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Need suggestions for Intro low cost single thread machine with usb port

1260 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  abetterimage
We are not professional embroideries yet but we are considering it.

We are experimenting with a new proprietary design and are looking for a low cost introductory embroidery machine that will allow us to plug in a usb with our own design and create a few samples.

Single color/thread is file.

Our budget is a few hundred dollars max as this is an experiment... so far.

What machines do you folks suggest?

Thanks for any help.
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If you want to become professional embroiderers you will outgrow a single needle machine within a couple of months - so save your money there.
Have you had your design digitized for stitching? You cannot plug a graphic design into ANY machine and expect stitches.
I would suggest using your money to have your design professionally digitized, and then stitched on an industrial machine to get the samples.
AllisonB thank you for your suggestion.
We have a number of reasons we are not going to invest into a production machine at this point.

We do have extensive computer and graphics experience however and can create almost any standard graphics files including salable vector graphics svg files.

A few of the embrodery file formats seem to be...
ESS for Wilcom. EXP for Melco, HUS for Husqvarna/Viking, JEF/Janome for Elna/Kenmore, etc

Regardless, we would not consider a machine that had no way to convert from some standard graphics file format to their machines format.

Our question remains...

We are experimenting with a new proprietary design and are looking for...

A low cost introductory, single color/thread embroidery machine that can read and embroidery the design from some type of computer file via thumb drive or direct connect to the PC, or whatever.

Our budget for this project is a few hundred dollars max as this is an experiment... so far.

What machines do you folks suggest?

Thanks again for any help.
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As Alison said there is no machine that will directly convert any graphic file format into a stitch format. Embroidery machines only read stitch files. A graphic file needs to be digitized using digitizing software to create a stitch file. There are digitizing applications that can do some auto digitizing but most people agree that the quality level is generally poor. Digitizing is a skill/ art form that can take years to develop.
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I have no experience with the hobbyist machines which sounds like what you're looking for, but I'd only consider going that route if you're likely to keep it for a hobby if your "experiment" doesn't work out. It's difficult to make money with a commercial grade multi needle single head let alone a hobbyist machine.

If all you want is samples, you could find a shop to work with. There is a considerable learning curve to digitizing designs for the type of material/garment you are working with, adjusting the machine, backing, topping, etc which may get discouraging before you're happy with a sample.
There are no embroidery machines made that will take an image and create a stitch file for them. You need to have the design digitized into whatever format the machine you end up with needs.

What size is the design going to be? That will guide you into whatever machine... a lot of the small home embroidery machines can only handle maximum 4 inch by 4 inch, some of the more expensive ones can handle 5 inch by 7 inch. The Brother Dream Machine I believe has the capability to scan an image and create an outline but I don't think it can do more than that and they go for over 10K, might as well buy a 10 needle for that price.
Thanks folks.

We will probably give away the "prosumer" machine after we finish with it... or sell it on Craigslist... or maybe keep it for future experimental designs.

(Prosumer is a term used by photographers to describe equipment in the middle ground.)

"Stitch File" is a useful term you just taught me.

Wish we could take it to a local embroiderer but the design is proprietary and will be closely held until all trademarks are in place.

FYI, if you Google "convert svg to stitch file" you get lot's of hits on converting SVG (Scale-able Vector Graphics) files to a variety of 'stitch file' formats.

Thanks for the comments.
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One of the essential qualities of a good professional digitizer is their artistic ability. A good digitizer can create the appearance of different colors, textures, layers, depth and other attributes in a single color design that sews efficiently and works well for the particular fabric even after its washed many times. Good digitizers also have their own artistic style. Its hard to program artistic ability and application into a computer.
FYI, if you Google "convert svg to stitch file" you get lot's of hits on converting SVG (Scale-able Vector Graphics) files to a variety of 'stitch file' formats.
Yep, lots of claims out there. Take it from us who have actually tried this... It won't stitch worth a damn. The only people who will tell you there is software that can automatically convert an image into a stitch file are the people who are selling that software. Anyone who has actually used the software will tell you it is a waste of time.

Simple test... give them a circle with an outline and have them send you back the file. 99% guarantee you will end up with an egg that the outline doesn't match the inner shape...
No one has any business trying to create a stitch file unless you have some experience and knowledge of how an embroidery machine works. Translating a digital file into machine language is not automatic at anything but the most basic level. A stitch file only provides 4 types of information to the embroidery machine. 1) left/right movement of the table, 2) forward/back movement of the table, 3)up/down movement of the needle, including trimming, 4) needle(color) change. None of that information is any part of a digital graphic. Believe me that, you can't provide that information to the file without software and EXPERIENCE. Instead you should use an experienced digitizer and have them sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your design. Personally, there are thousands of people out there that have the best idea to ever come along and they will make a million off it. We see several of them every year. Most are not worth the time to put into it. What you consider to be so valuable that no one can even look at it, is probably not worth a second look to most digitizers. It's just one more job.
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AllisonB thank you for your suggestion.
Regardless, we would not consider a machine that had no way to convert from some standard graphics file format to their machines format.
Such a machine does not exist! You need embroidery digitizing software and lots of training in order to produce a stitch file that will stitch efficiently with no thread breaks, minimal color changes, minimal trims.....and look spectacular. Some people think that embroidery software with an "auto-digitize feature" is the answer...it is not. A good graphic is a great start. From that point on, there are so many variables to keep in mind as you digitize...the best way to sequence your objects, a way to hide travel runs, density of the objects in relation to the type of fabric you will be sewing, allowing for distortion that occurs with a circle for example....and the list goes on.

When I had my embroidery business, using top of the line Wilcom digitizing software, and the 15 needle Tajima Neo....it still took a lot of trial and error and experimentation and many samples to get some designs "right". For the more involved designs, I sent them out to a digitizing expert, and it was worth every penny.

You have a lot of things to consider before jumping into doing an embroidery business. I am thinking perhaps you haven't done a lot of research yet, because you would otherwise know a little more about how the process goes from graphic to stitch file. Not trying to be discouraging, but just wanting to say that there is definitely a steep learning curve with embroidery.
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I would seriously suggest you do something else with your time and money. Embroidery is not overly difficult, but there is a definite learning curve and it has many more "moving parts" than other garment decoration processes. In my opinion, the hobby machines are overpriced and vastly underperforming. Until you are willing to commit to a professional machine and learn or buy digitizing, you are wasting your money and time.
If you're serious about pursuing your design but don't want to invest in equipment and training, then just pay to have it digitized and provide that file to an embroiderer with a contract that keeps them from using the design for anyone else. THAT is your least expensive option if you simply want to dabble without committing.
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