Solution Summary: Garage Spring Winding Wrench
Torsion springs are used in operating residential and commercial garage doors. The torque built up in these springs is sufficient to lift the weight of the garage door. The industry standard method for building up the torque in these springs is to use two steel bars inserted into the winding cone that attaches the spring to the door shaft (figure 1). As a result, these manual winding operations can increase risks of musculoskeletal injuries from repetitive motions as well as hand lacerations, falls from ladders and struck-by object injuries. A garage spring winding wrench is an engineering control that reduce injuries from residential or commercial garage door torsion spring winding.
Figure 1. Traditional torsion garage spring winding method (Photo courtesy of Surewinder LLC)
A spring winding wrench, such as the Surewinder (figure 2) or Brutewinder (figure 3), uses worm gears and a power drill to wind the torsion springs. Worm gears can only be driven by the drive shaft - the torsion spring cannot reverse the motion due to the small helical angle inherent in the worm gear.
A video with operation instructions can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0LsQXFGNJ8&t=3s
Surewinder Residential Garage Door Winding Wrench
Figure 2. Residential garage door spring widing wrench (Photo courtesy of Surewinder LLC)
- Wind springs up to 127 IPPT (8 turns) for total of 1,020 in-lbs or 85 ft-lbs of torque (an example of this level of torque would be a 0.362 wire diameter by 3.75 inch ID x 35 inch long spring with 8 turns on it). As long as your spring IPPT multiplied by number of turns is less than or equal to 1,020 then the Surewinder can do the job.
- Use standard 18V cordless drill (NOT in impact/hammer mode) up to 64 IPPT springs (8 turns, 512 in-lbs). Recommend heavy duty corded drill (NOT in impact/hammer mode) for springs from 65 to 127 IPPT. We can wind a 0.362 x 3.75 ID X 35 in long spring 8 turns with a Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2704-22 Li-ion cordless 1/2" drill (7 turns in high gear, 1 turn in low gear) which is rated for 720 in-lbs of torque in drill (not hammer) mode.
- 10 turns in less than a minute with 1,000 RPM drill
- Can be wound at 2,500 RPM
- Can be used on up to 4.5 inch spring diameters, 1 inch shaft diameters
- Weighs 7.5 pounds
- Needs 2.5 inch clearance from shaft to wall
Brutewinder Commercial Garage Door Winding Wrench
Figure 3. Comercial garage door spring widing wrench (Photo courtesy of Surewinder LLC)
- Can wind springs with up to 175 ft-lbs of torque or 2,100 in-lbs (e.g., IPPT of 210 with 10 turns). Brutewinder can wind any springs in which the IPPT of the spring multiplied by number of turns is less than or equal to 2,100 in-lbs
- Recommend to use with the corded DeWalt DWD460K 1/2” VSR Stud and Joist Drill with high torque, two speed (330 RPM, 1200 RPM)
- Recommend to use with the cordless Milwaukee M-18 Fuel Super Hole Hawg model 2709. 1/2 inch with two speeds
- Can produce 8 turns in less than a minute with a drill at 1,000 RPM
- Can be used on up to 7.5-inch spring diameters, 1-inch and 1.25-inch shaft diameters (an optional adapter allows use on 1 inch shafts)
- Weighs 11 pounds
- Requires 3.5 inch clearance from shaft to wall
In traditional manual winding with two steel bars (figure 4), the winding bars put quarter turns on the spring until approximately 7 full turns are put on the spring, which is 28 repetitive quarter turns. Typical garage door has two of these springs (42 quarter turns). Per the manufacturer's claim, if a technician does 4 jobs a day (168 quarter turns), 250 days per year (42,000 quarter turns), this repetitive motion causes rotator cuff injuries which are extremely common in the garage door industry.
Further, projectiles and hand lacerations can happen in traditional manual winding when a technician's hand slips on the winding bar as they are transitioning from one winding cone hole to the next, letting the spring rapidly rotate downward, and throwing out the winding bar. It can also happen if the winding cone casting breaks during winding.
How Risks are Reduced:
The risk of musculoskeletal injuries are reduced as the manual efforts of winding torsion springs are replaced by the electrical power of drills operating the winding wrench. Further, garage spring winding wrenches minimize this risks of projectiles and hand lacerations because the torsion load is distributed and controlled between two holes on the device as opposed to one when using traditional winding bars.
There may be a tradeoff to using the power drill as the weight of the drill plus device appears heavier than the weight of the winding bar alone. The operator must hold the drill in place for up to 3 minutes to load the spring. The Brutewinder device video (link above) appears to require sustained push force through the hand (and arm) to hold the device in place during the operation.
Please contact the manufacturer Surewinder LLC as their may be other compatible drills in addition to the ones listed on their website.
Please wear safety glasses during operation of any construction tool or equipment.
- As is the case with any construction tool and equipment, users should follow manufacturer safety recommendations and comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations.
Jean Christophe Le - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training
Chris Brand - Sure Winder LLC