Spring Reels

Arbor Reels / Spring Reels (Open) – Metal & Plastic Construction

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John Evans’ offers a wide array of “open style” construction spring reels, also known as arbor reels. In an open reel, the cable is exposed, wrapped around the exterior circumference of the reel, and contained between two flanges & under load generated by the internal spring.

We offer two types of reels:

  • Plastic Arbor Open Reels
  • Metal Arbor Open Reels
Arbor reels are ideal for self-closing of doors and panels. They can also precisely counterbalance loads from less than one pound to more than fifty pounds. Spring reels provide lift assistance to any assembly that must be raised, reducing the “felt” weight and having the ability to make adjustments to pre-load and maximum travel. These features can also allow for motion control of doors or panels. Examples:
  1. Counterbalancing of an elevator door, reducing the force required to close and maintain the closed condition of doors on each floor. This type of spring powered cable retracting device is what is known in the elevator industry as the “Door Closer” reel or Spirator.
  1. A spring powered reel can be used to reduce the energy required to lift a roll-up door on delivery trucks, or to lessen the effort to open and close the door/stairs on executive jets and other aerospace applications. More information is available here for our aerospace applications spring reel sales sheet). Tool balancers or holders in ergonomically designed workstations are excellent opportunities for counterbalancing reels offering the ability to make adjustments to height, pre-load and maximum travel for various tools and fixtures. Medical equipment designers can utilize spring reels to counterbalance a movable mechanism or monitor stand in the operating theater as well as hose, cable, tubing management around or within medical electronics cabinets (click here for medical applications spring reel sales sheet).

Cad drawing of a spring powered reel.Open reels are available in a variety of sizes:

  • Diameters range from 1.64” to 6.0”
  • Widths vary from 0.49” to 1.63”
  • From 1.64" dia. thru 5.09" dia. available with plastic cases, and from 3.38" dia. thru 6.00" dia. available with metal cases.
      All models of both metal and plastic are available with either a square hole Delrin plastic arbor (with a .320” square hole for mounting with a 5/16” carriage bolt) for a “bolt-thru” or a threaded stud for a “bolt-on” installation. Stainless steel & galvanized steel cable with ring terminals for outer end attachment as well as arbor style configurations can be found in our Spring Reels Specifications Table & Open Spring Reel Notes (below). Various load and deflection choices are available as well as custom units utilizing our in-house engineering design assistance. Initiate a custom inquiry.

Open Spring Reel Notes

The Open Spring Reels Specifications Table (below) describes our standard reels. Use the notes shown here in conjunction with the table. We can customize reels upon request. Reel cases are made of either Plastic (PR) or Metal (MR). The load and deflection (travel) are determined by size and spring thickness. The nominal load is measured at 80% of the total available deflection.Open spring reel diagram and x ray unit.
  • PR1 & PR2 Series – Case is glass filled nylon. (other plastic reel sizes are ABS plastic)
  • Cable Descriptions: (cables are of stranded construction) Terminal hole dia: .17” (accommodates #8 screw)

CA-­‐1 .018” dia. stainless steel, nylon coated to .024” dia.

Terminal hole dia: .26” (accommodates 1/4”screw)

CA-­‐3 3/64” dia. galvanized steel, nylon coated to 1/16” dia.

CA-­‐4 1/16” dia. galvanized steel, nylon coated to 3/32” dia.

  • Arbor Descriptions:

AR-­‐1 10-­‐32 UNF threaded stud x 3/16” long.

AR-­‐2 Delrin arbor with .320” square thru hole.

AR-­‐3 1/2-­‐13 UNC threaded stud x 11/16” long.

Open Spring Reel Selection Chart

(please refer to "Specifications Table and Reel Notes" below charts) You may "click" on various part numbers in the Specifications Table below to view the high resolution Load vs. Deflection charts or here:

Click to view larger in .pdf format


Chart 1

Load vs. deflection chart for metal & plastic reels #1

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Chart 2

Load vs. deflection chart for metal & plastic reels #2

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Chart 3

Load vs. deflection chart for metal & plastic reels #3

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Chart 4

Load vs. deflection chart for metal & plastic reels #4

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Open Spring Reels Chart & Notes

View case materials, cable & terminal configurations, arbor styles

Open Spring Reels Specifications Table

CLICK on underlined P/N to view load vs. deflection performance chart




Load (Lbs.)

Deflection (Feet)





0.3 6.6 CA-1 1.64 0.49
0.5 5.0
1.1 3.0
2.0 2.3
2.0 6.0 1.95 0.55
2.6 4.5
3.4 3.75
4.3 2.7
1.8 10.0 CA-3 3.38 0.98
3.6 6.5
3.6 6.5 0.88
6.3 4.5 0.98
6.3 4.5 0.88
12.5 3.5 0.98
4.5 18.0 CA-4 5.09 1.10
8.0 13.5
8.0 13.5 5.00 0.88
16.0 13.5 1.63
15.0 12.0 1.38
22.0 12.0 1.63
22.5 10.0 1.38
27.0 10.0 1.63
10.0 27.0 6.00 1.38
28.0 13.0 AR-3
45.0 11.5


Open Spring Reel Notes

View case materials, cable & terminal configurations, arbor styles




Spring Reels (Enclosed) - Plastic Construction

Spring Reels (Enclosed) - Plastic Construction


We offer three styles of spring-loaded cable retracting reels:

  • Miniature Enclosed Reel series
  • Retriever series
  • Enclosed Reel series

An enclosed reel is simply an open reel within a closed envelope or package. With an enclosed reel, the single function available is linear pull from the cable, which in the retracted position, is enclosed in the housing. The enclosed reels are available in a range of loads and extensions (see the sales sheet, below). All enclosed reels are made with plastic cases the enclosed reel can be installed by putting it in a cavity, by means of a mounting plate that can be supplied, or in some cases, by using the through hole.

Spring reel load, extension characteristics and capacities vary with the spring used. With a given maximum extension, the load may be varied by changing the width. Reels are provided with attached cable, equal in length to the maximum available cable extension. Other cable lengths are available as required.

Spring reel applications typically are those requiring long deflection in proportion to the load. They include such uses as door closers, counter balances, cord retractors, retail display theft prevention, tool balancers or holders.

For Point of Purchase (POP) Display and Merchandising design, our three enclosed reel product lines (spring retrievers) make excellent choices for product security and/or product placement.
Features such as cable length, retracting load and dimensional information is available here.

In addition to our standard line of reels we can custom manufacture within standard sizes and where volume or application justify, will manufacture a totally customized reel.

As with all Evans' products, in-house engineering assistance is always available.

More Information & PDF Download


Download .pdf


Spring Reels (Enclosed)

Sales Sheet

Got A Question? Consult our Experts.

Our experts offer a depth of expertise to assist you with all parts of the process. We are ready to answer your questions in a timely manner and will help you define what you need. We produce custom springs for all purposes, and we are here to work with you on any of your customization needs.