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Spotted in the MAKE Flickr pool:

This curious wire bending rig, built by Dorkbot Bristol members David Henshall and John Honniball, was reportedly seen designing unique snow flakes to the delight of visitors at the unCraftivism art show this past weekend. Utilizing a simple DC gearmotor and servo, the machine appears to be an experiment in generative manipulated wire forming:

Machine Craft Experiment: Generative Manipulated Wire Forming to make unique snow flakes

Machine processes are commonly additive or subtractive, while manipulating materials is more commonly associated with hand crafts such as weaving or basket making.

This experiment is intended to explore the boundaries between open source methods of working using the Arduino platform, machine production and craft.

The software generates unique shapes each time it makes an object, this is formed by bending the wire to produce a decorative object. The intention is to suggest that machine made objects can acquire a sense of producing machine craft rather than machine production.

I think that it is a great use of simple physical parts to fabricate complex shapes. In a mechanically similar but conceptually different direction, does anyone want to make one that bends line charts for a real-time, physical display?

[Photo by David Henshall]

Update: Video added, thanks Richard and Anonymous!


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