Introduction: Circular Knitic

Picture of Circular Knitic

With the boom of digital fabrication technology, a 3d printer is gradually turning into a commodity that every creative studio have on their desk. At the same time, Fab Labs and makerspaces are a lot about hard-surface object production while the first digital fabrication tool, which is an electronic knitting machine back to 1976, has been forgotten and discontinued. Hence, with this project, Circular Knitic, and our earlier one called Knitic, we aim to integrate textile fabrication to the makers' culture.

Circular Knitic is completely open source and open design circular knitting machine that is produced by using digital fabrication tools, and thus, allows to be replicated by everyone, who has access to a 3d printing and laser cutting. By using digital fabrication and makers’ tools, like 3D printing, laser cutting, makerbeam, and Arduino, we have designed an automated and replicable circular knitting machine.

Step 1: Print 3D Printed Parts

Picture of Print 3D Printed Parts

Download stl files here:

The name of a file tells also the quantity how many of them you will need. Print in high quality max. 0.1mm layer height!

Alternatively you can get the parts from here or also full kit.

Step 2: Laser Cut Parts

Picture of Laser Cut Parts

you will need 5mm ja 6mm plexi.

Files are located here:

Again file name will tell which plexi is needed.

Alternatively you can get the parts from here.

Step 3: Cut Wood

Picture of Cut Wood

Use 28x28mm wood if possible. If you use different, you will need to do some re-calculation.

The wood is needed for building a table or a frame for the circular knitting machine. Hence, the dimensions of a table are 60x40cm.

cut the 28x28mm wood into following parts:

4 x 800mm

3 x 600mm

2 x 544mm

4 x 344mm

3 x 180mm

1 x 80mm

28 x L-shapes

some screws

Alternatively you can get the parts from here.

Step 4: Get Other Materials

Picture of Get Other Materials

You will also need:

  • 60 x needles
  • stepper motor nema23
  • Big Easy stepper motor Driver
  • Arduino Uno
  • ventilator 12v 40mm x 40mm
  • power supply 12v
  • cabling
  • arbon fiber tensor 2mm (55cm)
  • 14 x bearings (bore 5mm x 10mm x 4mm)
  • screws and nuts
  • shaft of motor
  • switch
  • 60 x paper clips 50mm
  • 2 x makerbeam 150mm
  • 2 x makerbeam 60mm
  • makerbeam 40mm
  • makerbeam screws
  • 6 x makerbeam Lshape
  • 4 x claw weight
  • spring

Alternatively you can get the parts from here.

Step 5: Wood Structure

Picture of Wood Structure

using wood, 90degree-angles, and screws mount the wood structure for Circular Knitic

Step 6: Circular Knitic Base

Picture of Circular Knitic Base

fix base of Circular Knitic to the wood structure using washers and screws.

Step 7: Electronics

Picture of Electronics

Mount electronics, motor and box to the base of Circular Knitic.

Step 8: Mounting Outers

Picture of Mounting Outers

Mount 3d printed parts called outers to the base and fix with the screws and nuts.

Step 9: Big Gear

Picture of Big Gear

Place gears into 3d-printed bearings' holders: 4 small and one big one. Then fix them with m3 screws and nuts to the laser cut big gear.

Put the gear to the Circular Knitic and ensure that the gear is moving fine.

Step 10: Place Needles

Picture of Place Needles

3d-printed parts called Inners serve for holding needles. Circular Knitic uses 60 needles and 12 inners. It makes 5 needles per an inner.

Place needles to an inner and then fit it to the outer. Fix with m2 screws and nuts. Make sure that the needles are moving smoothly up and down. if not, make sure that you are placing the parts right and file them if needed.

Leave one inner not placed.

Step 11: Mountain

Picture of Mountain

Make yarn feeder from the listed makerbeam parts and fit to the laser cut upper surface. Afterwards use 30mm m3 screws to fix the 3d-printed connectors to the surface. Next place the mountain to its place and fix with screws.

Use the empty entrance to place the upper surface to the Circular Knitic. Make the needles to enter the mountain, connect upper surface and big gear, and place the last inner with the needles. Now make sure that the needles are moving and following the mountain shape.

Place also 4 outer-connectors and try that everything moves well.

Step 12: Yarn Holders

Picture of Yarn Holders

Now place yarn holders on top of the inners. Look that the parts enter until the end and fix them with the screws and nuts.

Step 13: Yarn Feeder

Picture of Yarn Feeder

Make the yarn feeder holder from the wood and attache to the main structure like on the photos.

