Paper Springs

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This project comes in two versions. The print version contains a pdf for you to print out onto thin card then cut out with scissors. The cutting machine version comes with the same pdf but also includes files ready for Silhouette Cameo 3 as well as svg files and jpg files. This project is suitable to print and cut on most popular paper cutting machines.

Print out the pages onto thin card. I used coloured 230 micron card for a colourful model.

If you are making the hand cut version, score the dotted and dashed lines then carefully cut out the pieces. Refer to your paper cutting machine instruction for details on how to cut out the parts.

There are two paper springs in this project. A compression spring, one that you squeeze, and a tension spring, one that you pull. Make them as an exercise in pure mechanism or as part of your paper machines. It is easy to change the length of the springs by changing the lengths of the inner and out tubes. Expect to see these in forthcoming automata projects soon!

Making the Compression Spring.

Fold over and glue the hook to make double thickness card. Do the same with the two rectangle hook pieces.

Fold and glue the inner tube. Glue the ‘T’ shaped hook into position.

Fold the outer tube around the inner tube slotting the hooks into place. Note that the ‘V’ shaped score lines are on the left of the image.

Glue the outer tube closed. The inner tube should be free to slide inside the outer tube.

Squish down the outer tube end. The hinge fits inside the end.

Glue the hinge into place.

Fit the other hinge into place on the other end. Glue the two rectangle pieces to the side of the outer tube.

Fit a 65mm / 2½” thin elastic band over the hooks as shown.

This spring is normally open – push it to make it work.

Making the Tension Spring

The tension spring is normally closed, pull it and it stretches open then snaps closed again when released.

Fold over and glue the four hooks to make double thickness card.

Fold and glue the outer tube then glue the two hooks to the marked areas.

Squish down the end of the tube along the ‘V’ shaped score lines. The hinge will fit inside the tube end.

Glue the hinge into place.

Repeat the process with the inner tube. Note that the hooks are on the top and bottom rather than and the sides.

The inner tube slides into the outer tube.

Fit a 65mm / 2½” thin elastic band over the hooks as shown.

Pull the spring apart to make it work. The hinges can be used to fit the spring into your paper machines. Let me know how you use yours!