Free 173 Best Homemade Tools eBook:  
Remove advertisements
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Make your own custom springs and measure them correctly

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    8
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 24 Times in 5 Posts

    flyforever's Tools

    Make your own custom springs and measure them correctly

    For my small hobby/business, I am constantly seeking ingenious methods and tools to cut costs and speed up my work. I work with small parts, so often solutions that work for large projects or parts do not necessarily apply to small parts.

    I use small expansion springs, and the cost for one spring is prohibitive. Moreover, I prefer to experiment with different guage stock as well as lengths. This forced me to invest and invent my way to making springs at low cost and at any length I wish.

    First, Mcmaster Carr sells spring coil by the foot and low cost, so the hard part is already done for me.
    Second, for the end loops, there's an expensive tool (https://www.amazon.com/Hook-Kon-Spri.../dp/B002PTVIY6) that makes making end loops so easy and enjoyable that they justifies the investment.
    It's a high quality tool, and after 5 years of constant use it works perfectly.
    The third part was always a bit tentative and problematic:
    how do you create a jig that allows for precise spring length, easy cutting, and can be used for any diameter spring?

    I found my solution right in my shop:
    1. small earth magnets
    2. ABS sheet stock( .063)
    3. small machinists vise
    4. caliper
    5. my good, reliable wire cutter

    The image pretty much explains how I do it. The ABS material is thinner than the spring stock, so I can use it as a movable stop right inside the vise. Its thickness also provides stiffness and plenty of magnet hold.
    I use 4 magnets, two on top and two behind the vise ,acting as very secure, easily pushed "clamps".

    When I am ready to cut a dozen or so springs, I insert the abs guide with the magnets in the vise. I slide it until it touches the caliper's depth indicator. Depending on the wire cutter, you need to adjust for the additional stock that the wire cutter requires when you place it flush against the vise and over the spring. This becomes a constant number unless you change cutters all the time.

    The beauty of this approach is that all of this can be done on the fly and requires only a few minutes. The result is that one can cut many springs quickly and of different diameter and lengths without the need for complex jigs. Moreover, I can tighten the vise on the spring so that there's no slippage when I cut it: the coil in the vise acts as a solid steel piece. I can apply the required pressure on the cutter and not have the spring slip or distort. To reduce the risk of spring distortion, the cutter sides must be kept flush with vise while you're cutting.

    The accuracy in length is +/- .020, which in my case is one ring ( I use .023 spring material).

    I have not tried using a hack saw, so I don't know whether you can use it on bigger springs. I suspect that a dremel might be more appropriate.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Make your own custom springs and measure them correctly-spring-cutting.jpg  

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to flyforever For This Useful Post:

    Jon (06-22-2018), olderdan (06-22-2018), philipUsesWood&Brass (06-23-2018), PJs (06-23-2018), Seedtick (06-23-2018)

  3. #2
    Murph1090's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    19
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 11 Times in 6 Posts

    Murph1090's Tools
    You do it the lazy way!

    I've got a Porter Advance spring winder here, along with a Blaner spring winder, all three sized of Hjorth hand-held winders to be used with a lathe, a Perkins spring winder (needs no mandrel!), a Kevork Fags micro spring winder, and a set of the Hook-Kon spring loop forming pliers (you're right, those are DAMN expensive!)

    The Porter Advance and Blaner have extra nylon washers for working with phosphor bronze wire, along with the regular brass washers for working with steel spring wire. I'm partial to the Porter Advance device, as the company that makes it and the Hook-Kon spring loop forming pliers is a hour's drive from my home, so getting the replacement punches for the pliers and other parts is right easy!

    As a locksmith, I don't have time to screw around ordering pre-coiled springs from anywhere, or find out they don't have the odd size or shape I need NOW! I have several gunsmiths that have me on speed dial as well, I'm faster than ordering from Wolff springs on average.

    Neat trick on holding them to be cut off square , I'm spoiled; I can cut to size on my machines here with no problem.

    Murph1090
    Last edited by Murph1090; 06-23-2018 at 05:03 PM.

  4. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    8
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 24 Times in 5 Posts

    flyforever's Tools
    You're absolutely correct. I've lusted after the Porter advance, but my use of springs and sizes makes this wonderful machine a bit too expensive for me.
    A few years ago, I did have a lathe, but even with a lathe setting up the wire was a hassle.
    tc

  5. #4
    Murph1090's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    19
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 11 Times in 6 Posts

    Murph1090's Tools
    If you watch eBay, they pop up at a acceptable price, I nicked one at $40, less mandrels and crank handles, the body was the heart of it, everything else you could make easy! The Kevork Fags winder works great for making tiny-ass springs, and for very small springs, I've used spring loaded watch band pins like a cartrige strut, a sealed unit!

    Murph1090
    Last edited by Murph1090; 06-23-2018 at 06:21 PM.

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Murph1090 For This Useful Post:

    Mi Tasol (06-23-2018)

  7. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Thanks for your insights into spring-making. I do have a question, though, about springs made this way (or any other handmade way, for that matter): What is an equally convenient (i.e., cheap and dirty) trick to heat-treating these springs so that permanent distortion is eliminated (assuming its used within its supposed or theoretical design limits)? In other words, can I take a spring like yours and heat it up to cherry red, for example (or some measured temperature), and then quench it?

    I have been putting off making some very long (around 18") and small diameter (around the very smallest I can get ", that is) extension springs (like a very narrow but still long screen door spring) made from the smaller 1st "E" string from a steel string guitar for a project being contemplated. For this project the springs aren't doing any more than flexing so they aren't stretched or compressed but they are pushing another part within an enclosed tube, track or enclosure.

    I suppose a more general question would be : Is any further kind of treating even needed once the wire is all wound up? Any pointers out there?

    Thanks, again!

  8. #6
    Murph1090's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    19
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 11 Times in 6 Posts

    Murph1090's Tools
    Joe, if you're using spring steel wire or the like, you should be good as is. You can always put the spring in a oven at 500 deg F, let it come up to temp, and let it cool down slowly in the oven. That's a common process for magazine springs that have been in magazines left fully loaded for years. Streach them out to full length, heat treat them in a oven, and you're all good again.

    Larger springs can be made with softer steel, and hardened and tempered afterwards, or hot formed and tempered afterwards.

    Flat springs are their own animal - the large ones for pistols and the like are formed and polished, heated up and quenched to harden them, re-polish them, and set them on a mix of motor oil and sand, light the motor oil aflame, and let it burn out and the spring cool down. Should be good at that point - should!

    Murph1090

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to Murph1090 For This Useful Post:

    JoeVanGeaux (06-25-2018)

  10. #7

  11. #8
    Murph1090's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    19
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 11 Times in 6 Posts

    Murph1090's Tools
    Jon, that guide is invaluable for spring making. Figuring out the mandrel diameter is not a exact science, the final size of the spring can vary due to the drag tension on the wire going through the winder. Rule of thumb is use a mandrel 85% smaller than your desired inside diameter to start with, and work from there.

    Murph1090

  12. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Murph1090, THANKS!! That was exactly the info I was looking for. (This site is a keeper! I don't know how I manage to find it only recently.)


    Post your reply!
    Join 33,912 of us and get our 173 Must Read Homemade Tools eBook free.



    173 Must Read Homemade Tools

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •