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What Makes APQS Parts and Service So Important

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Hi Everyone!

Over the past several months, we’ve received many phone calls from APQS customers regarding different parts available for APQS machines, from needles to bobbin cases to hook assemblies. With so many outside vendors now offering “replacement parts” and accessories for all types of machines, it’s no wonder why people get confused (myself included).

To help clear up some of the questions and misconceptions, let’s look at what makes your APQS machine the finest on the market, and what you should do to keep it in top working order. Your APQS machine is not “mass produced”. Each one is hand-built, with great attention to detail. For example, one of the reasons APQS machines produce a superior stitch and can use so many different types of threads with success has to do with the needle and hook relationship.

Unlike other longarm machines where the “play” between the hook and needle creates inconsistent tension and stitch quality, APQS tightly times each machine to a specific needle type. To make it even more accurate, our hook assemblies are not “generic” parts found in a sewing repair shop. Each hook receives special modifications at our factory that increase the accuracy of the timing. Since timing deals with the relationship between the hook and needle, we’re also very choosey about the needle.

When APQS engineer Mike Moore designed the revolutionary stitch-regulated Millennium over a decade ago, he wouldn’t settle for a machine that produced stitches that were consistently spaced while sacrificing the stitch quality. His team did extensive research into hooks and needles, eventually selecting an “MR” needle that, combined with our special hook, produced stitches that met his high expectations. Each APQS machine that leaves our factory is timed to those same MR needles, giving you the ultimate best in stitch quality.

Of course, a good engineer is never completely “done” with a project, and Mike continues to look for innovations to that keep APQS machines the best on the market. That includes evaluating new products that emerge, such as needles or even bobbin cases. For example, we’ve had much discussion on the chat regarding different needles from Groz-Beckert (see my QuiltTalk articles for more information), and now Organ needles are gaining attention. At this time, APQS engineers have not yet evaluated the Organ needles to see if they meet our specifications.

Since the needle and hook relationship is critical to your machine’s performance, we cannot guarantee that your machine will function properly and give you the quality stitch you’ve come to expect if you choose needles that are not factory authorized. Be sure the needles you select specify “MR”; if you have any questions about a product you are considering from a source other than APQS, simply call us to verify that the products are interchangeable. This includes any part of the machine that can affect your machine’s performance, from bobbin cases to hook assemblies.

While we try to stay current with new products that are introduced into the longarm market (especially as they relate to the performance of your APQS machine), we can certainly miss something. If you discover a new product like a different needle or bobbin case out there, but don’t want to be the “guinea pig” and try it on your machine, let us know about it! We can test the product at the factory in a controlled environment, run it “hard” and put it through extremes to establish its strengths and weaknesses. We can then give you a “thumbs up” and endorse the product, or can tell you the pitfalls we encountered while using it.

In any case, we want your experience with your APQS machine to be nothing but positive. Selecting parts and products that have been factory tested and authorized helps to ensure that. If you do choose to use a product other than one supplied by APQS and encounter difficulty, be sure to contact the vendor for questions. Also, if you call APQS for technical support, be sure to let us know if you are using a different needle or other part, since this can save us both time as we try to diagnose your problem and get you back to quilting again.

Finally, don’t be afraid to call APQS any time you have a question or concern about your machine or a specific product. We don’t claim to have all the right answers, and sometimes have to research a bit to even get an answer. But one thing is certain…we build our machines with care and literally know them inside and out, so we usually have a pretty good idea about what works and what doesn’t. And if we don’t, we’ll do the research and find out, and promise to let you know:)!

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Hi Dawn:

Thanks for the history and info on apqs....you've just reinforced my confidence in the company and the product.

About needles: I've been running Schmetz needles on my George with great success in a variety of sizes from 12 to 18 (depending on the threads I'm using). They're intended for longarm, industrial machines. The box says Canu:20:05 EB1, NM:100 and also 134 SES, 135x5 SES, and DPx5 SES. Do we need to know what all that stuff means? Maybe someone in the factory would like to take these needles for a test drive. They've been working great for me but I'd like it even better if they had an official thumbs up from Iowa. You're the best, Nancy in Tucson

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Originally posted by DawnCavanaugh

.....If you discover a new product like a different needle or bobbin case out there, but don’t want to be the “guinea pig” and try it on your machine, let us know about it! We can test the product at the factory in a controlled environment, run it “hard” and put it through extremes to establish its strengths and weaknesses. We can then give you a “thumbs up” and endorse the product, or can tell you the pitfalls we encountered while using it.....

