A Better Embroidery Machine, With 3D Printing And Common Parts

In concept, an everyday sewing machine could make embroidery a snap: the operator would move the fabric around in any direction they wish while the sewing machine would take care of slapping down stitches of colored thread to create designs and filled areas. In practice though, getting good results in this way is quite a bit more complex. To aid and automate this process, [sausagePaws] has been using CNC to take care of all the necessary motion control. The result is the DIY Embroidery Machine V2 which leverages 3D printed parts and common components such as an Arduino and stepper drivers for an economical DIY solution.

It’s not shown in the photo here, but we particularly like the 3D printed sockets that are screwed into the tabletop. These hold the sewing machine’s “feet”, and allow it to be treated like a modular component that can easily be removed and used normally when needed.

The system consists of a UI running on an Android tablet, communicating over Bluetooth to an Arduino. The Arduino controls the gantry which moves the hoop (a frame that holds a section of fabric taut while it is being embroidered), while the sewing machine lays down the stitches.

[sausagePaws]’s first version worked well, but this new design really takes advantage of 3D printing as well as the increased availability of cheap and effective CNC components. It’s still a work in progress that is a bit light on design details, but you can see it all in action in the video embedded below.

30 thoughts on “A Better Embroidery Machine, With 3D Printing And Common Parts

  1. Hey creator of this machine, if you see this, and want a Smoothieboard for the next version of your machine, hit me up at wolf.arthur@gmail.com I’ll give you one for free, as well as any help you might need, with anything. We really need embroydery machines in this community.
    By the way is this Open-Source?

    Cheers.

          1. The -NC ( non commercial ) clause in the license makes it not Open-Source, not Free, and not Open-Hardware, by all official definitions of the terms. I can give you quotes on demand, but it’s very easy to look up.

        1. Unless you’re only interested in making money off of someone else’s work, it’s pretty much open source. But if there’s another interpretation I’m unaware of, please do provide those quotes. Want a commercial embroidery machine that’s already built and ready to go? Check out the PE800.

          1. Nope. Common misconception, but definitely wrong. You are not alone being wrong on this, but that’s just being wrong with other people.

            Free, OSHW, CC and OS, all preclude limiting fields of endeavor, look up the definition for yourself. If you are too lazy tell me and I’ll Google it and post quotes here.

            Oh, you actually ask for quotes. Let’s do this then : 
            * https://opensource.org/osd.html ( open source software )-> Article 6
            * https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Open_Source_Hardware_Definition ( open source hardware )-> Article 8
            * https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.en.html ( free )-> Section on NC
            * https://freedomdefined.org/Definition ( free cultural works )
            * https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/NonCommercial_interpretation ( creative commons ) explains it too.

            There are a ton of problems with -NC that make it that all definitions of OS/OSHW/Free/etc make it incompatible. One good example is that for example having -NC on a work makes it very unlikely for the work to have any derivatives ( one of the main points of CC ).

            But don’t feel bad, it’s very common for people not to realize this. Pretty close to being an urban myth at this point :) . However for those who have been using the licenses for a long time/have helped in defining them, this is very obvious/known.

          2. Google the definitions for :
            * Open Source Software ( article 6 or 8 )
            * Open Source Hardware ( article 6 or 8 )
            * Free software
            * Free cultural works
            * Creative commons

            *All* say that limiting fields of endeavor is incompatible with the licenses definition.

            Don’t be sad though, lots of people get this wrong, you are not alone, and your case is not rare.

          3. But you pretty much hit the head on the nail there. Because, what is “making money of someones else work”. HaD is making money of his work right now, does that violate the license?
            People make money in strange ways of other peoples work all the time. Which is why the -NC license is so difficult, nobody knows where the line is where you can use it or not for making money.

          4. « Because, what is “making money of someones else work” »

            Maybe Google this ? It’s actually pretty clear what «use», and what «making money» is, in the definitions of the various licenses, and making an article about it definitely doesn’t match any of it.
            Debate about exactly where the frontier lies are imaginable, I’ve seen things that somewhat looked like discussing exactly where the line might be, but it’s super rare, generally easily resolved, and it *definitely* doesn’t weaken the concept of -NC as a whole …

          5. No dude!

            Let’s see if this makes it more understandable. Are you in to 3d printing?

            Imagine if the Reprap project had been released under a NC license. We would have missed out on so much collaboration between commercial and hobbyist developers.

