86 thoughts on “HOWTO

    1. openknit Post author

      Hi Siva,
      Thanks a lot for your interest.

      This product won’t be for sell, at least in a near future.
      I opened this technology so anybody can build it’s own tool and produce their own clothes, that also means that anybody can do anything with it, even you could start selling it, but first, it requires a lot of development.
      I’d be happy to assist you with the building process if you like.

      Best,
      gerard

      Reply
      1. Leo

        Hello openknit,

        I’d actually like some guidance on building one of these – and possibly helping improve it as well. I’m a Software Engineer that just recently became interested in Arduino and would love to play around with this! My roommate with a tailor and she makes her own clothes and it would be awesome for us to see what we could do with this!

        Thanks, this is definitely great; keep it open-source! :)

        Reply
    2. Anthony Simpson

      This is really exciting.

      I recently taken up the hobby of machine knitting after finding hand knitting a little slow. So I brought a Silver Reed lk150 to knit jumpers.

      But this has so much more potential. I am definitely interested in continuing with my lk150 but also seeing if I can build this open source machine.

      I also do hope this translates into a commercial product,, although understand if a while off.

      Wow :-)

      Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      Hi David,

      Right now it can handle up to three different thread/colours, since it has three thread guides, but I’m pretty sure it’s possible to add many more and create a system to select them.
      About pattern making, I guess it will be possible, actually, I want to start developing that after improving overall reliability.
      That would be an amazing new scenario, want to help? any ideas??

      Thanks!
      gerard

      Reply
      1. Bobbin

        Hello!

        I love this.

        I have just started a new brand with my partner and we would love to create products with/for this type of machine at some point. Will you ever have it in the UK to show? Let’s keep in touch!

        Reply
        1. openknit Post author

          hi, since it’s open-source and scalable you can make it huge with thousands of needles to create a godzilla sweater or small enough for printing a scarf, 100% customizable. I created for printing aprox a L size maximum.
          regards,
          gerard

          Reply
  1. Dax

    The servomotor that moves the needles between the three positions should be replaced with two solenoids and a mechanical lever to translate the movement to the necessary three positions.

    The mechanism works as follows: two solenoids sit side by side in the default extended state. A beam connects both pistons. When only one solenoid retracts, the center of the beam moves half the distance. When both are pulling, the center of the beam moves the full distance, achieving linear motion between three possible positions. Alternatively, a T or Y shaped lever can be connected with the solenoids on the short branches and the long beam will sweep left or right with a default position in the middle.

    It will be faster, cheaper, and more durable than a hobby servo.

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      That’s a great idea Dax! Although I’m surprised about the performance of these hobby servos, you’re right, I think I would have to be replacing them every now and then. Do you know a good source of solenoids?
      best,
      gerard

      Reply
      1. Dax

        Hobby electronics stores carry them, and you can order them from any electronics components supply store.

        A solenoid is as simple as magnet wire wound around a bobbin with an iron plunger in the middle and a light spring to return the plunger, so you could technically even print and assemble the solenoids yourself if you can’t find just the right kind. Magnet wire is also available at hobby electronics stores. If you do them yourself, you can even make solenoids that can be driven to multiple positions directly by activating different portions of the magnetic coil. The main design issue with solenoids is that the stroke lenght is short, but that can be remedied with mechanical linkage.

        One could also steal the design of a hard drive arm, which looks something like this: http://www.dansdata.com/images/magnets/voicecoil440.jpg

        It works by strong neodymium magnets. The field is pointing up on the left and down on the right, or vice versa, so that when a current flows through the loop it tries to align itself left or right depending on the direction of current. A rubber band could easily be used to return it to center.

        Reply
        1. openknit Post author

          nice ideas Dax! do you know if anybody have done (and published) the design of a homemade solenoid with multiple positions?

          Reply
          1. Dax

            Here’s basic instructions to build a simple solenoid coil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRN5UhHhSxY

            A three-state solenoid can be adapted from the basic idea as two identical solenoids wound on the same tube. Instead of a long iron/steel plunger, you use a shorter one that is just somewhat longer than one coil. Perhaps 1.5 times as long. Powering one coil instead of the other attracts the metal plunger to the center of that coil, and powering both coils at the same time will attract the plunger to the middle of both. Powering none will let it hang freely, so a fourth position can be achieved with a return spring. The plunger may then be connected to a non-metallic rod, or a fishing line, or anything you wish to transmit the motion out of the tube.

