New 3D printer facilitates local clothing manufacturing
Categories: technology, economy
What? Kniterate, a new knitting 3D printer prototype unveiled in May 2016, will enable users to print clothes, such as scarves and socks, from yarn. Kniterate users will design their clothing in a visual software program similar to Photoshop, a much simpler design tool than used by existing automated knitting machines. At a projected retail price of $2500 U.S., Kniterate's target markets are schools, maker spaces, and individuals.
So what? This new application of 3D printing would represent a dramatic decrease in the capital costs to start a clothing making business. This could fuel the rise of localized clothing manufacturing in North American. This in turn could reduce the transportation and environmental costs from long-distance shipping of clothing. However, if 3D printer prices continue to decrease due to technological advances, individuals may start printing their own clothes, possibly shifting demand towards clothing design files and decreasing demand for manufactured clothes.