            Most “reprappers” are not machinists and do not have machine shops. Therefore people who build their printers from scratch would still be making their hotends by drilling a hole through the center of a bolt and wrapping wire from a toaster oven around it. They would still be making their heated beds by gluing resistors to a piece of glass!

            Commercially produced printers for home hobbyists (If that market even developed at all) wouldn’t be much better. We wouldn’t have manufacturers producing parts for hobbyists to buy directly therefore we wouldn’t have all these interchangeable commercially produced pieces like hotends, electronics boards, etc… So, the commercial printer makers would each be rolling all that stuff from scratch.

            What would that look like? Chipped filament cartridges, crappy one-off software. I’m picturing hacked, pirated software from the Chinese manufacturers. Just think of the K-40 Corel Draw! And for the more reputable manufacturers? Where would they get enough development money to produce a software chain? Again, I don’t think a comercial market would even exist but if it did that startup development cost would have to go into the price of the device… or the proprietary chipped filament that it consumes.

            Well.. anyway. I know this is kind of an old thread. I came back here because I remembered having read about this project and wanted to make one for my wife as a Christmas present. Despite posting on a site for Open Source hardware and despite multiple people asking the author has not posted the software nor the hoop design. Don’t get me wrong, they’re his property, the result of his work. That’s his choice but if you aren’t going to open your stuff why post on such a site at all?!?!

            Well, watching the video convinced me that it IS time for an open source embroidery machine to exist. I was going to try to fill in those gaps myself but you can see above how I feel about NC licenses. .I don’t develop additions to NC projects in my spare time so that’s that. Maybe I can find a different embroidery machine project or if not just start my own.

            And I’m not even interested in selling anything!

          6. « Imagine if the Reprap project had been released under a NC license ». This, 1000x this … Thanks for pointing that out as it’s super critical, and you explain it better than I did. We wouldn’t have a Reprap, we wouldn’t have a Wikipedia, we wouldn’t have a Linux …

        2. I looked over those links, and it seems to me now that you are just dogmatically opposed to the creator’s choice of the available licenses, on the grounds that it defies what you and others understand “open source” to be. Which is even more picayune than I originally thought. I guess I asked the wrong questions.

          What I really want to know is, how exactly is this license restricting YOUR intent for this design? For example, does the NC clause stop you from downloading the files, building this machine, and using it? Does it stop you from learning the principles of building an embroidery machine? Does it stop you from embroidering something? Does it stop you from adding an enhancement and publishing it exactly the same way the original creator did? Because I see nothing in there that suggests this would be the case. So you don’t want to make money off of it.. what DO you want to do that the license won’t let you?

          Perhaps I and many others are “confused” by NC because it doesn’t actually prohibit anything we hackers want to do with the author’s work. Getting down to theoretical hand-waving about what might happen down the road, or comparing it to the Cult of Stallman’s metaphysical ideologies of “freeness” is a little too philosophical IMO. If I start an embroidery shop I’m probably going to buy a commercial machine with a warranty. If I feature it on my YT channel, I think it’s very unlikely that sausagepaws will come after me for royalties. I mean, are you really concerned about HaD violating the license? Has action been taking against them yet?

          One of the tenets of open/free software is not telling other developers how they must license their work. If this was the best option in the opinion of sausagepaws, and the alternative was not to publish it at all, or to pursue a commercial license and make it all proprietary, then in this case, we have all benefited from NC.

          If you’re SO passionately against NC I think you have few options. You can keep poo-pooing it and treating it exactly like proprietary copyrighted closed-software, which it is not by any stretch of the imagination, or you can dedicate your life to reinventing everything that every other creator has done, only better and with more just licensing, or you can play ball like the rest of us while setting the example with YOUR software and YOUR designs and publish them the way you think is best for everyone.

          And remember, nothing about NC stops you from emailing sausagepaws and asking, for example, “is it okay if our makerspace builds five of these machines?” or “is it OK with you if I feature your machine on my YT channel with sixty thousand subscribers?” or “is it OK with you if I build one of these and sell monogrammed bandanas at a convention?” You seem to be making mountains of assumptions about what their intent is based on their use of two characters.

          1. « I looked over those links, and it seems to me now that you are just dogmatically opposed to the creator’s choice of the available licenses, on the grounds that it defies what you and others understand “open source” to be. »

            I really don’t understand your point.

            Where’s the dogma here ?

            I’m just pointing out several well accepted definitions of Open-Source and related concepts, as well as the fact that those definitions are incompatible with restricting fields of endeavor.
            What’s dogmatic about that ?

