DIWire is a 3D printer for 2D creations


May 21, 2012

A New York design consultancy has built the DIWire Bender machine, which can bend and shape strips of wire into elaborate designs based on simple line drawings

A New York design consultancy has built the DIWire Bender machine, which can bend and shape strips of wire into elaborate designs based on simple line drawings

Image Gallery (6 images)

Thanks to the popularity of 3D printers like the Replicator and the Cube, there are plenty of devices out there for crafting almost any solid object from just a design. But what if you're more interested in building a 3D object from something a little less voluminous like, say, a simple line drawing? The materials used to create most 3D printed object unfortunately aren't sturdy enough to recreate objects that thin. That's why New York-based design consultancy, Pensa, has built the DIWire Bender, a machine that follows vector diagrams to bend and shape pieces of wire into elaborate structures.

Pensa based the DIWire machine on much larger wire-bending machines that already exist, but are used mostly in factories for mass production. The idea was to create a similar device that could make smaller wire structures to visualize prototypes and initial designs.

To create a wire construction, the machine needs to be fed either a vector file of the image or a text file with clear commands for manipulating the wire ("bend 90° right," "turn 60° left," etc.). Pensa's software then translates the image/commands into motor functions to automatically start creating the object. Aluminum wire unspools from one end of the machine, is straightened by several wheels along the length of it, and is finally shaped as it passes through a bending head. The bending head moves around all angles of the wire to curve it to exactly what the initial design calls for.

Pensa mainly envisioned the device for creating wire prototypes for various design projects before moving on to more detailed models, but the DIWire could equally be put to use creating artwork or jewelry as well. Theoretically, the machine could bend other pliable materials, like colored electrical wire or different metals. Several machines linked together could also create even more elaborate objects from wires that have been linked together. We may see more as yet unforeseen uses for the DIWire in the future, as Pensa plans to openly release the software code along with a list of materials and instructions for constructing the machine.

Check out the video below to see how the DIWire Bender forms several impressive objects from just a length of wire.

Source: Pensa NYC

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

If I was assembling a solar power station in space, this is what I would use instead of tabbing wire, since then the conductor between Silicon cells is also the structure saving 50% of the wire weight (you can only lose the tabbing wire from the rear of the cells which usually holds them together and is bonded to a surface).

Similarly if you wish to build a dome on the Moon or a Lunar cement space station ring - the old dyson type, bended and woven aluminium bars shaped by such a machine on site would be the way to go.


Yeah, I see a LOT of potential in a machine like this one. Especially for making a building out of ferro-cement or a swimming pool, or instead of using concrete for a building, use expanding foam to fill the voids. Think of how much weight could be saved and energy due to better insulation than a plaster and wood box. This would be ideal for single story dwellings and maybe even for two-storied homes or offices. And artwork of course would be a great area for it too, from jewelry to ornamental metal work on and inside of buildings. The artwork could also be a part of the skeleton of the building walls if you work it right. Imagine making sculptures this way!


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