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Title:
LONG ARM QUILTING MACHINE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/015158
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention comprises a manually operated long arm quilting machine comprising; a table, the table comprising a frame and at least one ground engaging supporting member, the frame comprising a grid, said grid comprising a plurality of elongate members, a quilter of substantially C-shaped profile, the profile comprising an upper elongate member and a lower elongate member, the upper elongate member terminating m a quilting head, the quilting head comprising stitching apparatus and the lower elongate member being moveably attached to the frame such that the guilter may be moved along the elongate members comprising the grid, control means governing at least the operation of the stitching apparatus; and a user interface, in communication with the control means, suitable for controlling the movement of the quilter about the grid, and for controlling the operation of the stitching apparatus, wherein the user interface is essentially mounted on the quilling head.

Inventors:
PICKERING, John (Rear of 22 Greevegate, Hunstanton Norfolk PE36 6AA, GB)
Application Number:
GB2014/052116
Publication Date:
February 05, 2015
Filing Date:
July 10, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
PICKERING, John (Rear of 22 Greevegate, Hunstanton Norfolk PE36 6AA, GB)
International Classes:
D05B11/00
Foreign References:
US4192241A1980-03-11
US20040182295A12004-09-23
US20130190916A12013-07-25
US6792884B12004-09-21
US7207281B12007-04-24
US20110100276A12011-05-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP21 LIMITED (Central Formalities Department, Lakeside 300Old Chapel Way,Broadland Business Park, Norwich Norfolk NR7 0WG, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1, A manua ly operated long arm quilting machine comprising; a table,, the table comprising a frame and at least one ground engaging supporting member, the frame comprising a grid, said grid comprising a plurality of elongate members., a quilter of substantially C-shaped profile, the profile comprising an upper elongate member and a lower elongate member, the upper elongate member terminating in a quilting head, the quilting head comprising stitching apparatus and the lower elongate member being moveably attached to the frame such that the g Jlter may be moved along the elongate members comprising the grid, control means governing at least the operation of the stitching apparatus; and a user interface, in communication with the control means, suitable for controlling the movement of the guj|ter about the grid, and for controlling the operation of the stitching apparatus, wherein the user interface is essentially mounted on the quilting head,

2. A quilting machine according to claim 1, wherein the user interface is mounted entirely on the quilting head, 3. A quilting machine according to either claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the interface comprises a handle, projecting from the extremity of and pivotably mounted to the quilting head.

4 A quilting machine according to claim 3, wherein the handle comprises a first bar and a second bar, and the curve of the first bar is opposed to the curve of the second bar, such that the first bar and the second bar form a notional ellipse or part ellipse

5, A quilting machine according to any of the previous claims, wherein the control means are located remotely from the quilting head.

6. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the table further comprises at least one roller, the rotation of which is governed by a ratchet and pawl mechanism.

s

7. A quilting machine according to claim 8„ wherein the ratchet and pawl mechanism is motorised.

8. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims further comprising a0 pantograph, which is accessed from the in use front of the machine, i.e. the side occupied by the extremity of the quilting head.

9. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the stitching apparatus comprises a recessed take-up lever.

5

10. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising a digital stitch regulator with a magnetic encoder and a magnetic pick-up,

11. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising a manual pantograph / stencil interface, wherein, in use, the manual pantograph / stencil interface interfaces with a stencil via touching contact

12. A quilting machine according to claim 11, wherein the manual stencil interface comprises a removable stylus,

13. A quilting machine according to claim 12, wherein the stylus is elongate with a first end and a second e d, wherein the first end has a first stencil contacting surface and the second end has a second stencil contacting surface and the first stencil contacting surface has a greate surface area than the second stencil contacting surface.

14. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising an elongate measuring see iwve e scale, running perpendicular to the length of the quilter and centred on the quilter. qulltingj e m^

15. A quilting machine substantially as descnbed herein, with reference to and as illustrated by any appropriate combination of the text and/or drawings.

AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 14 November 2014 (14.11.2014)

CLAIMS

1. A manually operated long arm quilting machine comprising; a table, the table comprising a frame and at least one ground engaging supporting member, the frame comprising a grid, said grid comprising a plurality of elongate members, a quitter of substantially C-shaped profile, the profile comprising an upper elongate member and a lower elongate member, the upper elongate member terminating in a quilting head, the quilting head comprising stitching apparatus and the tower elongate member being moveabiy attached to the frame such that the quilter may be moved along the elongate members comprising the grid, control means governing at least the operation of the stitching apparatus; and a user interface, in communication with the control means, suitable for controlling the movement of the quilter about the grid, and for controlling the operation of the stitching apparatus, wherein the user interface is essentially mounted on the quilting head; characterised in that the user interface comprises a handle, projecting from the extremity of and pivotably mounted to the quilting head.

2. A quilting machine according to claim 1, wherein the user interface is mounted entirely on the quilting head.

3. A quilting machine according to either claim 1 or claim 2. wherein the handle comprises a first bar and a second bar, and the curve of the first bar is opposed to the curve of the second bar, such that the first bar and the second bar form a notional ellipse or part ellipse

4. A quilting machine according to any of the previous claims, wherein the control means are located remotely from the quilting head.

5. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the tabie further comprises at least one roller, the rotation of which is governed by a ratchet and pawl mechanism,

6. A quilting machine according to claim 5, wherein the ratchet and pawl mechanism is motorised.

7. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims further comprising a pantograph, which is accessed from the in use front of the machine, i.e. the side occupied by the extremity of the quilting head.

8. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the stitching apparatus comprises a recessed take-up lever.

9. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising a digital stitch regulator with a magnetic encoder and a magnetic pick-up.

10. A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising a manual pantograph / stencil interface wherein, in use, the manual pantograph / stencil interface interfaces with a stencil via touching contact.

11. A quilting machine according to claim 10, wherein the manual stencil interface comprises a removable stylus.

12. A quilting machine according ta claim 11, wherein the stylus is elongate with a first end and a second end, wherein the first end has a first stencil contacting surface and the second end has a second stencil contacting surface and the first stencil contacting surface has a greater surface area than the second stencil contacting surface.

13. A quilting machine according to 3ny of the preceding claims, further comprising an elongate measuring scale running perpendicular to the length of the quilter and centred on the quilter. 14, A quilting machine according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the stitching apparatus comprises a needle with at least one substantially flat side; and wherein the quilting head comprises an opening which is of an equivalent shape to said needle such that the needle may only be inserted into said quilting head in a specific orientation.

Description:
E d^ theJjiveniion

The invention is a long arm quilting machine.

Quilting machines are known and are popular as a hobby item in the USA, where the idea and practice of making an "Amerkan Quilt" has an historical, cultural resonance. In Europe, the domestic/ hobby / cottage industry quilting practice is far less widespread, being virtually unknown to the mainstream. Quilts in general are large items, and the long arm quilting machines that they are made on are equally large and heavy, with a big footprint. US houses tend to be larger and specifically to have more hobby and garage space than European homes of an equivalent value, and as such are more apt to be able to accommodate the equipment, it is thought that the size and unwieidiness of the machinery is a key reason why a hobby which thrives in the USA has not caught on in Europe.

Quilting itself is a hobby very much bound with tradition and this may be a reason why there has been little or no forward movement in the technological sense by the larger American providers of quilting machines. The prior art comprises machines by APQS and Gamrnil amongst others, made to designs which are decades old. There is a real need for a modern version of the quilting machine which will appeal to the contemporary European market, not only in terms of size and aesthetics, but also in terms of features.