            The design parameters of the coils are not critical. You simply add as many turns of the thinnest wire as you possibly can manage, within reasonable limits.
            You will then find by experiment how much voltage and current is sufficient to actuate it and iterate your design accordingly.

            A long thin solenoid will provide longer movement and less force as compared to a short and fat one, which will move fast with force, but over a shorter distance.

            The electrical connection to the Arduino is usually implemented as follows: http://davidhunt.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Solenoid3.png

            However, as the operating current and voltage of the homemade solenoid are unknown, you will have to experiment and measure how much current it draws from your power source and whether you need to add a current limiting resistor to the circuit to keep it from overheating.

          2. openknit Post author

            thank you very much Dax!
            very valuable information, I’ll definitely try it with solenoids :)
            kind regards,
            gerard

    1. openknit Post author

      hi Stephanie, it can not create rib knits but I write it down on the list for future developments.
      cheers!
      g

      Reply
  2. Simone

    I simply love this! My husband is a big DIY guy with cnc milling, laser cutting, 3d printing… the works. I am a knitter with a baby and a full time job. Hence no time for knitting. I have been looking into knitting machines and can’t find anything under 2K. Thank you so much for putting this out there!

    questions about stitches. It looks like it dose everything in stockinet stick… can can it yarn over or knit two together?

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Simone, it can only do the basic stockinette stitch by know, if the technology evolves it will definitely be possible to do more complex tasks, we will see what happens :)
      thanks!
      gerard

      Reply
  3. Emilio

    Gerard,

    Thank you for sharing your design! It’s very interesting and I’m considering building one when the full BOM, STL, assembly instruction package is available. How is the reliability of the unit you have assembled? Have you found any obvious/common failure points? Looking forward to updates!

    – Emilio

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hello Emilio, thank you. the machine is not very reliable right now, there are some common failures with some noise in the electronics that prevent the right performance of the machine, I’m debugging right now trying some ideas I have with different configurations and components.
      subscribe to the newsletter for the updates.
      kind regards,
      gerard

      Reply
  4. makenb

    Hi, first off Great Job! I am in awe. I have a few questions: you mention needing a Leonardo for the interrupts, but don’t the Uno and Mega also have 5? would it be simpler to count steps to the stepper and use math to calculate position? then you could save on components. it seems redundant to use an encoder and a stepper. Also I noticed in the documentation for AttachInterupt() it says to declare all variables as volatile to insure they are updated correctly.
    again awesome job!,
    Maken

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi makenb, thanks! Arduino Uno only has 2 interrupts and Mega would work perfectly, but it’s more expensive than Leonardo.
      you’re right, it’s redundant to use an encoder and a stepper. a stepper by itself would not work because the carriage it’s not moving freely along the rails, the task of knitting creates some friction and the stepper (nema 17) loses steps once in a while. I was looking for a powerful dc motor to use it with the encoder but I ended up using the stepper I had.
      looking for a high torque dc motor with 150rpm aprox? do you know were can I look for?
      thank you!
      gerard

      Reply
  5. Alistair Lowe

    Hi guys,

    It’s great to see this project. I’m not actually a knitting fanatic, but I have a lot of friends who would very much appreciate this product.

    I’m an experienced embedded programmer and have industry links to various kinds of engineers, production/prototype services and cheap Wireless/Bluetooth modules.

    Let me know if I can be of any help!

    Cheers

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Alistair, thanks for your support! right now I have all the material I need, it’s time to invest many many hours of testing with the machine, let me know if you think you can help me out on that.
      thanks,
      gerard

      Reply
  6. Juliane

    Hi,

    we’d like to create a knitting machine in our hackerspace and checked out your git repository. It would be great to have some text in your manual and some instructions on how to build the parts. The 3D files would be nice to have too.

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Juliane, thanks for your interest. I’m working on a more detailed assembly manual to make it easier, I’ll publish it soon.
      you can get the 3d files of every part from the SketchUp file, although, once I finish the manual I’ll export every part to .STL format and I’ll update the circuit diagram for the shield.
      regards,
      gerard

      Reply
  7. Susanne Enbom

    Wow! What a cool thing! Being an old fashioned hand-knitter I can definitely see the possibilities of using a machine like this. Perhaps combine the patterns with hand-knitting parts?

