8. Open source hardware: from fibers to fabric#

The presentation last Tuesday was really interesting. I learned so many new things and wanted to start full steam ahead in the next week’s task. But once again, I realized that I did not have enough time to master a fantastic redesign of a textile-making machine. I was a little frustrated. So many ideas that were in my head and could not be tested.

So I tried to focus on the essentials of the weekly assignment. From fibers to fabric!

My inspriration for this week#

The inspiration was my daughters knitting nancy :) It seemed so easy to make fabric from fibers like wool.

I wanted to change both the diameter of the cord and the material. I was wondering if it is possible to knit electrically conductive cable? And in this way maybe even get a knitted circuit with an integrated battery and an LED.

First, I constructed a file for the laser cutter in Illustrator. I wanted to make a very simple prototype of a knitting nancy to test the knitting of the cables.


Redesigning my personal and functional knitting Nancy#

I laser cut circles out of a wooden plate and put them together with wood glue into a cylinder. With the four wood screws, my knitting nancy was complete.

Download lasercut file

How does it work?#

Here you can see how this simple machine makes fabric from fibres.


Knit electrical cable#

The knitting of the cable was initially a bit difficult. But with a little sensitivity, this resulted in a uniform cord.

Result and application#

In the next step, I braided another cable into the knitted cord. By integrating a battery, a resistor and an LED, the circuit was successfully closed.

You can see this in the schematic circuit on the picture.

But what is that good for?

I have interpreted this week as very experimental. I got to the bottom of my question if it is possible to make an electric circuit with knitted cables. This was relatively easy to implement. The question was whether this could be integrated into the subject of e-textiles and wearables. And can find such a great application reference? The research and the collecting of ideas continues!