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  1. #11
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    The last two able, experienced, and knowledgeable stitchers are referring to genuine industrial machines.

    I'm not confused about the difference between genuine commercial / industrial machines and strong domestics. These domestics / home machines are commonly put up and labeled as "industrial" on ebay, complete with displays of multiple layers of stitched denim and belting. An ebay listing label doesn't make them industrial.

    For a reality check on duty cycles, one or more of the old line mfgs, maybe Singer, gives guidance on maintenance frequency for one of their home machines:

    "Once per year, or an estimated 5-8 hours of operation."

    Right, that might be 1% the use of a true industrial machine, where the SM is only operated 1 shift per day, with an 40 hour work-week.

  2. #12
    Pag's Avatar
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    The difference between an industrial sewing machine and a home use is about equal to the difference between a real oven and an ez-bake oven. That ez bake sure makes great cakes, small ones though.

    For the cost of a new machine, used industrial will outshine pretty much always. If you're comparing an industrial machine like a consew 206 to a singer 99k and saying they're equal on a short use basis minus feed issues I say that's like comparing tow ratings of vehicles while pushing them downhill. One sure is cheaper and smaller, but for those times when you can't "roll downhill" that 3/4 HP clutch motor sure seems like a good choice.

    If you are planning on sewing heavy items I'd suggest taking one small piece of advice. Sewing something your machine isn't meant to sew has a higher than acceptable chance of breaking it. If your machine made in the 1930's breaks and you need parts, you might be able to get them, but do you want to risk it?
    --If a cow laughs hard, does milk come out its nose?

  3. #13
    Senior Member BigTurtle's Avatar
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    well i guess im using the term industrial wrong as my large machine is a sears/kenmore made in the 50's if i remember right but is quite large vs todays machines. but it probably isnt made to run such heavy material and straps like i was trying to sew. so it was probably my fault but the way i look at it is if it cant sew what i need it to sew then it isnt worth much to me. and like i said the other portable one was bought new about 6 years ago and is a BIG PIECE OF COW DUDDE LOL.
    BT
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTurtle View Post
    well i guess im using the term industrial wrong as my large machine is a sears/kenmore made in the 50's if i remember right but is quite large vs todays machines.
    If you decide to replace it with a similar machine, use the fly wheel when working such heavy duty projects. You will save the motor and you will be able to feel the machine as it tries to pierce the work. That way you can trouble shoot before any thing serious malfunctions. Remember the heavier the work the higher you top tension needs to be to avoid the birds nests.

    You might also try a leather needle as they are intended for leather or heavy duty non-woven work. Do _not_ use a leather needle on woven material as it will cut the fabric and rupture the weave.

    I would recommend staying earlier than say 1960. That is time when many companies began the shift to plastic/nylon gears. Very heavy duty use will be likely to break those gears as the compounds they used became brittle with age. That is one place the newer machine might be better. The plastics have been improved. But for what you describe you definitely need an all metal drive system.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  5. #15
    wildewudu's Avatar
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    Older machines are great. They used more metal in them! You might be fine if you check the machine's timing and replace the needle bar if it's bent--some home machine dealers sell their parts for what I consider to be ridiculous amounts of money (ex: I bought a domest machine scroll foot for $30, and bought a similar scroll foot for one of my industrials for $8...). Youtube has lots of good videos on how to accomplish this, so long as you're comfortable taking things apart. Taking pictures of the disassembly process and finding a manual/schematics for your machine would be helpful too.

    For sewing through just about anything you want you might consider going for an industrial model. Most of the single needle lockstich machines have a generic design and you really can't go wrong with any of them. Older Singer machines are available almost everywhere I've looked for them (craigslist, ebay, local paper, etc.) and most are pretty affordable costing anywhere between $100 and $300. Attachments will make your machine more versatile. Buttonholes, zig-zag, walking feet, hemmers, binders and lapseam folders of all kinds. Ebay has a plethora of refurbished and economical purchasing options.

    On the other hand, it seems industrial sewing machine dealers (for parts & service if/when needed) are few and far between. Dealers who sell typical (or certain atypical, like the Berninas, Elnas and other higher end home machines) don't typically play in the same ball field as the industrial dealers so you would need to be more mechanically self-sufficient.

