Bringing the Worlds of 3D Scanning, 3D Printing and Knitting Together with the HP Sprout

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3dp_knit_hpsprout_bundleWhen knitting blogger Heidi Gustad got her hands on the new HP Sprout, the HP 3D Capture Stage and a Dremel 3D Idea Builder she got right to work thinking about how she could use them to reimagine knitting. As a public librarian, Gustad was already quite familiar with the concepts of 3D printing thanks to her library’s fully stocked maker lab, but she had never thought of mixing her love of knitting with 3D printing together before. So she decided to get creative with the Capture Stage and see if she could pull her digital and knitted worlds together to make something new.

Because the Capture Stage allows the Sprout to improve the quality of its 3D scanning functionality and speed up the process, Gustad decided to 3D scan a small swatch of white rope that she had knitted. Then she used Sprout’s 3D Builder software to turn the 3D scanned swatch into a 3D printable object. And what better way for a knitter to show off her 3D scanned and 3D printed knitting than turning it into a statement necklace? Not only is it a fun and different way to show off her own knitting work, but as it turned out, it ended up being a great way for her to really push the Sprout’s capabilities to their limits.3dp_knit_banner

“When I found out I was going to get a chance to work with this really cool technology, as a knit designer I was like ‘how can I capture knitting with the 3D scanning and then do something more with it that I couldn’t do with traditional knitting techniques? So I started looking at some swatches… and I thought it would be really cool to capture the texture of knitting and then use that in 3D printing applications to add some some texture and personality. So I was like yeah, I want to take a texture that I’ve created with my own hands and recreate that with 3d scanning and printing,” said Hands Occupied knitter in residence Heidi Gustad.

3dp_knit_capturestageThe HP Sprout’s sensor system is made up of four cameras, including Intel’s RealSense 3D camera and a 14.6 MP camera, so it already has some very robust 3D scanning capabilities. But the new 3D Capture Stage allows a whole new level of detail to be captured by physically manipulating the object being scanned so Sprout can capture even more detail. The Capture Stage is essentially a turntable, similar to a record player, that can rotate the object 360 degrees. It can also re-orientate itself to tilt the object up at a different angle, allowing Sprout’s overhead scanning cameras to get an even better view of the object from angles that it typically wouldn’t be able to capture without the user manually shifting the object’s orientation.

3dp_knit_making_jewelryOne limitation that Gustad ran into with Sprout was when she laid the swatch down on the turntable flat. Unfortunately Sprout wasn’t able to determine what the object was or even recognize that it was three-dimensional. She solved the problem by using some straight pins to add structure to the swatch, and to prop it up perpendicular to the scanning turntable. Once she gave the computer a better view of it, Sprout had no problems scanning in the swatch and managed to capture a very detailed 3D scan of its delicate structure.

Once she had all of the scan data, Gustad needed to cleaned up the 3D model just a little bit. It turns out that knitted rope is far too delicate to print all on its own using a desktop 3D printer, so she incorporated a thin wedge on the backside of the swatch to give it some much needed structure. Once she had added some support, Gustad simply sent the 3D model over to the Dremel 3D Idea Maker 3D printer and printed it out in white PLA. Because the Sprout captured the entire swatch, including the open loops at the top, she was able to easily attach some jump rings and a chain so her 3D printed knitting was now a unique pendant.

You can read about Gustad’s project over on her Hands Occupied blog, and learn more about the HP Sprout here. And here is a video of the Sprout in action turning Gustad’s knitting into 3D printed jewelry.  Let us know your thoughts on this story in the HP’s Sprout Forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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