Step 14: Feed the Yarn and Start Knitting!

See Circular Knitic in action:

tutorial how to cast on:

save a stitch:


push_reset (author)2015-06-07

This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing. I feel like Instructables HQ needs a knitting machine, the accessibility of this is inspiring. Hopefully I can find the time to make it happen. :)

varvara (author)2017-11-18

The original ones are gauge 8 and LK150 model, which has 6.5 gauge.
you might find this useful:
It means LK150 is a bit thinner. It might work though. I think you should try.

EmiLou9 (author)varvara2017-11-18

thanks! Will email u for further communication :)

EmiLou9 (author)2017-11-17

Hi Varvara,

I am making the circular Knitic out of the Fablab Yucatan in Merida. We are currently having big struggles finding the needles you mention in the tutorial: XKN8. No store carries them in town and I can't seem to find anything that will ship in less than a month from Plus none of those needles seem right. Can you help us please?

varvara (author)EmiLou92017-11-18

Hi again!

I found the measures of LK150 needles and they are 1cm longer from the LK120 ones that we are originally using.
Look here:
and in our tutorial you found measures of the needle:
you better email me, then it is easier to communicate that blog comments.

varvara (author)EmiLou92017-11-17


This is exactly the problem we tried to explain during the class. Only option is to re-design Circular Knitic for the new needles. We haven't done it yet. However, it is in our near future plans.
You can give it a try to re-design the machine for the new needles!

EmiLou9 (author)varvara2017-11-17

Oh darn it :( I guess we didn't understand that in the class.. Since we don't have a lot of background knowledge on circular knitting, do you think these ones would work? Empisal LK150 Zippy 90 HK100 XKN11.

In which way would they differ from the original ones?

videorov (author)2016-07-23

Sent emails but no response from anyone about machine. I was looking into

buying one complete kit with power supply. But no one return emails.


varvara (author)videorov2016-07-24

Hi Jack!

I have replied your both emails. Please check if you have received them.


74albia (author)varvara2016-07-26

Hi varvara,

I just tried to access the links, but they dont work. The same on your website: The start-page is working, but none of the sub-menus. All links give back an 404-error-message :-(

varvara (author)74albia2016-07-26

yes, our web was hacked and we are still recovering from this

HeatherH174 (author)varvara2017-04-09

Is there another website to purchase a kit from? The posted links lead to nothing. It's been 9 months since you posted the site was hacked... just wondering if it was fixed, moved or maybe just forgotten about :'(

videorov (author)varvara2016-07-26

Thankyou got your message.

lemonlime789 (author)2017-01-14

What size needles does this use? Needles for 4.5mm machines or 6.5mm?

Beckieclawson1 (author)2016-12-02

Very excited about making this project. already printed out some of the parts. A few of them are raw and not download able. is it possible to get the correct Files?


JmcconnellA (author)2016-11-03

I've tried to message you and go to the website with no luck! I'd like to purchase the pieces as a kit if that's still possible. Could you email me?

Manuel B (author)2016-09-05

Do the pieces which say 5 mm need to be done in 5mm plexiglass or can they be done in 6 mm?

Manuel B (author)2016-08-01

I have a question with the pieces. Why are there some which are called 1212 and others Rep? I suppose that the Rep are for RepRap, but what is 1212?

varvara (author)Manuel B2016-08-01

1212 is just a date. i have printed them in Ultimaker 2

Manuel B (author)varvara2016-08-01

Thank you! I was going to start printing when I saw it.

Manuel B (author)Manuel B2016-08-01

And is it possible to 3D print the 2D parts with a 3D printer?

varvara (author)Manuel B2016-08-01

i don't think you have so big 3d printer. also you will never get 3d printed parts so robust as 5mm laser cut plexi, i believe.

Ikep1 (author)2016-07-07


DrSoul (author)2016-06-08

Is there some way to change the color of yarn or change the yarn itself automatically while knitting? To create a pattern like this.

varvara (author)DrSoul2016-06-20

automatically not yet. but manually you can do it easily.

