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Disney Research brings custom 3D printing principles to knitting machines with new compiler – 3ders.org (blog)

by • July 19, 2016 • No Comments

Jul 20, 2016 | By Alec

Disney Research has been on a serious roll with its 3D printing innovations and 3D printing patents. From high-res 3D printing processes, to replicating reflective properties onto 3D printed surfaces, to 3D printed wall-climbing robots, it appears as yet Disney is looking to redefine how film merchandise is turn it intod via 3D printing innovation. But their latest study shows that they are in addition keen to bring 3D printing principles to other industries, for they have turn it intod a new compiler that lets knitting machines behave like 3D printing equipment and easily turn it into customized objects.
You can be as surprised as us to find out that knitting machines can’t quite do that right now – actually yet they’ve been around for decades. For while industrial knitting machines can pretty turn it into quite more detailed, seamless, 3D surfaces rapidly and autonomously, they are approximately not easy to program for tiny, customized batch production. With their study, entitled A Compiler for 3D Machine Knitting, Disney Research associates Jim McCann, Lea Albaugh, Vidya Narayanan, April Grow, Jen Mankoff and Jessica Hodgins seek to alter that. In addition involved was MIT’s Wojciech Matusik.

As the Disney team explains, producing principles are changing thanks to digitally regulated 3D printing and CNC milling innovations. “We believe that 3D machine knitting should join 3D printing in the pantheon of end-user-accessible additive fabrication, and that getting it there can need new tools, algorithms, and data exalter formats,” they say. That, in a nutshell, is what their compiler brings to industrial knitting machines. Featuring a transfer planning algorithm that converts commands into basic knitting procedures, it empowers users to achieve variations in knitted objects much simpler and quicker.
For until now, you may use CAD software to turn it into new garments or stuffed animals, but there is no single ‘print button’ for industrial knitting machines. “The industry standard tools for machine knitting provide high-level templates for a few standard objects, but otherwise leave the user to manipulate needle-level control guides in a way that fails to divorce machine-specific more details of actual fabrication operations,” they say, adding that customizing turn it intos is a bit like being forced to write G-code toolpaths by hand for each and equite print. That means producing thousands of low-level guide edits just to alter a single turn it into, and as it outcome little is customized aside of color. The world of on-demand 3D printing is quite far away of knitting.


The primitives alongside the final knitted structures.
In an take on to alter this, the Disney team have turn it intod a compiler that empowers users to just input specific high-level shape primitives (rather than more detailed stitch descriptions). “These primitives are knittable by construction – that is, they can be instantly transcreated into stitch level guides. With our primitives, users can turn it into and edit turn it intos at a high level, and easily alter knitting order, needle location, shape, and scale,” they explain. “In addition, for the reason our input format provides scheduling (knitting order and location) as well as shaping control, users can see that needles on the machine can be in use at a given time and adjust their turn it into to avoid any conflicts; without changing its shape.”


But this needd much additional than just letting knitting machine read g-codes. For knitting machines fundamentally showcase hundreds of needles (or hooks) that perform four basic functions through a ‘knitting assembly language’ that is mentioned in more detail in the paper. The algorithm therefore had to incorporate all of these steps into a single process, while at the same time dealing with a few of the other quirks of knitting. For instance, the algorithm in addition has to resolve the boundaries of equite item to practuallyt unravelling. “Any loop not pulled through another loop may unravel, cavia the final item to fall apart. So the begining and ending loops of each primitive must be turn it intod stable by being pulled through or pulling through another loop,” they say.

But there is one turn it into advantage, and that is that many knitted objects (of gloves, sweaters, stuffed toys, to socks) consist of little additional than tubes and sheets, albeit with varying bends and so on. As a outcome the compiler just needs to read tube and sheets primitives and convert that into knitting guides. “After reading input primitives, our compiler breaks them into horizontal slices (courses). Computing these needle lists of the supplied input parameters is straightforward rasterization. Each course has an abstract “knitting time” value, a list (in counterclockwise order) of needles where loops can be created, and a parameter value for equite needle (running of 0 to 1 counterclockwise around the cycle) that can be utilized in linking,” its turn it intoers explain.

So far, the compiler has shown to work quite well, and Disney have may already knitted numerous one-of-a-kind shapes and toys, of that the snake visible above is maybe the coolest example. The Disney research team have may already said that they are planning to incorporate surface texturing options as well, that may pretty enable knitting machines to claim their place alongside the producing machines of the 21rst century. Perhaps 3D printing service companies can begin knitting-on-demand services too?

Posted in 3D Design

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