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Ask Dr. Bob/ Titanium Needles

Posted: 3 January 2012 at 6:36 a.m.
Question: I was recently at a class by a "national" teacher who definitely had an opinion about titanium needles, and I was curious what you think. She said that we shouldn't use titanium needles because they're too strong and could actually punch a hole in the bobbin case (rather than break).
Is this true?
She comes from the commercial industry, so maybe her experience is with full titanium needles? I noticed that your needles are not full titanium, but titanium coated. Would that make a difference?
Answer: I've also heard this opinion. No needle is made of pure titanium. That would cost hundreds of dollars.
Any needle referred to as titanium is, in fact, only titanium coated with titanium nitride which is an ultra thin coating applied to the surface of the needle. The coating is very hard and reduces wear on the needle. It does not significantly affect the overall strength of the needle.
Most industrial sewing factories around the world use titanium-coated needles because they last 5-8 times longer than the standard chrome-coated needles.
Most longarm machine companies use and sell them also

If it were true that titanium-coated needles were potentially harmful to machine parts, factories would not be using them. I do not doubt that the "national" teacher either personally heard about or experienced a problem with a titanium-coated needle. However, I think whatever problem she encountered could also have happened with a regular needle.
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  • 17. Todd (27 January 2017 at 3:53 p.m.)

    Norma - Superior's Topstitch needles will fit in any home sewing machine, so they will work in your Pfaff without problem. If you've changed needles and are still experiencing breakage, I recommend lowering your top tension is you haven't done so yet. If your machine can slow down the stitches per minute, I'd lower the SPM to 600 SPM as well, and slowly increase as you permit. I hope you're able to get back to stitching!
  • 16. Norma (27 January 2017 at 3:49 p.m.)

    I have used the Titanium Embroidery needles make by Organ. What I am needing is a larger eye like you demonstrated. The needles I have been using are the 90/14 Sharp and the thread keeps breaking. I used them for machine embroidery. Will your Titanium needles the 80/12 work in my Pfaff machine? I am fairly new to machine embroidery but really enjoy learning but get frustrated with thread breaks. Thanks for your opinion
  • 15. Wizcrafts (23 March 2014 at 10:59 a.m.)

    I am now using titanium coated needles in my Singer 29K172 patcher and in my primary long body walking foot machine. Both use system 135x16 (leather point) or 135x17 (cloth and webbing).
  • 14. Celeste from Superior (10 February 2014 at 12:58 p.m.)

    When using Superior's Titanium-coated needles, you will hear a different sound when sewing, almost like a constant 'thud, thud, thud' when the needle is getting dull. This is because the titanium coating is wearing off. Other signs of needle aging are skipped stitches, thread shredding, and puckering.
  • 13. Bobbie (10 February 2014 at 9:20 a.m.)

    How long do I sew with a titanium needle before changing it?
  • 12. RB (16 March 2012 at 10:22 a.m.)

    So you recommend a topstitch needle for all sewing (quilting, garment, etc), not just for topstitching?
  • 11. Meg (22 January 2012 at 12:01 p.m.)

    I work for a sewing machine dealer and I recommend titanium needles all the time. I also recommend visiting your website and this kind of discussion is precicely why! Rhank you for your Web of Truth!
  • 10. Rae (18 January 2012 at 11:02 a.m.)

    I feel lucky that my machine dealer has actually recommended them to me, rather than tried to scare me off, based on your stories. I look forward to trying them soon.
  • 9. Becky PB (04 January 2012 at 8:40 a.m.)

    This first time I ordered Superior's titanium needles and put one in my machine I thought "where have you been all of my life?" Now I don't use anything else. I find that they do last longer and I haven't had one break yet. Last month a friend asked me to make a duvet cover, pillow shams, decorative pillows and a pleated window valance for her son's bedroom. She already had the fabric and it was really too heavy for a duvet cover, but she was set on using it. I have a Singer "commercial" machine that I use for this kind of sewing and it flies as far as the speed of the stitch. The titanium needle was a lifesaver on that project. Now, I can get back to quilting! I don't particularly like home dec sewing - but she is my good friend, so what could I say? Thanks Superior, for top quality products and for all of the education you provide for us. You are dearly appreciated!
  • 8. Bev (03 January 2012 at 8:58 p.m.)

    I would not use any other kind after using these.. and yes I have had one break...glad I had my glasses on!
  • 7. Doris (03 January 2012 at 2:46 p.m.)

    After you use the titanium needles you'll want to use them all of the time. I use them for machine quilting and thread painting and love them. Have had no problem at all with them and I tell my quilting friends to give them a try.
  • 6. Tracy (03 January 2012 at 10:15 a.m.)

    I only use titanium needles for embroidery. I have much less thread breakage and smoother designs. Haven't had a problem with breakage ever.
  • 5. Sheilah (03 January 2012 at 10:08 a.m.)

    I put one of your titanium needles in my machine as I was using your metalic thread - I'm delighted with the combination of your needle and thread. The quilt's looking great!
  • 4. Lizbeth (03 January 2012 at 9:21 a.m.)

    My HQ-16 dealer went nuts when I took my machine in for service and found a titanium needle in my machine. They actually scolded me in front of several other customers.
  • 3. Patty (03 January 2012 at 9:11 a.m.)

    My understanding is that titanium cannot stand alone, so there is no pure titanium needle. Titanium is a terrific heat conductor, thus it greatly reduces friction, which is why it is used to coat needles. The needle receives less stress, so the point remains sharper. The coating helps protect the needle from making burrs, etc. As far as making the needle stronger, ha, they break the same as regular needles! This silly myth goes on and on and on...
  • 2. Nedra/ Superior Threads (14 August 2010 at 7:37 a.m.)

    Hi Sandy, Thank you for your recommendation on our Titanium Needles. We love using them too!
  • 1. Sandy (12 August 2010 at 3:07 p.m.)

    I use titanium needles of various sizes, either sharp or ball point (for embroidery I always use a needle with a larger eye) and absolutely love them. Not only do they last far longer than traditional needles, I believe they improve the function of the machine and the overall look of my finished product!

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