DIY-Guy (author)2015-06-04

Oh wow!
Just the concept of the moving circular frame itself is starting to give me new ideas for other machines. Thank you Varvara.

waldy (author)DIY-Guy2015-12-08

fab machine, thanks for sharing

kiplish (author)2015-11-19

this is good stuff..keep sharing this kind of wealth and ideas.

kaschlegel (author)2015-10-20

I love this idea, but I don't have the time or equipment to make one. What currency is posted on the prices listed on your website? I'm in the U.S., and I'd love to know the cost of a complete kit, if you have that info.

mar.canet (author)kaschlegel2015-10-21

Send us email to with your address and we can calculate shipping cost plus complete kit.

rhymeandreason (author)2015-10-08

Oh I just saw the link to your website for buying kits. Is there an option for a US power plug and US shipping?

mar.canet (author)rhymeandreason2015-10-21

Yes, if you want with US plug we could do. Power supply is for european and US voltage compatible. Send us email to

rhymeandreason (author)2015-10-08

Do you have kits for the board and electronic components? I'd really like to make one.

yezsocrafty (author)2015-10-04

Thank you for sharing this project. I plan on making this soon. I currently have an antique sock machine, Legare 400, and I enjoy all the possible projects I can make.

jmyers1 (author)2015-08-14

I love any form of knitting, and to embrace the old in a new form is amazing! Thanks for making this so incredible

Cheryl1410 (author)2015-07-16

Varvara, would you be able to send me actual measurements? When my parts came back from the laser cutter, they measured: Table top 48cm x 32cm, upper gear 31.5cm in diameter, and the big drive gear 38.5cm. All the other parts seem correct. The table is built to your plans. Thank you!

varvara (author)Cheryl14102015-07-17

the big gear seems to be right size, the other parts not. Also in the gear you have engraved holes, but should be cut out.
Please open the files and double check before sending to cut. also ask which files they require and send them measures.

Cheryl1410 (author)varvara2015-07-17

Success! I had to download Adobe Illustrator to see the .ai files. The large gear and the electronic box are correct. The .ai measurements for the upper gear and tabletop measure correctly when compared to the actual tabletop and large gear. I had submitted the .svg files to the laser cutter - I should have submitted the .ai files. Mystery solved!

Cheryl1410 (author)2015-07-15

Well. $225USD later and NONE of the laser cut parts are correct. The table is too small. The large gear is too big. The upper gear is too small. The electronic "box" doesn't fit. I sent the files to the custom laser cut company that I received when I bought the plans for the machine. So now what? Re-design the parts myself and spend ANOTHER $225USD to get them re-cut? Great idea bad execution.

varvara (author)Cheryl14102015-07-16

I think your importation method to laser cut program is not correct. In github is clearly stated that the measure units are in mm. The plate is 600x400mm, if it appears different in the laser cut program then you should verify all the measures. Maybe you should complain to the company you have ordered the cuts. The design files are right and we have cut them multiple times. Open the AI files in illustrator and check the measures before cutting anything.

Cheryl1410 (author)varvara2015-07-16

You are probably correct and I do apologize. I did not actually open any of the 2D files to check the measurements as I didn't have a program to open them. I think that only the table top and large gear are incorrectly sized. I'll have to get the table top re-cut AFTER verifying the measurements and I think that I can make the large gear on the 3D printer after I convert the .SVG file to an .STL or use a gearing program to re-create. This is such an amazing and exciting machine and I imagine all kinds of off-shoots - a scale model electric loom comes to mind as well as a smaller version of the Knitic. I've never worked with stepper motors or their controller boards and I'm "fired" to learn how they work by using the Knitic. Again, my apologies! I don't know how the top and gear got cut incorrectly but you are not the cause. Somehow, between me and the cutting company things got...scrambled.

MatthewJ7 (author)2015-06-17

If you want to make this arduino sweater...

jessyratfink (author)2015-06-17

This is so amazingly beautiful! Fantastic work :D

booga007 (author)2015-06-15

Wow, the ingenuity. I dont need one, but wow.

RuthS1 (author)2015-06-14

Oh wow, how smart. As a granny knitter, wish I was smart enough to make one. Great work!!!!!

eLab (author)2015-06-14

That's pretty cool!

dweiums (author)2015-06-14

Wow, what can I say? You've combined two of my favorites - knitting and 3D printing. Just add some gardening and I'll be experiencing nirvana. Thanks!

kasperfish (author)2015-06-08

very nice machine! I voted!

thunder_ir (author)2015-06-06


trog2000 (author)2015-06-05

Do you think it would be possible to program this for the back and forth decreasing and increasing rows that is used to make the heel and the toe on a CSM? It is certainly an interesting take on vintage technology. CSM's have enjoyed a resurgence over the last 15 years or so and it is wonderful to see a completely new design.

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