Springs are amazingly useful and flexible components that are present in a wide range of manufactured items. In the simplest sense, they distribute and transmit force. In practice, this means they are a key piece in everything from jack-in-the-box toys to pacemakers to spaceship doors. And this wide variety of applications also mean that specialists like Arrow Manufacturing are experienced at producing many different kinds of custom springs. But while we’re sure that whatever your application, we can produce the right spring for you, there are a few things to think about to make sure your spring design is right for your application.
Things to Think About when Designing Custom Springs
- Type of spring needed – probably a good place to start – do you want a spring that will pull items together, push them apart, or twist? What type of force will be exerted, and how do you want it to be transmitted? What is the load that will be exerted on your spring, and what spring rate do you need? At Arrow Manufacturing, we manufacture a wide range of compression, extension, torsion, and stamped metal forms.
- Dimensions – perhaps the most obvious question – what is the space available in your device? Micro springs can be incredibly small, but often you pay for the size in less force, although this can be mitigated by increasing wire diameter (this would reduce the internal radius, however), heat treatments, or using stronger materials. Basic dimensions include: inner radius, outer radius, free length and compressed height.
- Shape – similar to dimension, what shaped spring are you looking for? Do you need a classic cylindrical or conical shaped spring? Or are you looking for a custom stamped metal piece produced using four-slide technology?
- Temperature range – although not the only criteria to consider when choosing materials, expected temperature ranges can be one of the deciding factors in determining whether your custom spring should be made using stainless steel, carbon, or chromium alloys. If a spring is intended for aerospace applications, it often needs to be able to stand up to a wide range of temperature extremes, and a material like elgiloy might be most appropriate.
- Expected uses over lifetime – lifetime durability also plays a role in determining what material will be suitable for your custom springs. Quality is always important, but especially so in applications like pacemakers and aerospace. Using higher quality materials can help prolong spring lifetimes. Thicker diameter wire will also make springs more durable over a period of time, but they will increase the required force to extend or compress the spring.
- Margin for error – Here at Arrow, quality is always top of our priority list, whatever your custom manufactured spring will be used for. However, it’s helpful to have an agreed level of precision – aerospace components often require higher levels of precision than battery terminals, for instance. The level of precision required will normally correlate to the level of quality checks required, although all of our spring manufacturing goes through extensive optical and mechanical quality checks.
Once you’ve worked through some of the initial criteria on your own, our tool room can work with you to put the finishing touches on any design. Looking to meet a certain budget? We can help look at any excess or avoid waste to bring the price down. Concerned about space? We can suggest things like conical springs which compress to a flat disk and help reduce overall weight and area.
Our 3-D modeling software can read a wide variety of file formats, so don’t hesitate to get in touch about your custom spring design today.