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