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Getting into Embroiding

Discussion in 'Embroidery' started by rhorton, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. rhorton

    rhorton New Member

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    Our shop is contemplating getting into Embroiding and we are wondering if there is a place to jump off from in terms of websites and periodicals. We have our eyes on a one head machine and a heat press to do cheap shirts with as well. We our currently a full service Sign Shop but some of our larger accounts have expressed interest in orders if we did it since there seems to be a lack of quality in the local shops that currently offer embroiding.

    Any help for a total stitch newbie is appreciated.
     
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  2. Brad Knight

    Brad Knight Member

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    T-Shirt forum is a great place to start - I know I've spent a lot of time there because I'm in the same boat - I don't go 2 days without someone asking me if I'm doing embroidery... so I'm probably going to be doing embroidery...

    I know there were a lot of machines at the NBM show in Indy last month - and we were really impressed with the Tajima. They have a model with an integrated laser to do reverse appliques, but there are other manufactures that sell a stand alone laser sytem - so that you theoretically you're not tying up your embroidery machine while doing the laser process... anyway - There is a lot of crossover between sign work and embroidery - if you can run Corel or Illustrator, they now have plugins to add stitch effects right in the software.
     
  3. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Oh I hope you aren't selling embroidery as a way to do cheap shirts.

    Be careful as to the sources that you go for to learn. Even in the t-shirt forums, I see a lot of bad digitizing practices. Mistakes that should not be made. I don't know if it's a limitation in the software that they use or a lack of knowledge in the process.

    I would actually do the attachments within the machine. Your sequin attachments etc. Main reason is less registration issues if you have to set it up on another machine.

    Plus I know with the software I have when it comes to doing sequins, I can have all that information all in one file when I send it to the machine.



    Mistake to think along those lines. Things that work great in signage do not translate well into embroidery. Unless you know certain "tricks", ways to use running stitches, stitch angles, blends etc.

    I know Pulse has a plugin for Ai and Corel. Not a fan of it. A couple of reasons.

    1. You can't take just any design and get it to work right away in embroidery, plugins like that give you that false sense. Plus they don't have all the digitizing tools available. Where to place start/end points on an object and the stitch angle relative to those points. A biggie for fill stitches as I see most mistakes done in relation to fill stitches, although it does apply to all.

    2. People really need to learn digitizing separate from vector programs. Even though the native EMB files that I deal with are vectors in a sense. You scale them down or up to a certain degree, depending on type of stitch, angle etc, it won't render that object correctly. People need to learn what will and won't work in regard to digitizing.

    Digitizing is much more involved then people want to think that it is. It is not the same as running a vector program. You have to think what can I do to keep the needle on the fabric, but yet hide all the connector stitches to minimize either jumps and/or trims.

    I just got done with the NNEP show here in town. I saw a couple of places that down played what it's like to learn to digitize and made it seem simple. It isn't. It has quite a learning curve to it that isn't quite the same as just general design/signage work.

    Stick with any of the brand names and you should be good. I'm a fan of Brother machines. Tajima is good, SWF is good. All three have options for attachments.

    Most people for production would say get multi-head units. I'm a firm believer in networking single heads. I can get someone to look at my machines 5 miles down the road because I have single heads. If I had a multi-head setup that amount to the 8 single heads that I had, I would have to get someone out of Atlanta to work on them, a good 3.5 hrs away. Also torsional vibrations can get multi-head machines with timing issues. There are a lot of reasons why I would go single versus multi head.
     
  4. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Whatever route you go, make sure you do a thorough market study to see if a "real" customer base exists (not just word of mouth from customers).

    And on top of that, be diligent about a competetive analysis so you have a good feel for the players who are already in the game.

    Around here, it've seen guys from several different industries drop coin on a bunch of equipment without a clue as how to market their services...or how to compete against the big guys.

    Namely, I was one of those guys. Acquiring business savvy has been a real challenge, but worth every ounce of effort...I sure wouldn't do it that way again. I wish you the best.


