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Spring making, coils folding over... help?

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MakingThings

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#1
Hi everyone,
I'm hand making long springs. And I'm having trouble - they wind well but as the spring gets longer, it becomes as if it's trying to fold itself over. I don't know why, and I would really appreciate any help with this issue!

Here is a video of the phenomena:

Many thanks!
 

extropic

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#2
I think I understand what's going on and you can do an experiment to test it.

In your video you're pleased with the behavior of the left end of the spring. Correct?
As an experiment, remove the spring from the mandrel and re-install it the other way around (swap left and right). Be sure to attach the new right end of the coil to the equipment as shown in the video.

I suggest the "folding over" is due to that end of the coil being anchored to the machine.

Let us know what you find out.
 

MakingThings

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#3
I think I understand what's going on and you can do an experiment to test it.

In your video you're pleased with the behavior of the left end of the spring. Correct?
As an experiment, remove the spring from the mandrel and re-install it the other way around (swap left and right). Be sure to attach the new right end of the coil to the equipment as shown in the video.

I suggest the "folding over" is due to that end of the coil being anchored to the machine.

Let us know what you find out.
Thanks, and, sorry for not explaining better. This is the same when the spring is free, not attached. It was only attached there because I had just made it. And yes, the behaviour on the left is what I want - the coils all stay with their circular plane perpendicular to the axis of the spring. As it progresses (to the right side), they have an increasing tendency to want to flip so that their plane is parallel to the axis of the spring when tension is applied... until enough tension is applied to make the planes go perpendicular again and it looks 'normal'.
 

pontiac428

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#4
There is a book on spring making in the Workshop Practice series, as well as a very good chapter in the Atlas Manual of Lathe Operation on winding springs that features a lot of useful stuff like calculating feed rates in it. I can see that your winding jig is not capable of controlling twist while winding. This is where feeding your wire off of your tool post comes in useful. It might be worth looking those two books up. Both of them are on the download section of this site, which, as of late, is now closed to peasants and available only to site sponsors. Anyway, after watching your video I think you should take a trip down the rabbit hole to visit this lost art.
 

DAT510

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#5
From looking at your video it looks like you are winding over a mandrel vs deflection spring making? How are you holding/feeding the wire as you wind the coil? I've found often lead or trailing angle of the wire as it's fed, as well as and "winding up/twisting" of the feed wire as it is fed out can cause problems as you have shown.
 

Mitch Alsup

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#6
How are you holding tension one the wire as it feeds around the mandrel.
This has to be uniform (the tension) and take up has to be uniform (RPMs) without any twisting;
to get the spring to "lay flat" after being removed from the mandrel.
 

T Bredehoft

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#7
I made a pair of discs, one fixed, one sprung, to keep tension on the infeeding wire. But I never made a spring that long....
 

P. Waller

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#8
Do you have a device that straightens the coiled wire before forming or are you using pre straightnened wire?
 

T Bredehoft

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#9
Do you have a device that straightens the coiled wire
Never thought of that. The tension on the wire seems to eliminate all previous effects. I have to admit, the tensioner was only used on .009 and .012 wire. Larger wire, (up to .032) I was able to hold in vice grips and pull tight. I did some up to .050 but that required brute force and a bar of steel pressing on the mandrel as the wire bent. most of the springs I make start with about 16" of wire, the tiny ones 36".
 

MakingThings

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#10
I can see that your winding jig is not capable of controlling twist while winding. This is where feeding your wire off of your tool post comes in useful.
Most of the machine is not visible in the video. It is hand powered. And I made a wooden 'tool post' which travels along the mandril as the spring is being made, always at the same angle and distance relative to the place each new coil is laid.
When you say "controlling twist", what do you mean? Since I don't know what you mean I can't say if my machine does this or not.

Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll have a look. But I'm also aware that my springs are very unusual and would probably lie outside the usual accepted parameters of how one is supposed to make a spring (they are way more floppy than any spring I would expect anyone else to use, which is precisely why I have had to make them myself - even a spring factory refused to make such unusual springs for me!

Also, I do not see any download section, only a 'video library' section, which when I click on in the menu says "You do not have permission to view this page or perform this action." so I can't even go to that video library page. Is it possible to email it to me through the PM system perhaps?

