Look how sad... this washer is bent...
I guess I have to throw it away, right?
Allow me to introduce the Wave Washer!
These washers are purposely shaped this way.
The wave washer is a spring washer like Bellevilles, which look conical. Wave washers, all spring washers actually, are disks of metal that form an irregular shape, so that when the washer is loaded it acts like a spring and deflects, providing a preload between the two surfaces. Who invented this?! Whoever came up with this idea is so clever. In fact, everytime I learn about fasteners I am reminded about how much potential we humans have.
Although my very favorite washers are the Nord-lock washers - they're super smart! I'll do a post on those one day. Where the wave washer is simple, the Nord-lock is complex. But both equally brilliant!