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The Ortho-Planar Spring is a compact spring with a platform that undergoes a large displacement in either direction, but does not rotate like conventional planar springs. This invention has numerous advantages.
Compact: this planar spring is much more compact than traditional helical springs.
No rotation: unlike conventional-planar springs, the center of this spring does not rotate relative to the base perimeter of the spring.
Large deflections: this spring has the potential for larger deflections than conventional planar springs.
Low cost: the planar nature of this spring allows for low-cost sheet manufacturing processes.
Reduced wear and noise: because the platform does not rotate or slide to rub adjoining parts, there is no wear from abrasion, thereby reducing wear and noise.
No particulates: due to the elimination of rubbing and sliding, no wear particles are formed. This is important in applications with sensitive environments.
Variable sizing: this spring can be made in any size from the macro level to the micro or nano levels.
Possible applications include pneumatic valves, electrical contacts, keyboards, compact aerospace applications, positioning, camping gear, speakers, circuit boards, and micro-devices.
Depending on the material you are using, and the process (e.g. 3D printing vs milling), there are limitations with how small you can scale down.
3D printing: The smallest you can go is around 20% with this particular design using PLA
Mill, CNC Router, or Water Jet Cutter
Milled out of a polypropylene sheet
Milled out of steel sheet
There are many other designs for orthoplanar springs
Compliant, Ortho-Planar, Linear Motion Spring
By Howell, L.L. , Thomson, S. , Briscoe, J.A. , Parise, J.J. , Lorenc, S. , Larsen, J.B. , Huffmire, C.R. , Burnside, N., Gomm, T.A.
U.S. Patent No. 6,983,924