A particularly marked issue with the prior art machines Is that the controls have tended to be split between freehand controls at the "front" of the quilting machine (i.e. the head pant, in which the stitching head is situated) and the pantograph controls at the body of the machine in the in use back of the qu liter. Therefore, switching between one technique and the other involved moving around the machine, which of course is not only inefficient In terms of time and in terms of the break in concentration that it almost inevitably precipitates, but also in terms of size - in order to operate a prior art quitter properly, there needs to be operator space at both the front and the back of the quilter, and this of course requires a larger room, perhaps even a dedicated room, as the operative quilting machine cannot be simply placed against a wall. For anyone In a wheelchair, the space implications are even greater. it is these problems amongst others to which the invention attempts to provide a solution, $.U.mmaiy..PLthe invention. in a first aspect the invention comprises a manually operated long arm quilting machine comprising a table, the table comprising a frame and at least one ground engaging supporting member, the frame comprising a grid, said grid comprising a plurality of elongate members, a quilter of substantially C -shaped profile, the profile comprising an upper elongate member and a lower elongate member, the upper elongate member terminating in a quilting head, the quilting head comprising stitching apparatus and the lower elongate member being moveably attached to the frame such that the quilting machine may be moved along the elongate members comprising the grid, control means governing at least the operation of the stitching apparatus and a user interface, in communication with the control means, suitable for controlling the movement of the quilting machine about the grid, and for controlling the operation of the stitching apparatus, wherein the user interface is essentially mounted on the quilting head. Preferably, the user interface is mounted entirely on the quelling head.

By having all the controls for the operating functions, namely the normal stitching modes and the stencil and pantograph operating systems accessed on the., in use, front of the machine, a smaller spatial footprint is required to set up and operate the quilting machine; this makes it. more appropriate for the smaller rooms which might be found in a European home and much more convenient for the less able.

Mounting the controls on the head allows for the quicker and more fluid operation of the controls, in particular, the pantograph on machines of the prior art would he operated from the hack of the machine, and as such, the user would have to change position completely in order to operate it The configuration of the invention avoids this.

Preferably, the interface comprises a handle, projecting from the extremity of and pivotably mounted to the quilting head.

The interface / handle provides means for manipulating the controls whilst at the same time moving the quilting machine around. This greatly improves the intuitiveness of the use of the quilter as well as its general ease of use.

Preferably, the handle comprises a first bar and a second bar, and the curve of the first bar is opposed to the curve of the second bar, such that the first bar and the second bar form a notional ellipse or part ellipse

The provision of a yoke or steering wheel style handle of the sort described above allows for integrated and balanced two handed control of the machine, allowing for precise control of quilting head position and stitch placement

Preferably, the control means are located remotely from the quilting head.

Locating the control means separately from the head whilst the interface itself is situated on the head enables the head to be kept light and manoeuvrable which Increases the level of precision with which the operator can move the quilting machine and the length of time that the typical quilting machine user can use the quilting machine without tiring. Preferably, the table further comprises at least one roller, the rotation of which is governed by a ratchet and pawl mechanism. This toothed locking system serves to keep the quilt in tension whilst allowing the quilt to be rolled on easily.

Further, the mechanism is a quicker and more efficient means of moving the quilt, in an ordered and regular manner™ the quilt can be moved forward by an easily measurable distance, and that distance will be regular across the entire width of the quilt . , allowing for increased stitching accuracy.

Preferably, the ratchet and pawl mechanism is motorised. Memorisation leads to further ease of rolling the quilt on and further increased the quantifiahility and uniformity of the distance moved. The motor wiil have controls mounted both on the motor itself and by a remote switch system (not illustrated) so that if the operator is at the other end of the frame, the fabric can be advanced without the operator having to walk back to the motor. This Is also a safety feature, should anything become caught in the rollers,

A ratchet and pawl - and in particular a motorised ratchet and pawl - are particularly advantageous in relation to the prio art, which comprises static clamps to hold the quilt in a first position, which then must be removed in order that a quilt can be put into a second position. The lamps must be replaced in order to keep the quilt in that second position.

Preferably the invention also comprises a pantograph and/or stencil, which is accessed from the in use front of the machine, i.e. the side occupied by the extremity of the quilting head.

The location of the pantograph and/ or stencil adjacent the quilting head and therefore also the user interface provides the advantage of quick access to the pantograph and/or stencial and sight of it during stitching, Preferably, the stitching apparatus comprises a recessed take-up lever.

