Common machine quilting problems & how to fix them!

October 28, 2014

We hand-build each and every APQS machine with utmost care – so much so that we feel like new parents as each one is born into the world! When they leave for their new homes, it’s a bit like sending a child off into the big world. You hope you’ve taught her well and that she’ll carry those family values with them into their new lives with no bumps in the road along the way.

As idyllic as that sounds, we’re also realistic. We know that despite the best upbringing, a child (or a quilting machine) may act up unexpectedly someday. That’s why we work extra hard to provide superior customer service for those times when your “baby” may need a little behavioral adjustment. 🙂

Resources such as our online instructional videos and product care pages are like a “practical parenting” book – they provide answers to all the common concerns and issues longarm owners may encounter in simple terms even a newbie can understand.

Prospective customers often ask us what to expect for typical problems or repairs to their APQS longarm machine. As much as we’d like to think that everything will stay the same forever and nothing will ever go wrong, they are, after all, still machines.

Needle positioner adjustments

The most common issue that APQS customers encounter is the need to adjust the needle positioner after a break-in period. When our machines are first manufactured, everything on the machine is new, from motors to belts to circuit boards. As all of those parts start to break in and loosen up, the machine’s needle up/down positioner will tend to gain speed and will take more than the half stitch it is supposed to take. This is an expected outcome of normal use. That’s why we’ve built in easy access to the specific screw that adjusts this on the circuit board. A quick turn or two on that screw and the machine should once again cycle correctly.

Stitch regulator adjustments

Superior stitch regulation is one of the features that sets APQS apart from other quilting machines. But the millions of perfect stitches up to that point are quickly forgotten if the regulator suddenly stops “regulating.” Devices called encoders translate the machine’s direction and movement into regulated stitches in all directions. When one of the encoder wheels is out of adjustment or has simply worn down, unattractive long stitches suddenly appear where perfect stitches previously lay. Our engineers have built in an easy adjustment to gain the most life from encoder wheels. However, at some point any adjustment room will be gone, and it will simply be time to replace the encoder wheels to keep stitches nice and even.

Thread cutter adjustments

Customers who want ultimate convenience and full features typically choose an APQS Millennium machine with a thread cutter. At the touch of a button, the bobbin thread is cut so you can move quickly to a new spot on a quilt without reaching blindly under the quilt with a scissors. This super-fast way to trim your threads can sometimes malfunction when too much thread lint builds up under the cutter blades, or if the washers supporting the blades compress too far. Keeping everything clean improves the cutter’s reliability all types of threads. Occasionally some minor adjustments may be needed to keep the cutter working at peak performance.

Finding your tension setting

Finally, whenever an APQS machine finds a new home, the proud new owners experience the same fears and learning curve associated with becoming a parent for the first time. Everything is strange and new, and they are afraid to touch or change anything for fear of “breaking” the machine.

In fact, a new machine needs to be touched, tweaked and played with! That unfounded fear of changing machine settings results in the most common phone call our customer service team receives every day – tension imbalance or breaking thread. Quilters are advised by many sewing machine manufacturers to leave tension settings alone. However, on a longarm machine, not only must you change the tension settings for different threads or projects, you must turn the tension knob a lot! That means a half-turn or even more – just to see an impact on the machine’s tension balance. This issue is not really mechanical, but is directly related to tension education. Learning more about thread tension removes the fear of making changes to the machine, which empowers quilters to use all sorts of different threads in their APQS machines to make stunning quilts.

Lifetime warranty

Here are at APQS we are so confident in the quality of our machines that we have backed up all NEW APQS longarm quiltling machines with a lifetime warranty.

New APQS longarm quilting machines are fully warranted to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. If a machine ever fails due to a manufacturing defect, even after extended use, we will repair the machine, without charge, or replace it, at our discretion. This includes the synchronous belt drive technology.