In a lot of ways hand-knitting can be seen as the original form of 3D printing: strands of material are fed through knitting needles that fashion the material into an object according to a pre-determined design. So it makes perfect sense that artist and designer Gerard Rubio, with some help from Knitic creators Mar Canet and Varvara Guljajeva, made this incredible open source, arduino-controlled, knitting machine called OpenKnit.
OpenKnit is an open-source, low cost (under 550€), digital fabrication tool that affords the user the opportunity to create his own bespoke clothing from digital files. Starting from the raw material, the yarn, and straight to its end use, a sweater for example, in about an hour. Designing and producing clothes digitally and wearing them can now happen in the very same place, rewarding the user with the ability to make decisions regarding creativity and responsibility.
You can see a detailed explanation of how the knitting machine works in this video by Sergi Rubio and Estel Roman.
Of course, machines like this have existed for a while, but they have never been so affordable or accessible to anyone who wants to use them. If you are a knitting or a 3D printing enthusiast, OpenKnit could be an opportunity for you to get involved with the local digital fabrication of knitted garments.
OpenKnit is an ongoing project that waits to evolve organically with/for the community. There’s a long and exciting way full of possibilities to be developed, I can think about many of them, but happily some are still unknown.