French Knitting Machine



This project is to create an electric french knitting machine for the automatic production of french knitting. It's a fun weekend/s project inspired by an art insallation I saw yesterday.

First, I bought a knitting machine, exactly like the one I saw being used at the art installation, for $37. It works pretty well!

The knitting machine bought from a local store

I opened it up to have a look at the insides.

Inside the machine. A small amount of lube found here, I have some confidence in the design.

My basic plan is to start off by automating the turnig of the handle, and get it to produce for 1 minute or so at a time. This will allow it time to produce a bunch, and then stop producing before the weight hits the ground. Tension is very important for the effective operation of the machine. Here's a bunch I made by hand cranking:

A fair bit of french knitting. So easy to produce with a machine, so slow to produce by hand!

I plan to use a geared stepper motor to kick things off. No idea if it even works, I've never used it before. Finally got it working with half-stepping.

Next actions:


After mounting the motor badly with some MDF and hot glue, and taping the whole thing to a chair, I actually got it to work! I was able to produce roughly 1 m per hour, and a ball of wool gave me around 2 m of french knitting. The device worked embarassingly well.

The completed prototype machine.

It works pretty well with the 8 stepping, even at 5 V. It could do with being slightly faster, but that would require a bit of investment. I've just bought some on eBay, they'll turn up when they're ready.

Next actions: