have always hated trying to find the right spring for the job in a hardware store, then having to pay up to 10 dollars for it. When I was learning to make chainmail I came up with this method for winding rings and realized it could be used for making springs as well. It is insane how quick and easy this is.
Video makes this easier to follow and shows just how ridiculously fast it is, so I included a podcast with me doing this. The spring segment is at 5:19 but don't be shy about watching the rest of the video afterwards, not to mention other episodes. also, don't forget to check out my other instructables.
Step 1: Materials
Heavy duty gloves, not gardening gloves. I use welding gloves. If you try this with light duty gloves, call an ambulance before you start so it will arrive in time to stop the bleeding.
An arbor- just a fancy name for a rod to wind the spring on, round is common but not required. Match the arbor to the diameter of the spring you want to make.
You may need a piece of square steel (I used 1/4" keystock) if you want to make a compression spring. More on this in a minute.
I have 3/32" stainless steel tig rods for welding sitting around. Each rod only costs a few cents and they seem very suited for doing this kind of hand bending. while still being stiff enough to be a spring.