Plotting with Thread: Fabricating Delicate Punch Needle Embroidery with X-Y Plotters
Shiqing He and Eytan Adar

Punch needle embroidery is a unique type of embroidery that uses loops of threads to create designs. Technology for punch needle embroidery ranges from the popular handheld manual tools to high-cost industrial tufting machines. Computer-controlled punch needle fabrication tools remain out-of-reach for most practitioners. In this work, we describe how a low-cost X-Y plotter can be repurposed to support punch needle embroidery fabrication. By adding easy-to-make physical accessories coupled with a novel software toolkit, we support the production of delicate and precise punch needle embroideries with minimal manual labor. After examining and evaluating the potential and challenges of converting X-Y plotters into punch needle embroidery fabricators, we propose guidelines that are specific to plotter-based punch needle embroideries. We demonstrate how this novel fabrication approach enables the production of a wide range of artifacts and textures.

Pre-print: PDF, (6.8Mb), to appear, DIS'20