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Thread: Which Long Arm & Why?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Judi in Ohio's Avatar
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    When I first looked at Long Arms, Gammill's & APQS where the big boys, and the Prodigy (loved it) had just come out. I couldn't fathom putting that kind of money into a LA, but now I can. I'm very interested in the ABM Innova, and the A-1. The A-1 is 22" throat and sounds like a lovely machine from the results of reading some of the art quilters who work with it - I've not tried it. The Innova is a 26" throat and it about $5,000 more. I can buy a used 2 yr old A-1 and save some money and see if I really want to do this. What about you Long Armers out there? What do you use, why and what would you change?
    Thanks all
    Judi

  2. #2
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    since it is a large investment i think you should try out all of the different ones you are interested in and choose the one YOU LIKE...just because i love my machine does not mean you would like it at all-
    and you may find one you love that i would find horrible to use---we are all different- and you should look at it like buying a car- don't buy the first one you test drive---test drive as many as you can find- then research
    is there local tech support/service- how far will you have to go (and are willing to go) if not local-
    how's customer service? if you choose one that is local you will recieve free owners classes to learn all it's features- if you order long-distance you may not have that option- will customer/tech support talk you through problems over the phone? are they friendly, knowledgable- and willing?
    i have a HandiQuilter long arm- they are in Utah- I am in Michigan---they have helped me a number of times over the phone over the years- i love my machine- and have been very happy with customer service---i do wish there was a local shop sometimes though---i've had to learn and deal with issues long distance from the beginning...i should have checked a few more things before making the purchase.

  3. #3
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    the only way is to try them all out i have 2 noltings and love them both and the service is great. But i think most everybody loves the one that they have. I have not heard of many people changing brands or owning more than one brand. But do keep in mind where the service department is and how good they are when servicing used machines.

  4. #4
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    I just bought an Innova 26" with the Lightening stitch (better stitch regulator-Innova is available with different ones) in August. I love my Innova. It feels substantial without being heavy, it moves nicely, good tech support, good dealer (based in St George, Utah), and the price was not outrageous. It is a self contained system and the bobbin case is the only point that needs oiling. My dealer was also willing to deal a little to match their show price. They will also make house calls for servicing.

    I learned to LA at my old LQS on an old Nolting (no SR) and then they switched to a Gammill (again no SR), which always had to wear a diaper due to oil leakage. Gammills are also heavy and pricey. I've also tried the Tin Lizzies and HandiQuilters. I didn't like how they felt compared to the others. Also, when I checked on HandiQuilter in town, I was going to have to bring the head in to the shop for the yearly servicing (per dealer [local]).

    You might check on the web to see what machines are availabe used near you. There are different groups like quilting board on line for many of the machines.

    I do agree with ckcowl that you should try different brands to see what works best for you and how you want to use the machine (home, business) and the fact that dealer support should be one of the biggest considerations for purchase, regardless of which brand you decide on.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    My first machine was bought strictly for price. I knew nothing about the brand. What a mistake. I hated it!!!! Before making that mistake again, I went to a show and tried them all. Then made my decision. Interestingly enough, my friend who did this with me, chose an entirely different brand.. It is critical that you make your own choice, not what someone done tells you as they may not be correct. For first time owners, customer support and lessons are essential. You will have many questions in the beginning and will need someone to help you. My first machine was delivered o my door for my own assembly, no lessons, and only the local LQS could call the manufacturer. I would strongly advise you have it assembled for you, with a lesson upon delivery.

  6. #6
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caspharm
    I just bought an Innova 26" with the Lightening stitch (better stitch regulator-Innova is available with different ones) in August. I love my Innova. It feels substantial without being heavy, it moves nicely, good tech support, good dealer (based in St George, Utah), and the price was not outrageous. It is a self contained system and the bobbin case is the only point that needs oiling. My dealer was also willing to deal a little to match their show price. They will also make house calls for servicing.

    I learned to LA at my old LQS on an old Nolting (no SR) and then they switched to a Gammill (again no SR), which always had to wear a diaper due to oil leakage. Gammills are also heavy and pricey. I've also tried the Tin Lizzies and HandiQuilters. I didn't like how they felt compared to the others. Also, when I checked on HandiQuilter in town, I was going to have to bring the head in to the shop for the yearly servicing (per dealer [local]).

    You might check on the web to see what machines are availabe used near you. There are different groups like quilting board on line for many of the machines.

    I do agree with ckcowl that you should try different brands to see what works best for you and how you want to use the machine (home, business) and the fact that dealer support should be one of the biggest considerations for purchase, regardless of which brand you decide on.
    I forgot to mention: the price also included a three day training class.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Digitizingqueen's Avatar
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    I say test drive because they all drive differently - I bought a gammill it was love at first touch!

  8. #8
    Member
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    I got an APQS Millenium, and the service has been absolutely spectacular. I love that it's very mechanical, and that I can do damn near any of the repairs myself with their guidance. Moreover, parts like fuses and cables are readily available at places like radio shack and home depot.

  9. #9
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitizingqueen
    I say test drive because they all drive differently - I bought a gammill it was love at first touch!
    I totally agree...especially the 'test drive them all'. One will call your name in your budget...

  10. #10
    Senior Member quilticing's Avatar
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    Gammill with computer! Love designing custom quilt patterns. Support from Accomplish Quilting is very good. Two days of instructions to get you started. Yes, they are pricy but what "business" isn't?

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