Picture of Make your own springs in seconds
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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

Picture of 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.

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cinpro6 months ago

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

danolson59 cinpro5 months ago
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?

I have the same requirement for a mailbox door. Were you able to find what you want on Amazon?

I have the same requirement for a mailbox door. Were you able to find what you want on Amazon?

ceremona1 month ago

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!

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!

Stealingsugar5 months ago

It's not PROjects, it's prajects, that is how it is supposed to be pronounced. Thanks for the spring info.

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 "praject" go watch SCTV and learn ta talk, eh.

GWorks7 months ago

Nice ´n easy way of making springs. I will use this as a reference in my upcoming instructable, if I may?
Thanks :)

nwsayer1 year ago

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.

Great instructible. Thanks!

tkjtkj1 year ago

Anyone who starts to manage blood-letting lacerations and Lb's of skin-chunks lying on the floor is my kind of instructor!!!

Nice job, in every way ..

BTW you have a list of sources for spring-metal-types for various applications? .. not all steels are 'springy', as you definitely know!

Thanks for an excellent, compact, efficient, and very useful 'structable ;)

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.

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 .

wire rolls.jpg
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..

yes where do you buy it

What does range 1, 2, or 3 mean? I cannot locate spring wire online. Can it be purchased online?

jredekopp1 year ago
Is there a way to make this work for torsion springs?
GrfxGawd1 year ago

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!

coll28501 year ago

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 :)

Thanks again.

Awesome job. Thanks for the Idea. I spent 30 dollars on 3 1"x 5" 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.
Gilius3 years ago
Have you tried to make any torsion springs too?
static5 years ago
 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.

The basic winding technique is as I expected, but using a jaw of the drill chuck to anchor the wire is a trick I hadn't seen. Many wind wide spaced inductors by winding another wire, rope, string or cable with the desired wire, discarding it after 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...
dave spencer (author)  static5 years ago
I guess the problem here is the video was first.  I decided to do the instructable afterwards.  The instructable actually has more information in it than the video.  Sometimes it is nice to see it live though.  I told you to go to 5:19 so you could skip the other stuff if you were not interested and save time / bandwith.  I thought that was fair but to be honest, I would be bitter too if I was on dialup. :)

 Dave granted you did advise the relative content was 5:19 into the video, but  the video players can't fast forwarded to  a point that hadn't yet been downloaded 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 editing videos complementary to  an instructable to the relative content.  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, remind me of dialup. Thanks for consideration you can give to the video editing.

msw100 static4 years ago
The problem is not the video size but the stupid advert you must watch before hand
usmarine245 years ago
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.
dave spencer (author)  usmarine245 years ago
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.
msw1004 years ago
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?
hintss4 years ago
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?
dave spencer (author)  sniperHunted4 years ago
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.

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 "springy" material. spring steel works best and stainless is pretty good. aluminum and brass are just too soft.
usmarine245 years ago
Great instructable dude
stan45 years ago
Awesome guide...
AzNmeowmeow5 years ago
This looks a very useful video and instructable, but I REALLY have trouble finding the materials for a stainless steel spring. Is there by any chance another stainless steel size that's commonly avaliable around Home Depot and ect?
Light_Lab5 years ago
Many years ago I used to make springs this way on a lathe. We used commercially available untempered spring wire and after we finished we heated up the spring to red hot and dropped it into fish oil to temper it.
Some times we would make special custom springs by soft annealing standard off the shelf springs and straightening them to salvage the wire. Then we would rewind them to suit the job at hand and re-temper.
This is incredibly useful!
mir45z5 years ago

Dave used stainless steel wire to make the springs. Most stainless steel is already hard enuff to do the job. So heat treating is not necessary. If you heat treat the stainless it will be too brittle. Now something like mild steel would be a different story.

rrp95 years ago
Excellent!  I am continually looking for a specific ID spring to fit around something odd-sized like a pipe or shaft, and using this method would make a spring that is exactly the right ID!  Wonderful idea.  I have already started throwing together a lathe-like tool (actually a small drill press laid sideways with a 2nd chuck installed in the adjustable table where I can use wire larger than would be practical to bend by hand.  I can also use a tapered reaming bit or similar to grab the inside of 3/4 or 1" pipe and spin it as well.

Again, very clever instructable!
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