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16. Wildcard week

1. Weekly Brief Summary

  • I tried homebrew woodbending, by using steam iron.
  • There are some tips, but it was interesting and gave findings for me.

2. Weekly Assignment Requirement

Design and produce something with a digital fabrication process (incorporating computer-aided design and manufacturing) not covered in another assignment, documenting the requirements that your assignment meets, and including everything necessary to reproduce it. Possibilities include but are not limited to wildcard week examples.

3. Homebrew Woodbending


I want to create a smooth curve for my final project, so I explored a method that was not kerf bending, which can cause some bumps on the surface. I found wood bending (In Japanese, 曲げ木) method on the Internet and try it.



Tools Usage
Soaked wood Wood board soaked in water overnight
Cloth Roll soaked wood
Aluminum Foil Roll soaked wood and cloth
Steam Iron Press and heat wood
Mold Mold for bending





(1) I Made mold for bending by Rhinoceros. After making 3D model, use make 2D command for create 2D vector data. Them I edit and laser-cut 4mm MDF boards.


(2) Soak the wooden board in water overnight.


(3) Wrap it, with a damp cloth and aluminum foil. Heat at the maximum temperature of a household steam iron. Continue to heat it for the same number of minutes as the thickness (mm).


(4) While the wood is still hot, press it following the mold and fix it firmly with clamps or tapes.


(5) After overnight, unfasten and remove the aluminum foil and cloth.



I tried 4mm thick MDF board(center) and 4mm thick plywood(maybe lime)(right) as above.


  • MDF’s inner surface shows wrinkles.
  • Thickness increased by 2-3 times. MDF consists of wood flakes and adhesive glue, and it is sensitive to water and moisture, and highly absorbent.


  • Plywood’s surface also shows wrinkles, and it can easily peeled. I think it was caused by the structure of plywood. It consists of surface and inner layers, and wetting/heating weaken this adhesion.
  • It did not follow the mold neatly. The main reason may be probably that it was not fixed properly against stiffness of plywood (or lack of heating?).
  • I didn’t much time to try again, so I decided to NOT use steam bend wood for my final project.

5. Learning Outcome

  • I can bend wood by steam iron in my home !
  • For heat bent wood, non-artificial wood will be nice (not plywood or MDF…)
  • Kerf bending is very reasonable way to create nice curved wood, lol.

In this week, I also test some flexure structure for final assignment.


Spring Plunger:I made 3 patterns of plunger with spiral shape. It needs enoguh sitffness and space without adhereance for other place. It also needs knob to grab and release.

6. Files

  • Rhinoceros, jig 3d Data
  • Jig cutpath 1 and 2

Last update: July 4, 2021