In recent years, 3D rapid prototyping machines have gone mainstream. And we’ve been excited to see 3D printers spreading beyond businesses to individuals, with the aid of a little DIY ingenuity (e.g., Makerbots, RepRap, etc.).
But there are times when we need to output lines in space rather than volumes. So we decided to build the D.I.Wire Bender, a rapid prototype machine that bends metal wire to produce 2D or 3D shapes. How does it work? Simply draw curves in the computer, import the file (vector, 3D, text commands or pure coordinates) into our software and press print. All inputs are automatically translated into D.I.Wire motor commands. During the print, the 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.