    If you are not part of the “facebook-for-knitters”-community ravelry I think you should get there and start a group and spread the word!

    http://www.ravelry.com

    Perhaps one day there will be four types of patterns there; knitting, crocheting, weaving and openknit’s!

    Knit long and prosper!

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      Thanks Susanne!
      I’ll check out this community you mention.
      You can definitely combine the patterns with hand knitting parts, by now is how it works, hopefully soon the process will be getting more and more automated.
      happy knitting!
      gerard

      Reply
  8. Luke C. Ruppersburg, Jr.

    I’ve attempted to open the “openKnit_0.1.skp” with both SketchUp Viewer and SketchUp Make on Windows, and both return the error “This does not appear to be a SketchUp model!”

    I’m a member of a new hackerspace in Georgia, and I’m very interested in building this and being involved in development and expansion of its capabilities. I would greatly appreciate any information you could provide on this machine, and if you would check on the SketchUp model and perhaps inform me of the version it was created in. Storing it in a more universal format would also be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Luke, I just download and opened the file correctly, some more people has opened without any problems. I created the file with SketchUp 8.
      what would be a more universal format?
      thank you!
      g

      Reply
      1. Luke C. Ruppersburg, Jr.

        Making it available in .dwg would be good, if possible. It’s not quite universal, but it’s supported by a number of programs. I and some other people at the space I am a part of are likely to be using BRL-CAD.

        Reply
        1. openknit Post author

          thanks for the recommendations Luke, I’ll try my best.
          actually there’s a guy that is redrawing the whole machine in SolidWorks, maybe it will be easier to export it from there to a more common format.
          subscribe if you want to be updated when this new version is ready.
          regards,
          gerard

          Reply
  9. Lucy

    Great project!
    I’m Part of a FabLab and would love to bring into the group to add some diversification – this is something that can bring in fashion experts to partner with our engineers.
    Love to support with a donation.

    Also have a project I would like to message you privately about.
    Where are you based?

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Lucy!
      as you mention, the project offer a great opportunity to put together fashion experts (mostly woman) with engineers (mostly man), an interesting transfer of knowledge and synergies can take place, breaking gender roles…
      well, you have a private message.
      thanks!
      gerard

      Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hello Mike, thanks for your interest. first of all you need to know that the project is in development and it still requires a lot tweaking
      the following step would be getting all the components, here’s the list https://github.com/g3rard/OpenKnit/blob/master/bill_of_materials.csv
      I’m working on a detailed assembly manual and I’ll publish it soon to make the building process easier.
      Subscribe to the newsletter to stay updated.
      thanks!
      gerard

      Reply
  10. Tomi Tsukada

    Amazing!
    I have a lot of interest about you OpenKnit!
    And i want to examine the documentation of Software and Machine.

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      thanks Tomi! feel free to inspect my GitHub for documentation.
      I’m working on increasing the documentation, with a more detailed assembly manual, the .STL files, the Arduino shield, etc.
      please let me know if there’s something else I can do for you.
      subscribe to the newsletter to stay updated.
      kind regards,
      gerard

      Reply
      1. Tomi Tsukada

        Good thanks Gerard,
        How can I buy this machine and a soft wear?
        I have a contact from Japan.
        Please more information!

        Tomi

        Reply
        1. openknit Post author

          Hi Tomi,
          This machine is not for sell, at least by now.
          I opened this technology so anybody can build it’s own tool and produce their own clothes, that also means that anybody can do anything with it, even you could start selling it, but first, it requires a lot of development.
          I’d be happy to assist you with the building process if you like.
          Here you can find what you need to start https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AksQtR2D8xK8dGs0REx0S1FhaWQ3YnhNU3BkTUpWOVE&usp=drive_web#gid=0
          Best,
          gerard

          Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Terry, thank you!
      in this link you can find all the information required to build yourself one.
      let me know if you have any doubts.
      regards,
      gerard

      Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      haha, sounds like a lot of fun Brian! :)
      but unfortunately this technology isn’t mature yet, maybe in a few months from now it would be possible.
      thanks for the proposal!
      best,
      gerard

      Reply
  11. Tharmoc

    Gerard, les gars, vous assurez un max’ ! Merci !!! ;D

    En plus on s’est bien fendu la gueule avec vos vidéos. Bref, une autre excellente raison de tomber amoureux de Barcelone :D.

    Good luck to care your documentation (really really important!). We’d love to see your .stl files. Someday it’d a pleasure to share our “tricots” ;D.

