DIWire Bender




About: Pensa is a strategic design consultancy with a track record of developing successful products. Our product designs connect with consumers because they are rooted in an understanding of people, the products t...

D.I.Wire Bender is a rapid prototype machine that bends metal wire to produce 2D and 3D shapes, pushing the limits of what can be produced in different materials, forms, and methods, anywhere from a model shop to your home.

For the code, full bill of materials (parts list), and readme files, visit the project page on our Google Code site.

The files can be found under Download. The code can be found under Source/Browse.

*****UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2015*****

It's been a great couple of years since we posted this first DIWire prototype! A lot has happened in those two years, and we have moved on towards the future of the DIWire. We encourage everyone who wants to take on making their own bender, but you should be aware that the original instructions were made with older versions of Processing, including those older libraries. We haven't updated the Instructable, and can't offer support for it, but with some independent R&D you can dive in on your own.

Feel free to check out our current machine for sale over at our website.

3D printer , Rapid Prototyper
General hand tools
General power tools

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Step 1: Wiring and Motors

1. Follow wiring diagram to connect the electronics. See the program and wiring diagram to get the pinout for the Arduino.

2. Connect motors to the drivers - this wiring depends on the motors and drivers you select. If you use the ones we did, its a quick connect with a Molex connector.

3. Connect drivers to the Arduino. Most motor drivers have a direction, pulse and common ground wires or CW pulse, CCW pulse and ground. These are the ones you are mostly concerned about. Some have "all windings off" and other options.

4. Connect one of the solenoid of the leads to the power supply.

5. Connect the relay DC control to the Arduino pin and the common ground. If it's a solid state relay, be sure to connect it in the right direction, or it won't switch. Connect the Normally Open (NO) lead to the power supply and the other side to the solenoid.

6. Put the steel gear on the bender motor, and the knurled knob on the feeder motor. Don't put the nylon gear on the Z-bend motor yet.

7. Before the next step, test the Arduino and Processing programs to make sure the gears turn and the solenoid moves as expected.

Step 2: Drilling Holes

1. Drill all the holes in the top base. Reference the STEP file in the Google Code download files.

2. These dimensions are not very critical, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you want to do it without referencing the file:
          -The straightner wheels should just touch.
          -The center line of the wire should follow a straight path from the straightener to the guide, to the tangent of the knurled knob, to the tube.                                  

Step 3: Attaching Motors

1. Attach plastic mold to top base.

2. Put in Z-Motor. (Make sure to keep the screws loose until the end to make it easier when attaching the gear.)

3. Attach nylon gear to Z-Motor.

4. Attach feeder motor to top base.

5. Tighten everything down.

Step 4: Support Beams

1. Install support beams and triangles.

Step 5: Attaching Motors

1. Attach Velcro to base to attach the Arduino, motor drivers, breadboard terminal and power supply.

2. Attach top base to bottom base. We used 80/20 10mm profiles, but anything would do — a piece of ply would be good. The height is not critical, just enough to clear the motors.

3. Attach switch to battery and top board.

Step 6: Attaching the Bend Tube

1. Slide the pillow blocks onto the tube.

2. On one end of the tube attach the other nylon gear. This will interface with the Z-motor. Note: Our gears did not come with hubs, so we made our own, but it's a lot easier to use a gear with a hub if you can find one.

3. Bolt our 3D-printed motor plate to the shaft mounts.

4. Loosely attach the metal shaft mounts to the other end of the tube.

5. Attach the tube assembly to the top plate. We used a couple of washers to space the gears apart so they turn smoothly.

6. Install bend motor to the 3D-printed motor mount.

Step 7: Building the Solenoid

1. Remove 90 degrees from the last nylon gear so it fits onto the solenoid base.

2. Attach gear to base.

3. Put solenoid into base.

4. Slide the brass bushing into the base. This allows the solenoid pin to slide smoothly, and spreads the load so the base doesn't crack.

Step 8: Attach the Solenoid

1. Attach the 3D-printed bender tip to the end of the tube using a set screw.

2. Attach the solenoid assembly with the shoulder bolt.

Step 9: Solenoid Pin

1. Put the spring into solenoid hole.

2. Drop solenoid pin into hole.

3. Drop the extension pin into hole and stick a cross-pin through the hole to keep it together.

Step 10: Lever Arm

1. Construct feed lever arm. We used an aluminum 1" x 3/4" x 1/8" thick U-channel. The wheel is 3/4" brass bar — a grooved roller bearing works well too. The length and location of the holes is not critical, as long as the wheel presses on the wire at the location of the knurled knob.

2. Attach the lever arm to the top base.

3. Attach an angle bracket with a bolt so the bolt applies pressure to the end of the lever arm.

Step 11: Installing Straightening Wheels

1. Construct straightening wheels.

2. Attach wheels to top board. You can use a staggered pattern instead of the linear pattern in the photos. You can also have straightener wheels on multiple planes so you straighten the wire from multiple directions.

Step 12: Feed the Wire

1. Attach the wire feeder at the end of the top board.

2. Attach spool to wire feeder at the end of the board.

Voilà! You're done! Tell us how it turns out — diwire@pensanyc.com — and we'll post it on http://blog.pensanyc.com. Enjoy!

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    24 Discussions


    1 day ago

    Downloaded the Processing 3 and Arduino sketches from Github and loaded the given source codes for 2D Processing. Tried several times and never make the motors work at all. Codes downloaded from Github are not working. Any comments from others who tried this project? Thanks


    8 months ago

    Hi. Nice work. I have a question.How can i connect servo driver shield and step driver shield on arduino uno ?


    Reply 11 months ago

    use a knurled knob, that works pretty well for prototyping.


    11 months ago

    it is possible to replace the 300 μF ceramic capacitor with an electrolytic one?

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    What version of Processing was used in this project?


    5 years ago on Introduction


    The design is sensational, it was a great idea. and you are so kind to share this project.

    I'm riding one for my use and study, but I have a doubt.

    Can you help me?


    2 Phase Stepper Motor - Oriental PK264A2A-SG10

    Stepper Motor Driver - Eastern CMD2120P

    These two items are very expensive and flees my budget.

    They can be replaced by others with lesser value?

    Type Nema the manufacturer.

    If the exchange is possible on the other, what is the model?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Oooh, impressive! Would have loved to see your bender in action.
    What program lets you add that beautiful label effect in the fly-by sequence starting at 05:01 ?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    is there a video of it in action? great instructable, wish i had time to make things like this!!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Was thinking the same, managed to find this.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    When you get ready to market it, please, oh please, let me be the first. You probably already know about the growing market for metal ornaments this machine could turn out in better than hand made quantities while still attracting the high price of them.

    Great job. Thanks for showing us that invention beats imitation any time! Got any other great projects to share?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I once debated one such machine idea, on the Net, glad to see it came into fruition, somehow, and I specially like the bender's tip, that ball, tipping the wire this way, and that way...

    Good idea, and instructable, went to my Blog:


    6 years ago on Introduction

    BTW, you might want to use another graphic for you finished product display. That heavily grained and lined table obliterates the lines of the wire making them almost invisible.


    6 years ago on Step 12

    Nice artwork.... I will test it as soon as I can....


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hurry up and enter this in a contest so I can vote for it already! :)

    Fantastic job here. I think we'll need to build one for our Makerspace.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    That was the most AWESOME project I have seen... ever!

    You have a marketable product there.