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  • spring power

    This one's not quite so OT- spring power. I don't mean Irish soap-

    I happened to see two rather large garage door springs at a friends house, and of course being a 'metalhead' I start to think about applications for those. One rather unique one is as counterforce devices to aid in raising and lowering- garage doors. With that out of the way, what other reasonable use could a person make of those?
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  • #2
    We have a garage door service business in our complex. They toss out a lot of springs and we sort of have "pick of the litter". They come in many different diameters and when we have some decorative iron to do we'll grab some and use a zip cutter to make a bunch of rings...
    Keith
    __________________________
    Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

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    • #3
      Use as a counterbalance for something heavy in your shop! Mill head (maybe)?

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      • #4
        Well- they are designed to counterbalance something that has to go up and down easily.

        Rings- I have actually done that. My use wasn't decorative- it was to make races for a crude but effective thrust bearing using steel balls. It carried a turntable which mostly just sat, but sometimes it was turned by hand to expose a product placed on it.

        One thing that I have wondered about from time to time- suppose you wind one up- a good sized one that takes some effort. Then you trigger it to unwind. Where does the energy go? This was brought up a few years ago, and the general answer was that it goes into heating the surrounding air- maybe there's some subtle metallurgy effects happening as well- ?
        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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        • #5
          Originally posted by darryl
          Where does the energy go? ?
          It goes into unwinding the spring as fast as possible. Maybe a little turns to heat.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by darryl
            One thing that I have wondered about from time to time- suppose you wind one up- a good sized one that takes some effort. Then you trigger it to unwind. Where does the energy go? This was brought up a few years ago, and the general answer was that it goes into heating the surrounding air- maybe there's some subtle metallurgy effects happening as well- ?
            I don't remember the other thread but the energy goes the same
            place that the energy goes when an object that is lifted in a gravitational
            field goes when it's released. :-)
            ...lew...

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            • #7
              I though of one use- a mainspring for a clock that only gets wound once a year. It would be a pedestal style, probably fit up against a wall under a light switch. It would be programmed mechanically to flip the switch on when it's time to get up. If I replace the switch with a dimmer I can have the brightness raise slowly over a period of say 1/2 hr. Near the end of that timing period there would be an audible alarm as well. If the power went out I'd still know that it's time to rise. I think this is a reasonable project if one were inclined to build a clock. I'd probably use the smallest garage door spring I have for it. One of my requirements would be that it not 'tick' loudly enough to hear from across the room.

              As far as the energy, I can only suggest that were the spring released in a vacuum, it would continue to trade potential energy for kinetic energy (continually winding and unwinding) until everything about the metal that's not pure springiness converts the energy into heat. The spring would get hotter. If it wasn't in a vacuum, then the motion of the spring oscillating would heat the air and the spring until the motion died down.
              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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              • #8
                Cables and pulleys to lift a heavy trailer loading gate.

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                • #9
                  There's a good one- we could use the same on our truck door. Hmm-
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                  • #10
                    I like em, when I moved into my house my garage door was countered by cable and a box of rock,

                    Those springs sure are compact and resilient

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by darryl
                      suppose you wind one up- a good sized one that takes some effort. Then you trigger it to unwind. Where does the energy go? ?
                      Goes into accelerating the mass of the spring at a very high rate of speed.

                      Tom M.

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                      • #12
                        True, but then the spring has kinetic energy, so there's an oscillation going on as the energy changes form. But the action does eventually stop, with all the energy having gone somewhere. If there was a considerable amount stored in the wound-up spring and you suddenly let it go (or the spring broke) you would expect to have that energy on your hands somehow (not literally). Kind of like shorting out a battery- the large discharge is going to manifest itself in one way or another. We're pretty good with the idea that it will be as heat in the case of the battery, but it's not so well understood in the case of the spring.
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                        • #13
                          Yeah but, the batterys capable of winding up a 100 or more of those springs --- think about all the heat energies being released at once by all those springs -- for sure not as hot and localized but a heat camera would show a vast field of lesser temperature....

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                          • #14
                            That is certainly a big factor- the limited amount of energy that can be 'pumped' into a spring. I have read recently about carbon nano-tubes being able to store more than a LiIon battery, but that's meaningless at this point.

                            Lately I've been trying to re-explore ways in which energy can be stored for later use. For very specific uses, springs are the best way, but that's not the direction I'm going. Because the sun is the only source of energy that comes into my realm freely, that's what I want to make use of. Of course we do everyday anyway- without the sun we wouldn't have hydro power, and all our fossil fuel use is simply a delayed use of something derived from the sun.

                            Nobody I know has harnessed a nuclear process. The solar panel/battery/heat-your-home routine is cumbersome and expensive. Storing heat for later use seems about the most practical thing to explore. Hence my interest in heat-storage salts.

                            I also like the idea of heat-powered separation of chemicals, in which when you re-combine the chemicals you get heat back. Salts and water can be made to work together- some of the salts give off heat while absorbing moisture. Let the sun heat the salt and the moisture is driven off. Seems like a fairly elegant system.

                            One which I would really like to see is a controlled electrolysis of pure water, in which the two gasses produced are driven off into separate storage tanks. Re-combining those in a cell produces electricity- there's the fuel cell. The real problem there as I see it is in segregating the hydrogen and oxygen and storing them in high density form, then valving them reliably into the cell. Nothing cheap or easy about all that.

                            When you can store 100 times as much heat in a cubic foot of salt than you can in a cubic foot of water, you have no high pressures, liquids, or potential for explosions or major malfunctions, and no reason why you can't build the system at home- now that's interesting to me.

                            I've also been very interested lately in solar lighting. Obviously that doesn't work at night, but during the day it would be very nice to have indoor light which is actually sunlight.
                            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                            • #15
                              I've built spring cycle testers that use liquid cooling to keep the springs cool.
                              Springs can generate a hell of a lot of heat.
                              There is a lot of internal friction and is the leading cause of failure.
                              Tom M.

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