    Cheers,
    Tharmoc

    PS : You can come at Clermont-Ferrand whenever you want.

    Reply
  12. anna shapiro

    Hi Gerald, I’m a professional machine knitter. I’ve had my own business making knits for the last 14 years using manually knitting looms. i’m very intrigued by your project and would love to build my own machine. I would also be happy to test out any features/functions and provide feedback. Machine knitting is second nature to me.

    Many Thanks,
    Anna

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      Anna great news you want to join the project! :)
      I’m working on improving a bit the documentation to make it easier; new assembly manual, .STL files and some improved parts.
      subscribe to the newsletter if you want to be updated when all this is published.
      kind regards,
      gerard

      Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi, there’s not an *.h or *.cpp file yet.
      I’m working on testing every task and improving Processing-Arduino communication and hopefully there will be a proper code soon.
      kind regards,
      gerard

      Reply
  13. Malcolm

    This is brilliant. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while (I regularly knit and crochet and like playing with electronics).

    Do you know when the design files would be available? I’m fortunate to work in a school with a laser-cutter (although the bed may not be big enough) and some 3D printers. Would be a wonderful thing to have/use and get some of our textiles students to design for (as well as doing some myself).

    In the event you need any testers in the meantime (I’m happy to experiment and get things wrong) please do let me know.

    And, seriously, well done again. I love it.

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      thank you Malcom :)
      you can cut the needle bed in more sections easily to fit your laser cutter bed.
      soon there will be more documentation, subscribe to the newsletter if you want to be updated when it’s ready.
      kind regards,
      gerard

      Reply
      1. Malcolm

        Hi Gerard.

        Thanks for your reply. I subscribed to the newsletter yesterday + have signed up to DoKnitYourself.

        Looking forward to being able to hopefully contribute to the design of the machine and the patterns

        Reply
  14. Juli

    I am very excited about this project and want to build one of my own. I currently have a simple manual knitting machine that I have learned a lot on and I’ve been wanting to mess with 3D printing and Arduinos, so this is perfect! I am in the US and some of the parts are hard to find. I’m putting together a BOM with parts available locally in the US or through websites that have cheaper shipping (not from Europe) I can share if anyone else is interested.

    YEAH!
    -Juli

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      awesome Juli! :)
      it would be great to have a US BOM, it would definitely be helpful. let me know if you need some help.
      regards, gerard.

      Reply
    2. John

      Hi Juli.

      I’m really excited about this and want to build a knitting machine too. May I have a copy of your US BOM? Do you know if drawings and specs have been posted yet?

      Thanks.

      John

      Reply
  15. Benay

    This is amazing. Thank you!
    I’m offering a course called “Hacking: Materials and Production Methods” at Istanbul Bilgi University, faculty of architecture (website: http://materialsandmethods.wix.com/hacking) to undergrad students as an elective. As our second project, my plan was to hack a knitting machine but then I came across your project. So with my 15 students, we would like to be involved in the OpenKnit project and try to build our own knitting machine. We might be asking you questions if it’s not a problem :)
    Another project called glitchKnit (http://glitchknit.jp/) popped up while I was making online research. They hacked a knitting machine to work with Knitic, the same software you use with OpenKnit, to produce very interesting outcomes. I wonder wheter OpenKnit is also capable in its actual state to produce similar results. If not, we will be working on this if we ever get to build our own machine.
    One again thank you and I hope I’ll be writing soon once we start the project.
    Best,
    Benay

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      sounds great Benay! you’re more than welcome. sure, don’t hesitate to ask if you any questions.
      Knitic and Glitch Knit are two different, but very similar, projects that are able to create bicolour patterns, a feature that OpenKnit doesn’t have. once the overall reliability of the machine improves (many headaches right know) I’d love to work on that capability, but by now Knitic and Glitch are great projects for creating patterns from digital files.
      keep in touch!
      g

      Reply
  16. Demi

    We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your website offered us with useful info to work on.
    You have performed a formidable job and our entire group shall be thankful to you.

