An algorithm that converts 3D meshes into machine-knitting patterns

A group of CMU researchers have created a generalizable approach to converting the model files generated by 3D design packages into knitting patterns that can be fed into a variety of computerized knitting machines, which then "print" the solid by knitting it.

Textiles artists have long pointed out that knitting and other fiber arts are a form of 3D printing, and there's always been a healthy crossover between 3D printing people and knitting people.

In general, while we think that the current system’s outputs are remarkably good, we suspect that future work using a closed-loop design procedure is likely to be able to produce higher-fidelity results. Such a procedure may include optimizing the input mesh to better match the desired output shape by accounting for deformations, as suggested for modeling balloons [Skouras et al. 2012] or integrating yarn- and stitch-level knit simulation tools with our system [Cirio et al. 2015; Kaldor et al. 2008, 2010; Meißner and Eberhardt 1998]. We also see an opportunity to use stitch-level editing tools, such as those developed by Yuksel et al. [2012], as a way to allow advanced users to perform detailed editing of our algorithm’s output.

The geometric accuracy of our results is limited by the size of the stitches used to knit them. This size, in turn, depends on the gauge of the machine and is typically in the order of millimeters. Features smaller than the stitch size cannot be represented.

Automatic Machine Knitting of 3D Meshes [Vidya Narayanan, Lea Albaugh, Jessica Hodgins, Stelian Coros and Jim McCann/CMU Textiles Lab]

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