A needle and thread is extremely useful if you need to fasten a few pieces of fabric or sew on a button, and a sewing machine takes things up several notches in speed an accuracy. This venerable machine, however, can now be enhanced with a trio of stepper motors under Arduino Uno GRBL control to take things to an entirely new level.
The “Self-Made Embroidery Machine” employs a setup very similar to a 3D printer or CNC router. Two steppers move the fabric around, while a third actuates the needle. This allows the user to program in decorative shapes and patterns as shown in the video below, and the build process is well documented if you’d like to build your own!
Sewing machine part is any old or new sewing machine. Only change for original is stepper motor with synchronised pulley system (chain/belt drive) and more embroidery friendly presser foot. It is recommended to use older sewing machine, way more convenient to mount stepper motor to cast iron and prices are relatively cheap.
XY movement consists mainly 3D printed parts, 12 pcs and similar parts known from self build 3D printers. Both axes use GT2 belts, NEMA 17 steppers and both directions are fully scalable.
Synchronous movement comes from Arduino powered GRBL G-code interpreter, it is mouthful, but basically machine moves using G-code send to Arduino. It is not that complicated and it is only carrier like any other one when going from system to another one.
Help and examples how to use Inkstitch extension can be found address above. End result should be really close to hobby level embroidery machines, just slower speed. After all, embroidery machine is nothing more than overgrown sewing machine.