Food, Clothing, Shelter. Everyone needs those. If you are wearing clothes right now, this project affects you! You won't have to be an embroidery expert or even own an embroidery machine to use our software. Our software will empower you to be able to create your own custom apparel. Although if you are a professional digitizer, we encourage you to support our project which in turn will help lower your operating expenses.
You can create your own designs or modify existing designs. The software then generates embroidery files which can be used in home or commercial embroidery machines. If you do not own an embroidery machine, you can contact a local embroidery shop to physically make your finished idea or you can upload your file to some websites online and they will make it for you and ship it to you.
For anyone who is not familiar with the cost of embroidery software, it's quite expensive, and in some cases, the quality does not reflect the cost. Some are more costly than others, ranging from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The embroidery software industry is pretty stagnant, and we aim to solve this problem by providing a cost effective quality product, thus forcing others to innovate and provide better software for the industry as a whole. By supporting us, your cost savings will stretch much farther and have a bigger impact than going with any particular currently available software.
Embroidermodder has always been, and will always be an open source application. To learn more about the project, you can visit our official project page at http://embroidermodder.github.io. The source code is hosted on GitHub. Open source software is generally higher quality than closed source software. While we are not amateur developers, having as many people with access to the source code means that bugs are identified faster. Furthermore, with open source software you have the freedom to upgrade or rollback versions as you please.
With open source software, everyone has the capability to try out the software at no cost to them. This is similar to proprietary software, except that when you purchase proprietary software, you are mainly paying for support as the price they charge quickly recoups development costs. With open source software, the money is used for support and new features and you have a direct line of communication with the developers and community who make it happen.
The interface itself is a CAD/CAM software but tailored for embroidery. This is intentional since both CAD and embroidery use vector formats and the embroidery machines are really just specialized CNC equipment (I.E. 3D Printers, CNC Laser Cutters, CNC Routers, CNC Lathes). So if you are interested in or familiar with CAD/CAM, then it will be possible to use it in that fashion also.
The interface is very similar to existing CAD applications so existing CAD users should be able to start using it immediately with little or no learning curve. It also incorporates additional features which are typically present in less precise graphics applications, such as the auto-adjusting ruler and an easily accessible undo history.
The user interface has been written from scratch using C++. It harnesses the powerful Qt framework to achieve platform independence. The 3 major desktop operating systems (Windows, Mac and Linux) will be targeted.
In addition to the desktop, it already works with the Raspberry Pi and we have a working demo of our code running on an Arduino. This will pave the way for low cost open source embroidery machines. We would also like to collaborate with the creators of the Smoothieboard so anyone who has one of those boards could also benefit from our work.
Very few other embroidery applications are cross-platform, with most only able to natively run on Windows. Our interface is very consistent across all platforms we support so there is no need to re-learn the interface when using it on a different operating system.
All quality embroidery programs have pseudo "3D" realistic rendering feature which allows you to visualize what the final design will look like when stitched out. Embroidermodder 2 already has this capability baked right in and it can be toggled on and off as needed. This is a must have feature that any serious embroidery application has.
Creating and Editing Designs
One of the goals for Embroidermodder 2 is for it to automatically fill in stitching for you. Currently, this feature is not complete but will be in the final release. This feature will make creation of designs extremely fast and easy. In some cases, you may want to modify the placement of individual stitches or resize objects in the design. Editing handles are provided for this so you can perfect your design with ease.
Fills, Hatching and Linetypes
There are many types of embroidery stitches. Initially we plan to incorporate running and satin stitching because they are the most commonly used types of stitches. Once that is complete, we will add others such as fishbone, cross-stitch and others. All objects in a design will have a linetype. This will allow you to quickly change from one stitch type to another rather effortlessly. Enclosed objects, such as circles, ellipses and polygons can also be filled. Fills will be used to stitch over areas so that the material beneath is not visible. Fills are also best used to hide any underlay stitches that may be present. Hatches are similar to fills but would not be suitable for hiding underlay stitching. Some examples of hatches could be honeycomb patterns, spirals, Hilbert curves, Sierpinski triangles and hexagons or other interesting fractals that may stitch out well. We plan to incorporate functionality that will allow you to create new and unique hatches within the application. Gradient fills and hatching are also a planned feature, which we plan on using the DXF and SVG formats for.
Backer Pack Reward
During the campaign and development phase, many unique designs will be made and will be available to backers only. Most designs that can be purchased from various websites on the internet for several dollars. This is the reward that keeps on giving.
T-Shirts and baseball caps are a nice way to show your support that is not tied to gender. Ladies and Gents will enjoy this reward.
We have been closely working with animator Nina Paley. She is responsible for the full length animated film "Sita sings the Blues" and produces stunning quilts and embroidery when not working on her next big film "Seder Masochism".
Nina and her partner Theodore Gray have been using our software in conjunction with a new paradigm, Embroidered Animation or "Embroidermation". They have produced a 12-frame animation of "The Ziz". The files for this will be included and you can even get a test frame, signed by Nina herself.
Arduino Electronics Prototype Reward
If you are interested in the creation of an open source embroidery machine, then this is the reward for you! Several prototypes will be worked on and this is your chance to show us that you are serious about it. Other prototypes may include stitch logging and resuming, bluetooth communication, or other interesting and practical uses.
