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Curious wire bending machine

Craft & Design Robotics
Curious wire bending machine


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!

20 thoughts on “Curious wire bending machine

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Thanks, I’ve added it to the entry!

  1. Richard Sewell says:

    Here’s the device at work:

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Awesome, thanks!

  2. John Park says:

    I’m in love with that thing!

  3. anachrocomputer says:

    Thanks for posting this on the Make blog! The photo and video are from day one of unCraftivism, and on day two, I hacked on the Arduino code a bit more (it literally worked for the first time on the Saturday). We found that the servo can be rotated quite a bit faster, and we can make much shallower bends, as well as bending a little beyond 90 degrees. The shallow bends, along with short feed lengths, make an almost-circle, which becomes a spiral as the wire bends out of the plane of the machine. We have a sample of a square which we bent on the Sunday, along with many other shapes, some intentional, others not so much…

    1. tn-kid says:

      Have you posted schematics or done an instructable for this device?

      I would like to try to make a fractal antenna using your machine. I want to try something complicated similar to this link:

  4. Colin Peart says:

    If you are trying to make precise, repeatable fractal antenna’s, this is exactly what you need. If the maker needs to raise some capital for their project, they should sell fractal antenna kits!

    1. Shelby Davis says:

      I was thinking the same thing. It was a long and tedious task to make

  5. JC says:

    I was watching “How It’s Made” last night (one of my favorite shows) and this is remarkably similar to how wire eyeglass frames are made.–p2uA

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