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View Full Version : Tip: SS spring wire when you don't have any



Dorn
07-10-2016, 08:59 AM
I needed to repair a kitchen utensil whose spring had broken. All of the utensil was made with stainless EXCEPT the spring which had rusted and then broke. Obviously the replacement spring should be made with stainless. Unfortunately the only appropriate sized SS wire I had was aircraft safety wire (for wiring down nuts) and it comes in an annealed state. I could make a spring shape out of it but it had no "spring back". I.e. when deflected it just stayed in the new position. I decided to try work hardening it.
1) cut off an appropriate length
2) clamp one end in the vise and the other in a vise grip
3) place foot on vise and pull on the vise grip as hard as I could (half expecting the wire to break and me go careening across the shop.)
4) It stretched about 20% longer.
5) wind the spring and it worked perfectly

Dorn

P.S. I looked for a tips and tricks section to the forum but didn't find one. Would that be an appropriate sub-forum to add?

brian Rupnow
07-10-2016, 09:29 AM
I wind springs for many of my small engines from guitar strings.

Edwin Dirnbeck
07-10-2016, 10:27 PM
Simply fantastic.now if I can just remember this when I need it.Edwin Dirnbeck

darryl
07-11-2016, 12:43 AM
Yup, guitar strings sometimes. Usually I use music wire from the hobby shop. It's not rust-proof, but guitar strings aren't either- they just take longer.

achtanelion
07-11-2016, 05:49 AM
I'm not sure how good a spring it would make, but I use mig wire when building crankbaits. It's a lot cheaper than stainless spring wire at the fishing stores, and works just as well.

Prokop
07-11-2016, 06:12 AM
Clever! You basically cold "rolled" the wire.


I needed to repair a kitchen utensil whose spring had broken. All of the utensil was made with stainless EXCEPT the spring which had rusted and then broke. Obviously the replacement spring should be made with stainless. Unfortunately the only appropriate sized SS wire I had was aircraft safety wire (for wiring down nuts) and it comes in an annealed state. I could make a spring shape out of it but it had no "spring back". I.e. when deflected it just stayed in the new position. I decided to try work hardening it.
1) cut off an appropriate length
2) clamp one end in the vise and the other in a vise grip
3) place foot on vise and pull on the vise grip as hard as I could (half expecting the wire to break and me go careening across the shop.)
4) It stretched about 20% longer.
5) wind the spring and it worked perfectly

Dorn

P.S. I looked for a tips and tricks section to the forum but didn't find one. Would that be an appropriate sub-forum to add?

wmgeorge
07-11-2016, 12:13 PM
I thought springs are made from tempered wire like guitar or piano wire. Did not think stainless could be tempered? Chrome plated maybe.

Euph0ny
07-11-2016, 02:04 PM
I thought springs are made from tempered wire like guitar or piano wire. Did not think stainless could be tempered? Chrome plated maybe.

17-7 Stainless wire can be used to make corrosion resistant spring. Bend it, then heat threat for springiness.

Have a look at the beginning of this short video of Dan Gelbart discussing useful workshop materials. He discussed annealed and tempered stainless, as both sheet and wire. I found it very useful: https://youtu.be/OjFwcsSU0oc

Rich Carlstedt
07-11-2016, 06:28 PM
Pretty neat application of the SS wire.
I also use a "Drawing" technique when I want smaller wire for a model or repair application.
I open my vise about 4 or 5 inches and then wrap the wire around the jaws ( 2-3 wraps )
Now I open the jaws more and draw the wire down to a smaller size with out having the use my legs or arms, only the vise leadscrew.
For long pieces of wire, I believe your procedure is effective,but not all here have that kind of strength
Rich

Carm
07-12-2016, 07:07 AM
I thought springs are made from tempered wire like guitar or piano wire. Did not think stainless could be tempered? Chrome plated maybe.

Have a look at 400 series, particularly 440C.
There are other spring materials that rely on cold working vs. tempering to attain desired properties.
Initial imperatives are non-sparking, environmental corrosion resistance etc. that rule out anything ferrous.

Toolguy
07-12-2016, 10:35 AM
Beryllium Copper is used a lot for non ferrous springs.

gellfex
07-12-2016, 02:40 PM
I use a lot of spring temper 302 SS, up to 3/16. It's not quite as strong as carbon music wire, but does the job.