An embroidery machine is a sewing machine with a moving table underneath that the controls the placement of the stitches (The table is called a pantograph). The Arduino can be used to hook up motors to control the table as well as the stitching speed. Bluetooth communication would allow sending and receiving files wirelessly to the Arduino from any bluetooth enabled device (such as smartphones or your computer), which then could be transmitted to the embroidery machine.
This reward includes electronics only (not an actual machine). Below is a video demonstrating our code simulating actual stitching on an Arduino using a TFT display.
It's planned that we will eventually port our code to run on Lego Mindstorms NXT/EV3 Intelligent Bricks (NXT/EV3 bricks in particular are not available as rewards unless there is a large interest in this). Here is an example of a Lego NXT embroidery machine retrofit. Converting an existing sewing machine into a computer controlled embroidery machine is a fun and exciting way to step into the world of embroidery!
Command Feature Reward
We will make a custom command for Embroidermodder using your ideas and input. We will use our scripting API and make any internal code changes needed to ensure that the functionality you want is incorporated and fits your needs. This is one of the best ways to contribute!
Corporate Sponsor Reward
If you are a professional digitizer, embroidery shop, or anyone who uses CAD software or open source tools in your business, then this is for you. Every business has a company logo, attire or projects that benefit from having more control over the design process and possibilities. Plus, we will prominently display your business on our sponsors page and in our application. Investing in open source provides many immediate and long-term benefits for your business.
Onsite Demonstration Reward
If your company or organization needs an onsite demonstration, training, or lecture on the software and related technologies, then this is the reward for that. Since there are many different ways that our software can be used, I can tailor the visit specific to the workflow of your company so that you get the most out of our software. Transportation, food and lodging costs are not included here and will need to be determined on a case by case basis.
Whatever You Want Reward
We will work with your company to incorporate our technology into your business. Nothing illegal, offensive or that would otherwise be detrimental to the project of course. Please contact beforehand to ensure your expectations can be met.
Release Date & Shipping
The official "stable" release date for Embroidermodder 2 is planned for March 2015 (Exactly 1 year from launch). All backers will get access to pre-release versions long before that date. Clothing rewards that will require shipping will be shipped as soon as possible, you won't have to wait that long to receive physical items. Rewards that require shipping extra items (such as electronics) will ship later so that shipping costs can be minimized. If you know ahead of time that you have special shipping requirements, contact us with details.
There are many formats, some vector formats and others specifically meant for embroidery. It is possible to use many of these formats with home and commercial embroidery machines. Currently these formats can be used:
It is possible to convert between these formats and we want to add even more in the future! Being able to use common non-vector formats such as png, jpg, and other image formats is planned and will open a world of possibilities for even more creative designs.
Two of the formats that we will be focusing on are DXF and SVG. Both are commonly used in various CAD and vector graphics applications. DXF is occasionally used in quilting, but we intend to change that so it will be suitable for use with embroidery. SVG is not commonly used for embroidery if at all. By supporting SVG, it will be easier to create designs in applications such as Inkscape or Illustrator. This will allow you to do the bulk of the design work in a program that you are more familiar with, while still providing the flexibility to finalize the design with our software. This also may lead to creation of plugins for these and other applications in the future.
Our current Embroidermodder 2 builds lack some features and may have bugs, but will give you a good idea about what the final version will be like and is usable in its current state. Some of the features that are not available yet but are currently in progress or planned are:
Automatic Stitch Filling
Changing and using layers.
Automatic Gradient Filling
There are many exciting stretch goals in mind. Backers will get to choose which are most important to them and will get to vote on their favorite stretch goals. For every time we reach a multiple of the initial goal, a commitment will be made to deliver a stretch goal. For instance, if we raise 5 times our funding goal, 4 stretch goals will be additionally worked on. If there is a strong enough desire for something not listed here, it may be added to the list.
Android tablet version & Android phone design viewer.
iPad version & iPhone design viewer.
Python and Lua scripting languages for Embroidermodder 2.
Additional language bindings for libEmbroidery.
Jonathan Greig has dual degrees in Architecture/CAD and been using CAD(Computer Aided Drafting) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) based software for over a decade. He has hands-on experience programming for and operating various CNC equipment and even owns a 3D printer (which was obtained through Kickstarter). He is a self taught programmer who has been programming nearly as long as he has been using CAD. He is a Digia Certified Qt Specialist and is primarily in charge of the user interface for Embroidermodder 2.
Josh Varga has a bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia and has been involved with file formats including embroidery for more than 10 years. He is primarily in charge of the embroidery formats library (libEmbroidery) for Embroidermodder 2. He has also been involved in the conversion of a Bridgeport mill into a CNC.
Risks and challenges
The developers have extensive experience programming, professionally and open source, are familiar with embroidery, have CAD/CAM experience and have operated and programmed various CNC equipment. The biggest risk involved would be premature death or illness.
If you own an embroidery machine and would like to be involved testing various formats, there is a small risk that the machine could be damaged. In instances where something may not be 100% working, the embroidery machine will most likely reject the file and not even attempt to stitch it. If there are any concerns about compatibility with your machine and the formats it may support, just contact us and we will work with you to determine the best course of action.