    JB
     
  5. Brad Knight

    Brad Knight Member

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    Lots of good info - and I know what you're getting at - I came to Corel late - I started designing in CAD/CAM and running toolpaths from vectors, then got into Corel - same difference. You can't take a vector file and just throw toolpaths at it - you don't have to worry about end mills, ball noses and v-bits when you're printing...

    ... but, nonetheless, there is a lot of crossover. There are challenges of getting your design from the screen regardless of your discipline. Dye-sub and your color correction software, screen printing and color separation, CNC work and tool pathing, and emroidery with the various stitches. Nothing is the same, but they all tie into one another.

    Now, as far as the laser, I agree - if it were me (and it maybe in the not too distant future) I'd get the laser integrated. Mainly because I really don't want to become a large scale emroidery shop - I want to offer embroidery as a vertical part of my shop. The stand alone laser made the integrated one from Tajima look like model T compaired to a formula 1 race car. It ran 2 passes in about 2 seconds - you pulled the hoop straight off the embroidery machine, loaded it straight into the laser and it was done in a few seconds - the Tajima was 50 times slower - BUT - to me it makes more sense for my business model because I don't want to do 1000 or more units a day.
     
  6. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Pretty much the same here. I started designing just straight in embroidery programs. Got into Corel when it got fully integrated into my embroidery program, but on separate sides if you will.

    While I agree in some, that is still an over simplification. You don't just have to worry about stitches and stitch type, but you have to worry about the design itself, stitching order, density of the stitch objects, push compensation of those objects. Also stitch angle of the object itself and in relation to the other objects and the fabric it's stitched on in order to prevent bulletproof embroidery and/or puckering. A lot of that, you don't have to deal with in dye sub, heat transfers and printing signage. I would say CNC routing would be the nearest comparison.

    You have a lot more to worry about when translating that design to embroidery and what a lot of customers don't get is that you might need to have more then one stitch file when you are stitching on various fabric types. Think along the lines of print profiles for different media.

    What you can or can't get away with comes with experience though and learning tricks on how to do things.

    I could go on and on with regard to digitizing though. It's something that one doesnt just get it all and get it right just right off the bat. It's one of those things that just urks me, especially from companies that sell embroidery from a business in a box and that everything just nicely flows together from one thing to the next. Makes a good sale pitch, but it's just not the way it works.

    I guess I just want to make sure all is out there and known. Warts and everything.
     
  7. Brad Knight

    Brad Knight Member

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    Oh, I know what you mean - which is why we're here!! I'll learn from you and hopefully in the long run, I can help someone else!!!
     
  8. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Amen to that.

    Anyone that wants to ask me anything about digitizing and/or just embroidery in general feel free to let me know.
     
  9. dhamlett15

    dhamlett15 Member

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    I added embroidery to my sign business about 3 years ago.

    I learned most of the machine it self within one month. Took over a year to get just the basic digitizing down to where I was confident it would sew correct the first time. In the last 6 months I have started doing most of my digitizing.

    If you have any questions or would like to talk about adding embroidery into a sign business send me a pm and I will send you my phone number.
     
  10. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I would say that's about the right time frame that would get you through probably 90-95% of what most embroidery shops would see. If not more.

    I always suggest to those that want to start digitizing to buy a couple of stock embroidery designs and watch them sew out. See what stitch type, angle that they use for the size. How they try to keep the needle stitching. Try to minimize trims (depending on the machine that can add anywhere to 6-15 seconds on stitch time, which adds up over the course of the pattern, in some case it can be double the stitch time).

    When you look at digitizing software, the main thing to look at is the stitch "engine" of the program. I also like to make sure that I have manual stitch tool. Mainly a single pass, but if it also has a triple pass that's fine as well. Having that manual stitch tool will be able to give you a work around for almost anything no matter how limiting the software is in other areas.

    Plus when you want to do higher end artistic work, you'll need to be able to have that ability to do artistic effects.
     
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