The Wally120 OpenKnit Machine

Inspired by the work of Sabetta Matsumoto and Julianna Abel, we have been looking at programmable automatic knitting machines on the cheap. Several scientists research the creation of unique metamaterials by programming them with lattices of slip-knots, a process colloquially known as knitting.

A low-end industrial programmable knitting machine, from Shima Seiki costs between $90,000 to $150,000. Then there is Kniterate, a funded kickstarter start-up, with pre-orders for a programmable automatic knitting machine for $9000. The next set of orders is expected to ship in April 2020.

If you want to DIY yourself a programmable automatic knitting machine, Kniterate grew out of OpenKnit an open-source, $400, digital fabrication design. The main design is the Wally120, hosted on GitHub. The instructions involve STL files, and a bill of materials. If you to build it, you’ll need the the instructable tutorial, which has step-by-step pictures and a real walk-through

Finally, several open-source designs provide an alternative way to control non-automatic knitting machines, such as the AYAB project to digitally control the Brother KH-9xx range of knitting machines. These machines will require elbow-grease, but they are easier to get up and running.