10.21.2014

Comparing Home Sewing Machine Vs. Industrial Sewing Machine

I thought I'd compare my industrial machine to a typical home sewing machine so you can see the difference between them (although you really have to sit in front of one to really "get it").

So here you go... my Pfaff 1472 next to my industrial Durkopp Adler.  This picture just doesn't do the size difference justice!

The motors... this alone says enough!  There's a typical Kenmore motor next to an industrial clutch motor.

Here we have the belts.  These belts drive the machine by turning the hand wheel from the motor pulley.  Pictured is a belt from a Singer 66-16 and the industrial belt.

 Here is a regular 70/10 sewing needle next to a typical industrial needle.

This picture demonstrates the clearance under the presser foot of my Pfaff 1472 (left) next to my Adler (right).  The Adler has 2 quarters extra clearance (almost 3)! ...and that's a big deal!


Bobbins... WOAH!  Singer 201-2 next to the Adler.

Thread.  Yeah... that's a big difference!

About a year ago I had NO clue about industrial sewing machines.  Whenever I came across one for sale I didn't think twice about it - it wasn't for me.  However, upon further thinking and investigation (reading forums and watching YouTube videos) I discovered that I NEEDED one... and quick!  I was pretty much obsessed about finding the perfect one to help me with sewing my heavier/thicker projects and I also craved the professional/durable touch it would give.

Hopefully this helps you see the difference - you really need the right machine for the job.  If you are using a regular home machine for thicker projects you might want to consider buying a used, industrial machine to make your life easier (and save the motor on your small machine).

Durkopp Adler Industrial Sewing Machine

My quest for the perfect industrial sewing machine ended when I found an Adler 867-1900400 on Craigslist.  It is classified as a triple compound walking foot machine meant for Upholstery.  Triple compound means it has a regular presser foot and a walking foot, PLUS the needle & feed dog move forward/backwards together while stitching - it is the best way to ensure your stitches are even and uniform for thick projects. The machine is pretty fancy too with because it is self-lubricating - you fill up a "tank" with machine oil and it is distributed to different areas of the machine using a wick system making it pretty much maintenance free (except for routine cleaning).

I was very surprised the first time I saw it - it was HUGE!!!  My heart stuttered a little as I sat down to test it out - I had no idea what I had been missing out on!

The machine was dirty and there were cobwebs and dog hair all over but most people don't baby their machines like I do.  The guy used it to sew with waterproof thread that had a wax coating and it left a white goo everywhere.

Another thing that stood out to me was the clutch motor.  It was really noisy and very difficult to sew slowly.  I knew right away I'd be buying a servo motor.


He also mentioned that he had replaced the main belt from the machine to the motor with an automobile belt. It worked, BUT I could hear that it was rubbing on something inside which I'd also need to look into.



Getting the machine into my van and back home is a story in and of itself (I'll spare you)... let's just say it was VERY difficult and scary!


Once home I got to work.  The first step was to take the machine out so I could work on the table (notice how dirty the legs are). The head of the machine is soooo heavy you wouldn't believe!  I took the table top off and got all the metal leg pieces separated and spray painted them to look brand new.

I was sure the bottom of the legs would scratch my floor if I ever wanted to move the machine...

...so I screwed some plywood "skies" to each leg. I also glued on a new cork pad on the pedal since I scrapped the old one off to paint (and it was nasty, of course).

I drove down to Toledo Industrial Sewing Machine shop and purchased a servo motor (and big cones of thread).  It took a while to make sure it was bolted onto the table in the correct position (and later I had to add a block of wood underneath once the machine head was on so the belt would be in exactly the right position)... all in all it was pretty easy to figure out.

I took off the nasty rubber bumper that went all around the edge of the table because it was peeling off (you can see it in the first few pictures). I like the look of the wood anyways.  I did have to fill in a lot of crevices with wood filler and sand it down. I also cleaned up the machine well with rubbing alcohol by taking all the pieces off that I could so I could get in between as many crevices as possible (it was REALLY dirty)!

Next was tackling the belt problem and solving the rubbing noise.  Upon inspection the belt was so wide that it wasn't riding down into the groove around the hand wheel far enough...

...and was rubbing on the plastic cover that went over it.

I got a new belt (left) and you can see how much narrower it is.  It fit perfectly!

I also bought some bobbins...

...and various presser feet from Kwokhing. They don't have many parts for my particular model but I got away with buying feet from other models and they fit.  I also got some binders customized and some parts for the binder arm (it didn't really end up fitting well in the end after many months of waiting but I knew it was a risk anyways). I contacted Adler to see how much a binder arm would be and they said $1,200 and that didn't even include the price of the individual binders or feed dog/presser foot!  I got all those from Kwokhing for around $200.  They have awesome prices and high quality products (though, I wasn't impressed with the LED lights I bought).

To finish everything off I found manuals and instruction books online and bound them all into one book.

Ready to work hard!

My first project was sewing these little leather baby moccasins!

Of course the real reason I bought the machine was to make these mommy purses.  It was such a joy to sew on and makes the finished product nicer and more durable with the thicker thread.

