What is Kniterate?
Kniterate is bringing an affordable and compact version of industrial knitting machines to your workshop. It automatically turns your digital designs into knitted garments.
We’ve made the process of designing and making knitwear very easy. Start creating scarves, beanies, ties, ready to be worn and assembling your own dresses, sweaters or even shoes.
Create a design and Kniterate will knit it for you. Our process makes it easy for you to scale from one-offs to production quantities. Read the section How Kniterate works for details.
Personalized knitwear for everyone
We love knitwear. It’s light and breathable, adapts to your body and unlike cut-and-sew, there is almost no waste, because the product is knitted to shape.
We have developed Kniterate because we want everyone to be able to explore knitting’s potential. Until now the only similar tools available were industrial knitting machines, which cost upwards of $50,000, take a lot of space and require a technician to run.
With Kniterate you can make personalized professional knitwear at the click of a button, and repeat and share your favorite designs over and over again.
Knitting is addi(c)tive manufacturing
Domestic knitting machines from the 80s work with punch cards and tasks like casting on, casting off, shaping, cable knitting, etc. can take hours of painstaking work -- and it only gets more complicated when you add colors.
Like an industrial knitting machine, Kniterate is computer-controlled. It can transfer stitches around and do these tasks automatically, freeing you up to do more creative work.
Kniterate bridges both worlds with an easy to use automatic digital knitting machine adapted to suit the budget of makers and designers and sized for any studio, makerspace or class.
Kniterate's in the news!
What will you make?
With a library of templates and up to six feeders (different colors and/or materials), you will be able to make amazing patterns, structures and shapes that would be hard to knit otherwise.
Professional quality knitwear
This is the perfect machine for small fashion businesses and design studios, makerspaces and schools.
Its applications go beyond knitwear, ranging from medical devices and aerospace components to technical apparel and sports equipment. Imagine having a tool to prototype the new generation of wearables!
- Rapid prototyping: small-scale runs without worrying about tech packs
- Test swatches
- Try new stitches
How Kniterate works
With Kniterate, you can create custom knitted products like scarves, beanies, shoe uppers, sweaters, dresses, and more. Just follow these three easy steps:
- Step 1: Create your design from scratch or using a template
- Step 2: Let Kniterate knit it for you, ready to be worn or assembled
- Step 3: Wear your own unique knits, gift or sell them to others
- Step 4: Share them online with the Kniterate community
The Kniterate software is currently under development and will ship free with the knitting machine. There will be a browser-based version and a standalone version (Mac and Windows compatible), the files will be loaded onto the machine via an SD card or USB.
An online library of templates will be integrated into the design app, so that you can design, edit and share your garments and accessories. The UI will let you:
- Design using standard templates from our collection or create them from scratch
- Add images and text
- Drag and drop from a wide variety of stitches
- Share your digital wardrobe with the world
- We will work with our community and research institutions to develop an API to build more applications for Kniterate
The design app in the video below is not fully functional yet. We show it as a way to demonstrate what we are working on.
The design app shown in the video below is functional but still a bit rough around the edges. (A little steam will smooth out the wavy edges of the scarf).
Capabilities that have been developed so far:
- Import images
- Write text
- Change fonts
- Pen tool for free drawing
- Change thickness of the pen tool
- Change color of the pen tool
- Change template size
- Change template color
- Layer organization
- Social profiles
- Create a new design starting with someone else's
- Make designs private
We'll keep this list updated with our progress. We are currently working on the algorithms for shaping garments. As soon as the design app is more robust we will make it public to our backers only, for review and feedback.
The design app generates a set of low-level instructions to run the the machine called K-code, that describe any set of operations it can undertake. The easy to use design app is able to output this K-code so you don’t have to worry about anything, it integrates seamlessly with Kniterate. Although, since it was designed to be readable and writable by a human, we are publishing its specifications here.
What people are saying
Our free software will allow designers, artists, illustrators and makers to grow our platform by sharing their work.
You will be able to explore templates from your favourite designers and Kniterate will knit them for you.
We can’t wait to start engaging with our community to build the best Kniterate experience.
Get together to fund a Kniterate
We wanted to make it easy for everyone to organize a way to reach more people and help them pledge for Kniterate. To do this we have created the Made in the Neighborhood program.
We have developed countless prototypes, and although the machine works perfectly and all the information we’ve given you is based on this model, we want to make a lighter and faster machine. That’s why we are giving ourselves four months to optimize it and test it before manufacturing.
To manufacture Kniterate we have partnered with an industrial knitting machine manufacturer that has over 30 years of experience.
