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Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 10:14 AM

I am a fiber/textile artist, and looking to knit a 'near invisible' but flexible fabric with ultrafine wire on a Taitexma home knitting machine with ribber. I have (mostly) successfully knitted 0.05 mm diameter hard bright 304 stainless steel on the main bed of the knitting machine, but when I add the ribber (a second needle bed, allowing for knit and purl stitches to be knit inline), more tension is required and it breaks. I have also tried 0.12 diameter 304 hard bright stainless steel which fares somewhat better but still breaks with the ribber. I am not an engineer, and therefore have minimal understanding of alloys and how they would behave on a knitting machine. I understand copper and nickel are more pliable and elastic, but would be less strong. What wire alloy is most likely to succeed in this application? I am attaching an image of the knit 0.05 mm hard bright stainless wire in combination with linen thread for reference.

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#1

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 2:35 PM

When high flexing is needed in electrical cabling many very fine gauge wires are spun together to the wire diameter desired for signal quality. Just as your linen thread is actually many individual pieces of linen spun together.

You might even try spinning the very fine metal wire with linen so they can help support each other.

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#3
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 2:51 PM

That is an interesting point. I'm not sure if a spun wire exists at 0.05 mm diameter, but it may. I'll start looking. Linen/stainless and cotton/stainless threads exist. I actually have a spool of silk/stainless. Here I am interested in using bare wire, because it can look near invisible, has 'bounce' and an elegant expression, compared to, say, fishing line.

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#8
In reply to #3

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 3:38 PM

Magnet wire comes in extremely fine gauges. A quick Google search for 40 AWG (0.14mm) produces many results in multiple quantities. The thin coating can be clear or a variety of colors.

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#12
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 4:29 PM

MWS Wire Industries has 3 strands each 48 AWG Litz Wire that has a mean OD of 0.076 mm. I'm not sure if the three wires are simply twisted or braided.

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#14
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 5:04 PM

I contacted MSW wire. They might have suggestions. I'm not familiar with magnet wire. Is it supposed to be stronger than regular stainless steel wire? Thanks for all your help! Very much appreciated!

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#17
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 10:20 PM

Maximizing the number of windings in a certain volume is what magnet wires are designed to do. So getting different alloy wires fine enough for your weave is right in their wheelhouse. I wouldn't expect any of these wires will be as strong as silk. (It is still difficult to top mother nature.)

The really fine wires of multiple strand Litz wires do have an added electromagnetic advantage. That's why these wires are made. I just started to wonder what industries/technologies would find an advantage in wire that small or smaller, than what you already found in stainless steel. Even smaller diameter wires are used inside an integrated circuit package but these bonding wires only have to span a few millimeters in length. I didn't think these wires would survive your knitting machine.

While steel does have more of a tensile strength than copper, steel is more brittle than copper. I suspect the tiny bend radius of this weave is what is causing the steel to fail. Bending induces both a compression and tension load. I think a softer metal (copper?) and particularly a multiple strand wire where strands can slide back and forth will allow for a tighter bend radius.

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#2

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 2:36 PM

You might consider a Kevlar wrapped stainless steel thread type....or perhaps Kevlar alone....

S110 KEVLAR® / Stainless Steel Thread

  • Tex 60 filament Kevlar® / Stainless Steel, 1X 200w/1 end, 0.00035 stainless plied 3X
  • Package: 8 oz-king spool
  • Yardage: 3,600 yards/lb (approx)
  • Break Strength: 27 lbs
  • Elongation: 3%

AT-295 Tex 150 Stainless Steel with KEVLAR® Wrap

  • 9 ends of stainless steel (each end @ 0.002” diameter)
  • Kevlar wrap (size 20/1)
  • Max. Temp.: 1200˚F
  • Approx. breaking strength: 23 lbs
  • Elongation: 21%
  • Diameter: 0.031”
  • Denier: 2320
  • Yield: 1957 yards/lb
  • “Z” winding

Spun Thread KEVLAR® Fiber Tex 135

  • Break strength: 37 lbs
  • Elongation: 4%
  • Yardage: 3,300 yards / lb
  • Max. Temperature (heat): 800˚F (427˚C)
  • Max. Temperature (cold): -50˚F (-46˚ C)
  • Diameter: 0.016 “
  • Denier: 1285
  • Cotton count yarn size: 17/4

https://www.gltproducts.com/products/high-temperature-sewing-threads-19935

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#4
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 2:55 PM

Thank you for all this feedback/info. I actually have knitted with Kevlar, but currently I am looking for the sheer, near invisible effect (and bounce) you can get with wire. I have tried fishing line too, but it is too shiny and plastic looking for this work.

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#6
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 3:11 PM
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#7
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 3:36 PM

I am looking to knit the mesh myself, so I can incorporate other sections of contrasting materials. Thank you though! It does make me think that the use of stainless steel wire should work. Maybe I'm just not using the right alloy... or may machine is not sophisticated enough...

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#9
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 3:40 PM

Slowing your machine down might be more gentle to the threads.

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#11
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 4:29 PM
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#5

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 3:07 PM

For quick reference, 0.05mm ≈ 0.002" (2 mils). (~ human hair thickness?)

I don't know how well ductility would correlate with fatigue resistance, but platinum is the most ductile metal.

Intriguing project! Welcome to CR4, and best wishes for success. Please keep us posted.

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#10
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 3:41 PM

Thank you. Yes, the stainless wire I managed to knit with on the main bed (not the ribber) is human hair thickness! The result is very etherial, which is what I'm looking for. Not really looking for conductibility at this point, just a 'near invisible' appearance and no breakage (also no use of plastic, like fishing line).

