Jun 13, 2015 | By Simon

While the uses for additive manufacturing at home seem to be increasing on a seemingly daily basis, there are still some items in the home that haven’t been able to be created due to the lack of suitable technologies.  Among others is the ability to fabricate soft objects using digital fabrication tools.  

While the first automated knitting machine was unveiled nearly 40 years ago in 1976, it has since been forgotten and discontinued.  Aiming to bring it back to coincide the increasing amount of hard-surface object creations tools that are becoming more popular on the desks of both creatives and consumers alike, visual artists Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet have been actively developing an open source project that allows users to create their very own digital fabrication knitting machines - both the Knitic and the Circular Knitic.  

“With the boom of digital fabrication technology, a 3d printer is gradually turning into a commodity that every creative studio have on their desk,” says the artists.   

“At the same time, Fab Labs and makerspaces are a lot about hard-surface object production while the first digital fabrication tool, which is an electronic knitting machine back to 1976, has been forgotten and discontinued. Hence, with this project, Circular Knitic, and our earlier one called Knitic, we aim to integrate textile fabrication to the makers' culture.”

The pair recently published a new Instructable that features the build instructions, supply lists and necessary files for interested users to create their very own Circular Knitic, which is designed for automating circular knitting techniques including the fabrication of socks.

In order to successfully build the project, access to a 3D printer and a laser cutter are necessary, however the files - which are generously provided in the Instructable - can be uploaded to any number of third-party service including 3D Hubs, Ponoko or Shapeways to be fabricated and delivered directly to your door.  Additionally, access to a woodworking facility is necessary in order to create the wood frame that supports the Circular Knitic.

Additionally, the following supplies are needed to build the machine:

  • 60 x needles
  • stepper motor nema23
  • Big Easy stepper motor Driver
  • Arduino Uno
  • ventilator 12v 40mm x 40mm
  • power supply 12v
  • cabling
  • arbon fiber tensor 2mm (55cm)
  • 14 x bearings (bore 5mm x 10mm x 4mm)
  • screws and nuts
  • shaft of motor
  • switch
  • 60 x paper clips 50mm
  • 2 x makerbeam 150mm
  • 2 x makerbeam 60mm
  • makerbeam 40mm
  • makerbeam screws
  • 6 x makerbeam Lshape
  • 4 x claw weight
  • spring

Once all of the parts have been fabricated, the assembly process is fairly straightforward and similar and could be compared to both existing Arduino build projects combined with a simple IKEA furniture build in terms of complexity.

Once the pieces have been assembled, creating your first pair of socks is as simple as firing up your code and feeding the yarn through the yarn feeder for the machine to take over.  

For those who are interested in the machine but are weary about their skillset for building the machine from scratch, Guljajeva and Canet are also selling various components of the project pre-fabricated and/or pre-assembled as well as the machine already completed on their online store - meaning that no matter what your skill level is, getting up and running with ‘soft’ 3D printing can happen sooner rather than later!

To see the build instructions in-full, be sure to head over to the project’s Instructables page.  

 

 

Posted in 3D Printers

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Beckie wrote at 12/3/2016 4:58:56 AM:

Love the idea. Already printed out some of the parts. Unfortunately a few of the parts don't download. Haven't been able to find a usable connector file or a way to convert the raw file into a usable .stl file. Anybody out the with a a usable file? Thanks

Jack wrote at 7/13/2016 3:52:17 PM:

Where can I buy one complete with power supply for usa and shipped to Bradenton, Fla 34211 shipping cost too?

Ismael wrote at 5/24/2016 3:04:11 PM:

Somebody please tell me where I can get the files for the purple makerbeam 3D printer they were using.

pepe wrote at 6/20/2015 3:10:21 PM:

Look all very positive comments one talking about patents and other insulting authors.

KnitWizard wrote at 6/15/2015 7:31:33 PM:

Wonder how many current patents were used?

Ken wrote at 6/15/2015 6:41:17 AM:

"While the first automated knitting machine was unveiled nearly 40 years ago in 1976, it has since been forgotten and discontinued." ... apparently someone has no clue how socks and hosiery are made to this day, or how long such machines have actually been around for.

Ken wrote at 6/15/2015 6:40:18 AM:

"While the first automated knitting machine was unveiled nearly 40 years ago in 1976, it has since been forgotten and discontinued." ... apparently someone has no clue how socks and hosiery are made to this day, or how long such machines have actually been around for.



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