This feature increases the safety of the machine n use, because the recess militates against the thread jumping out while being fed through the machine.

Preferably, the invention also comprises a digital stitch regulator with a magnetic encoder and a magnetic pick-up.

The incorporation of this technology means that there is no longer the need to rely on a rubber wheel in contact with the machine table - thus there is achieved longer life, more accurate readings and a greatly reduced chance of slippage, which is a major cause of i accurate stitching.

Preferably, the invention also comprises a manual stencil interface, wherein, in use, the manual stencil interface interfaces with a stencil via touching contact.

The manual stencil interface provides a tactile means of pantograph and/or stencil tracing, in preferred embodiments, the tactile, manual interface Is a stylus on the end of an arm and as such is easier for the users to control, particularly in freehand tracing. This is in contrast to the prior art laser pantograph which is remote and is therefore difficult to control accurately.

More preferably, the manual stencil interface comprises a removable stylus. The removable stylus allows that the changing of the stylus, with different, styles more suitable for, for example, freehand following of a pantograph and/or stencil or fitting into a grooved template.

Even more preferably, the stylus is elongate with a first end and a second end, wherein the first, end has a first stencil contacting surface and the second end has a second stencil contacting surface and the first stencil contacting surface has a greater surface area than the second stencil contacting surface. The double ended stylus advantageously comprises an end - the thinner of the two ends - best suited for freehand pantograph and/or stencil tracing and the second end - thicker of the two ends - for using relative to a locked groove template. Preferably, the invention further comprises an elongate measuring scale running perpendicular to the length of the quilter and centred on the quilter.

The elongate . , centred measuring scale, which is not on the prior art machines, zeros in on the quilter such that it is easy to measure distances to and from the quilter than would be facilitated by a scale running from one extremity of the quilting machine to the other,

P embiy ; .lhe. stitching apparat!J&.campris.e.s..a..ne.edle with atJeast one substantially flat side; and wherein the quilting head comprises an opening which is of an equivalent shape

s^&; ς■SΓigΩ lQn Ibls, o ig^ a iQn is p jts tiiariy ad antageous becausftitiaciliJate quick .and consistent positioning of a needle into the quilting head, which reduces the time

The invention also comprises a quilting machine substantially as described herein, with reference to and as illustrated by any appropriate combination of the text and/or drawings.

The invention will now be described In relation to the figures, of which

Figure 1 is a perspective side view of a quilting machine of the invention; and Figure 2 is a second perspective side view of a quilting machine of the invention,

At figure 1, there is a quilting machine, generally indicated at 2. The quilting machine 2 comprises a table 4 and a quilter 6. The table 4 comprises a frame 8, The frame 8 is preferably made of metal or alloy tubing, the hollowness of which advantageously provides weight and resource savings. In particularly preferred embodiments, the table 4 is predominantly made of powder coated steel tubing. The components of the frame 8 are in preferred embodiments welded together, but may be held together via bote or a chemical adhesive. The table 4 has at least one ground engaging member 10, having in the illustrated embodiment four feet 12, one foot 1 substantially at each of the bottom corners 14 of said frame 8, The bottom corners 14 in this preferred embodiment comprise substantially upright tubular members. They are joined at one end by obliquely orientated, elongate members 18, at the top of which are joined first lateral members 18. It is on these lateral members 18 that template supports 20 are situated, and are fixed such that they are disposed perpendicularly to lateral members 8. in use, a template can be slid between the two template supports 20. Each template support has an elongate groove 21 running along its length, said elongate grooves 21 being so sized in terms of width to be suitable for retaining a template placed in it, with an optional frictional fit, A second pair of middle, lateral support members 22 likewise has principal rails 24 mounted thereon, with the principal rails 24 being disposed perpendicularly to the middle lateral support members 22. A pair of spacing bars 26 joins the bottom corners 14 together into two pairs. The spacing bars 28 serve to add stability to the frame 8 by ensuring that the ground engaging members 10 constitutive of each pair are evenly and firmly spaced.

