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This is a presentation in pictures of the quilting process on a longarm with robotics. This is a small nursery wall hanging project I am currently working on. A big thanks to my customer Gillian for using the quilt commission to demonstrate the process.
1. This is my Bernina Q24 with qBot V3 attached. Note the 3 rollers and dead bar. The roller passing through the throat of the machine is the take-up for the quilt. It has a cloth leader on which the quilt sandwich is attached. The front top roller is for the backing and the bottom front roller is for the quilt top. The dead bar you see below the quilt take-up roller ensures the quilt back always remains in contact with the sewing bed equipped with optical sensors that are part of the built-in stitch regulation system of the Q24. A highly complex bit of engineering.
2. A view of the qBot head attached to the back of the Q24
3. A view of the step motors. In the foreground is the motor that controls the movement of the Y axis carriage. At the back there is another step motor that contols the movement of the X axis carriage. The movement of the carriages is controlled by high tension steel wires. As a result of this elegant engineering, you can see that the frame table top is free for me to use as a convenient cutting board.
4. A view of the front of the Q24 which has all controls including the handwheel at the front. To the side is a Samsung Android tablet on which the qBot software is loaded. All design functions are done on this computer. The tablet communicates with the qBot head via wireless Bluetooth and leaves the head to concern itself only with the movement of the carriages. The only connection between the Q24 and the qBot is a simple cable that communicates only stop/start commands from the qBot.
That said let's move on to the loading of the quilt sandwich and the robotic quilting process.
1. The batting and the quilt top are laid over the backing. 2. The quilt top is pinned and rolled onto the lower front bar. A basting seam is created across the top edge joining all three layers together. 3. The qBot robotics system is activated and pattern quilting is chosen. First the area to be quilted is defined plotting 4 points along the upper edge and the lower edge. This defines the total quilting area available. 4. The chosen design is then retreived and displays within the quilting area. 5. The design is modified by resizing and positioned in the upper right corner. The green dot is the start point and the red is the stop point. It is important to note that these two points on this design start and finish on the same plane.
1. Because the start and end points are on the same plane, I can now use the Chain feature which repeats the original design and at the same time, joins the end point of the design with the start point of the duplicate. 2. I repeated this 4 times across the width of the quilting area. As it turned out, it fit exactly. Modifications are possible for when this is not the case. I now have created a single design that will quilt out without stopping. I also save this new larger design under a new name. 3. The machine is now moved to the start position and after bringing up the bobbin thread, the quilting process commences. 4. I have paused the quilting to show the progress. 5. The first row is completed and there is still room in the quilting area to do another row, I use the function called "Another". I first lock the x-axis to prevent the design from moving left or right, I simply drag down the duplicate but the duplicate is not quite in the correct position.
1.The backing is pinned to the underside of the take-up leader seam. 2. The backing is seen with the right side down and the edge of the take-up leader visible. This prevents the leader from being accidentally sewn onto the quilt. 3. The backing is then pinned in the same manner to the leader on the top front roller. 4. The backing is now relled onto the front roller and locked in place. Note the material is smooth meaning the pinning was done properly. 5. This demonstrates why the backing must be larger than the batting and quilt top. Note the width of the longarm sewing bed. Mine is just over 4 1/2 inches wide
1. The position of the duplicate design is nudged upward to nest into the first row.
2. The second row is then quilted out.
3. At this point there is not enough room in the quilting area to do another row. The quilt is then advanced on take-up roller, smoothed out, and positioned properly. My robotics has the ability of plotting unlimited points so in order to correctly position the next row, I plot points matching the bottom edge of the last row. I need only do this for 2 areas to achieve proper positioning.
4. The result now shows a quilting area highlighting the the profile of the last completed row.
5. I now bring in my saved design and nudge it into place to match the profile.
The finished quilt showing front, back, and a close-up of design detail
The binding is double fold mitered and finished with a decorative star stitch for durability.
1. The last row is quilted out but the design is too big for the material remaining. I use the Trim function of the qBot to trim the bottom edge.
2. A close-up of the trimmed edge.
3. The quilt is now complete and removed from the frame.
4. The extra backing material is die cut using the Accuquilt Go Big creating 2 1/2 inch strips for the binding.
5. Using only 2 of the extra backing material excess I now have enough to apply a double fold mitered binding to the quilt.