The DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers like RepRap for some time now. However, as TechnaBob’s Lambert Varias notes, the 3D printing industry is primarily focused on producing plastic or metal objects.
A small team of Makers led by Gerard Rubio hopes to shake up the status quo with the Arduino Leonardo-powered (ATmega32u4) OpenKnit, an open source printer that automatically knits thread to create clothing based on digital templates.
The prototype platform – which costs approximately $750 to build – is currently capable of controlling three needles simultaneously.
On the software side, Mar Canet and Varvara Guljajeva have coded a companion program dubbed Knitic that can be used to design clothes. The duo reportedly used their experience from hacking old electronic knitting machines to create a user-friendly program for OpenKnit. Rubio’s team has also put together “Do-Knit-Yourself,” which can probably best be described as a virtual wardrobe (think Thingiverse) where individuals and companies can share their designs.
“Obviously, all three parts of the OpenKnit project are still in their infancy,” writes Varias. “But I hope the project takes off and democratizes fashion, because [the fashion] industry badly needs a wake up call.”