The perpendicular disposition of the various lateral members 18, 22 and spacing bars 26 to the roller supports 20 and principal rails 24 comprises a grid 28. The quilter 6 is mounted, preferably slidably, on a dolly or carriage 30, the dolly .or carriage 30 being capable of movement along principal rails 24 and thus around the grid 28. The contact between dolly/carriage 30 - and therefore quilter 6 - and principal rails 24 may be via casters 32 as here, or alternatively may be via one or more rollers, ball bearing joints or V glides which

diagonally or along an. ffset or curved path. There are two principal rails 24 to support dolly/carriage 30 and quilter 6, and that provides more stability of movement than a monorail would, Preferably also, the dolly/carnage 30 and the principal rails 24 comprise a frictional fit. In this preferred embodiment, the principle rails 24 preferably comprise a double track system with an elongate groove 25 running along the length of each track. The dolly/carriage 30 most preferably comprises runners/spigots 39 which engage with the elongate grooves 25 of the principle rails 24.

The quilter 6 is siidably mounted on the dolly/carriage 30, such that the qui Iter 6 may be moved laterally - in use, towards and away from the operator - as well as along the rails 24. in other words, the dolly/carriage 30 is mounted on linear bearings for both lateral and front to back movement providing smoother and more accurate movement compared with prior art machines, Advantageously, the quilter 6 may be moved about the dolly/carriage 30 and / or along the rails 24 with the assistance of a servo motor, but movement may also be manual A preferred material for the rails is 40 mm square box steel, whilst the casters 32 may preferably be made of PTFE or Nylon,

The table 4 does not have a solid top - quilt elements are draped across the notional "top" 34 and attached to rollers 36, The rotation of each roller 36 is governed by a ratchet and pawl mechanism 38 such that the tension in the quilt can be regulated and regularised. Rotation of the roller 38 and the engagement or disengagement of the ratchet and pawl mechanism 38 may be motorised, and controlled remotely via user interface 72,

Alternatively, It may be controlled via a completely separate remote control (not shown). The anti-slip roller 36 system serves to maintain quilt tension, to regularise quilt advancement and to ensure that the quilt is level The roller 36 is motorised so that it may be rewound. A third roller 37 further ensures the slippage of the quilt is prevented.

Roller holders 42 may be mounted either on upper surface 44 of first lateral members 18 or on the ends 46 of the said members 18, The roller holders 42 preferably each comprise an adjustable height screw 48 and an eye 50 which comprises a bail joint 52 - these features allow for the positioning of the quilt and material bearing rollers 36 with some precision.

The table 4 is height adjustable via preferably telescopic components of ground engaging members 10 and gives a stable stitching base for improved accuracy.

The quilter 6 has a substantially C-shaped side profile comprising an elongate lower bar 54, said bar 54 being horizontally disposed and having a substantially flat upper surface 56. Lower elongate member 54 meets with vertical portion 58 which in turn meets with upper elongate member 60. Upper elongate member 60 tapers towards, then terminates at second vertical portion 62 which terminates in quilting head 64. Quilting head 64 comprises stitching apparatus 86 which in use operates with an up and down motion thereby giving a straight stitch. The bobbin 67 which feeds the stitching apparatus 66 is situated in a hollow 69 above stitching apparatus 66, in the quilting head 64 - the bobbin is advantageously a pigtail bobbin, and this offers better thread presentation. The stitching apparatus 66 comprises a take-up lever, which is situated in a recess (not shown) for safety.

