Catching up with DiWire Bender, Insert Coin 2013's metal-bending wonder

Does that curious little contraption above look familiar? That's probably because it's DIWire Bender, the rather unusual desktop device created by Brooklyn design firm Pensa, which won our judges' hearts at last year's Insert Coin competition. We say unusual, because DIWire Bender boasts very specific skillset: bending metal wires for makers, crafters and just about anyone who could use it. We caught up with Pensa founder Marco Perry to talk about how the project's been doing since the team took home $10,000 for winning Judges' Choice. By the sound of it, its victory really got the ball rolling: the team's Kickstarter campaign that launched right after Insert Coin, for instance, reached its $100,000 goal in just one day.

First, a bit of history: The Pensa team first thought of making a desktop metal bender when they realized that their 3D-printed furniture models can't withstand their testing methods. Thus, DiWire was born. The machine allows you to create metal designs more quickly and efficiently, as you won't have to twist and turn metal wires manually to make the patterns you want anymore.

After the successful crowdfunding campaign, Pensa began hiring beta testers to take the machine for a spin, including a team that won best rookie award at the First Robotics Competition. Also, Perry said that all the exposure the product got not only made its Kickstarter campaign a painless affair, but also helped drum up a lot of interest from various sectors "ranging from automotive, architecture, furniture, lighting, jewelry, orthodontics, surgical implants, robotics and STEM/STEAM."

According to Perry, Pensa has finalized the machine's design and engineering way back in late spring, and it's begun gathering components for assembly in August. The company now plans to ship out the first DiWire Bender units as soon as this October. If you want to join our Insert Coin competition like Perry and his team did, you may want to put the final touches on your own hardware design. We're accepting Insert Coin submissions until September 26th only, and there's $25,000 on the line for the project(s) our judges and readers like the most. Once you're done reading our submission guidelines, head straight to our entry form and turn those hardware masterpieces in.