Remember Openknit? The open source knitting machine made from 3D printed parts? Creator Gerard Rubio is back with the next generation of making DIY clothes easy and more accessible.
Rubio’s new startup is Kniterate, which is communicated as ‘the platform for 3D printing garments’. Similar to Openknit, the idea is to make it easier and more efficient for you to create custom clothing and accessories. All you need is A) the design software and B) the knitting machine. Kniterate brings these together, but unlike ever before.
So how is Kniterate different from OpenKnit (or others)? Where OpenKnit was a large, custom built device used to fabricate garments through the Knitic open-source knit software, Kniterate is an entire platform that includes its own proprietary web-based design software and an all new (yet to be released) knitting machine. When compared together, it’s quite a contrast, but easy to see how one led to the other, and they’ve learned some things along the way which in turn led to a better machine and improved fabrication.
“We have been able to build our machine thanks to a partner that manufactures this type of technology for industrial purposes,” Gerard tells us. “Most of the manufactured parts require a lot of accuracy and strength to make a reliable and durable machine. To achieve that, machining, cutting/bending metal, and casting parts is involved – operations that require mass manufacturing to have a reasonable cost. So, we think making it open source would not allow regular people to replicate our machine, only companies with a nice budget and a proper infrastructure.”
Kniterate aims to simplify the business of making clothes. The steps to start creating are easy: digitally design clothes through their online software, choosing from templates for different garments. From there, you pick a pattern, size, details, and even text you want on the garment before sending it to Kniterate’s knitting machine. That part isn’t available just yet, as the team is working on fine-tuning the design and mechanics along with talking to various manufacturers for future manufacturing partnerships.
“Together, we are focusing all our efforts on Kniterate and very excited to have done this for a few years already. We have plenty of ideas for future Kniterate machines, so there will be more for sure,” explains Gerard. “I’m personally very interested in the democratization of manufacturing technology and I’d like to see this new tool expand across many more fields.”
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