The factory has thoroughly reviewed our design for manufacturing (DFM), Bill of Materials (BOM), as well as the production plan, giving us a quote and manufacturing times.
Our target shipping date is April 2018.
We will not charge your shipping during the campaign. Shipping prices vary by location and country. It’s simpler (and cheaper for you) to handle this separately and it allows you to spread the costs. It's also the most equitable way to treat each of our backers.
After the Kickstarter is over and we are ready to start shipping, you will receive an invitation to go to our website and enter your shipping information to pay the appropriate amount.
Gerard Rubio started this project four years ago and assembled a team which has worked tirelessly to bring you Kniterate.
At design school Gerard watched fashion students struggle with old knitting machines. Having worked building 3D printers years before, he had the idea for OpenKnit.
Gerard kept working on it and he made the project public in 2014 with the video below:
Gerard assembled a team and was selected for the HAX accelerator in Shenzhen, China to develop the machine. HAX is the first and largest hardware accelerator, and has one of the most selective programs in the world. Shenzhen is the electronics manufacturing capital of the world.
In January 2016, we moved there with 14 other HAX teams. We spent four incredible months working hard to develop a Kniterate prototype to take to Maker Faire Bay Area.
To make a machine that knits professional quality products and to deliver the rewards on time, we’ve partnered with a family-owned knitting machine manufacturer with 30 years of experience. We spent the summer of 2016 living in their factory.
By merging our team’s energy and creativity with the operational excellence of a Chinese industrial knitting machine manufacturer, we will be able to work with confidence in delivering the rewards of this campaign.
Gerard Rubio holds degrees in Film Direction and Media Design. He co-founded blablabLAB, an art collective. Two award-winning projects developed during that period, Be Your Own Souvenir and Haberlandt, took him to numerous conferences and exhibitions around the world. You may remember him from OpenKnit.
Triambak Saxena worked as a molecular biologist, with research published in the field of plant science. This was before he decided to study finance and practice the craft of the spreadsheet at Kniterate. He had previously collaborated with Gerard in blablabLAB.
Tom Catling has a background in 3D printing and scientific instrumentation. He met Gerard and Triambak whilst doing a PhD at UCL, and has also worked as a hardware designer with several other Kickstarter and open source projects.
Jinhee Park graduated from the Bunka Fashion College in Japan and is currently studying fashion knit in the London College of Fashion. As an intern in Kniterate she helped design much of the knitwear at Kniterate.
Héctor Anadón Héctor made his first 3D printer even before starting his degree in Aerospace Engineering. He hasn't stopped shipping new things since then.
Daniel Carmona has a background in Aerospace Engineering and 3D printing software. He is now a FullStack web developer.
We didn’t do this alone. We would like to thanks to all of you for making this possible:
- Video by Sidekick Creatives
- Industrial design by Mireia Gordi i Vila and Laurence Symonds
- Footwear by Dr. Matt Head
- Graphic design by Sergi Rubio Costa
- Website design by Kowng Li
- Voice over by Kristin Luke
- Product Photography by Vici Watkins
- Timothy Andrews at Knit Works London.
- Carolyn Clewer and Melissa Langlands at LCF.
Let’s make it happen!
We have spent many hours developing Kniterate and are now ready to move into production. To make this happen we need your support. A pledge of any amount, however small, will mean a lot to us:
We can’t wait to offer you the means to create and share your own customized knits. We know you are going to come up with ideas that we can’t even think of, and we are really excited about it!
We will be updating our FAQ here and in this spreadsheet.
Risks and challenges
We have a product we love, a trusted technological partner and a carefully designed plan, but like other Kickstarter campaigns, there will always be risks and challenges to overcome when manufacturing a new hardware product.
MANUFACTURING & SUPPLY CHAIN
Transitioning from prototype to mass production can prove difficult. Luckily the experience of our partner, a company that has been manufacturing and delivering industrial knitting machines for the last 30 years, is an invaluable asset. They have reviewed our prototype and given us a production schedule which will help us to deliver in time.
For the machine, and wherever possible, we’ve used components and materials that are widely available from different suppliers.
Kniterate’s software platform still needs development - we have experience, having built a simple version and the scripts to convert images into fully fashioned knitwear. The main challenges will be creating a great user experience that runs efficiently. The software development will begin after Kickstarter and will run in parallel with our manufacturing efforts.
After months of living in the factory, spending time working together with the engineering and management of the company, we’ve built a strong relationship of trust. We don’t foresee any changes but we have personally met with other manufacturers of industrial knitting machines who can also produce Kniterate machines.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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