substantially fiat side. In these embodiments the quilting head 84 comprises an opening. Q.. d.j¾ui ng,,he .6 in a s cific ortentatipn, The control means 68 comprises a plurality of circuit boards, and is located either in lower elongate member 54 or in vertical portion 58; the preferred location will necessarily comprise a cavity and a power source as appropriate. The control means 68 is significantly not located in second vertical portion 62 and it is this which helps lighten the second vertical portion 62 thereby making it more manoeuvrable by the user, The length of upper elongate member 60, by which it is meant the distance between vertical portion 58 and second vertical portion 62 is preferably one of three lengths: 28 inches, 24 inches or 20 inches. The inner profile of the quilter 6 has rounded corners 70; the exterior profile is not so rounded, On quilting head 64 there is a user interface 72. The user interface 72 is in communication with controi means 68 which serve to control the functioning of the quilting machine 2 - that is to say the user interface 72 comprises means of regulating the operation of the stitching apparatus 66 as well as comprising means to move the quilter 6 relative to the table 4 and frame 8. In particularly preferred embodiments all control aspects of the quilting machine 2 are present, as part of the user interface 72 and are situated or mounted on the quilting head 64. in this particularly preferred embodiment the user interface comprises a handle 74 which advantageously takes the form of a yoke. The handle 74 comprises a pair of curved bars, comprising a first curved bar 78 and a second curved bar 78. Each of the two c rved bats 76, 78 is curved inwards so as to form a notional or partial ellipse or circle, such that the handle 74 resembles a steering wheel However, rotational movement of the handle 74 is not possible. Instead, the handle 74 is fixed so as to allow the user to push and pull the quilting head 64 around the grid 28 ~- sliding laterally relative to dolly/carriage 30 and longitudinally along grid 28 around the Y and Z axis. The orientation of the handle 74 s nonetheless adjustable rotationally about pivot 80, although it may be fixed relative to any of those points. Further, the proximity of handle 74 to quilting head 64 is adjustable via extendable rod 82 and is removable,

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Preferably the user interface 72 comprises all controls required for actuation and operation of the quilting machine 2; the on/off switch 84, stitch regulator enabler/disabler 86 and stitching head operation switch 88 are all readily apparent. The stitch regulator 86 comprises a magnetic encoder and pick up configuration which gives an accurate reading as to the number of stitches made along a given distance. This comprises an advancement over the prior art wheel and card system.

The quilting machine 2 has a pantograph and/or stencil 90 situated in front of the quilter 6, which advantageously allows the user to use handle 74 to guide the quilter 6 relative to the patent dictated by the pantograph 90 and thereby to achieve a pleasing stitching pattern on the surface of the quilt.

The user interface 72 further comprises a stitch control interface 73 In communication with the control means 68 which allows for the controlling of various stitching parameters including stitching size and regularity. The "stitch regulator" which forms part of the control means 68 may also be overridden allowing for manual control. The positioning of the pantograph 90 at the in use front of the quilter 6 is located such that it may easily be referred to during the quilting operation proceedings and need not require a separate operating position to that employed during general operation of the quilter 6. This is a marked difference from the location of pantographs of prior art wherein templates and patterns are located towards the back of the quilter 6 and the frame 8, thus requiring the operator to take up a different position when using the pantograph. The repositioning of the pantograph 90 allows for direct stencilling via movement of the quilting head 84 and as such sets it apart from the old configurations where the user had to move relative to the positioning of a laser pointer. Rod 94 comprises a first length 1 16 and a second length 1 18 separated by an oblique portion 120, The rod 94 is shaped such that it may be positioned on the front of the quilter 6 parallel arranged with the quilting head 64 running below user interface 72, Such displacement of the pantograph 90 allows for very precise control by the user via user interface 72.

The quilting machine 2 comprises a stylus 92 which is attached to the in use front of the quilter 8 via an elongate rod 94, The elongate rod 94 is detachabiy mounted to the quilter 6, Together stylus 92 and rod 94 comprise a manual stencil interface 96, The stylus 92 is threaded through aperture 98 at distal end 100 of rod 94 and is held in place by screw 102, The manual stitching interface 98 comprises the pantograph 90. The stylus 92 comprises a first end 104 and a second end 106 wherein the first end 104 is thicker than the second end 106. With the first end 104 being more suitable for following a locked groove template 1 8 and inner second end is more suitable for following a more complex and irregular freehand pattern 1 0. The quilting machine 2 also comprises a scale 1 2 with integers 1 14 which runs along parallel to principle rails 24, the scale 1 12 having a 0 parallel to the quilter 6 with the integers 114 running sequentially away from 0 on either side of the 0.