Monday, February 24, 2014

OpenKnit: 3D Printing Knitted Clothing

As reported on boingboing, OpenKnit is a new open-source knitting machine that can "3D print" knitted clothing that has been designed in a computer program and saved in a digital file.

Inspired by the open-source 3D printer Reprap, OpenKnit is entirely open source, costs less than $500, and can knit a complete garment in under an hour. Here are some examples of garments knitted by OpenKnit:

With its focus on open-source and personal fabrication, OpenKnit very much fits within the spirit of the Maker Movement. It shows how the open sourced computerization of textile creation can take the power out of the hands of huge clothing corporations and their mass-production models, and give it back to consumers, who can be free to circumvent traditional forms of clothing acquisition, customize their garments to make them unique rather than mass-produced, and have a sense of agency over the creation of their clothes without having to take the time to knit them the traditional way.

Openknit also brings the history of computation full circle: the first "computer programs" were punched cards that told Jacquard looms what patterns to weave. Computation and textiles have been more intimately connected to each other throughout history than most people think.

Openknit: Challenging the corporate hegemony over the clothing industry, one 3D-printed beanie at a time.