From looking at your video it looks like you are winding over a mandrel vs deflection spring making? How are you holding/feeding the wire as you wind the coil? I've found often lead or trailing angle of the wire as it's fed, as well as and "winding up/twisting" of the feed wire as it is fed out can cause problems as you have shown.
Sorry I do not know the meaning of 'deflection spring making'. I am winding the wire by hand (turning the mandril with a handle) onto the mandril, with the tension kept fairly regular by <constant turning speed more or less> and <a kind of wooden clamp giving relatively constant friction to the wire a couple of centimetres before it meets the mandril>. That tension system, clamp we could call it maybe, travels up the mandril so it always at he same angle and distance. But, the more coils that are laid, gradually the wire seems to accumulate some kind of forces that make it start to fold over, as you can see on the right side of the spring in the video.

Could you say more about ""winding up/twisting" of the feed wire as it is fed out"? I experimented with different angles at which the wire leads onto the mandril, and found some kind of balance between not too flat and not too steep that seemed to keep the coils tight in the finished spring - going outside that balance seemed to make the coils too loose when finished, not holding together like a normal 'tension spring'. Since the angles were fine for the left side of the spring, does this not imply that this variable is not to blame for the gradual increase in tendency to fold over, as the spring length increases? Or....?

The main variable that came to my mind as a possibility was the wire feed, maybe an issue with how the wire is coming out of the canister? I am using wire around 0.8mm to 1mm (I forgot exactly which gauge for the spring in the video). Good piano wire. This is a pic of the type of canister:
https://www.howardpianoindustries.com/piano-music-wire-canister/

Does anyone have any pics or diagrams of how best to set up the canister for this? Or maybe to abandon the canister for something else if need be? I had it basically hanging, so it could rotate relatively freely as the wire was pulled out of it. Smaller springs no problem, but, for bigger springs, could this be where some kind of forces are being accumulated?


How are you holding tension one the wire as it feeds around the mandrel.
This has to be uniform (the tension) and take up has to be uniform (RPMs) without any twisting;
to get the spring to "lay flat" after being removed from the mandrel.
Thanks for the question - as it was similar to others I think this has now been answered above.

Do you have a device that straightens the coiled wire before forming or are you using pre straightnened wire?
No. But would that really cause this problem?
 

Suzuki4evr

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#11
I did not read everyones inputs just now,so I don't know if i maybe missed it,but what kind of wire do you use for making springs......spring wire????
 

DAT510

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#12
I believe how the wire pays out from the canister may be you problem. The wire as it pays out of the tin, instead of rolling out/off as it would if it were on a spool rolling/turning on a shaft, is coming out/off the end of the central axis. This imparts a twist in the wire which builds up as your coils get longer.

Is it possible for you to remove the wire from the tin and place it on a shaft and allow it to pay off in a "rolling" fashion?

If you are a fisherman, it is equivalent to how fishing line pays out on a "spinning reel" vs a "bait casting reel".
 
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Jubil

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#13
If I can add to DAT510 reply, feed the wire from the bottom or outside of the roll not the inside. And feed to the bottom of your mandrel. This should eliminate any twist in the wire. (It may work from top of roll to top of mandrel but I am not sure)
By the way, I have spent lots of years winding and spooling wires and cables, from small electrical to 1 1/2" high strength steel cables.
Hope this helps
 
B

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#14
I'm going to disagree with Jubil on one point, yes take the spring wire from the outside of a spool, not the inside of that can, but go from bottom of spool to top of mandrel or vice-versa, the reverse of the existing curvature seems to make windings a better fit (or does for me when winding transformer coils etc.)

You haven't said what they're for yet - reverb tank?

Dave H. (the other one)
 

MakingThings

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#15
I did not read everyones inputs just now,so I don't know if i maybe missed it,but what kind of wire do you use for making springs......spring wire????
Piano wire.

Is it possible for you to remove the wire from the tin and place it on a shaft and allow it to pay off in a "rolling" fashion?
If anyone knows how I can make this possible, much appreciated! I could imagine creating some kind of larger canister, if that would help. But the thing about the canister is that it stops the wire from expanding outwards, by holding it inwards by the external wall of the canister. If I cut the straps holding the 500g could together when it is not already in the canister, it will I believe explode into a mass of tangled spaghetti-like mess. I have no idea how I could put it on a roll, due to this (its tendency to want to expand to a very large curvature). Any ideas?

feed the wire from the bottom or outside of the roll not the inside.
Have you ever used these 500g coils and canisters? They are designed for the wire to come out of the central hole, I don't think there is any option to change that. The wire can't come out another way it seems.