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#13
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 4:50 PM

Couldn't you just make a looser knit with larger thread?

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#15
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 5:06 PM

I think fishing-line-like thread was used here. I am trying to stay away from plastic-like materials. Thank you for your suggestions/thoughts!

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#16
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 5:22 PM
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#18

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/13/2020 10:42 PM

Jeannet,

Have you considered lightly lubricating the metal wire just before it passes into the knitting machine? The wire will be traversing several metal components as it is knitted, so lubrication will likely reduce the stress on the wire as it encounters metal components of the knitter.

It's possible that your work to date has upset already the finish of metal contact points.

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#19
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 12:16 AM

That is a good point to consider, but it might gum up the machine after a while. However, that might be compensated for by periodic solvent rinsing.

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#20

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 1:41 AM

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#21

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 3:23 AM

You could try tungsten wire.

They make light bulb filaments from it.Some filaments are very small coils,so it may take sharp bending.

It is available in sizes down to .001 inch diameter (Nearly invisible).

You could probably make the emperor's new clothes out of this.

https://www.tungsten.com/products/tungsten-wire/

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#22
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 4:04 AM

This might work but a little pricey....3 to 4 times stronger than stainless steel, although not sure how it would compare to super duplex alloy....

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#23

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 4:22 AM

My very first impression of what you described was that Stainless Steel, while strong and corrosion resistant is also relatively brittle.

The supplier might have some annealing (softening through heating and controlled cooling) process available, or else some different chemistry that is less brittle.

You might also be "work hardening" the wire as it passes through the various portions of your machine making it progressively more brittle. Remember if you bend a wire back and forth it will eventually break. Your knitting machine is reforming the wire multiple times.

Magnet wire as some have suggested is usually very fine coated copper wire and is highly ductile (bendable) and there are different coating tones available, so you would probably want one of the neutral or pale yellow ones. The coating protects the copper from air exposure and thus from corrosion.

My suggestion is to avoid the "hard" versions of Stainless, since they will only become harder and more brittle as you work them.

There are others here who specialise in metallurgy, so I'll defer to their suggestions as to materials that are "soft" and that do not "work harden".

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#24
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 8:01 AM

Just an engineer might be on the right track. Look for Annealed wire, it will be less brittle and prone to break.

You could also look more closely into the material properties of the wire you select, particularly the % elongation which is an indicator of ductility. Use a stainless wire with highest % elongation you can find.

There may be lubricant coated annealed wire available which would also help prevent breaking but would leave residue on your machine.

Annealed wire is softer so will have less bounce, but you could investigate post knitting heat treatment to harden the fabric.

Welcome to the community and Good luck!

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#25

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 8:20 AM

Thank you all for so many good ideas! I will be exploring these angles and keep you posted. My gut feeling is that I need a stainless steel mixed with another, or multiple other metals. The material needs to be softer, but not weakened too much. (Any metallurgic experts out there? :)) I will certainly try the other wires that are suggested. Magnetwire is an easy one to try. (For some others I have to see if my budget allows it :)). My experience with commonly used threads on the machine, like linen and cotton, tells me that the tensile strength needs to be quite high. In addition you are right that elasticity is crucial as well. Wool is very elastic, but also strong, and therefore ideal to knit with. Keeping the machine well-lubricated is key, and using something to lubricate the wire is also something to think about. For cottons and linens wax is used sometimes. I really appreciate all this support!

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#26

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 12:34 PM

You might consider a spun thread with metal wire and fiber carrier, such as a polylactic acid fiber as a carrier. Washing the resulting knit in a sodium hydroxide caustic solution will dissolve the polylactic acid and leave the metal thread behind. This would allow you to work with smaller diameter metal fibers without the breakage or handling issues.

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#27
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 1:59 PM

This sounds like a good idea.....

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#28
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 3:50 PM

That is also a very good idea! I had been thinking along the same lines in using the silk covered stainless thread I have, then try to somehow remove the silk after knitting. The stainless core in the silk seems even thinner than the wire I have been using, so not sure if the knitting would stay intact. (I tried burning off the silk, which clearly did not work... the result was a hole :))

Not sure where you would find polyactic acid covered wire... In the medical world probably? (A first Google search found some info, but no way of purchasing such wire.) Many of these solutions considering specialty wire are probably not financially feasible, since this is an art project... and knitting requires a lot of yardage. I will be exploring and pricing out all of them though!

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#30
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 4:03 PM

They do make water soluble threads....

https://www.superiorthreads.com/thread/vanish

Now you just need a twister....

....or more likely somebody to twist it for you....

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#32
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 4:43 PM

I actually have some water soluble thread... That lego twister is beyond cool.

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#31
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 4:36 PM

My reason for suggesting polylactic is that it is soluble in caustic solutions. You may find that cotton or other vegetable fibers in either caustic or acid solutions would break down. I also thought about low melting point plastic over metal which could be subjected to hot air gun or a kiln firing to burn off the plastic.

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#29

Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 3:55 PM

I've also started looking into Nickel Titanium wire, which is supposedly very elastic and strong. Some of this wire has shape memory—pretty intriguing. Cost might be prohibitive here too, but found a source via Alibaba that looks promising.

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#33
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Re: Wire Advice Needed for Machine Knitting on a Taitexma Home Knitting Machine

02/14/2020 5:32 PM

Yes Nitinol, can also be silver plated...

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