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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

A Drill, one with a little bit of torque.

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.

Step 2: Expansion Springs

Expansion springs are ones that stretch, like a spring in a screen door or a gate.

Bend the rod at a 90 degree angle leaving an end as long as you need to create a hook after.  Slip the end into the chuck of the drill between the teeth.

Hold the arbor in your hand grabbing the wire at the same time.  Slowly start the drill and squeeze the arbor tight to control the wire.  It may take a try or two to get the knack of how to hold it.

Stop the drill before the wire gets to the end because the tip will whip around the arbor in your hand.  If your hand is not well protected when this happens, this will be the part where you will be picking up chunks of skin off of the ground.

Slide the spring off the arbor and bend the ends into hooks with pliers.

Yes! it is that easy.

A friend emailed me and told me about a limited travel extension spring.  It took me about 2 minutes and a set of needle nose pliers to make these clips to add to my compression spring. (see pictures) The idea is that under heavy loading,  an extension spring can deform and straighten right out.  This spring can handle much higher loads stopping at a fixed point.  Pretty cool concept and super easy to make.

Step 3: Compression Springs

Compression springs are ones that squish, like the spring in a ballpoint click pen.

Making these is almost as easy.  Start the same way and make a few turns of an expansion spring (wire touching itself).  Then wrestle the spacer (keystock) in between the last turn and rest of the still straight wire.  Spin a bunch of turns with the spacer and then finish it with a few more expansion turns.  Slide it off the arbor, clip the ends and you are done.

