The makers movement has come to prominence in the past few years as new technologies such as 3D printing and DIY computers have given consumers better tools to create and produce their own designs and gadgets. Even the fashion industry has received a boost from such innovation, and we’ve already seen sneakers made with a 3D printer. Now the OpenKnit project has created a device that’s able to automatically create custom clothes from a digital file.
The machine looks much like a traditional loom, except that it’s hooked up to a robot and computer. Users can either download or create their own design files for printing a garment. After uploading the file to the machine and loading the thread, a carriage moves from side to side to weave the item together using similar technology to a sewing machine. A sensor on the top keeps track of the needles and the position of the carriage to ensure the threads don’t get tangled. Using the system, a sweatshirt can be produced on the fly in roughly 1 hour. The OpenKnit machine is an open source design, and it costs under EUR 550 to build.
Watch the following video to see OpenKnit in action:
Since personalization is a key facet of fashion design, it’s easy to see how the possibility of consumers printing their own styles is an enticing one. Are there other machines that could bring complex manufacturing capabilities into the home?