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Search for computerized long arm

Old 07-27-2014, 04:03 AM
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Default Search for computerized long arm

I have begun the research for an automated long arm quilting machine and frame. I looked at the quilt show and everyone's brand was the "best". Thought I would ask the experts! Any suggestions on what brands to consider and what to avoid?
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:15 AM
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I have an HQ Avante with the ProStitcher. Now that I have had it for some time I have no problem using it. It does take time to learn the process but they have come a long way in their manuals. There are recent updates that I will not be getting as my machine uses the original equipment and they now have improved so much it would have to be replaced but they say it will not be replaced again for many years so if you are just starting out you would be good to go. If I had it to do over, I would get it. Their help area is GREAT. I call and if they don't have an open line I leave a message and they always call back. Why oh why do I always have a problem on a weekend???? Actually I have not had to call for anything in over a year (did I just end my luck?). I found this to be a good machine/SW package, not cheap but a lot less than others. You need to really look around and TRY them all to see what suits you. This is a costly buy so get what you want and what you can get support on.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:43 AM
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Everyone is going to reply that their machine is the best! I would go to a major quilt show (even if you have to travel) check out as many machines as you can, then find out about dealers in your area, and what kind of service & support they offer. A computerized machine is a huge investment, so take your time doing research. Depending on how computer savvy you are and your mechanical skills, a supportive dealer may tip the scale.
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:06 AM
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You've been to the shows to see the machines ... did you try them out?
Because you are searching for an automated machine, when you test drive the machines you are mostly going to be concerned with how to operate the software, the mechanics of the frame, and the mechanics of the head (changing needles, thread, setting tension - etc), but not manually moving the machine. If you've not done that at the shows, then my suggestion would be to go back and pay particular attention to the software part of the setup.

Other than that, support and training classes are going to be a key component to your purchase. I would suggest starting with local dealers and the machines they offer.
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:33 AM
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I, too, would suggest you go to the shows, but more than once. The first time to look and see and learn whaat you can expect from the company: good help assistance, a local expert at a LQS or an area educator who is available. What kind of frame comes with the machine: how adjustable is it for height and length. [You could move and and have more or less room available for it in your home.] Keep good notes.

Then after that read carefully your notes and prepare your list of needs vs wants. Also compare prices. Getting a computerized LA can be almost as expensive as a small house. Measure all the available places in your present home that you would want to put the machine. Take these notes with you for the second visit and also see if you can make a deal or at least free financing.

BTW I have an HQ and have gotten great service instructions when we moved it and then got an updated trolley.

Make it fun. If it takes you two years even.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:42 AM
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I have a basic Innova set-up and have been toying with the idea of getting a computerized system (adding it on to what I have). Innova's Autopilot system is very, very expensive - but most of them are. They have another system, Navigator, that doesn't do all the Autopilot does, but I'm not as interested in that because I do want all the bells and whistles. I'm interested in seeing MQR, but they don't attend shows near me, and I would have to drive for hours to see one. Support with Innova is the best, 24/7, expert technical advice. It's a huge investment, and I can appreciate your difficulty in selecting one.

Do you already own a longarm or have experience with one? If you do, you might think about what you like or don't like about your system. If you don't, then I hope you realize that a computerized system does not do all the work. You still have to load the quilt, clean and maintain the longarm, deal with tension issues, advance the quilt when it's finished with a pass, position the needle, program the computer... Many professional longarmers end up having two systems, one that is computerized and one that they use for free motion while the computerized system is doing its thing.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:28 AM
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I would like to ask why you want a computerized longarm. Are you planning to quilt as a business?

If money were no object, I would go with Innova.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:35 AM
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I was in a similar position in which you are today. In the end, I did not get the computerized machine due to its cost and the fact that I love free motion quilting, BUT here are some thoughts I had that may help you decide
1. I was dead set on HQ Avante with the pro stitcher. Then, I thought about the tablet being attached to the machine and it constantly moving. How long would it last?
2. I visited Farmhouse Quilts on Long Island and looked into their quilting room. They have two Gammil Statler Stitchers working at the same time. The owner loved her first so much, that she ordered the second one. Quilting for others is their bread and butter. The computer is attached to the machine, but it does not move with it, which in my opinion is way better.
I have a non-computerized HQ Avante. If I were to have money, or decide to go into business quilting for others, I would probably go for the Gammil Statler Stitcher. It is quite a bit of money more than others, but the IT logistics behind it makes more sense to me. I had the opportunity to really play with it at AQS Lancaster show, and although I prefer HQ for free motion, because it glides like a charm, i would have still opted for Gammil if I were looking for a machine that is exclusively going to be used for computer guided quilting. Again, this is just my personal preference. The decision is yours. I would go to Gammil booth at a show and ask them why they think they are better than the HQ. Then I would go to the HQ booth and do the same. Whatever you choose, try to get a floor model from a show like MQX, or a classroom model. They are practically brand new, but they come at a great discount. I got mine as a classroom model from the MQX, paid no tax, no shipping, and got a great discount, thanks to my savvy local dealer. Good luck!!!!
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:38 AM
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Default Long arm research

Thanks for the valuable info. I think i need to do alot more research.





UOTE=Tashana;6819566]I was in a similar position in which you are today. In the end, I did not get the computerized machine due to its cost and the fact that I love free motion quilting, BUT here are some thoughts I had that may help you decide
1. I was dead set on HQ Avante with the pro stitcher. Then, I thought about the tablet being attached to the machine and it constantly moving. How long would it last?
2. I visited Farmhouse Quilts on Long Island and looked into their quilting room. They have two Gammil Statler Stitchers working at the same time. The owner loved her first so much, that she ordered the second one. Quilting for others is their bread and butter. The computer is attached to the machine, but it does not move with it, which in my opinion is way better.
I have a non-computerized HQ Avante. If I were to have money, or decide to go into business quilting for others, I would probably go for the Gammil Statler Stitcher. It is quite a bit of money more than others, but the IT logistics behind it makes more sense to me. I had the opportunity to really play with it at AQS Lancaster show, and although I prefer HQ for free motion, because it glides like a charm, i would have still opted for Gammil if I were looking for a machine that is exclusively going to be used for computer guided quilting. Again, this is just my personal preference. The decision is yours. I would go to Gammil booth at a show and ask them why they think they are better than the HQ. Then I would go to the HQ booth and do the same. Whatever you choose, try to get a floor model from a show like MQX, or a classroom model. They are practically brand new, but they come at a great discount. I got mine as a classroom model from the MQX, paid no tax, no shipping, and got a great discount, thanks to my savvy local dealer. Good luck!!!![/QUOTE]
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:56 AM
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Intelliquilter is one of the best computerized systems around. It will do almost anything. The updates are free and always good because they take input from quilters and then add the features quilters are looking for. I have mine on an APQS Millenium.
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