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?
Enter Kniterate, a “digital knitting machine,” that makes it easy to take digital designs and automatically knit them into wearable fabrics at the push of a button. Simpler designs like scarves and ties can be knitted wholly by the Kniterate, while more complex pieces like dresses or sweaters will require a bit of assembly after the machine has done its work. The company is also developing an app to make it easy to design new patterns, add images and text, and customize the type of stitches used.
According to the Kickstarter page, Kniterate hopes to bridge the gap between traditional home knitting machines (apparently a thing that’s been around since the ‘80s — who knew?), which are cheaper but complicated and tricky to use, and more expensive industrial machines. That said, a single Kniterate costs $4,699 on Kickstarter, with only 125 units being offering through crowdfunding. And if you miss that, you’ll be stuck paying $7,499 at retail, which certainly stretches the price point for “consumer” a bit.
Obviously, given the price and the fact that Kniterate is an extremely complex piece of hardware and software from a first time company, it’s worth doing your own research before putting up the cash. The first Kniterate units are expected to ship in April 2018.