A DIY Circular Knitting Machine for All Your Darn Needs
Mr Innovative designed this DIY circular knitting machine that is perfect for socks, scarves, and more.
It is not at all an overstatement to say that knitting machines changed the world. Prior to the industrial revolution and the invention of motorized knitting machines, people had to knit textiles by hand or with manually operated machines. That was a very slow process, which meant that most people had very few garments — they were simply too expensive to buy and too time-consuming to make in large numbers. When knitting machines came along, textiles dropped in price dramatically. Now you can experience that revolution for yourself with Mr Innovative's DIY circular knitting machine.
This is a circular knitting machine, meaning that it knits the textile in a tubular form instead of a sheet. That is ideal for socks — yes, I know that "darning" refers to repairing the textile and not the creation of socks, but I couldn't pass up the pun. This is also suitable for sleeves, scarfs, and more. Mr Innovative's machine design knits tubes of a diameter set by its physical dimensions, but the operating principles will carry over if you want to tweak the design for different diameters.
This machine works by pulling yarn or thread around with a guide in a circle. As it moves around the perimeter, hooks grab the yarn and pull it down, looping it through itself. The vertical actuation of the hooks is physically timed by the gears so that they always move down just after the guide passes by, then they move back up before the guide comes back around. This process can continue indefinitely until the machine either runs out of yarn or the user determines that the length is suitable for the desired pattern. A simple control knob lets the user adjust the speed, so they can set it to the best balance of reliability and efficiency.
Most of the machine's mechanical parts are 3D-printable and they mount onto a wood board. This only requires a single drive motor, which is a geared DC motor driven by Mr Innovative's custom controller board. It's only purpose is to control the speed of the DC motor, so the hardware is minimal compared to most of Mr Innovative's other projects.
If you like knitting your own clothing, this is a fun and affordable machine to build.