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Search Results : knitting machine

Nov 222011

We’ve had a few knitting machines rattling around the space over the years, but when fellow gadget lover Josh dropped off the lace carriage for our Toyota K747 knitting machine, I figured it was time to take it past basic stockinette stitch and explore the machine’s punch card mechanism.

Like most decades-old machines, a layer of dried oily gunk coated many of the moving parts. There are also a few broken/missing pieces. I’m in the process of cleaning / fixing the machine, and trying my best to document it as I go along. I got a hold of the K747 Service Manual, and started diving in. It’s oiled up now, and the next steps are to repair the broken needle selector and write up a program to generate punch cards for the laser.


 The picture above shows the offending broken lever. These 12 little blue levers tell the machine which needles to push out for the patterning, but lever #3 is broken so it never engages. Getting in to replace it is a bit daunting, in fact just getting to that lever in the first place was a bit of an event, I’m going to attempt to fix it with Sugru first. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll be makerbotting a replacement and praying I can get it all back together after dismantling it.

Since the machine is loud and takes up space I generally only work on it during the day when there’s more room, but if there’s sufficient interest I’d be happy to demo it at an upcoming craft night.

You can see more shots of the inside of the machine over on my blog: Knitting Machine Teardown Part 1 and Part 2.

Apr 172008

Yesterday, the awesome Kelly Farrell took some time to demo the knitting machine that Bre’s got at the NYCResistor space. The machine looks incredibly confusing when you first open it up, but Kelly makes it look easy. She even fixes a problem on the fly in this video.

Want to see the knitting machine in action? Maybe if we ask really nicely Kelly will break it out again for a demo at our public “Microcontroller Study Group” meeting next Wednesday!

In this video: Kelly Farrell, Eric Skiff (behind the camera / CC-BY music), Raphael Abrams (“this machine is my grandma!”), George Shammas, and Bre‘s knitting machine.

Nov 282012

Knitting has always been one of those activities that I’ve coveted. Fluffy sweaters, intricate scarves, little baby kimonos (oh wait, that was one of my failed projects…). And as if the results were not cool enough, I also just loved the idea of the community around it. Unfortunately, although I’ve always loved the IDEA of knitting, I… well, I really really suck at it. Then I found out about knitting machines.

I’m not sure how but somehow I’d stumbled upon a knitting machine hack by Becky Stern and the idea of hacking an electronic knitting device to do my bidding was way too enticing. It turns out that I’m a bit late to the party. Since the hack was published, those particular knitting machines had shot up in price. I mentioned it and it was hudson who’d first spotted something labeled TOYOTA hanging out at Resistor. It turned out that it’s one of Kelbot’s machines. She graciously loaned it to us for an evening to play with and play we did. The photo below shows our (ahem, my) first mistake. Since I didn’t know to add weights to the first row of the item, it quickly went south.

But not to worry! What’s a little hacking without some help from friends? Others quickly swapped in to help untangle the mess. There were 4 of us consistently poking and prodding at the machine, another that was shooed away, and in our moments of wonderment, we even started a google hangout with Kelbot for advice. (confession: not sure if any of us really wanted to RTFM but it turns out that the manual isn’t too shabby). Anyway, at any given point when one of us would grow bored/annoyed/whatever with the machine, someone else would step in to poke at it a bit more. We finally got it to work and managed to knit 512 lines of a gorgeous… umm… scarf? I then “hand embroidered” Adam’s name on it. Our awesome output is shown here.

It was a super fun night amongst friends so it turns out I got the best of both worlds, my first (perhaps not my last?) stab at a knitting machine and a community to dork around with. Additional photos can also be found here. And lastly, Kelbot did a great teardown of this beauty here for those who are interested in the innards of this workhorse.

 Posted by at 12:43 am