For all the hubbub about 3D printers leading a way into a new era of manufacturing, a third industrial revolution, and the beginnings of Star Trek replicators, we really haven’t seen many open source advances in the production of textiles and clothing. You know, the stuff that started the industrial revolution. [Gerard Rubio] is bucking that trend with OpenKnit, an open-source knitting machine that’s able to knit anything from a hat to a sweater using open source hardware and software.
We’ve seen a few builds involving knitting machines, but with few exceptions they’re modifications of extremely vintage Brother machines hacked for automation. OpenKnit is built from the ground up from aluminum extrusion, 3D printed parts, a single servo and stepper motor, and a ton of knitting needles.
The software is based on Knitic, an Arduino-based brain for the old Brother machines. This, combined with an automatic shuttle, allows OpenKnit to knit the sweater seen in the pic above in about an hour.
Since OpenKnit is inspired by the RepRap project, all the files, software, and assembly instructions will be up on Github shortly. there’s also a video available below, and a Flickr gallery right here.