Helix Turning Tool Born From Necessity

helix turning tool

Sometimes while working on a project there comes a point where a specialized tool is needed. That necessary tool may or may not even exist. While [Fabien] was working on his DNA Lamp project he needed to bend a copper wire into a helical shape. Every one of us has wrapped a wire around a pencil and made a little springy thing at some point. While the diameter may have been constant, the turn spacing certainly was not. [Fabien] came up with a simple gizmo to solve that problem.

The tool utilizes an 8mm rod that will ensure the ID of the helix is indeed 8mm. We’ve already discussed that was the easy part. To make certain the turn spacing is not only consistent but also of the correct amount, a wooden frame is used. The frame has holes in it to allow the 8mm rod to pass through. Adjacent to those rod holes are much smaller holes just a bit larger than the copper wire that will become the helix. These holes are drilled at an angle to produce the correct turn spacing. [Fabien] figured out the correct angle by taking the desired turn spacing distance, helix diameter and wire diameter and plopping it in this formula:

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New and improved DIWire Bender

The DIWire bender we saw last summer made its way to Maker Faire this year with a new and improved version that is now able to bend steel even more accurately than the previous aluminum-bending version.

I chatted up [Marco Perry] (above, obviously), and he explained a new feature of the DIWire bender that makes soldering or welding creations made out of CNC bent wire even easier. The new machine features a sharpie that precisely marks where the wire should be welded.

The folks behind the DIWire – Pensa – have a ton of really cool wire sculptures at their booth at Maker Faire, quite incidentally within spitting distance of Hackaday’s Red Bull booth. Be sure to check them out if you’ve got a chance.

DIWire Bender makes nearly any shape imaginable

The people over at Pensa posted an awesome CNC wire bender on their blog. Robotic wire benders are common industrial machine that are very fun to watch. These machines can turn out custom wire-bent parts or sculptures in a matter of seconds. The Pensa team’s “DIWire Bender” might not be as fast as the big boys, but it works just the same.

From their Tumblr blog, we see that there are motors to draw the wire off a spool and into a hollow shaft. At the business end of the machine, there’s a small gear-driven bender that can form wire in just about any shape. There’s an awesome video of the DIWire Bender in action after the break if your mind is still trying comprehend how wire top hats and glasses can be made.

The Pensa team says they built this to fill a void in DIY fabrication machines – 3D printers are great and all, but some things can be done more easily by bending some wire.

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