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Blueprint Basics: Avoiding Over Dimensioned Prints

More Blueprint Basics: Over Dimensioned or Overdone Custom Spring Prints?

Working at Master Spring for many years allows you to see the impact of technology in the workplace.  Particularly noteworthy is the evolution of auto-cad and its effect on how we exchange information, increase efficiency, and store important information.  Personally, we’ve gone from receiving carbon copy blueprints for springs and wire forms via regular mail, to exchanging ideas via facsimile, to today’s “click and send” method.

A 21st Century approach to ordering custom springs and wire forms

Within the last 20 years, computer-aided design programs have nearly eliminated the need for draftsmen or draftswomen especially in smaller sized companies.  Computer aided design programs allow engineers to do their own “drafting work” thereby eliminating the need for an additional person to bring their ideas to blueprint.  This technology feeds right into Master Springs’s desire to “make buying custom springs and custom wire forms as quick and easy as possible.”  With computer aided technology, exchanging ideas is much quicker.  In the past customers had to personally drop off prints or rely on snail mail.  Fax machines offered hope but their imagery reproduction was often dark, shadowy, and difficult to read.  Design software such as AutoCAD or Sold Works allows the engineer and manufacturer to see the component in every imaginable view at every angle and in 3d.

And new technology means faster, more accurate and more efficient designs

These programs speed the design process overall and even make design changes a lot less arduous.  The design engineer calls the manufacturer, they both view the print as they talk and with a few clicks, poof, the change is complete.   Storage of the controlled print is easier too.  The controlled copy lives on the hard drive.  The revision level is more tightly controlled because you don’t have to physically manage paper prints.  Also, computer generated prints are less likely to contain mathematical errors.  When computing the dimensions or the part’s features, human error is replaced by computer generated accuracy.  We rarely see mistakes in dimensioning like we did when prints were hand drawn.  You can trust the numbers that coprocessors generate.  You can create more sophisticated drawings by rotating the view and figuring lines and angles to theoretical everything and create lines or points that can only be seen by David Blaine or the Wizard of Oz.  Technology is good.  Accuracy is good.  Faster is good.  So is there any bad?

But in the world of custom springs, more dimensions is not always better

Let’s see.  Well, one may think that because of the incredible capability of these design programs, the manufacturing of such parts may be easier.  I mean more information is good, right?  With many, many dimensions and all those views, how could you interpret the print wrong?  How can it be that the design is not optimal, feasible, or manufacturable if the program outputted such a wonderful looking print that rotates and even has colors?

Because of the software’s capability to provide multiple views, 3-d rotation, and theoretical possibilities, many drawings become “over dimensioned.”  More dimensions do not mean easier to manufacture.  In fact, a custom spring or wire form that is tangled amidst dashes and arrows, geometric shapes, and notes referencing NASA personnel only weaken a design and slow product manifestation.  I can’t speak for all industries, but in spring making and wire forming, sometimes to focus on those dimensions that are critical to the design’s intended function is more valuable than an over dimensioned print.  Sometimes in this world of technological advance, we have to remind ourselves that humans do know a thing or two and that being practical is not a weakness.  In fact, being practical while utilizing the most advanced tools, software, and CNC machines should be the standard.

It is so refreshing when we speak to an engineer who understands the real world mechanical applications of design as well as the virtual, computer aided aspect of design.  These engineers are probably the people who still have their compass, protractor, and carbon paper somewhere in their desks.  True design and great manufacturing happens when humans exchange ideas that are practical, valuable, and sound.  So, to all the young cad designers out there, don’t be afraid to get up from your computer and walk the shop floor.  There’s a real world out there.  You just might learn something new.


So what are the key characteristics in  springs and wire forms?  In general:


Extension Springs


Wire Form

Wire diameter

Wire diameter

Wire diameter

Wire diameter

Outside/Inside diameter

Outside/Inside diameter

Inside diameter

Overall height

Free length

Total number of coils

Number of coil(s)

Overall width

Total number of coils

Free length inside ends

Coil direction

Flatness, Angles, etc.

Coil direction

Coil direction

Leg position (angle)

Hook position


MasterSpring & Wire Form Co.

© Master Spring and Wire Form Co.

1340 Ardmore Ave., Itasca, IL 60143

Phone: 708.453.2570 | Fax: 708-453-6420