Make Your Own Springs in Seconds

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

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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.

edit:
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

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    115 Discussions

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    purposelycryptic

    2 days ago

    A word of warning to the less-brilliant among us looking to try this: Solid gloves are a great idea, but you really want some protection for the rest of your arms as well (and torso, and eyes/face in general... basically any part of your body not naturally immune to contact with steel wire being whipped through the air at high speed).

    Myself falling firmly into the 'Future Darwin-Award Candidate' end of the less-brilliant spectrum, I decided to try this wearing heavy welding gloves reaching up to my elbows (Check), my thick welding apron (Check), a Lexan face-shield (Check - hey, I'm sounding positively cautious here, aren't I?), and... a thin cotton t-shirt (FAIL!).

    So, as it turns out, if you don't REALLY hold on to the wire while running the drill, it turns into a flying razor-whip of death - if you've ever played the video game 'Dishonored', it has this device called a "Springrazor", and, well, it's kind of like that.

    All my carefully protected bits were fine, my upper arms however... Well, see the attached pictures and learn from the error of my ways. Luckily, thanks to my fairly decent reflexes, I only got hit by one rotation, but still, the combination of being simultaneously whipped by a length of steel wire *and* gouged by the roughly-cut steel tip was not so much fun. Still, had it been a little longer, it could easily have slashed my throat, so yay for not dying!

    Just to be clear, this isn't meant as a condemnation of the Instructable in any way - after all, every time someone comes up with idiot-proof instructions, the world creates a better idiot, and, well, this time, that was me.

    Some contributing factors that certainly didn't help were:

    - I used 1/18" spring-tempered carbon-steel wire, which is both pretty thick for a first attempt, and, more importantly, very springy, with a tough temper that likes to bounce back (Perfect for springs! But also, whipping...). for my next attempt, I'll try feeding the wire through a mandrel bolted to the table, which should reduce the probability of flying death-razor incidents.

    - Since the need for torque was mentioned, I used The Big Drill, my heavy-duty B&D Drill-Hammer, which just happens to lack any significant speed adjustment options. I get the feeling that high torque, low speed is a much better idea, especially as I've found 5 new holes in my arms in addition to the ones in the pictures, just while writing this.

    Anyway, thanks for the Instructable - I've hated paying so much money for springs for a long time, and while paying in blood isn't an ideal alternative, hopefully that was a one-time deal ;-)

    And for those wanting to give this a shot, don't underestimate the power of wire... and if you're using spring-tempered wire, maybe try annealing it for your first try - it will end up less springy, but it will also be less hungry for the blood of man.


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    1 reply

    OK, second attempt (properly armored, wearing my welding leather sleeves) went much better - the culprit was definitely the overpowered drill. This time, I used my cheap battery-powered Harbor Freight one, and things went positively smoothly.

    Still didn't manage to create a truly usable spring, but that was more due to my using the same warped and twisted piece of wire that attacked me in the first attempt (I hate wasting things, and there was always a chance that, having tasted my blood, it would turn into some sort of vampiric super spring)

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    CJ Morin

    5 months ago

    Is there still a video on this. There is nothing on the site you mentioned.

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    PatrickW8

    2 years ago

    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,

    9 replies
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    JoniJ7PatrickW8

    Reply 10 months ago

    Juopperiroh@gmail.com pyydän saada

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    astrong0PatrickW8

    Reply 1 year ago

    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

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    tlangyPatrickW8

    Reply 2 years ago

    PatrickW8, I would love to have the "pdf" on spring making, please email to "t.langy@hotmaill.com".

    TIA,

    tlangy

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    teckhoff1PatrickW8

    Reply 2 years ago

    could you message me the pdf aswell

    btcminez@gmail.com

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    AustinIbePatrickW8

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Pat Iam Austin from Nigeria, please email the pdf file to adiribe@yahoo.com. Thanks in anticipation.

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    ha1rtr1gg3rPatrickW8

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hey PatrickW8, shoot me an email with that pdf? ha1rtr1gg3r@gmail.com , itd be appreciated!

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    mok2t2PatrickW8

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hello PatrickW8!
    My name is Sam, I'm from Finland. I also noticed the possibility of breaking without heating.
    I have a possibility to heat with coals which I think would suit this kind of heating. Am I right?

    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?

    You also found a pdf about making springs. I'm interested about that too.

    Please contact my email:
    mok2t2@gmail.com

    With regards,
    Sam

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    mok2t2PatrickW8

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hello PatrickW8!
    My name is Sam, I'm from Finland. I also noticed the possibility of breaking without heating.
    I have a possibility to heat with coals which I think would suit this kind of heating. Am I right?

    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?

    You also found a pdf about making springs. I'm interested about that too.

    Please contact my email:
    mok2t2@gmail.com

    With regards,
    Sam

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    cinpro

    3 years ago on Introduction

    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

    4 replies
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    danolson59cinpro

    Reply 3 years 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?

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    RobertC2danolson59

    Reply 1 year ago

    Try springs from Clothes Pins, Mouse Traps, or even small Chip Bag Clamps.

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    jeanniel1

    1 year ago

    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" ID spring about 4" long uncompressed, and maybe 2.5" long fully compressed.

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    Hthea

    2 years ago

    Interesting to build springs of different sizes