If you made it this far, you might be interested in our facebook page

<p>What type of wire / metal would be needed to make the compression spring - as I'd want one to have a bit of push back when I squish it down! I want to make a 2.5&quot; ID spring about 4&quot; long uncompressed, and maybe 2.5&quot; long fully compressed.</p>
<p>um i do think that you would like to heat the wire in a kiln to take off the tress which can help protect it from breaking , and possibly injuring you,and i also found a great pdf file online about making springs if anyone is interested just message me,</p>
Looks like you have yourself a popular commodity on Instructables. I also would like that PDF if you are still doing so. astrong123@gmail.com
<p>PatrickW8, I would love to have the &quot;pdf&quot; on spring making, please email to &quot;t.langy@hotmaill.com&quot;. </p><p> TIA,</p><p>tlangy</p>
<p>could you message me the pdf aswell</p><p>btcminez@gmail.com</p>
Hi Pat Iam Austin from Nigeria, please email the pdf file to adiribe@yahoo.com. Thanks in anticipation.
<p>Hey PatrickW8, shoot me an email with that pdf? ha1rtr1gg3r@gmail.com , itd be appreciated!</p>
Hello PatrickW8!<br>My name is Sam, I'm from Finland. I also noticed the possibility of breaking without heating.<br>I have a possibility to heat with coals which I think would suit this kind of heating. Am I right?<br><br>My second question is should I heat the steel rod with some other material? Should I also temper it, and if so, how should it be done?<br><br>You also found a pdf about making springs. I'm interested about that too.<br><br>Please contact my email:<br>mok2t2@gmail.com<br><br>With regards,<br>Sam
Hello PatrickW8!<br>My name is Sam, I'm from Finland. I also noticed the possibility of breaking without heating.<br>I have a possibility to heat with coals which I think would suit this kind of heating. Am I right?<br><br>My second question is should I heat the steel rod with some other material? Should I also temper it, and if so, how should it be done?<br><br>You also found a pdf about making springs. I'm interested about that too.<br><br>Please contact my email:<br>mok2t2@gmail.com<br><br>With regards,<br>Sam
<p>Interesting to build springs of different sizes </p>
<p>Thanks for a nice Instructable for making springs. I have the need to make a very tiny conical spring instead of cylindrical spring. What changes should I do ? </p><p>Thanks !</p>
Your arbor would have to be conical
<p>Very helpful- thank you for saving my project (I couldn't find the springs I needed). BTW, you can buy wire that's specifically made for springs on eBay- at least that's where I got mine.</p>
<p>I was thinking of winding a piece around a broomstick or other to make a coil I have seen a person do it that way and it worked for them on a specific item. It most likely depends on why a spring needs to be heated up for something particular .</p>
<p>This technique works a treat. I'll building a competition grade r/c scale model of a j-3 piper cub and needed two identical springs, they attach to either side of the tail wheel steering torque arm in order to absorb ground feedback shocks. I used spring wire and my drill... perfect result! love it.</p><p>Thanks for the tip. </p>
<p>You can get spring wire in many sizes and lengths on Amazon, its cheap and don't worry about getting a large roll. You can buy really short lengths, but you will end up paying more for it</p>
I need to make a small torsion spring for a mailbox door. What do I search for on Amazon to find and buy the right wire?
<p>I have the same requirement for a mailbox door. Were you able to find what you want on Amazon?</p>
<p>I have the same requirement for a mailbox door. Were you able to find what you want on Amazon?</p>
<p>I used music wire for my springs and used a lathe. I wonder how much success a woman's hand has with the drill method? I found the amount of tension needed for my long springs to be pretty hard on my hand just using a lathe. Can't imagine having to hold drill with the other hand!</p>
<p>Awesome. Thanks a bunch for simple and meaningful idea. I was looking for a small spring for a car door actuator lock. They sell them from overseas for quite a chunk of change ($20 at least). Using your ideas I can make the spring myself. Thanks again!</p>
<p>It's not PROjects, it's prajects, that is how it is supposed to be pronounced. Thanks for the spring info. </p>
<p>Take off! He's Canadian, eh. And his PROgram has ta meet the CBC requirement for Canadian content, ya hoser. Now if ya want a &quot;praject&quot; go watch SCTV and learn ta talk, eh. </p>
<p>Nice &acute;n easy way of making springs. I will use this as a reference in my upcoming instructable, if I may?<br>Thanks :)</p>
<p>I need to make the kind of spring you use as a battery contact - its diameter reduces as you go up so that when it compresses the coils nest and it can lay flat. For that I assume I'm just going to need a conical arbor.</p><p>Great instructible. Thanks!</p>
<p>Anyone who starts to manage blood-letting lacerations and Lb's of skin-chunks lying on the floor is my kind of instructor!!!</p><p>Nice job, in every way .. </p><p>BTW you have a list of sources for spring-metal-types for various applications? .. not all steels are 'springy', as you definitely know!</p><p>Thanks for an excellent, compact, efficient, and very useful 'structable ;)</p>
<p>Anyone know where to buy regular flat springs at for a retractable reel tyoe deal ? Doesn't have to be real strong something to wind up 10 feet of 14 gauge wire repeatedly on a daily basis. All these companies claim they sell for proto typing projects but want you to buy 100 minimum. I dont need 100 if its a proto type project.</p>
<p>All spring wire comes in rolls from the wire mill . If you want some you could contact a spring manufacturer and have them cut off a small amount. It's not the sort of thing hardware or retail shops would stock .</p>
Hi dave , I love your work , well done.I understand stiff welding wire would work ok as a spring for a while, but honestly , you need to use proper spring temper wire from the mill , range 1,2 or3 would be preferable.it's just as easy to bend or coil as welding wire is. ...Throw it in your household oven for 20 minutes at 250 c degrees to stress relieve the thing so it won't return to a piece of staight wire again, and jobs done..
<p>yes where do you buy it</p>
<p>What does range 1, 2, or 3 mean? I cannot locate spring wire online. Can it be purchased online?</p>
Is there a way to make this work for torsion springs?
<p>You showed me a few really great ideas here on the initial construction and shaping wire. Now to brush up on tempering so I can make my own springs! Thanks for the excellent wire forming ideas!</p>
<p>Great. Thank you for being so clever and taking the time to share it will us. I tried to buy a spring with no luck. So glad. I will buy some wire and make them myself :)</p><p>Thanks again.</p>
Awesome job. Thanks for the Idea. I spent 30 dollars on 3 1&quot;x 5&quot; compression springs for my sons toy and all I had to do was this. tempering is easy to do. a torch and some oil. Use hooke's law if your in the manufacturing industry. for things around the house this idea is perfect.
Have you tried to make any torsion springs too?
&nbsp;Video viewing much better today, but still when a video is the instructable, readers shouldn't be required to go 5:19 into a video to see the subject content of an instructable.<br /> <br /> The basic winding technique is as I expected, but using a jaw of the drill chuck to anchor the wire is a trick I&nbsp;hadn't&nbsp;seen. Many wind wide spaced inductors by&nbsp;winding&nbsp;another wire, rope, string or cable with the&nbsp;desired&nbsp;wire, discarding it&nbsp;after&nbsp;the inductor is wound. Perhaps the same technique could be used to wind a compression spring. All in all a good instructable, but please consider to the point video production in future instructables. Also keep in mind video doesn't work well for those poor souls still stuck with dial up internet connections Thanks...<br />
I guess the problem here is the video was first.&nbsp; I decided to do the instructable afterwards.&nbsp; The instructable actually has more information in it than the video.&nbsp; Sometimes it is nice to see it live though.&nbsp; I told you to go to 5:19 so you could skip the other stuff if you were not interested and save time / bandwith.&nbsp; I thought that was fair but to be honest, I would be bitter too if I was on dialup. :)<br /> <br />
&nbsp;Dave granted you did advise the relative content was 5:19 into the video, but &nbsp;the video players can't fast forwarded to &nbsp;a&nbsp;point that&nbsp;hadn't&nbsp;yet been&nbsp;downloaded&nbsp;to the user's computer yet. Internet bottle necks can make fast internet miserably slow. connections. I understand the video and then the instructable sequence, but do please consider&nbsp;editing&nbsp;videos complementary to &nbsp;an instructable to the&nbsp;relative&nbsp;content. &nbsp;While it's not broad band my 1.5 MB WISP provider is as good as it's ever going to get in my part of rural Kansas. Much better than dialup, though those internet bottle necks,&nbsp;remind&nbsp;me of dialup. Thanks for consideration you can give to the video&nbsp;editing.<br /> <br />
The problem is not the video size but the stupid advert you must watch before hand
Would like to make a much larger spring 2in diameter but limited to what bit size I can use. Any suggestions?
try winding around a piece of two inch pipe
the only thing that comes to my mind is using larger bar stock in an engine lathe. you can drill an appropriately sized cross-hole to hold the beginning bit of wire and turn the lathe (either by hand in Neutral, or by a low speed gear). could still work with the keystock too.
You could find an arbor with a step in it that would chuck into a drill. you could also wind it by hand as long as you keep constant tension on it. maybe a friend could help.
They look the part,but should they no be tempered some way as surly when you stretch them they will not spring back unless you use spring steel to start with?
this reminds me of at our robotics team, when they were making a spiral, so they bent a rod around a tree, then ended up with a rod stuck around a tree.
will this work with an aluminum or brass rod?
If you mean as an arbor, sure. The only problem you will have is it will wear and deform quicker. steel is nice and hard and will last longer.<br><br>If you mean using aluminum as a spring, you can coil it into shapes this way but it will not really become a spring. If you compressed or stretched it it would not return back to its original size. You need a &quot;springy&quot; material. spring steel works best and stainless is pretty good. aluminum and brass are just too soft.
Great instructable dude
Awesome guide...<br />

About This Instructable




Bio: I have had a few careers so far, soldier, school teacher, arborist, millwright. I love change and I love learning.
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