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  1. #1
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    Thread Injector -- Rotary Hook vs Oscillating Hook

    The local "expert" has recommended that I switch to a rotary hook (drop-in bobbin) machine to better suit my needs.

    He says that he works with parachute material a bit and has specifically chosen to use rotary machines for that and the projects are going to be almost identical to what I work on (tents, packs, tarps, etc...1oz nylon and 1.3oz silnylon...plus heavy duty webbing at times)

    Anyway, I do believe him to an extent because he actually has some stuff to back up his claims that rotary hook makes a better quality stitch without puckering.

    ...any input or experience the community has on this?
    Is he just trying to make a buck or is it really worth it (likely in the $150-200 range compared to my $100 Necchi 3101)

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    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Are you stitching for sale or just for yourself? If the former, then you want a high quality industrial machine. If the latter.... pffft who cares. That's not to say quality is not some something to strive for. But if your Necchi does what you need why change. Drop in bobbins can be nice and now are about the only thing available in the home market, at least on decent machines. But for gear making.... the old tried and true workhorse machines just can't be beat.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

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  3. #3
    Pag's Avatar
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    Rotary hooks are useful with very light weight or stretchy thread. The stuff used by most of the diy crowd is middle of the road. Oscillating hooks are best for heavy or stiff threads, but both function fine with Tex 27-40 thread.

    As for a better stitch or not, there are times where a rotary hook is superior, but those typically involve very light threads with lots of stretch (woolly nylon or UT 151).

    That said I wouldn't recommend using a 60mm oscillating hook for 1.1 nylon, but those are typically found on large clearance walking foot machines.
    --If a cow laughs hard, does milk come out its nose?

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    Are you having problems with the material puckering? If so, thread tension adjustments and technique may solve it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    Are you stitching for sale or just for yourself? If the former, then you want a high quality industrial machine. If the latter.... pffft who cares. That's not to say quality is not some something to strive for. But if your Necchi does what you need why change. Drop in bobbins can be nice and now are about the only thing available in the home market, at least on decent machines. But for gear making.... the old tried and true workhorse machines just can't be beat.
    I only make stuff for myself and friends/family...however, I've been toying with the idea of doing it part-time. Nothing that would necessitate an industrial machine or more than 20 hours a week though...I'd love to make this stuff full-time but I just don't see it happening as I don't think I would take the plunge and quit my job without a solid customer-base and it doesn't seem like this sort of stuff really appeals to most people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pag View Post
    Rotary hooks are useful with very light weight or stretchy thread. The stuff used by most of the diy crowd is middle of the road. Oscillating hooks are best for heavy or stiff threads, but both function fine with Tex 27-40 thread.

    As for a better stitch or not, there are times where a rotary hook is superior, but those typically involve very light threads with lots of stretch (woolly nylon or UT 151).

    That said I wouldn't recommend using a 60mm oscillating hook for 1.1 nylon, but those are typically found on large clearance walking foot machines.
    I currently work mostly with 30D silnylon and noseeum but I also have plans to make a few packs (and panniers for cycling) out of some 200D Dyneema and 200D Oxford Nylon.

    If i were to estimate my current use I would guess: 70% 30D silnylon, 15% noseeum, 10% 70D nylon, 5% webbing and heavier (200+ denier) fabric...in the future the heavier stuff likely wouldn't jump over 25% though.

    ...which machine would you expect to fit my needs better?


    Quote Originally Posted by gmcttr View Post
    Are you having problems with the material puckering? If so, thread tension adjustments and technique may solve it.
    Puckering has been somewhat minimal...usually it's only bad if I'm in a hurry and don't care (like when I made channels on a gathered end hammock...something that isn't even going to show).

    The "expert" recommended a different needle that's supposed to handle silnylon better and reduce puckering further but I've only snapped them because my Necchi wasn't quite adjusted properly and it has taken back in for servicing...I haven't gotten it back yet to try them out again.
    Last edited by jordo_99; 11-13-2012 at 15:41.

  6. #6
    Pag's Avatar
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    Hook style its determined by thread type more than fabric. Fabric dictated needle and throat plate really. If you intend on using any heavy thread, bonded or monofilament, I would recommend oscillating hook. If you will only be using lighter thread, twists and sheaths, a rotary hook will be sufficient. Another benefit of a rotary hook is higher sewing speed. I haven't seen an oscillating hook with a stitch speed over 3k stitches per minute but have seen rotary hooks up to 9k stitches per minute.
    --If a cow laughs hard, does milk come out its nose?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jordo_99 View Post
    The "expert" recommended a different needle that's supposed to handle silnylon better and reduce puckering further but I've only snapped them because my Necchi wasn't quite adjusted properly and it has taken back in for servicing...I haven't gotten it back yet to try them out again.
    This is a new one on me. I would like to know more about the needle. Needles should not break unless the machine is so wildly out of adjustment that it won't work right anyway. This assumes you don't torque the needle by pulling on the fabric. I suspect the new needles were not compatible with the machine. There are a few proprietary needle configurations out there and industrial machines often require different needles than domestic machines.

    Why do you put the word expert in quotes? That usually implies the term is not applicable to the situation. If the person is not really an expert then maybe you should seek out folks who are. Like your local sewing machine repair shop.
    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."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    This is a new one on me. I would like to know more about the needle. Needles should not break unless the machine is so wildly out of adjustment that it won't work right anyway. This assumes you don't torque the needle by pulling on the fabric. I suspect the new needles were not compatible with the machine. There are a few proprietary needle configurations out there and industrial machines often require different needles than domestic machines.

    Why do you put the word expert in quotes? That usually implies the term is not applicable to the situation. If the person is not really an expert then maybe you should seek out folks who are. Like your local sewing machine repair shop.
    He's the owner and repairman for the shop so I guess expert is correct...I guess it just seemed strange to call him that.

    The issues with the needles were supposedly caused by the dog feet (slipping, catching, timing...i don't know).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jordo_99 View Post
    He's the owner and repairman for the shop so I guess expert is correct...I guess it just seemed strange to call him that.

    The issues with the needles were supposedly caused by the dog feet (slipping, catching, timing...i don't know).
    Yeah... I would hope he qualifies as an expert.
    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."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  10. #10
    Pag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jordo_99 View Post
    He's the owner and repairman for the shop so I guess expert is correct...I guess it just seemed strange to call him that.

    The issues with the needles were supposedly caused by the dog feet (slipping, catching, timing...i don't know).
    Unless your machine is compound feed or needle feed the needless have nothing to do with the feed dogs. Throat plates can though (the plate with the hole the needle goes through). If he recommended changing to a needle plate to a smaller diameter opening to prevent the fabric from getting pushed down into the hook I could understand that.
    --If a cow laughs hard, does milk come out its nose?

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