            I’m in no way telling somebody they can’t use a given license ( which you dishonestly implied I did, when I absolutely didn’t. Nasty ), I’m saying if they use that license, they shouldn’t misrepresent it as Open-Source, when it clearly isn’t.
            If they really want to call it Open-Source, they should make it clear that they are using the term in a sense that isn’t widely accepted. If they don’t they are misleading people with poor knowledge of the terms.

            « For example, does the NC clause stop you from downloading the files, building this machine, and using it? »

            If I intend to be doing commercial use of the work at some point in the future, or if I want others to be able to use my modifications in commercial work, then sure it’s stopping me …
            There are good reasons why -NC works never see the buzz of collaboration and sharing and help that is typically associated with Open-Source projects.

            « Does it stop you from learning the principles of building an embroidery machine »

            Nothing would stop me from that, I’m not sure how it’s in any way related.

            « [ Insert list of irrelevant things I’m not prevented of doing ] »

            [ Presumably to hide the one relevant thread of things I’m actually prevented from doing ]

            « what DO you want to do that the license won’t let you? »

            I want to be able to share it with others and collaborate with others on improving it. Restricting fields of endeavor is a very clear brake to that sort of use/activity.

            You can prove me wrong very easily here, by citing a prominent -NC project that has the same kind of bustling collaboration/volunteering/sharing that is so common with Open-Source projects.

            Bet you won’t be able to. Which makes my point.

          2. I am not sure about your background, but I k ow Arthur’s. Please look at Smoothieware, or Smoothie board. He has been the champion of open hardware and open source (very successfully in fact) for a long time. He has collaborated with other hardware vendors who produced the closed source system which used the derivative of his work. So to me, if he says NC clause in the license is not tue “Open” spirit I belive him.

          3. Hey mvadu, thanks for the kind words :) But really you don’t have to just believe me, I guarantee you if you look this up, you will in fact find that most official definitions, and most of the ways the terms are used, match what I said.
            99% of the people I talk to use the term this, way, and then sometimes in a comment section somewher, you find that one guy who disagrees, but can never actually provide supporting evidence for his case, or a cogent argument. I think it’s the same guys that will argue vim is factually better than emacs when 99% of people will tell you it’s a matter of taste. Some people just really like to have that weird unsupportable position I think, maybe they like being original, or they feel a warm feeling from having everyone against them, or like being a victim/martyr, you know the kind of thing I’m talking about, it happens sometimes.

  2. Very cool… I won’t be trading my Luminaire for one of these any time soon, but I’m still impressed.

    If you ever want to see an impressive precursor to this, there are tons of shops in Kathmandu, Nepal where the Arduino and linear actuators are replaced with humans moving the embroidery hoop around and churning out hand-controlled shirts at
    incredible speed.

  3. This is brilliant! Commercially available “prosumer” embroidery machines go for thousands of dollars (and up), and aren’t exactly open-source friendly, nor are they particularly extendable.

    Thanks for making this!

  4. This is amazing work! I was thinking of building my own and I would love to see more design, hardware, code and assembly details.

    For example, I have no intuition as to how you synchronize the sewing machine movement with the movement of the fabric if you are not using a stepper motor to control the machine. Did you implement some form of position feedback? Limit switch for synchronization maybe? Or did you “time” a full sewing cycle and hope it won’t deviate from that?

    I am also curious about the process for changing the bobin. Do you have to remove the hoop and fabric, access the bobin compartment and replace it? or do you use a single color throughout your layers?

    I also assume you are familiar with the InkStitch project: https://inkstitch.org/
    and this diy embroidery machine: https://inkstitch.org/tutorials/embroidery-machine/

    1. Yes ! Exactly ! Thank you !
      There are lots of projects where I can look at the source or model files, but what I can actually do with them is incredibly limited.
      What we mean by Open-Source ( oversimplifying here ), is that you give people the rights to do the sorts of things that lead to things like the Reprap project, where modifying modifications of variants of clones of changes to models, leads to invention, creativity, and collaboration.
      You can’t do that with -NC, there are litterally no known counter-examples to this, despite thousands of -NC projects around, all of them are dead-ends creatively.

  5. “I want to be able to share it with others and collaborate with others on improving it. Restricting fields of endeavor is a very clear brake to that sort of use/activity.”

    Thank you! Was that not much easier than harvesting a bunch of unrelated links and griping?

    So basically you want to do what HaD has done? And what we are doing right now in the comments? I don’t get it… what about the NC is obstructing you in this endeavor? Why has it not stopped HaD?

    Is it possible so many people “don’t get” what you are complaining about because it’s not apparent to anyone else?

