This is a machine I built to form thin wires into useful parts. It's pretty crude, but it works (just)This page shows most of the parts and a brief description of what they are.
The machine is controlled by my own program running on Ubuntu. It is shown how to make what I want by me controlling it via keyboard. The program stores this information in a file which can be used to make the parts required. The code for the parts is very simple and can be written/adjusted by hand to fine tune the part that the machine makes. Please don't bother asking for a circuit diagram, because I don't have one. I'm not even sure how it's wired up myself and I built the thing!. I wired it up ad-hoc...... Works though! Okay, okay, I'll draw a rough one up sometime.... sometime.
(above) This is the business end of the machine, the spindle with the solenoid that bends the wire. The solenoid came from a washing machine inlet valve. I had to reinforce the hole around the solenoid plunger as it flexed too much. You'll notice the clear acrylic in front of the plunger - it's purpose it to stop the plunger popping out of the solenoid coil. The wire is fed in through the brass tube in the centre which has steel bars either side to take the strain from the wire bending.
This shows the spindle axis and drive train. The spindle turns on an old bike hub driven by a chain drive from the windscreen wiper motor.
The electronics control boards, needlessly over complicated and messy! It started out as a modular relay control board that I built to experiment with, however it became a permanent fixture in this machine. The spindle motor and solenoid are controlled by relays. A DPDT relay reverses the spindle direction. The stepper motor is controlled by four TIP31 transistors (the tangled mess at the back). The stepper motor that feeds the wire in is an 8 wire stepper which is wired in a unipolar configuration. The stepper is running at around 3V and draws approximately 1.8A. I'm getting this power through an LM317 which gets pretty hot, even being used intermittently. The transistors stay cool though, they probably don't even need the heat sink.
This is the wire feed in. The rubber wheel on the stepper feeds the wire into the spindle.