This awesome OpenKnit machine can weave a jumper from a digital pattern in about an hour — that's cool. I mean, look at it go! Even cooler is that you can actually construct this awesome OpenKnit machine yourself. Welcome to a brave new world of textile design.
GitHub's got the plans to put the whole thing together, along with individual pricing for each component part. As of now, it ain't exactly cheap; all told, the pieces add up to about $US700.
Seeing as how you can nab a standard set of needles for under a tenner, this baby seems ideally geared towards an interesting, if somewhat niche, market of small-batch designers and businesses keen to cut out the remote middle man actually making their wares. Which, in a way, makes perfect sense.
This fun little animation shows how it works:
The device is actually just one element of a three-part system designed to shift — on a very small scale — the context of production processes in a market that's been increasingly beset by factory collapses and unsafe worker conditions. Each item is unique; dimensions are loaded into Knitic (by the same folks who brought you the brain-wave scarves), you click a button and watch the magic happen. Seriously though — it does look like magic!
It's like a massive pasta maker for jumper and beanies. Seeing the garments come out fully-formed is incredible.
The final element is an online hub to share the goods.
There are a few "coming soon" bits on the How-To page, and the video clips only went up a couple days ago, so it's no doubt still developing — but the idea is great.
As an avowed lover of all things knit, it's really crazy to think that someday this concept would be refined to the point where it could go mainstream like 3D printing. For now, I'll keep my crochet hook ready, but I'll be keeping my eye on this for sure. [Prosthetic Knowledge]