When bending wire around your arms and face isn’t efficient enough for your wire bending needs, call upon this machine. The DIWire Bender from Pensa is a different take to going from digital to physical.
There are different ways to create 3D forms from digital data, but when it comes to wireforms, there’s no represnetation. Pensa aims to change that, and they have.
The DIWire Bender is a rapid prototype machine that bends metal wire to produce 2D or 3D shapes. Wire unwinds from a spool, passes through a series of wheels that straighten it, and then feeds through the bending head, which moves around in 3 dimensions to create the desired bends and curves. Vector files (e.g., Adobe Illustrator files), text files of commands (e.g., feed 50 mm, bend 90° to right…) provide DIWire’s instructions. It’s essentially a 3D printer that describes lines, instead of volumes, in space, and it could be used for anything from prototypes to customized products.
That is some sexy auto-bending goodness. If you watch the video, they produce some fairly interesting stuff. Not the most practical – but as a concept, mind-blowing. For me, the applications are wholly artistic. Even more, I love that you can make 3D objects – at first I thought, “2D wireforms, whatever.” Kudos for Pensa for kicking it up a notch!
What could you use a DIWire for? Wire models are often needed in design, whether they are for furniture (chair leg scale models) or housewares projects (wire baskets) or even engineering parts (custom springs). But why stop at prototypes? The machine can read any data, why not output artwork from a random number algorithm, or internet data like stock prices and weather stats. You can create mass customized products, like eyeglass frames that fit, or be a street vendor printing jewelry from a person’s silhouette, on demand. And it doesn’t have to be aluminum wire; in principal the machine could bend other materials, including colored electrical wires, some plastics, memory metals, even light pipes to create small light forms. And if you don’t like the output, it could be configured to pass the bent wire through the straightener to start again.
That’s a profound thought – if you don’t like the output, you can reuse it again. The inherent problem with the DIWire is that your limited in resolution and wire gauge. Ideally, different size wires could be used – like multiple extruders on a 3D printer for multiple colors. Still, the DIWire would be a valuable tool in any Fablab – customized springs would be incredibly useful for a few of my projects.
Post-script: I couldn’t help but think of Bender from Futurama… enjoy!