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qwhat are some questions to ask when shopping for a mid/long arm machine?

Tips, Suggestions, and General Discussions about quilting by machine.
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CraftyG
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:07 pm

qwhat are some questions to ask when shopping for a mid/long arm machine?

Post by CraftyG » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:14 am

It took me 3 years to decide on the Accuquilt fabric cutter. I love it! Now, I'm researching for the mid/long arm machine of my dreams. I know I won't be able to replce it once I get one so I want it to have all the bells & whistles I can afford. I bought a quilt magazine (can't remember which one) that had a great chart describing features on about a dozen machines. What are some questions I should ask & what made you decide which machine you wanted. Space was a big concern before but not so much of one now. I know to test drive all that I can but how do I know what I want/need if I don't know what I want? LOL!!! All advice is always greatly appreciated!!!

Hugs
Gina

cindyg
Posts: 21698
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:04 am

Re: qwhat are some questions to ask when shopping for a mid/long arm machine?

Post by cindyg » Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:53 pm

Craftyg - I think that first you have to decide how much money you want to spend on one. Then do research and test drive everything that is in your budget. I have a HQ-16 and we upgraded to the better table which is very sturdy, all metal, etc. That added a couple of thousand on to the price but I think it is well worth it. Do you want a computerized machine or one that you actually operate yourself? I tested the long-arms at the Houston quilt show a couple of years ago and I liked the A-1 the best. The Gammill seems to be a favorite but maybe that's because they have been making quilting machines longer. I don't know. I found the A-1 to run smoother than the Gammill, less vibration and the stitches were very nice. We bought our HQ-16 at the Houston quilt show last November but we'd been researching and test driving mid-arms for a couple of years before we took the plunge. Have fun and let us know what you decide on.

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purrfect-lady
Posts: 19772
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:01 am

Re: qwhat are some questions to ask when shopping for a mid/long arm machine?

Post by purrfect-lady » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:21 am

Craftyg, congrats on taking the plunge. One thing to consider is the type of quilting that you like to do - if you envision yourself to be mainly a free-motion meanderer, a shorter arm would be OK for you. If you want to do patterns on 12-inch blocks, you won't be happy unless you get at least a 17-18 inch throat. The finished quilt on the take-up roller will get larger and larger as you get towards the end of the quilt and will reduce your stitching area. I am at the end of a quilt now on my Nolting Fun Quilter with a 17-inch throat and I have 12 inches of stitching area left.

Another thing that might be important to you is the frame or table. It hurt financially, but I opted for wheels on my table legs and hydraulics. This way I can pull the table out from the wall when I want, but shove it back to allow more space in the room. The hydraulics are a real back-saver. I'm not quite 5 feet tall and have a bad back. I need different heights for pinning the quilt onto the leaders than I need for standing and stitching. I've only had my Nolting for 8 months, but I'm SOO glad I got those two options on the table.

Test drive all models that you are considering. Some might be too heavy and torque your back too much. The Gammill was too heavy for me. I almost bought the Tin Lizzie until I tried the Nolting. Availability of customer service is also a consideration. I couldn't get anyone to respond to my many e-mails at one major company, but when I e-mailed Nolting, the president of the company responded to my questions within fifteen minutes. To me, that said a lot about the service of the company.

Sometimes, you can get a show model for less (which is what I did), and also you can find used ones. Most have users' groups and often list machines/frames/tables/accessories for sale at a great savings. worth checking out.

I hope I haven't rambled on too long. I have a reputation, and I think I've been upholding it well with this post! Sorry. Good luck and we're all interested to hear what you end up choosing.

maryz


CraftyG
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:07 pm

Re: qwhat are some questions to ask when shopping for a mid/long arm machine?

Post by CraftyG » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:12 am

Thanks for the input guys. I haven't thought about computerized versus "manual" but will. I'm tall (5'11") but have back problems also. To me anything on wheels is is worth the $$ 'cos when I want to move something I surely don't want to have frustration added to my quilting.

I'm going to the Knoxville quilt show & will start my "test driving" then. My DH is hoping I won't get the A"first one tested-first one bought" fever. He knows I really want one.

Will keep you posted.

Hugs
Gina

somari
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:08 am

Re: qwhat are some questions to ask when shopping for a mid/long arm machine?

Post by somari » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:07 pm

except for test driving there is no way to know how fast it works. I find mine frustratingly slow to tie off on start, must 30-60 second each.

SandiG1213
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:03 am

Re: qwhat are some questions to ask when shopping for a mid/long arm machine?

Post by SandiG1213 » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:23 am

I bought a used Mega Quilter from my Nolting dealer. I had it in lay a way for a while until I paid it off. Mike Holodnak from Memory Lane Quilting in Ohio has been wonderful. He has taken care of me from the get go. I'm getting ready to buy my new Nolting soon and when I tried all of the different machines, Nolting had the smoothest stitch.you need to check not only the machine but who's going to do the service when you need it the most. Believe me you will want to have someone answer the phone. especially, when you just get started. Good luck. Have fun.








scrapquilter48
Posts: 6550
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:32 pm

Re: qwhat are some questions to ask when shopping for a mid/long arm machine?

Post by scrapquilter48 » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:54 am

My 1st questions, How & when can I expect to make money buying this machine.
2nd What is difference between this/that one long arm machine.
3rd What can it do for me..
4th Does company install machine in my home.. If not I'd get the sense they don't stand behind their product.
5th Repairs, warranty
6th Will it fit in my home..lol
7th Training on the machine is offered by the seller
8th Do I have to buy now, or can I do some shopping around.
9th Once this machine is sold will you be ordering more..(if answer no then I would sense something wrong with the make/model)
10th Is there any way I can try it see if it's for me..

If seller
insists you buy now I'd be a little leary why such a good machine can't wait for your decision..

But I don't have longarm and never will with my budget. If it were my choice an embroidery machine be more my line of interest.



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