    “You can prove me wrong very easily here, by citing a prominent -NC project that has the same kind of bustling collaboration/volunteering/sharing that is so common with Open-Source projects.”

    1: I highly doubt I can prove your opinion to be something other than what it is. I’m still trying to pin down exactly what it is.
    2: We’re discussing this project here, and what you want to do with it that you can’t because of -NC.

    I too would like for ideas to be unencumbered by restrictions like this but hey, the other alternatives are to patent it or to keep it secret altogether, and I think -NC is a step forward. It’s something that I would consider using…. unless there was some compelling reason not to; and you seem to know of one but you hate it so deeply that you won’t speak it aloud, like we live in an intellectual property Harry Potter world or something.

    I also think creators who tentatively step out into the light and share their ideas with the world should not be shamed for wishing those ideas not to be snapped up and monetized by the first person to come along with enough money for a patent.

    If you really have something to contribute, and you aren’t just crusading against -NC… then you should contact the creator and round up those collaborators and get started! Don’t just talk smack about his choice of license and lump it together with all the other ideas you don’t like.

    1. « Thank you! Was that not much easier than harvesting a bunch of unrelated links and griping? »

      Actually, the links are much more related to the point than the explanation about collaborating. I went on the collaboration tangent because I felt you’d be likely to understand it more, but the links make the point of fields of use and how the term is used, much better.
      Just because you don’t understand the point made, doesn’t mean it’s not there :)

      To be clear: Open-Source means you don’t restrict fields of use. The word means this because that’s how everybody uses it, and on top of this the official definitions of the term ( see links ) and related terms, all to make it clear that fields of use shouldn’t be restricted. This was made clear *especially* as an answer to people like you who were confused about the fields of use question. The fact this was specified just for you, makes it very related in fact …

      « So basically you want to do what HaD has done? And what we are doing right now in the comments? I don’t get it… »

      No … what are you talking about, you are definitely not getting it indeed, this is completely unrelated. None of this has anything to do with comments, or hackaday, you seem completely lost of this.

      Let’s try again : Open-Source means a whole lot of things, mostly related to sharing and collaborating, and in particular, Open-Source doesn’t restrict fields of use ( such as commercial use ). That’s it. Nothing to do with comments.

      « Why has it not stopped HaD? »

      Why would it ? This makes zero sense, you seem extremely confused about licenses … Maybe do some research ? Or if you have specific questions I’ll do my best to try to explain.

      « I highly doubt I can prove your opinion to be something other than what it is. I’m still trying to pin down exactly what it is. »

      You in fact can if you show me an example of something that wouldn’t be true if my position was true. This is easy.

      One consequence of my position, is that you’d expect not to see -NC projects that have the same kind of bussling sharing/collaboration you see in Open-Source project ( think how Wikipedia is sort of a neverending bee hive of creation and improvement ). You don’t see that with -NC project, because the -NC clause is destructive to all that. Makes sense ?
      And you can prove me wrong by showing a -NC project that has the same kind of exciting collaboration we see in Wikipedia. See ?

      « you seem to know of one but you hate it so deeply that you won’t speak it aloud »

      I have zero idea what you are talking about. Maybe don’t presume you know what is going on inside my mind, neither of us can read minds, and instead outright say what you mean, so we don’t waste time on this sort of stuff, where you say I think something, I tell you I don’t, you finally tell me what you thought I thought, I explain to you I didn’t … so much time wasted, just say things …

      « I also think creators who tentatively step out into the light and share their ideas with the world should not be shamed for wishing those ideas not to be snapped up and monetized by the first person to come along with enough money for a patent. »

      You are misrepresenting what is going on here.

      Here is what you seem to be saying I’m saying : 

      « People who share under -NC licenses should be shamed »

      Instead, what I am actually saying is : 

      « People who share under -NC licenses shourdn’t misrepresent their work as Open-Source when -NC is excluded by all definitions and common usages of the term Open-Source »

      Makes sense ? See how you are not representing the opposing position correctly ?

      https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

      « then you should contact the creator and round up those collaborators and get started! »

      That would be wasting my time, contributing to a -NC project means my contribution is going to have much less impact than if I contributed to a proper Open-Hardware project, for all the reasons explained before. I would much rather spend more effort into re-doing the project from scratch as proper Open-Hardware, which if you look at the history of most such projects, is usually what happens if something worth anything is released as -NC : the original project will die, and others will re-do it as Open-Source, so their contributions to it are not wasted.

      Hope this makes sense.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.