Mar-Jun 2022 Progress Update
July 07, 2022
Our new facility
In a previous update, we announced that we partnered with a very experienced manufacturer in Barcelona. We did that, but before the first components arrived at their facilities, we realized that
wasn’t the best approach for the first machines to be manufactured in Barcelona.
In another post, we explained we used the downtime of the pandemic to complete a redesign of the machine to make it faster to manufacture. This redesign included many changes in the machine, which also required a redesign of the assembly process. Handing over this yet-to-be-defined process to a contract manufacturer was a bit premature, and we thought it could lead to difficulties on both sides. They would have lots of questions, and we would end up spending a lot of time assembling machines with them while paying a manufacturing fee for a service we wouldn’t receive. We then thought we could get a space closer to home and make them ourselves. Our relationship with this manufacturer is in good shape, so we might work together in the future.
Unfortunately, getting a new space up and running introduced further delays to shipping.
Manufacturing and Shipping
After a long time without shipping machines due to the transition from China to Spain, we are thrilled to say our facility is now operative, and the first machines will be shipped this month.
Some images of what is going on at our factory:
In retrospect, we are confident we made the right decision by investing in building our factory, as the first machines we’ve assembled have taken quite some time. An important upside with the approach taken is that we will have better control of the manufacturing process and its timings, given we have a single product and a unique space created around its production. In comparison, a contract manufacturer handles many different products in the same space, where products compete to be produced based on orders received.
With the current batch, we will complete the shipment of the Early Bird machines from Kickstarter, and we will start shipping machines from Batch 1.
Design App Updates
We have continued working on the software and have plenty of updates this time. The default app hasn’t changed, and we have pushed all the updates to the new version we’ve worked on for the last months. The link is here (for backers only).
In this update, you’ll be able to use the shaping macros we mentioned in our previous update. They are still quite experimental, but you can explore them after selecting an area and clicking the right mouse button. A new menu will pop up with lots of new possibilities. This still needs to take shape into a template, but we are sharing all we have so far.
In the Actions panel on the side, you’ll find more features, like the possibility to download/upload native app files. To test that out, we’ve created this folder where we will be adding design files. For now, you can find a file from a front panel as an example. Download the file and load it into the app by clicking on Actions/Load buck.
Later in the year, we will discontinue the default app, and only the newer version will be available. For now, both versions can be used indistinctively, as your designs in your account show up in both versions the same way. The login credentials are the same.
Welcoming other software
This time we have some more exciting news to share. Over the last couple of months, we’ve also been working on a collaboration with the market leader in non-industrial knitting machine design software. We will let you know more in the upcoming summer update, but the idea is to leverage this well-established design software’s design capabilities to design for Kniterate, with lots of parametric templates and tools to create shapes, add textures, and graphics.
A quick demo of a front panel of a sweater being imported into the Kniterate app, where shaping rows are added automatically at a click of a button. After a few tweaks, the imported design is ready to knit on a Kniterate machine.
Furthermore, this isn’t the only collaboration we are planning. We are opening the Kniterate app to welcome different file formats. So that if you are used to using other software to design your garments, you can import your designs into the Kniterate app to add the final touches to get the design ready to knit. If you would like us to make the Kniterate app compatible with a design software you use, please let us know!
Special shout out to EcoKnitware as they have been coding with us to bring you these latest software developments.
Thank you for reading,
The Kniterate team