Spring Making and Wire Forming
Mechanical Properties of a Spring – A spring is any flexible object that stores energy when force is applied, then releases that energy to perform a function. Although the most recognizable type of spring is a uniformly coiled wire with a uniform diameter along its length, there is an extensive variety of spring types that come in every shape and size.
What Springs are Used For
Springs transmit force from one member of a mechanism to another through the energy they release “springing back” from a distorted form to their natural shape. This function is so simple yet mechanically fundamental that springs are used in almost every industry and type of product imaginable. See the more specific descriptions of spring configurations for more information about spring applications.
Types of Springs
Springs are generally categorized as one of the following:
- Coiled Wire Springs
- Non-Coiled Wire Springs
- Flat Springs
Coiled Wire Springs are made of wire that has a round, square, rectangular, or custom cross-section. The coil is created as the wire is forced around a form, often a metal rod.
The primary types of Coiled Wire Springs are Torsion Springs,Compression Springs, and Extension Springs.
History of Spring Making
Simple, non-coil springs have been used throughout the ages. Early applications would include spring snares, which were used on game trails to capture food. The snare was created from a string or cord that was secured to a trigger bar, which was then attached to a supple, bendable sapling. Displacement of the trigger bar permitted the young tree to exert force and perform the intended action of lifting the snared prey off the ground.
More advanced metalworking during the 3rd century B.C. (Bronze Age) devised spring-activated tweezers. A process was developed to make a “springy bronze” with the intention of applying it to a military catapault. While their spring-based catapault design was not powerful enough to fulfill its intended purpose, within the next century, another catapult engineer was successful in building an effective launching device.