Think of it like a 3D printer for paper clips.
If you’re ever in need of a paper clip and don’t feel like running out to the nearest Staples, you’re in luck. That’s because a Maker by the name of “Credentiality” has developed a machine that can methodically bend a spool of wire into the shape of one for you.
The aptly named Paper Clip Maximizer 1.0 is comprised of two GWS S125 1T sail winch servos for all the locomotion, controlled by an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) and a few pages of code. The machine works not unlike the extruder of a 3D printer in that a knurled brass wheel feeds the wire through, which is held in place by a spring-loaded bearing. The wheel is powered by a servo that has been modified for continuous rotation through an Arduino program. The mechanism then passes the wire through a metal feed block and towards a bending head, which is also attached to and driven by a servo.
“These particular servos have a lot more range of motion than normal servos, and are also easy to modify for continuous rotation. That was important for the wire feed servo, which always needs to turn the same direction,” the Maker writes. “When you disassemble this particular servo, you can just remove the gear that connects the axle to the potentiometer. Then when you drive it, if you tell it to move clockwise of where you left the pot, it’ll turn clockwise forever, and vice versa.”
In addition, there is a bearing on the end of the bending head that is used to curve the wire around the guide block. After making several bends to form the paper clip, the Dremel cut-off wheel swings around to chop the end of the newly-formed accessory. The wheel motor is powered directly by the Leonardo. Admittedly, this portion of the process didn’t work too well.
“The way it was supposed to work was to not reset the bender on the last bend, but instead keep moving past the wire. Then I’d feed out the last leg of the paper clip, and then keep rotating the bending head clockwise until it brought around the cutoff wheel in to finish the job,” Credentiality notes. “That’s why you can see a dished out spot on top of the feed block — I had to spend about 15 minutes manually and very gradually feeding the spinning wheel into the block so that it’d clear when moving into place, yet still end up close enough to the block to cut the wire instead of just deflecting it out of the way.”
Intrigued? Head over to the project’s page here, or see it in action below!