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Thread: homemade leafsprings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    166

    Default homemade leafsprings

    Hi!

    As mentioned in the build thread about my volvo, i want to show you how the leaf springs were made.

    material:

    I searched for spring steel on ebay. Since spring steel is quite difficult to work with, i bought a roll if 6mm wide 1.1274 steel. To be honest, i dont know what the possible equivalent is named in the US since i have no idea of their norming system. I choose the 0,5mm thick variant. This is only half as thick as a rc4wd or tamiya leaf spring, but it should allow to use more layers on the vehicle while keeping the spring setup still soft enough for driving.

    I also can remember several people building their leaf springs out of leaf rakes. This might work as well.

    lenght:

    One of the most difficult parts is, to get the steel cut to the right length. As first step, i built this jig out of a leftover piece of wood, some screws and brass tubing. The jig already has the form i want the springs to be.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You can measure the length by bending piece of material to the jig as shown in this professionel edited picture:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'll call it the "basic length" for this tutorial

    Now, you still need the necessary length for the eyes on both ends.

    example:


    my bolts for the leaf springs will have a diameter of 4mm. The extent of a 4mm circle is "Pi*diameter"

    3,14*4mm=12,56mm

    Since the eye is not all around the bolt, we don't need the length to be equal to the whole extent. 2.5 is a good factor to add:

    2.5*4mm=10mm.

    So we add 10mm per side to our basic length.

    bending the eyes:

    After several tries, i came up with the following method:

    tools:

    -steel plate with a hole

    -4mm steel bolt

    -flat screwdriver

    -oxyacetylene welding torch or something similar (we need heat!)

    -2 self grip wrenches

    -clamp

    1. mount the steel plate to your work bench

    2. mark the 10mm extra length on your future leaf spring

    3. out the spring over the hole, the 10mm mark should be in the middle of the hole, fix it with clamp

    4. mount the bolt with the grip wrenches over the spring. the bolt should be on the 10mm mark

    5. heat the spring from both sides (that's why you need the hole in the plate) until it glows dark orange

    6. use the screwdriver to lift the short end of the spring and lay it around the bolt

    7. let everything cool down

    8. repeat with other side.

    It may need some exercise until you get perfect results, but at least it works

    Click image for larger version. 

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    After the spring got both eyes, i bent it with my fingers carefully until it fits into the jig.

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    hole:

    Most available scale leaf springs, as well as most of the real world ones, have a center hole to mount them on an axle. The scale springs usually have three holes since they are screwed directly to the axle. This works, but weakens the spring a lot. I choose to mount them with brackets and u-bolts.

    This still reqires one hole, so the can't slip out of the bracket. As mentioned before, spring steel is a pain in the **** to work with. I tried to drill the holes, no chance at all.

    So i decided for a rather simple method: punching them out!

    I used two small pieces of steel and some screws to build a tool for this purpose:

    after screwing them togehter, i drilled the center hole to both of them at the same time for proper alignment. An old pin punch was shortened as tool. The holes have only a diameter of 2mm and the spring is only 0,5mm thick, so they were quite easy to punch out.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Let me hear of your experiences / suggestions
    regards

    Flo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Neustadt/Wstr., South West Germany
    Posts
    1,056

    Default

    Hi Flo! This tutorial is great. Once I find some time I'll have to try this! Thank you very much. But isn't it 1.1248 steel? Can't find the 1.1247 you mentioned!? Regards Jens

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    166

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellerkind View Post
    Hi Flo! This tutorial is great. Once I find some time I'll have to try this! Thank you very much. But isn't it 1.1248 steel? Can't find the 1.1247 you mentioned!? Regards Jens
    None of them

    1.1274

    i'll correct it

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Neustadt/Wstr., South West Germany
    Posts
    1,056

    Default

    Ups, my fault. Sorry, Regards Jens

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Duff Gardens
    Posts
    6,123

    Default

    Very helpful! Thanks
    SBG Junior Vice President RC4WDCASTLEGCM

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Tavastia, Finland
    Posts
    1,538

    Default

    Thanks, nice jig and great tutorial!

    Packaging band used to pack stuff in pallets is also a budget option. Maybe bit wide though but is easy to cut with tin snips. Old starting spring from outboardmotor could also work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    560

    Default

    Thank you so much for sharing your precious wisdom. I did a research on the name of the steel in each country.

    Germany: 1.1274(Ck101)
    Britain: 060A96
    France : XC100
    Spain: F.5117
    Sweden: 1870
    US: 1095
    Hiroki

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