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The CK 35: What I have learned so far…

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The Brother CK 35: Understanding how it works

My efforts to understand and use the machine without reading the instructions back to front and after having taken the machine apart piece for piece, cleaning it and putting it back together, see previous post.

Memory & Storage

The CK 35 is quite different from the previous models in so far as it doesnt have patterns stored in the memory of the main and needs to be feed with patterns via the cartridges which in turn have to be programmed through the PPD 35.

Pictured above is the cartridges without shell

How much can be stored on the cartridge is still not discernable but since the whole patterns are designed in “pixels” it probably doesn´t need much capacity.

Once you downloaded the patternes into the machines you can start knitting and you can programm the motor to knit the selected amount of rows. Detach the cartridge and go.

If you attach a new cartridge to the main bed it will automatically delete all information in the main bed storage. You can also upload all information on the main bed into another cartridge.

Since the batteries in my cartridges died a long time ago I couldn´t test any patterns yet and it´s hardly worth the bother to learn how to use the PPD.  Using the PPD requieres a tv and using a lengthy drop down menu and using arrows and clicking pixels to make a patterns

Watch the (russian spoken) video here from 2010 on youtube!

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Speed on the CK 35

Speed on the CK 35, here is a video with use of the colour changers (about the same speed as single bed use).

If you use the motor to knit singles rows it will be slow. Once you programed it to knit a certain amount of rows it will pick up speed (it´s fun to watch!)

Here is a video in russian from Sep 2013 that looks like an introduction to the ck 35. It gives you a good view of the programing panel on the main bed.

Programing & Using the motor

The motor can be used in three functions: a) knit partial way, b) knit single row, c)knit continuously/a number of rows

a) press the button with the parallel arrows, when you let go the motor stops

b) press the button with the snakelike curved arrows, the motor knits a row

c)Program the motor to knit more than one row by entering row numbers after pressing the repeat button, then press the snake arrow button. If you don´t program the motor it will only knit one row at a time.

The option of attaching a foot pedal to the motor is possible but I can´t test it as I don´t have one. How the buttons influence the foot pedal and viceversa I dont know and won´t speculate.

Knit width with motor

The motor will as a default go to maximum width past the colour changer.

For slimmer knits it means that you will get tension problems in the knitwear. The edges will have tenser and looser rows.

f you are using less than 200 needles it is worth programing the motor for a slimmer width but you can only do that via the PPD 35. It is not possible to do that on the main bed.

Here a video with reduced width from 2012.

Tension on the Ck 35

It has the usual dial as on all other models but I have noticed that you can go past the 0 and 10 tension and that is different in each machine. For example tension 7 on my kh 820 model is the equivalent of 8 on my kh 830 and tension 9 on the ck 35.

The Ck 35 has a different yarn holding system with a knot and yarn rip notifier that stops the motor dead right away.  That means that there is stronger tension holding the yarn because it passes through 3 more places that build up more tension than in other models where you have a single yarn mast.

If you don´t/can´t program the motor to a slimmer width it also adds to the tension (and adds problems).

The CK 35 working on it´s own

It´s really cool to have the workload taken off by using the motor but it doesnt really leave you free to do anything else that requires a lot of attention. Something will always go wrong and when you have knitted 200 rows (or depending on the height of your machine stand), you will have to rehang the comb and weights. Best to be seated in view of it and do minor workstuff or drink tea and enjoy the view.

Noise

Using the motor will increase the amount of noise (as you probably herad in the videos) so protecting your ears if you stay in the room is a neccessity and placing the machine so as not to disturb others!

Instructions

I have had the opportunity to leaf through the english and the german version and the german version has a better language knowledge and more precise naming than the english one.See below eg instead of cables it´s “wiring” and instead of in optional/for future functions it´s “for the option”.

They both have the choppy dynamics of instructions eg you jump bakcwards and forwards for simple processes and even jumping from Ck 35 to  PPD35 instruction books is neccessary for some informations. A more strealimed and a more step by step instruction would have been more user friendly. Once the machine is hacked it will be neccessary to rewrite the instructions anyway.

Download the instructions Ck 35 in english here

And Parts Manual here

CONCLUSION

BUT despite all this it is worth while to buy one if you can get it. i is relativly simple to use if you know your way around brother knitting machines and need a machine to do a lot of work. It is also capable of using 4 colours in a row and has 6 colour holders. It does with ease what you have to squeeze out of the previous models such as jaquard knitting.

The cost of getting a previous computer model with double bed and motor can be around € 2.500 and even if you get the combo cheaper you dont have the automatic colour changers in it.

A few companies still sell ck 35 s (It seamed to be very popular in the eastern european (where I got mine) and russian states so those are the pages to look at. Possibly even greek?)

And lots of parts are still available on ebay (although a lot of parts are identical to previous models such as the bed and pattern mechanism, needles, accessories, weights…).

GOOD NEWS

Currently my machine is being hacked by two pros which means that I will be able to attach my pc to it.  Pattern design and control of the machine are then done through the pc. Patterns are stored on the pc, the position of the carriage, row counting are done on the computer, such as motor and colour changer control.

I will post more information as the process continues.

BTW

Only a 100 machines were made in 1990 and sold when brother stopped making them. Unfortunately more information is hard to come by, no circuit plans are available or what plans brother had in store for the not yet assigned sockets on the main bed and motor…

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AND

If you are an owner of a CK 35 I would love to hear from you, which experiences you have made, any info on the machine etc etc etc

It would be great to have a network of CK 35 owners since there a only so few of these machines.

Write to vlp (at) etib.org

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “The CK 35: What I have learned so far…

  1. Hi, I have a CK35 practically new. I bought it years ago and used 2 or 3 times to create some samples and then I had to go to school and never used it again, Couple of days ago I decided to use it but some buttons did not work but cleaned it and now is running well. I would like to get designs with 6 color-yarns to be able to create something nice using all the capabilities of this machine. Do you know where I can purchase these designs around San Jose, CA? Thanks, Cecibex

    Posted by Cecilia Bex Chavez | June 24, 2014, 4:43 am
    • Hi Cecilia,
      sorry, as I live in Berlin Germany, I wouldn´t know.
      How about you post this on ravelry? The pattern itself should be no problem as it can also be used on other electronic brother machines (there is an electronic 6 colour changer that can be used on any electronic machine), so there might be a lot of them going around. Or you modify whatever pattern is available in 4 colours.
      Best,
      Victoria

      Posted by vlpdesigns | June 24, 2014, 11:21 am
  2. Hallo Victoria,
    gibst Du zufällig Kurse zur Bedienung der CK-35. Ich habe seit kurzem eine: Muster erstellen und laden kriege ich hin – aber beim Verteilen der Farbnüßchen geht es nicht weiter. Kann ich mir die Vorgehensweise bei Dir/euch anschauen?
    Danke und Grüße von Katja

    Posted by Katja | January 9, 2015, 11:23 am

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