How to draw a spring in Inkscape

Update: Check out the new spring drawing method here. The old one on this page is still useful, but the new one is a bit faster.

I've been working on some free-body diagrams lately, and in my last paper I needed to draw a spring. Since I didn't find any simple way to do this, I thought I should give a quick tutorial here.

First of all, turn on the grid by clicking SHIFT + 3 on your keyboard (the # key).

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-199 width="375" height="428"}When your grid is turned on, enable the bezier curve editor by clicking this button:

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-200 width="35" height="33"}Now, draw a shape similar to this. I've enabled the grid so you may see the distance between the points:

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-201 width="418" height="308"}If you're having trouble with the handles you may want to enable cornered points by clicking this button:

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-202 width="36" height="26"}Next, you should make a copy of your newly drawn curve and open this for editing (double click on it).

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-203 width="552" height="399"}Select the two leftmost points (as shown above) and delete these. Then move the new shape next to the other.

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-204 width="534" height="346"}As you see, in my drawing the shapes don't really fit. We'll fix this by editing the second curve.{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-205 width="534" height="330"}

Now we're soon done. All we need to do now is to exit editing mode by clicking the arrow tool:

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-206 width="39" height="33"}

Then select the second curve and copy + paste it as many times as you like:

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-207 width="603" height="157"}

Copy+paste the first shape and flip it

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-208 width="524" height="459"}

Now, move this to the end of the spring:

{.aligncenter .size-full .wp-image-209 width="756" height="177"}

I did some final editing on the last part, but all in all you should be finished now! If you want to reuse this string, save it in a folder and import it when you need it or use it right away in your new diagram. Or just download the source here: Spring model.

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