    Someone mentioned the SailRite portable machines. These are designed for making sail repairs in the 'field' and will work on heavy duty materials (canvas, sunbrella, dacron, etc.). I like also that their machine has a walking foot, a straight stitch in addition to a zig-zag stitch. What more could a thread-pusher want out of a machine?

  6. #16
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    Pag:

    I know you were a trained and skilled tailor before you were a mechanical engineer. On the metaphor, we don't know whether almost all of the time the ride will in fact be all downhill, and the task is mostly steering the operator can manage. But, in the note quoted below, there's an explanation of why some old iron is capable of a wider range of performances, at least on a light duty cycle, than many specialized industrial machines. That and OP's post a while ago about impingements on his businesses growth lead me to think he's not in the market for a Consew 199R, truly the industrial, heavy duty-cycle -- version of the multi-purpose old heavy home iron ZZ.

    On your affection for and the the undoubted greater capability of any 3/4 horsepower motor --clutch or servo -- I just looked up this tagline I first saw 15 years ago: (and am surprised by who it is attributed to)

    Aerodynamics are for people who can't build engines.
    -Enzo Ferrari

    Smilies, of course, and with the greatest respect.


    OP: Here's a communication I got from a serious and more qualified amateur than I am, who like me favors not just old iron, but for zig zag, old iron that is "end loader", with the bobbin on the left and the entire shuttle mechanism and its enclosure moving for zig-zag. (Yes, that's a lot of mass to oscillate, compared to just needle-bar, feed dogs, and shuttle.) Notice the thread and needle size, and a suggestion of a good Singer to look for locally, one which would be capable for several layers of 1 oz nylon, but also the occasional strap and harness work.


    My primary focus is on using domestic machines for "near industrial" purposes. The old S[traight]S[titch] Singers (and probably others) would routinely take up to size 21 needles and v92 (heavy) thread as the old machines had to sew the occasional horse collar as well as clothing. With the advent of ZZ and the rotary hook, everything changed. Since in ZZ with a rotary or oscillating hook, the hook has to grab the stitch early on one side of the ZZ and late on the other, the tolerances are more critical than in SS where the hook always grabs the stitch at the optimum point in the middle. Therefore in modern ZZ machines, the play needs to be a minimum and the needle size and thread size need to be in a tighter range than in the older SS machines.
    That is how I got into this.

    The solution, if it can be called one since it is a compromise, is to use a transverse hook which moves and is always under the needle, even in ZZ. Therefore the tolerances can be opened up just like the older SS machines.
    The Sailrite semi-industrial sailmaker machine is a good example. But Singer did make one ZZ machine like that and the last good Singer for this purpose is the 237. It has all metal gears and a translating hook and takes up to size 21 needle and large thread just like the older Singer ss machines. The Singer 237, and I have 3 of them, were made in the Monza Italy plant and are the last of the "good" Singers for this purpose. Since then they are all clothing machines with a max needle size of 18 at best and generally plastic gears.

    The point here is that the Singer 237 machines can have more end play tolerance etc. but the newer machines combine the end play, needle size, and thread size to determine what can be sewn. So reduce the end play as much as you can if you want the other variables like needle and thread size as large as possible.

  7. #17
    RSGary's Avatar
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    Listen to PAG. He knows what he's talking about.
    http://www.readystrap.com Webbing - Hardware - Straps - and More!

  8. #18
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    You're sewing straps, mostly.

    OP is making quilts, mostly. How many machines should OP buy, and which ones, when he reported in his first post resorting to finishing work by hand? Suggested expenditure and where he should have them serviced?

    http://blog.sew-classic.com/2008/11/...ing-guide.aspx

    covers it.

  9. #19
    Redoleary's Avatar
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    Actually the OP never mentioned quilts. He may link to his quilt business in his signature but what he asked about is a machine capable of sewing thick fabric/straps with heavyduty thread. So IOW not your average home machine, and if he will be doing it with any sort of regularity he'll prolly want an industrial machine as suggested by Pag. There is no sense in regularly running a 1950's home machine on the ragged edge of what its capable of when you could just get the right tool for the job in the first place. Even a Sailrite would be preferable to most home machines IMHO.
    Good luck,
    RED

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  10. #20
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    I'll read with interest your (plural) assistance in helping OP buy the machines he needs. The appearance here will help others who wish to start or grow a business, too.

    Here's one marketplace to window-shop used industrial machines.

    http://www.miamisewing.com/miami_price.htm

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