Sunday, 3 April 2011


Titanium...nothing new, it's been around since the 1790's when it was first discovered in Cornwall, England of all places, most probably in the tin mines there! 
It's found in all living things but principally rocks, water bodies and soils.....titanium can be alloyed with iron, aluminium and other metals to produce strong lightweight alloys for aerospace, the motor industry, orthopedic implants, dental instruments....the list is endless!
The two most useful properties of the metal are corrosion resistance and the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal.......

Why am I interested in titanium????

Well, I wasn't!
I found a supplier in the UK for longarm needles...just like the ones I always use.....that's what I thought....until they arrived......then I realised that these were not my usual needles but titanium coated needles.......after a discussion on one of the forums I frequent I realised that lots of people were very happy with titanium needles....they keep their sharpness longer, they are stronger, so don't break as often.... so that makes them cheaper right?

Sounds great doesn't it....until you break one!

This is the first and last titanium needle I will ever use.....That was friday evening 1st April....some April fools day huh!

Can you see it.....look in close....that needle snapped on the intersection of a quilt block....this is a beautifully pieced's not an exceptionally thick corner but maybe 6 thicknesses of fabric....that needle was jammed in there and not going to blew the fuse on my machine, it blew two fuses......which probably saved anymore damage as it took a while to really realise what had happened!

I eventually realised that I had to do major surgery on my longarm and remove the hook/bobbin assembly.....I was supported through this by some wonderful assistants on the APQS

I couldn't remove that needle, my DH couldn't remove the needle, I tried again but had to admit defeat and ask my DS who put the hook in a vice and with one sharp tap released the needle!
Did you ever wonder what your hook/bobbin assembly looks like totally dismantled.....

Now, all joking aside....the hook/bobbin assembly is now put back together and in my machine.....I had to re-time my longarm!!!!
I can't test it out just yet as my good friend Linzi has posted me some new fuses which I expect to arrive tomorow. 
Although everything looks and feels OK, I do not anticipate that the following days will go smoothly......I do expect problems and will be ordering a new hook/bobbin assembly which will probably take a week or so to arrive!  

If you are thinking about the merits of using titanium needles, think very carefully....a pack of ordianary needles is quite cheap...a new hook/bobbin assembly is not so cheap!

So why did I bother going through this proceedure...when I intend to buy a new hook/bobbin assembly????

Well, there is an up side to this.....I learned sew much about my machine this weekend....I am now not quite so anxious about having to do service on her...we have become better acquainted with each other.....that can only be a good thing!

My longarm is very precious to me!


  1. Thanks for the heads up on the needles. Hope you machine is running smoothly again soon.

  2. Oh my! I cringed while reading your post! Hoping for a good week for you!

  3. Oh dear - what a major consequence from a simple needle break. But at least there was the positive outcome of your learning more about the machine.

  4. kay Glad everything is back together. I will definately not be trying the titanium needles and think I will order a Hook assembly, just in case.

  5. Wow, what an ordeal! I agree with you about getting to know the machine. I'm glad that APQS provides the information that allows us to fix our own machines. Since I got my longarm I am now comfortable doing some basic maintenance on my DSM too. It's too bad the DSM manufacturers aren't as open with information as the longarm manufacturers.

  6. I am sorry you had to learn this lesson the hard way. When titanium needles were taking the world by storm, my husband said, "No way!!" These needles do not break when encountering a problem during stitching and can do more damage to the machine then you can imagine. I tried to say this to people on our forum, but no one wanted to hear it. I gave up and stayed with the old style of needles. Everyone seems to love their titanium needles. Maybe your lesson will show others they need to be very careful. In the mean while, I'm sorry this happened to you. Not a fun weekend.

  7. I had a similar expereince. My titaniam needles are in the garbage after one broke on a seam while I was working from the back. I took 6 stitches to stop it, = 6 holes in the quilt as well as a burr in the hook assembly and months and months later with frustrationa and major thread breakage, I discovered play in my bobbin assembly, which I believe happened then the titanium needle broke...

  8. Holey Moley!! I have 2 packs, but wonder now if I'll even try them!

  9. Kay---I'm sorry you had this bad experience. I have found unlike regular steel needles that usually bend or deflect when they hit something, Titanium needles "snap" instead. I had a bad experience with a Titanium needle on my embroidery machine. It snapped during an embroidery. The needle tip, much like yours in the picture, zinged out and embedded itself into my cheek just below my eye. I do wear glasses. But, after that experience I quit using Titanium on my embroidery machine. I always caution embroidery machine users, and yes, even long arm users to be careful around these needles. They break anyplace along the needle shaft in a snapping or fracture motion. I think they are good needles, and I do use them on my long arm. But, not on my embroidery machine anymore. But after seeing your pictures, maybe not anymore. I'm glad you could get your machine fixed and running without having to replace any parts.

  10. I'm so sorry you had to go through this, but you sure have saved many quilter's from this problem. I'm not going to purchase them!
    Magz in WV

  11. Yowie! Thats not at all good. What a time you have had with your LA - Lucky you to have help in the family :) I can just imagine how you felt though - not good. Glad its sorted and nearly back to where you were before. If I had a LA - how precious that would be too :) Was that you in the surgical mask - it did make me smile.


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