CMU School of Drama

Monday, April 03, 2017

Print out a sweater with Kniterate, a 3D printer for knitting

The Verge: 3D printing is great if you need to create something made of plastic or even metal or ceramic out of thin air. But what if you want something fuzzier and warmer? Something, like say, a hand-knit scarf or sweater?

5 comments:

Lauren Miller said...

This seems like a great way for textile artists to experiment quickly with incredibly complex patterns and designs. I imagine this might (being a kick-starter product, there is the very real risk that it will never be a thing) be a hot commodity in a CFA studio. However, I don't image we will be seeing these gracing the corner of a standard costume shop anytime soon. $5,ooo is a hefty price to get the exact knit pattern that you want and, with the current process of costume design and fabrication, I doubt any shop will be worse off for lack of this "printer". As far as the individual consumer goes, this machine basically negates the purpose of hobby knitting. Part of the attraction of this craft, at least in my experience, is the long time and methodical nature of knitting. It currently exists as a method of relaxing and, as a result, gaining a handmade product that you can be proud of. Why would I pay for a machine that takes away my hobby?

Delaney Johnson said...

I think this device is very neat and useful, however I wonder if there is any real desire for this type of product on the market. Larger knitting producers for mass market have much larger and more efficient machines for the same task. Costume shops and art studios may use such a product, but the extra training and the expense (both monetary and space) of having this machine in a studio seems to not be worth it. I could see this product used by home sewers and hobbyists, but a hefty price tag makes this type of niche market almost impossible to hit. That being said, I do think the instant knitting machine is a neat concept as far as 3D printing clothing. I can also think of uses for this product as a way to mass produce cheaper clothing quickly This could possibly even be seen in a community service light as homeless shelters among other organizations are in constant need of cheap, fast clothing to help those in need.

Julian Goldman said...

Even though this technology is too expensive for the average consumer right now, I think it shows an interesting potential future of clothing. For now, the garments are only knitted, but presumably eventually machines like this will be able to functionally 3D print any type of garment. This would completely change how people acquire clothing, and also make it much easier to find things that fit since you would just print it in your size (or rather in your proportions, since clothes sizes wouldn’t exist anymore). For now though, this doesn’t seem particularly practical, unless you happen to want to wear a lot of knit clothing but don’t like to knit. It seems like the target market for this particular product would be pretty small since I know that most of my friends who make knit clothing (mostly hats) do it because they enjoy the process of knitting, not because they need a custom hat.

Katherine Sharpless said...

Wow, this machine seems so cool! It does pose a lot of questions and possibilities. The price of Kniterate is clearly too expensive now for the average consumer, but say this technology becomes widespread and cheap in 100 years. How many people will be left knitting by hand? The machine can get crazier with patterns and exact measurements. It's thrilling to think clothing could (conceivably and ideally) become individualized again- especially seeing how harmful ill-fit and poor quality "fast fashion" is for the environment. That being said, knitting is more than a mindless activity. A lot of people find joy and relaxation in sitting down with a pile of yarn, say during a semester crit, to make something for a loved one. With knits in particular, the consumer isn't looking for a perfectly proportioned sweater but rather something cozy and heart warming. So maybe Kniterate isn't going to be the hottest appliance of 2050, but I'm looking forward to how creatives are going to and have used several types of 3D printing.

Kelly Simons said...

So, I knit. Or I did, until my wrist got too painful. And I can easily admit that knitting anything is an arduous task. Even a simple scarf can take several hours. I know I’m not a fast knitter, but I think even the fastest knitter takes a chunk of time to hand knit something. And that what makes the scarf or blanket or pair of mittens so special, it’s hand made. Made with effort and love looped into every stitch. I’m not opposed to machined garments, and we already have weavers for that purpose. Making a 3D knitter seems…useless? It seems like we already have the technology to machine make knitted goods. Honestly, looking through the pictures and description of the product it seems like they made a desk-top weaver. If you want to knit at home, and don’t want to by a professional machine knitter then…learn to knit. This product is dumb and I hate it.

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