Giving a CNC knitting machine a new brain


We’re all about big machines that build things for us – laser cutters, CNC mills, and 3D printers are the machines de rigueur for Hackaday.  Too often we overlook the softer sides of fabrication that include textiles and knitting. [varvara] and [mar] are doing their best to bring us the softer side of things with their modification of a Brother knitting machine. They call their build Knitic, and it’s a great way to knit with computer control.

Instead of previous Brother knitting machine hacks we’ve seen, Knitic doesn’t bother with emulating the keypad or controlling the microprocessor already there; this build dispenses with the Brother brain and controls the solenoids and switches of the knitting machine directly with the help of an Arduino and a home-etched shield.

It’s not quite an automated knitting machine – someone still has to run the shuttle across the machine – but the patterns are controlled via a Processing app available on the Knitic github. You can check out [Varvara]‘s demo of Kinitic after the break.


  1. Xtremegamer says:

    then i wonder , could this be done analog with some large punch roll where the pins accordingly slide to form the same image.

  2. Jon says:


  3. pod says:

  4. In the name of... says:

    Knitting is NOT HACKING! $*@$*@**@*@$%*!@!!!! Leave CRAFTING on the G.D.crafting boards!

  5. Brian says:

    This is quite impressive. But I do not understand that when you have come this far, why not put a motor on the shuttle and make the machine fully automatic.

    • gaffertape says:


    • Ian says:

      Motorized shuttles were available. My mom had one she used on her Brother knitting machine. Left it kachunking away for hours & made blankets, etc… Pretty slow though. Couple needles per second or so. Each pass took like a minute.

      • Sam says:

        another problem with the motorized shuttles is that they are not as forgiving and aware as human operators – when they encounter resistance they just charge on through, possibly damaging needles. Humans will at least check to see if there’s a snag or not. Industrial machines are robust enough to be fully motorized but motor carriages tend to shorten the lives of multi-functional domestic machines like these.

  6. Tony says:

    I just want to know how they did all that without the use of their hands or eyes. Not to mention walking down the street…

  7. Fahraynk says:

    if we could make some kind of 3d printing fabric machine with like cotton… that could also change the world. Id never have to go shopping again if I could make the clothes at my house the exact size I like ! or just download an image off of the computer and make a tshirt from scratch cotton/ink…

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