Just as a little break from your regular program, I thought I’d talk about the $600 commercial alternative to our prototype.
The KRC-1000E is the rather catchy name for this unit, and my searching on the internet seems to suggest that it was most commonly purchased with the Brother KH-970. This makes sense because from what I could find you can’t really program the unit as such. There is simply a cable that plugs in to the KH-970.
Probably a good thing we didn’t spend any money on one for our KH-950i then. It almost certainly would have been wasted money.
So, lets have a little look at what design decisions were made by a Japanese engineer in the 80’s vs an Aussie hacker in 2017.
My first post on this topic was devoted to the Digital Side of designing a part. It had lots of images, a fairly waffly bit in the middle where I admitted I hadn’t remembered to take images or notes and ultimately stopped before I put the rubber to the road. What a cop out.
In this second part, there is still a bit of digital talk while I go through how I get my digital design from farm to table, but there’s going to be a hell of a lot of table too. There may also be mixed metaphors.
I should also warn you, this is a bit of a long one. On reflection, it should have probably been two posts.
This post contains 5 chapters (or steps, as it were): In Step 1, I go in to a bit of detail on the digital steps I use to get to physical. In Step 2, I put all the pieces together. In Step 3, I give the project some smarts. In Step 4, I attach it to the machine. In Step 5, I cover some of the “corrections” I had to make.
As modern makers we’re really only presented with two approaches when turning our digital ideas into a physical reality, Additive manufacturing and Subtractive manufacturing. This project would suit either, I could have 3d printed these parts, CNC milled them or Laser cut them out of stock. All are tools I have available fairly readily at the Connected Community Hackerspace here in Melbourne.
I guess I like the idea of vaporising plastic though, because friken laser beams is where I went without even a thought.
I’ve previously discussed hacking the Brother KM-950i. The major limitation to this work was the hack only supported two-colour patterns. That’s like having a black and white printer when what I really wanted was a colour printer!
Two-colour patterns are quite simple. Each knit is represented in binary (0 or 1) for the two colours.
So how could this possibly support multi-colour? It wasn’t until 2015 (2 years after my initial fork of the Brother KM-930e hack) when I had my first epiphany and a year later in 2016 when I actually knitted a multi-coloured thing. This upgrade to the original two-colour hack has been several years in the making!
“Hack a knitting machine!” They said.
“It’ll be fun!” They said.
Well, I did get there eventually. But it was a battle just to get two-colour hacked knitting working (not of Mordor proportions, but still very big). I’d like to give you a quick introduction of the code and methods I used. I’ll be posting about upgrading to the multi-colour hack (ie, more than two colours) in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!