Industrial Knitting Machine

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Noisebridge has a Raynen F4000 based flat knitting machine sourced from Changshu Shengxingda Co, Ltd. It's in our Hackitorium.

Current Status

We have yarn and our machine knits. Work is needed to improve the design and operations process.

Knitting Machine

Machine Operations[edit | edit source]

Knitting Machine
  • This machine runs on 240V. Use the included transformer.
  • ALWAYS keep your hands clear of the bed and carriage while the machine is running or injury may occur.

Manuals[edit | edit source]

Yarns you can use[edit | edit source]

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

Broken needles are part of life. If you hear a crunch noise STOP your knit!

  • For replacement needles, buy Gold-Beamlight VOSASPEC 80.119D(C) on Alibaba or Taobao.
  • Video on replacing needles
  • Oil the needle bed often!

Design Software[edit | edit source]

Knitting machine pattern design software is Windows based. It's installed on the computer in Noisebridge's print shop. You can also download it.

3rd party tools may be easier to use than the included software. HQPDS can import DAT files, compile and simulate knitting for our machine.

  • Knitout - Represent low level knitting operations in a machine-agnostic way. Requires a backend to compile into DAT and other formats.
  • Knitout Visualizer - Visualization of Knitout instructions.
  • Knit Script - Python library for knitting machine instructions. Outputs Knitout.
  • Knit Utils - JS library for knitting machine instructions. Outputs Knitout & DAT.
  • Knit Skel - Browser-based design tool for basic shape and pattern construction. Outputs DAT.
  • Knit Sketching - Sophisticated, browser-based garment design tool. Outputs Knitout.
  • Autoknit - 3D mesh to Knitout generation tool.

Software Tips & Resources[edit | edit source]

  • Choose 7 gauge, H1-1 (simple/roll) when selecting a machine model.
  • Manuals and examples are on the computer in Noisebridge's print shop.
  • HQPDS has a steep learning curve. There are dozens of YouTube tutorials. Some are in languages other than English but provide steps you can follow along with. Examples:


Projects & Research[edit | edit source]

Noisebridge Projects[edit | edit source]

A test knit

Your project could be here!

Other Projects[edit | edit source]

Research[edit | edit source]

General Knitting Machine Learning Resources[edit | edit source]

It can be helpful to compare to manuals for other industrial-style knitting machines:

Acquisition Process[edit | edit source]

Container ship MOL Celebration at the Port of Oakland
A Noisebridge member using a forklift to move the knitting machine crate

Noisebridge's sewing guild raised money to purchase an automatic, industrial knitting machine for the space. Shima Seiki and Stoll machines were out of our budget and our initial plan was to buy from a start-up, Kniterate, which came out of the OpenKnit project.

These machines were facing production delays and increased cost, so we turned to manufacturers in China for something similar. We asked 5 vendors for bids via Alibaba/ internet at large and settled on a single system, 52” 7 gauge automatic knitting machine with a controller by Raynen.

We engaged with Changshu Shengxingda Co, Ltd for a machine (model CHJX-1-52) at a cost of ~$4000. The cost of shipping and delivery from China to SF was ~$2000; we had some delays in port, a customs inspection, and needed to rent a forklift for delivery.

Here's the timeline of how everything played out.

  • April 10 - Initial research starts.
  • April 27 - May 5 - Decision-making and engagement with the vendor.
  • April 27 - May 5 - Discussions and paperwork with the freight forwarder.
  • May 5 - Deposit paid for the machine, production begins; freight shipper contracted.
  • May 24 - Machine delivered to the freight forwarder at Shanghai Port. The sailing vessel is MOL Celebration, with an estimated arrival on June 22 in Oakland.
  • June 29 - Ship arrival at the Port of Oakland.
  • June 29 - July 14 - Container stuck in Port due to a holiday, port backlog, and a customs inspection.
  • July 19 - First delivery attempt.
  • July 24 - Machine delivered to Noisebridge successfully.

This is the second time Noisebridge has imported a giant machine. In 2016 we got a laser cutter. It is so big that walls had to be removed to get it through the door at 2169 Mission St.