Apr 3, 2017 | By Julia

Kniterate, the 3D printer for Knitwear, has taken Kickstarter by storm with its new crowd-funding campaign. The digital knitting machine, which first crossed our radar back in June 2016, has recently resurfaced, catching the eye of design bloggers, knitters, and knitwear enthusiasts alike. And all the buzz may be just what Kniterate needs to hit the market: with almost $250,000 already pledged, the Kickstarter campaign has more than doubled its initial goal of $100,000.

What is Kniterate exactly? It’s a computerized knitting machine that, by “bringing an affordable and compact version of industrial knitting machines to your workshop,” promises to “automatically turn your digital designs into knitted garments.”

The clever crafting innovation combines 3D printing with the domestic knitting machines of the 1980s, explains Kniterate Co-founder and CEO Gerard Rubio. “We’ve finally come up with a flawless integration between a computer and a desktop knitting machine,” says Rubio. “[But] we’ve added a bunch of mechanisms to automate the whole process, from casting on and off, to shaping and making many different types of stitches.”

With half the Kniterate team boasting professional backgrounds in 3D printing, including hardware and software design, it should come as no surprise that the digital knitting machine is strongly reminiscent of a desktop 3D printer.

Of course, Kniterate uses yarn instead of 3D printing filament, but Rubio notes that the jump from industrial materials like plastic and metal to wool is to be expected. “These days new materials are constantly coming out for desktop 3D printers and the range of options widens. Knitting is a much more mature technology, which means a lot of research and development has been done already. The range of options is almost endless,” he says, adding that Kniterate users will be able to work with their own yarns.

Customers have the choice of fabricating their own designs or downloading and altering pre-existing designs. The startup is also developing an online platform where users can share and access each other’s designs for free. “You will be able to access it freely to get inspiration or search for what you want to create,” says Rubio. “We will be curating the best stuff out there.”

Best of all, Kniterate is not limited to those with a background in knitting or 3D printing. Rubio assures potential pledgers that after some trial and error, almost anyone will be able to design ready-to-knit garments.

Users who decide to design their own knitwear can import designs and convert them to Kniterate’s “K-code.” Another option is to design new garments via Kniterate’s free design app. “This allows you to design it in the Cloud, starting from templates. You can change measurements, add text or images, draw, load patterns and stitches from an existing library, etc,” explains Rubio.

While the pieces may not come out entirely ready to wear, Rubio claims that a couple simple steps like cutting thread and making a few knots are all that’s required to complete the garment.

Buying your own Kniterate machine may be a costly affair – the start up’s first batch of machines will set you back about $5,000 – but the new release is still priced far cheaper than traditional industrial knitting machines, which can range up into the tens of thousands.

But with all the interest (and crowd-funding) for Kniterate almost bursting at the seams, so to speak, we’re expecting it won’t be too long before we start to see some more competitive pricing. With 35 days still to go in the campaign, we’re keeping a close eye on this one.



Posted in 3D Printer



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Mark wrote at 4/22/2017 11:28:23 AM:

This is a knitting machine. It has fuck-all to do with 3D printing.

Nicolas Duarte wrote at 4/5/2017 10:11:42 PM:

It's even less amazing than a digital loom, it is a consumer level knitting machine. Knitting machines have been around for years (my aunt had one 30 years ago albeit much larger and more costly). Chalk it up to Kickstarter sales hype, but hey, if it sells more yarn I'm all for it.

Cranky Today wrote at 4/4/2017 1:46:45 AM:

It's basically a digital loom, not sure why every website keeps referring to it as some kind of amazing new 3D printer... I guess the hype is needed to get it through it's kickstarter. Digital Loom

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