Giving a CNC knitting machine a new brain

knitting

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.

21 thoughts on “Giving a CNC knitting machine a new brain

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

    1. Your comment is as bad as it is dumb. It is also dumb… and bad.
      If scrapping the original chipset and interface of a piece of hardware to automate with a modern console isn’t hacking, then what is?

      Here’s my impression of you: “IF IT ISN’T A VIDEO OF A NECKBEARDED LINUX ADMIN WAVING A CAMERA AT AN OBSCURE CHIP DOING COMPLICATED MATH THINGS IT’S NOT HACKING AND I’M GOING TO SPRAY ANGRY FROTH ALL OVER MY LINUS TORVALDS ROMANTIC COMPANIONSHIP PILLOW!!!!”

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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…

      1. At the diameters commonly used for 3D printing (0,5mm), the nylon is not as flexible as it needs to be for fabric. You would need to extrude a series of strands no thicker than a hair, and it likely would be tough to print.

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