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Thinking of buying Grandquilter and Qbot - Advice?

Thinking of buying Grandquilter and Qbot - Advice?

Old 04-29-2009, 08:39 PM
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Hello all -

My wife has her heart set on a Pfaff Grandquilter and we have found what we believe is a good deal. If we buy the 1200 machine and Imperial frame, we can get the Qbot for a huge discount. We should be able to buy the whole package for ~$5,500 + incidentals and tax. I have a few questions:

How many of you use this setup?
Any advice if we purchase this setup?
Is the Qbot as wonderful and easy to use as it looks in demo?
Is this price as great as we think it is?
Is there another alternative that would be good for amateurs like us that is more economical?
I think if we buy this we will be able to use it to quilt everything we could possibly make in a lifetime - true?

Thanks for any info you can provide.

Darren
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:43 PM
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I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you but I'm interested in reading what others have to say about it.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:54 PM
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I am no expert, but there are very experienced frame quilters on the homequiltingsystems list at http://groups.yahoo.com . I would definitely join that group, check out their files, and perhaps solicit advice from the quilters there. A quick search on the posts there turned up at least half-a-dozen comments on this setup.

From what I know, that is a very good price. The homequiltingsystems group has a "for sale" section; there was someone on the homequiltingsystems list selling the Inspira frame and Qbot for $900 in November (machine not included). Not sure how much the machine is.

I had the opportunity of seeing a Qbot in action at a store. The owner had just quilted a large fan circle (maybe 10 or 12 inches in diameter). What I didn't like was that she had to do it in quarters. With a computerized program I would much prefer that it be able to do the entire circle without my intervention. I gathered from that demo that the Qbot has size limitations on patterns.

I'm pretty sure the Grandquilter is a mid-arm machine rather than a long-arm. The files at homequiltingsystems would help you understand the difference. I think the Grandquilter harp area is about 13 inches whereas a longarm would be 17 inches or so. The problem comes in if you are quilting a large quilt. As the quilt gets done, the takeup roll of the quilt gets thicker and starts limiting the area actually available for quilting. While you can quilt a 12-inch pattern at the beginning of the quilt, towards the end you may be limited to only 6 inches or so of space for a pattern. That is the big limitation of mid-arm machines.

There are advantages and disadvantages to every setup; you have to decide what is the most important to you.
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:00 AM
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I just recently purchased a used Pfaff GrandQuilter Hobby 1200 and the Next Generation frame setup, including the Quilter's Cruise Control for $1,500. The Pfaff GrandQuilter Hobby 1200 is a 9" throat machine. I have not used it enough to provide much commentary. But so far the stitches have looked very good and even on both sides. I've heard some have trouble with thread breakage, But I have not had that problem.

The regular price on my setup is about $3,300 through a Pfaff dealer. The Q-Bot, which I have been seriously considering (My free motion quilting leaves something to be desired, thusfar.) is almost $4,000 alone. Q-bot comes with about 30-40 designs, which may be why the fan was done in pieces. However, it comes with software to create your own designs on your computer, whcih can then be run on the Q-Bot.

Make certain you are getting the Quilters Cruise Control included. Q-Bot will need this to work properly and would be an additional $500, if purchased separately.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:18 AM
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I don't know anything about this brand, or this frame, but want to make a general comment: I purchased the Janome and Little Gracie II frame and am very disappointed with the "reach" of the Janome with the 9" neck room. I wish I had bought a mid-arm or one with a 13" to go with the frame. It is frustrating to quilt part of a 12" block and have to advance for the other half.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:37 AM
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In purchasing a machine to quilt, don't rush into anything until you have taken the time to research all your options.

The QBot software is interesting but it is very limited as far as robotic quilting is concerned. There are few designs available in the grand scheme of designs. I think most of the patterns are for no more than 8' blocks. Depending on the throat space available on the machine, generally you can count on no more than 8" of quilting space and usually less, meaning you are going to be required to move the quilt often to finish a block.

There are several other options out there. Many of the mid arm machine offer more throat space and frames that can handle larger block size in one pass. A mid arm is usually classified as a machine that has an arm anywhere from 12" inches to 18". If I were going to purchase a mid arm, depending on the budget, I would look at the Tin Lizzie's, some of the Noltings, the HQ16, the Innova 18" all of which would be close to the $5500 price range.

I was in the same boat, thinking that the machine I purchased 2 years ago would hold me and my Lady for life. It's a great sewing machine, a Bernina with a stitch regulator but for quilting as a serious hobbyist it leaves something to be desired. It will sew for the rest of my life but it's frustrating to quilt on. Even with a frame I have 4" of quilting area in a strip the width of the frame. It gets old quickly. If your wife has a good serviceable sewing machine, shop for a mid arm and ease your frustration before it sets in. I've been where you are and done that.

If you want some more information on machines and shopping for one PM me and I'll forward you some info. Our longarm comes home on Wednesday night.
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