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Heat Treating and Metallurgy Discussion of heat treatment and metallurgy in knife making.

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Old 01-26-2016, 09:58 PM
LCooper LCooper is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 23
Making a complex spring?

Years ago I bought a 1/6th sheet Ryobi palm sander. Absolutely love that sander as it's sanded lots of knife handles and also recurve bows I make. It's small size works great. I have a mouse sander and hate it along with Velcro sand paper. Problem is one of the springs that holds down the sand paper broke. They or no one else I can find make a 1/6th sheet palm sander.

So to make a long story short I got some flat stock spring steel metal (annealed from Brownells) have cut it down on my band saw and made a 9" long 5/64" round stock spring steel rod. I have one spring that I can use for a bend template. It's basically a U shaped spring with two additional 90 degree bends at each end. In fact all bends are extremely tight 90 degree bends and almost back to back on each end.
Questions are:
1. Should I be able to bend these tight 90 degree bends in the annealed rod cold?
2. If not cold should I heat it up to cherry red make the bends and then let them slowly warm to room temp.
3. After hopefully making said spring should I bring it up to nonmagnetic (1475) should I quench in warm oil or water? One local old timer told me spring steel should be quenched in water but I'm worried of steal of this size diameter.
4. After hardening what temper should I do to keep at optimum level for a spring?

FYI I do have a electric PID controlled kiln and a electric PID controlled tempering oven.

Last edited by LCooper; 01-26-2016 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:30 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,233
Am I understanding you correctly and the material you want to bend into a tight 90 degrees shape is 5/64 round? If so go ahead and heat to cherry red and bend. It can bend in the annealed state, but it will spring back to a certain degree, you have to overbend it, If bend is 90 degrees you have to go over that. Heat to cherry red and bend. Use a piece of steel the width you want the bends that are close to each other, ie. if they are 3/16s apart use a piece of 3/16. Once bent quench and see if it isn't "springy" enough for you. You might get lucky. I used to do it and I usually had the spring I wanted, just hurry and quench. For rod that small a simple torch is good enough to get you there. You can do it surprisingly fast. If you have some extra material experiment.

I was just a tig welder and sheet metal fabricator and they gave me these jobs. I just did it as fast and as simple as I could. If it works, it works. I personally hated making springs, but I will say if they were small I just used a torch. If it's wrong a quick anneal and do it again.

Last edited by jimmontg; 02-08-2016 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:14 AM
WBE WBE is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 483
If you heat the wire red hot, you will have to re-heat treat it after you get it shaped. Go to a good hardware store and buy a length of music wire in 5/64". It is already spring tempered and will allow some cold bending and shaping. It will bend and set to 90?, but only once. So get it right the first time.
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:58 PM
LCooper LCooper is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 23
Thanks for the replies. To be clear I had annealed spring rod I had made from square stock. I did as you mentioned of heating bends to cherry red and bending. My only problem was heating in a vise the vise acted like a heat sink and four back to back bends basically that had to be rather precise in distance between them. I ended up heating held in place by linemans pliers and bending that way. Once bent in the all the directions I needed I heat treated it in my electric oven. Long story short it works great and my old favorite palm sander is back in use! One bend isn't near as pretty but it still works great.
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Old 02-08-2016, 02:28 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,233
Glad it worked for you. I forgot to add I used vise grips quite often when making springs, but you got there anyway.
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