We love 3D printers here at Crave, but one small problem exists with the devices: They traditionally can't print sturdy thin lines. 3D printers use a layering process based on slices printed thinly and bonded together, which works well for voluminous objects, but not necessarily thin ones.
The DIWire Bender, created by New York design firm Pensa, works as a DIY wire printer that bridges the gap between 3D printers and commercial computer numerical control (CNC) wire benders. To create shapes, wire from a spool feeds into the DIwire, passes through several wheels for straightening, and leads to the three-dimensional head that bends wire as instructed.
Why create the DIWire? "Wire models are often needed in design, whether they are for furniture (chair leg scale models), art, jewelery, housewares projects (wire baskets), or even engineering parts (custom springs)," a Pensa representative noted in a blog post.
The printing possibilities seem endless once you see the DIWire in action, as it can bend metal wire into nearly any 2D or 3D shape. Creating a design for the DIwire requires a simple vector file (Adobe Illustrator, for example), or merely a set of commands in a text file.
"In principal, the machine could bend other materials, including colored electrical wires, some plastics, memory metals, even light pipes to create small light forms," Pensa said.
Those wanting a DIWire need to wait a little bit longer. Says the company: "We will open source the DIWire in the coming weeks, we will post the code, and description of how it's made with a bill of materials."
What would you create with the DIWire bender?