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Machine Embroidery Digitizing

What You'll Need Besides the Software

Author: Deb Schneider

Article:
You've purchased an embroidery machine, practiced the designs that were included in the package, maybe even bought a disc of designs or downloaded a few designs off the Internet to stitch out. Now you're thinking about investing in digitizing software and taking your embroidery to the next level. But the digitizing program is just a part of what you'll need before entering the creative world of embroidery digitizing.

 Choosing the Hardware

 An embroidery digitizing program is image editing software capable of converting a digital picture to stitches and saving it in a format that can be read by your embroidery machine. And, like any robust image editor, a digitizing program is resource intensive. The program's packaging will state the manufacturer's recommended minimum computer system specifications to operate the software. Let's take a look at just such a recommendation and see how the 'minimums' stack up. (I won't mention the program or the manufacturer but these are actual recommendations from a popular digitizing software. Yours may vary but probably not by much.)

 

 <b>The Computer</b>

 Manufacturer recommends: IBM-PC or compatible computer originally equipped with a USB port.

I recommend: The same.

 

Operating System

 Manufacturer recommends: Windows(R) 98, ME, XP or 2000. I
recommend: Windows(R) XP Pro with the latest Service Pack and updates. You might be able to get by with an antiquated operating system but not for long.

 

 Mouse

 Manufacturer recommends:

I recommend: Any comfortable, optical, non-rollerball mouse.
When doing imaging you cannot attain the precision you need with a rollerball. And an optical mouse means there is no ball on the bottom to catch or jerk at a critical time.

 

 Processor

 Manufacturer recommends: Pentium 500 MHz or higher.

I recommend: Pentium class 1 GB or higher. The faster the processor the better. We're imaging, not typing a letter.

 

 Memory

 Manufacturer recommends: Minimum 64 MB (256 MB or higher is
recommended.)

I recommend: Minimum 512 MB. Memory is cheap and more is always better. You can never have too much.

 

 

<b>Hard Disk Free Space</b>

 Manufacturer recommends: Minimum 100 MB

I recommend: You'll need 100 MB free to install the software but you're going to need a lot more than that to store your creations. Purchase a hard drive with a minimum of 40 GB, 80 GB or higher is better. A hard disk is like a garage: It collects junk and you rarely clean it out. Give yourself plenty of room for storage.

 

 <b>Monitor</b>

 Manufacturer recommends: SVGA (800x600), 16-bit color or higher.

I recommend: 17" SVGA (1024x768), 32-bit color. You're going to appreciate the extra screen real estate from a large monitor, and you'll need to be able to easily differentiate your thread color choices.

 

 <b>USB Port</b>

 Manufacturer recommends: USB Ver. 1.1 or higher.

I recommend: USB Ver. 1.1 or higher, 2 or more. Some programs will run only if a card reader/writer is installed. That's one port taken. If your machine accepts input directly from your computer you'll need another port available to send your finished file to your machine.

 

 <b>Printer</b>

 Manufacturer recommends: A graphic printer that is supported by your system (only if you want to print your images).

I recommend: A graphic printer. You will want to print your images and the associated thread color data. As a side note: I'm not sure why anyone would have a printer that was not supported by their system.

 

 <b>CD-ROM Drive</b>

 Manufacturer recommends: Required for installation

I recommend: The same, but with a minimum twenty-four-speed
(24x) drive speed. A higher speed drive is fine, it transfers data faster but it's also a little noisier.

 

 <b>CD-ROM Recorder Drive (RW)</b>

 Manufacturer recommends: N/A

I recommend: Once a year or so when you're in the cleaning mood, you'll want to burn your images to CD to reduce clutter on your hard drive and reorganize.

About the author:
Deb Schneider is a machine embroidery design digitizer and digitizing instructor offering her <a href="http://www.windstarembroidery.com">machine embroidery designs, Redwork embroidery designs and appliques</a> and machine embroidery information on her website: <a href=" http://www.windstarembroidery.com">WindstarEmbroidery.com</
a>.

 

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