    Reply
  17. Sara

    This is really exciting! I knit for a hobby but have experience with physics, basic electronics, lab science, CAD/CAM machines, some programming, and I’m very good at building and fixing things!
    I can’t wait until you have instructions and materials list. Thanks for doing this! I have been waiting a while to marry my two favorite things, knitting and science, but didn’t feel ready to do it on my own.
    –Sara

    Reply
  18. Suzie

    Hi,
    I just wanted to tell you how much I support your idea. I think it’s great that there are still people trying to share ideas with people for free. Also, the fact that you are open to work on developing the project with anyone is purely priceless. I hope that after my baccalaureate i will find enough time and construct a mashine on my own. Firstly, because how damn cool it sound “yeah, I didn’t by it, I CONSTRUCTED A FRICKIN MASHINE AND PROGRAMMED THIS SHIRT”. Secondly, I have this mind that just loves to mingle with everything. Whenever I borrow some codes for my tumblr site, I experiment with them and change some patterns. Before I give my laptop to repair – i try my own forces (SOLVED ALL THE ISSUES SO FAR BY MYSELF, BOOYA). So you see, I just can’t wait to immerse myself in your work.
    I shall be happy if I ever manage to help in anyway.
    Hope to hear from you in June.
    Suzie

    Reply
  19. Luke

    I’m quite interested in this project, but im looking for a little more information about the build process and the BoM. mostly, i cant quite understand the two items being the methacrylate and laser cut. Is that the combined printing process? Or am I missing a part of the process

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Luke! thanks for the interest. I’m talking about two different things, the price of the methacrylate sheet and the price to laser cut the sheet. please let me know if you have more questions :)
      kind regards,
      gerard

      Reply
  20. Ora

    Hi, Gerard, I come from Asia, I would like to know where can I get all the materials which I need, as It seems that all the providers on the bill of materials are difficult for me to get.Could you help me?
    Yours Ora

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Ora, I can’t help you with that unfortunately, you have to look for local providers, usually medium/big hardware stores have all the rails, nuts and bolts you need, finding the electronics in Asia is easy. let me know if there’s something specially hard to find.
      all the best, gerard.

      Reply
  21. Jesse

    Hey, I’m Jesse, the founder of CreateThis.com. I’m super excited about this new technology. I’ve been dreaming about it since the day I saw my first 3d printer, but I didn’t expect to see it so soon.

    Are the parts designed in OpenSCAD? How can I help?

    Reply
    1. openknit Post author

      hi Jesse, thanks for your interest! the parts are not in OpenSCAD, I’m working now on redesigning some parts and as soon as I have all of them ready I’ll publish all the .STL files. If you could translate them to OpenSCAD would be amazing :)
      let me know, thanks!
      gerard

      Reply
  22. Alessandro

    Hi Gerard
    Help
    I want to create the machine, excuse ignorance.
    The first doubt is relaizzare the base of the needles.
    The aluminum strip as it should be cut to insert needle?
    I measure the distance from the drawing file skp?

    Reply
    1. Gerard Post author

      hi Alessandro! great you want to build a machine :) No worries, I guess the project is still a bit cryptic. I’ve been quite busy during the last months but lately I’ve started to work in a new iteration which I’ll release at the mid-end July, I’ll include a more detailed assembly manual which will make the assembly process much easier, sorry for the delay! best regards, gerard.

      Reply
  23. ALESSANDRO

    Hi Gerard
    Because of the crisis of work, I want to open a laboratory of graphic design and printing of 3D models and designers.
    My wife has a lot of experience in the textile industry, the machine OpenKnit in the laboratory would be really great.
    I await your next publication.
    current documents will be a starting point for theoretical
    many thanks

    Reply
  24. Deb

    Greeting folks,
    Wow, Really – .STL files?
    the 3D model of the machine, .stl files for printing [soon], bill of materials (parts/provider/price) [soon], an assembly manual [soon], circuit diagram [soon].

    …so how soon is “soon”…!?
    Cheers,
    Deb

    Reply
    1. Gerard Post author

      hi Deb! “soon” is definitely before august :) Since I’ve been busy with some other stuff and this project is in beta, I’m constantly changing parts and I’m still not very happy with the results to publish the next iteration, although, I’m getting closer so in a month I’ll publish all that it’s in italic, sorry for any inconveniences! best, gerard

      Reply
  25. Cindy

    Very interested!

    I love hand-knitting. I also love technology (although not very good at electronics–I’m a software person). I bought a used, punchcard flat bed knitting machine today for a very good price, but I can’t help but to keep thinking if I can have something computer-controlled and open source. Then I found OpenKnit and Knitic. :) I ordered 3D printer from Kickstarter, so once it arrives, I can start assembling my own open source knitting machine!

    Reply

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