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Digital clothes fabrication
  • Hi all -

    I wanted to throw out the idea of developing a "3D printer" type machine for the production of clothing. What I have in mind is that a person downloads (or designs) a pattern for an article of clothing, customizes the dimensions to suit, and prints it out. I haven't explored how this would work thoroughly, but I can say I can't find it out there on the web yet. I figure this could be done by knitting or hopefully by sewing too.

    Here are some links of interest:
    Knitting Machine
    Electronic knitting machine hacked to print digital patterns
    Computer controlled quilter

  • 9 Comments sorted by
  • You could use the software to size and layout the pieces and then use a plotter to cut the pieces automatically from the roll of cloth.

    Then see if you can't modify a CNC embroidery machine to sew the pieces together. The plotter could even have a piece of tailor's chalk to make registration marks for aligning the pieces for running the CNC sewing machine.
  • I think this is a pretty cool idea. Clothing is a basic human need, along with food and shelter (which are already addressed). The key would be both the open source hardware to make the clothes, and the open source cutting patterns for any given size.

    Making the raw thread and even material itself from either hemp, cotton, or wool/alpaca wool would also be a great benefit. The laser cutter could possibly even be used to cut the patterns out if you first made the material wet (so it doesn't catch fire).
  • Hello! I'm wondering if this idea is still up and active. I've been thinking about something along these same lines, and am actually searching for a web developer who knows PHP, JavaScript, and HTML5, to start creating a platform for this to be released under GNU/GPL.

    This is such a huge idea actually that I really do think it could stand to have its own category, possibly under "clothing and textiles".
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2012
    It would seem to me, that the combination of a CNC Cutting table, a variant on the CNC Torch/Router table (replace with a laser cutter ??), combined with a CNC Embroidery machine would do here.  Mind you, it would work BETTER for mass production, or at least job lot production: say, ten copies of the same article and size of clothing, different colors might be possible.  That, however, would complicate initial fabrication, as you'd need to make consistent 10-or-so layer stacks of varicolored fabrics.

    Cut in job lots, assemble by parts. Perhaps an hour for ~10 garments, if not complicated.

    The interesting problem will be shoe/boot production.   I know little of shoemaking, other than a significant number of steps and several very different materials are required for quality footwear.   You'll also need to likely develop injection molding for high-traction polymer outsoles. . .as well as a full-up skinning/tanning/curing process. ..
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2012
    Hi, I wrote a couple of posts about open source clothing production for my Year of Open Source project:
    -initial thoughts
    -brainstorming session
    the practical making session has been delayed until my tailor friend gets back to berlin... but in the articles and their comments you'll find some useful information and links to other attempts. oh, and one that I forgot to mention is the OSLoom project.
    as well as actually making the boxer shorts, I will soon be playing with a hacked knitting machine... updates to come. Ratspeed, have a look at Susan Spencer's talk about her work with python and inkscape.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down November 2012
    This is interesting way to make knit hats, all you have to do is rock back and forth.  It is a simple way of "printing" clothes.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2012
    nice concept! I just included it in a new post + video on hacked knitting machines:

    salgak, regarding footwear, there's one almost-open-source (CC-BY-NC-SA, unfortunately) project in shoe production happening in fablab barcelona:
    but these are not your standard practical workboot.
    these shoes are 3d printed, but I don't know how they'd go down on factor e farm...
    EDIT: Varvara Guljajeva & Mar Canet are working on a fully open source knitting machine called Knitic
  • Actually there's been a research led by Dr. Steve Dickerson for robotic clothes fabrication. Now there work is being supported by DARPA. As a result, Softwear Automation Inc. is formed. Research papers can be downloaded from this page. So this is not that trivial, to automate clothes fabrication. It will be a great time and effort saver for Resilient living.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2012
    Damn, I just realised there's some duplication going on here. But anyway, since there seems to be more recent interest in this thread, please by all means help me to improve this wiki article.

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