3D Knitting of textile and garments garners immense interest from 3D printing enthusiasts. Therefore, it’s no wonder that various companies are finding ways to capitalise on said interest. Among them is Kniterate, a promising new kickstarter with the potential to shake-up the industry.
Like most other knitting devices the Kniterate run on multiple rolls of yarn. It needs up to 6 rolls at a time (4 colours, 1 waste yarn and 1 draw thread). This allows it to do 4 colour prints. The machine is capable of printing sweaters within an impressive 8 hour time span.
The device processes the 3D models on a variation of G-code called “K-code”. K-code is specifically designed for the knitting of garments. The machine’s use of yarn differs from traditional 3D printing process in certain ways. For example, it initially prints a waste yarn and attempts a pre-print of sorts before continuing on to the actual object. This waste can just be pulled off and separated from the finished product. Another difference is that there is a draw thread yarn as well. This would be like a 3D printer having additional rolls of filament that are not actually part of the end product.
The company is aiming the Kniterate as an affordable, compact 3D knitting device. Compared to other 3D knitting machines it is among the lightest. It is also relatively very cheap (even cheaper for pre-ordering early bird customers). The retail price is $7,499, however, early bird customers can buy it for $4,699.
The company is aiming to ship the first batch in April (if all goes according to plan).
The Kniterate Specs
Specs retrieved from Kniterate:
|Number of Gauges||7|
|Number of Needles||204 (per needle bed)|
|Knitting Width||Variable Stroke (max 29inches)|
|Knitting Speed||Max 0.3 mm/sec (Speed is adjustable)|
|Racking||Motor-driven, max 4 pitch racking to each side|
|Knitting System||Single System with Transfer cams on both sides|
|Needle Selection||Individually Controlled Needles|
|Transfer||Back to Front During Left to Right Motion and vice versa|
|High Takedown Roller||Electronically Adjustable Rotation in Both Direction|
|Tension Devices||6 Top Tensioners and 6 Side Tensioners (all with adjustable feeding tension)|
|Stop Motion||Yarn Break, Large Knot, Door Aperture|
|Drive System||Belt Drive (No Lubrication Necessary)|
|Safety Devices||Full Safety Cover, Emergency Power Off, Ultra-Low Speed Setting, Dust-proofing|
|Operation LED Light||White Colour, Adjustable Brightness|
|Data Input||USB or SD Card|
|Control System||Stored Program for Flat-Knitting Machine|
|Control Display||Monochrome LCD Panel|
|Size||49 x 25 x 24 inches (125 x 64 x 60 cm)|
|Weight||287 lbs (130 kg)|
|Power||1000 W, 110-120 V and 210-220 V|
|Shipping size||67 x 28 x 28 inches (170 x 70 x 70 cm)|
|Shipping weight||350 lbs (160 kg)|