Compression springs in telescoping tubes

In searching old threads on this topic I discovered that i posted something similar back in 2013. We are at it again I guess. Does anyone know a good source for compression springs that will fit inside a telescoping tube, allowing for around a foot of extension when decompressed?

Springs with a foot of travel? Wowe. The best energy-storing springs I’ve found have had about two or three inches of travel.

It only needs to overcome the weight of the tubes and a little friction. Hopefully there are some out there.

Constant force springs are also a pretty good option, just like 2056 in 2016.


Keep in mind that you can stack compression springs to get more “stroke length”. This only really works with closed and ground springs.

The total compressed load of the full stack will be the same as a single spring, but the spring rate will be divided by the number of springs you use.

Check out 33 killer bee’s climber in 2016, if that’s what your going for.


On the back of your SUV or minivan you’ll find two little black tubes. Take one of them. You probably won’t miss it for the season (ok, you probably will).

Or a trip to the auto-wrecker will get you lots of them for about $5.00ea.

Or maybe that place you guys call Harbour Freight? Our Princess Auto has:


This was my first thought as well unless you need the spring to compress down to a very small length. Mcmaster also sells them under the item name “gas springs.” Probably more expensive than a trip to the wrecker yard or pulling it off a team mom’s van, but there’s a lot more selection.

All I can find of it is their season recap video. Are there more sources of information on it that you know of? Thanks

Yes here is their design binder from 2016 that explains a little more about it.

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Ditto on the constant-force springs. Extremely small packaging and easy to mount. Lots of options on McMaster-Carr.

You’re looking for springs that will push the telescope out, not pull it in, correct?

Constant force springs like these will pull it in.
Gas springs will push it out.

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Yes, looking to push it out. It seems Team 33 used the CF springs to push out in 2016, and I’m trying to find more info about that mechanism than is in their binder.

I’ve been trying to figure out the same thing.

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Looks like the Bees had a CF spring at the top of (each side of) the lower and second stages, used to pull out the second and third stages, respectively.


Honestly, I was thinking just use a lot of surgical tubing. Get multiple strands and your climber will shoot up.

Yep- @mrnoble Gas shocks are a good choice, mcmaster has a variety of options with 12" or more stroke, if your application permits the space for it.

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Sure, but cf springs are a lot cleaner and easier to package.

Now that I see the picture above I have a good idea of how to do what we need to do.

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I think so as well. Richard, that’s the best picture I’ve seen so far of the mechanism. I appreciate you tracking that down.


Up here in Michigan we like to copy-and-adapt good ideas, and the Bees come up with quite a few. Glad to see that approach flourishes in the Rockies and SC as well.

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