That's pretty cool! Thanks!!

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Thanks for the info. I can't say enough great things about APQS. I just received my new Freedom last week. Because it meant using tools to put it together, I thought it would be too complicated so I asked my DH help do it. However, the manuals and DVD are so well thought out and put into everyday, step by step language WITH PICS that I could have done it myself (with him there to help with the lifting! ;) It went together in a couple of hours and I was ready to play in no time. I have to tell you that he made the comment that he hadn't seen one "made in China" sticker. I proudly told him that it was hand-made in Iowa. I think he was pretty impressed with the quality and workmanship. Knowing that APQS staff are there to answer questions promptly and having this forum to get answers from also, really make the price worth it. As it's said "You get what you pay for"!

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Hi Dawn.

Speaking of aftermarket parts and supplies, what is the official verdict on the Edgerider wheels I read so much about. APQS users seem to love them or hate them. What has the factory found out about them? Is there any new testing on them? About 4 or 5 years ago, Mark said they did not pass the APQS testing - over a long weekend, they had flattened.

I love my Liberty as-is, straight from the factory, but am curious about these wheels.




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Thank you Dawn for this information. I sell APQS parts online for convenience to Canadian customers. Customs has lost my last order, but APQS parts have send me another one to replace it. I will be glad to see it in my post office soon! We need to maintain our machines and I think everyone who purchases an APQS should have in their stock extra parts for "just in case". You damage your hook assembly and you are out of production until your new one arrives, why not keep extra parts in stock?

The machines are fabulous, but one little "thingy" can ruin your week!

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Yes, we are moving toward online ordering! We will certainly let you know when we have the shopping cart in place. I am going through the supply catalog and updating and photographing parts that would be most common for you to purchase.

Just a clarification regarding your APQS dealer and supplies available from them...

We do not require our dealers to maintain a working "inventory" of parts and accessories for sale, as many of them are not set up for retail purchases. However, some dealers have developed quite a large selection of parts and accessories for your machine, both APQS parts and other products.

If your dealer does sell APQS parts and supplies, you certainly can use them as your first point of contact; after all, your local dealer can be a valuable resource when it comes to classes, updates, and even if you decide to upgrade your machine.

But you can also order parts and supplies directly from APQS as well, simply by giving us a call. In the meantime, I'll see what I can do on my end to help "push the shopping cart to the checkout":)

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I spoke with the Edgerider officials at the MQX Show in April about the flat spots we experienced during testing. I was told that the original wheels (differentiated by a red ring around the bearing) did encounter problems with flat spots. The company has since modified the wheels and claims they no longer have that problem.

To be honest, when APQS switched to the current black wheels, customers gave such positive feedback that we have not re-tested the Edgeriders in the factory.

I'm glad your Liberty is working so well for you! That's a testament as to why we haven't aggressively pursued the additional Edgerider testing; quilters are very happy with the way their machines move already. But if you are considering a switch, the forum is a great place to get testimonials from quilters who are using them now.

Happy Quilting!

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We maintain a stock of several thousand MR needles and will be stocking the Organ needles (on order). I also have several thousand steel bobbins and have aluminum bobbins backordered from my supplier; I have plenty of bobbin cases. I have most any Hartley product in stock for immediate shipment including the Hartley Fence.

We stand behind anything we sell to be compatible with your machine. If you are unhappy I will either refund your purchase price or replace the item (your choice). We use these parts in our own studio and we have two 2008 Millenniums, one with a CQ. I carry most APQS parts including the modified hook assembly from APQS (this is the only hook I sell for the APQS machines).

I believe from the posts from satisfied customers you can tell that I put our clients first. I can not remember ever had a part returned because of failure or compatibility issues. I would never sell anything that I would not stand behind or use in our own studio. Currently I am offering free shipping with no handling on all orders over $50.We are set up for retail sales and take MC/Visa and will soon be accepting Discover.

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