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Thread: Tip: SS spring wire when you don't have any

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Harrisonburg, VA
    Posts
    5

    Default Tip: SS spring wire when you don't have any

    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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7,611

    Default

    I wind springs for many of my small engines from guitar strings.
    Brian Rupnow

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    472

    Default

    Simply fantastic.now if I can just remember this when I need it.Edwin Dirnbeck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Chilliwack, B.C.
    Posts
    10,923

    Default

    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.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    387

    Default

    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    353

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    Clever! You basically cold "rolled" the wire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorn View Post
    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?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Central Iowa
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    942

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    I thought springs are made from tempered wire like guitar or piano wire. Did not think stainless could be tempered? Chrome plated maybe.
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - MakerGear M2 3D printer- 20 Watt Ray Fine Galvo fiber laser, LightObject 40 watt co2 Laser Engraver

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Belgium
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    711

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmgeorge View Post
    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
    Last edited by Euph0ny; 07-11-2016 at 02:07 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Green Bay, WI
    Posts
    3,137

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    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,221

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wmgeorge View Post
    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.

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