And feed to the bottom of your mandrel. (It may work from top of roll to top of mandrel but I am not sure)
I would think bottom-bottom and top-top would be the same. But I do get the principle of not reversing the curvature - basically winding large coils onto mandril to make smaller coils, in the same plane, right? I'll try to make that setup really aligned on my next attempt. But I guess I might have to replace the canister with something? Like a bigger canister, maybe three times the diameter or something? Do you think that might help?

I'm going to disagree with Jubil on one point, yes take the spring wire from the outside of a spool, not the inside of that can, but go from bottom of spool to top of mandrel or vice-versa, the reverse of the existing curvature seems to make windings a better fit (or does for me when winding transformer coils etc.)
Oh, ok reverse the curvature? Is this a hot topic, or do people have success with both? Or do each have specific advantages and disadvantages? And, several people have said to take the wire from the outside. But, with a 500g could of wire that has no spool, how to I set up a spool? I can imagine winding it onto a spool somehow but wouldn't it just try its best to unravel? With great force? Or is there some proceedure? If anyone has any vids or pics to show how I can do this, that would be great!

Or, if spools of good wire for this already exist, can anyone give me any link to where to buy? (UK would be best but even if elsewhere at least I can see what you guys mean). Smallest possible that would still work would be good, to save on costs. I don't fancy having to buy like 10kg of wire or something, if that's avoidable!

Many thanks guys
 

RJSakowski

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#16
Wire has to be taken past its elastic limit in order to create a permanent deflection. When paying wire out in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the coils, the twist is not relieved. As more coils are payed out, the situation worsens. For a short spring, this isn't a problem as only a few coils are payed out. This is definitely seen in the fishing line analogy and in a coiled garden hose and in coils of electrical wire.

A possibility would be a wire straightener. The ones that I have seen consisted of a series of small opposing rollers which take the wire past its elastic limit , nullifying the original stresses. This approach would work if there were a large number of springs to wind but for a one off, probably not worth the effort.

Another approach would be to mount the original container to a platform, free rotate as wire was payed out. It wouldn't relieve to original stresses but it should prevent the corkscrewing and multiple coils are payed out. A wooden disk to which the container could be attached and an axle running through a set of bearings should do the trick.

A final possibility would be to remove the required amount of wire for a spring and hang the coils on a loosely fitted mandrel with the plane coils roughly oriented in the same plane as your spring coils. A 2" diameter spring with 100 coils would require about 630" of wire. I would just count the number of coils of the relaxed wire to calculate how much. If my relaxed stock settled into 24" diameter coils, I would figure on 2" x 100 turns/24" = 8.3 coils and add 10% for 9.3. 9 coils would do it. I would expect nine coils to pay out without getting tangled.
 

ttabbal

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#17
I have no idea if this would work, but I've seen a similar problem with 3D printers using loose filament. One trick I saw people use successfully was to get a hanging basket for plants or other decorations and hang it with a swivel. Place the filament in there, pulling from the center. As it pulls coils loose, the basket rotates preventing the coils from tangling etc.. I don't think it would help with bending past the elastic limit, but it might help relieve the twist as it comes off the coil.
 

DAT510

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#18
Here's a video of a coil winder I use to make coils for medical devices. These coils are 1m+ in length made from 0.001"-0.003" diameter wire. Coil OD's are in the 0.010" to 0.015". In the video you can see the wire being paid off in a "rolling" fashion to prevent twisting of the wire and thus imparting that twist into the coils. The carriage programed with the desired pitch, and is typically set to lag slightly behind the leading edge of the coil as it's wound. This insures the coil loops are stacked (Zero Gap). If the carriage was to lead the coil, it results in an ever so slightly open pitch.

Looking online there appear to be a number of companies in the UK which will supply wire on a spool or in rolls, such that one does not need to pay out the wire from the side, thus imparting a twist in the wire.

http://www.knighton-tools.co.uk/acatalog/MUSIC_PRECISION_BRAND_WIRE.html
 

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Jubil

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#19
I am not familiar with the wire canisters that you are using. Just putting in my $0.02 worth. Never the less, I think it would be better if you can find a way to feed from the outside of the spool.
 

MakingThings

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Thanks everyone. Once I made sure the wire was in the same plane as the mandril it worked great :)
 
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