10.17.2014

Favorite Product of the Week

If you are a crafter and haven't used the fine-tipped glue gun by SUREBONDER for detailed gluing you don't know what you're missing!

From my experience the full-sized glue guns (and even mini guns) are impossible to use for delicate projects - it usually ends up looking like a mess.  I've burned myself way too many times because of all the excess glue and was beyond excited when I came across the SUREBONDER fine-tip gun at Joann's 3 years ago - I snatched up a few for sure!

I used to have a love/hate relationship with these guns because I LOVED the fine-tip but I hated worrying about problems.  Over the years I've experienced issues with their guns having faulty designs (right out of the package).  I've kept the glue guns as back-ups and actually bought their newest design a few weeks ago which doesn't have any of the previous faults.  I contacted the company just last week about the 3 guns I've purchased which were bad over the years and they shipped me 3 new ones free of charge - no questions asked!

I love companies that stand behind their products!  So that's why this is my favorite tool of the week because now I don't have anymore worries and I feel like the company took care of the problem.

(Here's a picture of the 3 different models I've owned)
The 1st gun is about 2-1/2 years old and the metal tip always fell out when gluing, the 2nd is about 1 year old and right out of the package the metal ring around the tip fell off and the trigger would stick on the inside and you'd have to squeeze really hard and the 3rd is their newest model which I haven't had any problems with.

HAPPY CRAFTING!

10.08.2014

Fast & Easy Way to Add Name to Fabric


I made my 3 boys their own trick-or-treating bag and put their names on the front which I like better than any "cutsy" Halloween design I looked at.  I'll share how I did it so you can do it too. It's relatively easy, cheap and it looks like something you'd buy from the store.

What you need:
-Bag (preferably unassembled to make things easier)
-Double Stick Fusible Web
-Fabric for letters (I did mine in vinyl because it was thicker to add dimension and cuts really clean, but you could use pretty much any fabric)
-Sharpie marker (ultra fine-point)
-Iron
-Scotch tape

For the name, the first thing to consider is how big/small you can make it to fit on your bag. You can design your name on a computer program and print it out or you can sketch it on a paper.  Make sure your lines are dark enough that you can see through the backside really well if you hold it up to a light.

I designed my names in Adobe Illustrator using the 'envelope distort tool'.

Once you have your name printed/sketched, tape it on the window with the ink side against the window (creating a mirror-image) so that the name is backwards.  Next, tape a piece of fusible web over your name (the web should have a fusible layer sandwiched between 2 sheets of wax-like paper... keep all layers together until further direction).  Use your fine-point Sharpie to trace the name onto the back of your fusible web.


Peel off the wax sheet that doesn't have your name traced onto it and lay the fusible layer against the WRONG side of your fabric.  Use a hot iron and press against wax-side of web for about 5 seconds to melt to the fabric.

Cut out your letters, keeping wax paper intact still.

Arrange your letters over the front (rightside) of your bag.  Once you have them arranged how you want them to look, carefully place 2 pieces of scotch tape across the top and bottom edges of your letters to keep them in place.

Flip your letters over so you can remove the last wax paper from off the back.

Now you can flip your letters back over and place them exactly where you want them to be ironed.  They should stay in place with the tacky back of your letters and the scotch tape so that you can flip your fabric over and iron from the backside.

Use your hot iron to press and melt fusible web to bag.

Now you can assemble your bag and admire your work!  If you're interested in the bag tutorial I used, click here.

10.01.2014

DeWalt vs. Harbor Freight Scroll Saw

I wanted to make some puzzles out of wood and looked into buying a scroll saw.  Because I didn't know if it was something I would do a lot I didn't want to spend a lot of money.  I always look at what the local 'big box' stores offer and compare what they have to Harbor Freight.  Then I will look on Amazon, eBay and especially Craigslist to see what else is out there.  I will weigh the cost, quality and reviews between different brands of tools and even watch videos that I find on YouTube before I settle on anything.

I decided between getting the 16-in saw from Harbor Freight for $69.99... or...



...the 20-in DeWalt that costs $499.00 at Home Depot (but try and find a cheaper one on Craigslist).

I ended up getting the Harbor Freight (Central Machinery) saw because I have been very pleased with other tools I bought from them and it had pretty good reviews.

I read that people said to change the blade to something nicer and that these machines work just as good as a $400 machine.  I did that and also made sure the blade was square with the table. I was very frustrated the whole time I used it.  The tension knob would loosen while sawing and I'd have to keep re-tightening.  The dust blower and wood clamp thing are a joke!  They're connected and move up/down together and it would also loosen while sawing and twist so the blower wouldn't be in the right position.  I ended up blowing the sawdust away myself every 5 seconds or so because it was pointless to re-tighten.

I ended up finding a used DeWalt DW788 on Craigslist. It's about 7-years-old and was made in Canada.  I didn't want to pay for a new one especially since they're now made in Asia (people say bad things about them).  I went and tested it out and was impressed.  I noticed the larger size and quality right off. It was quiet and didn't rattle. Just the thick cast iron table tells you it's quality.

SIZE COMPARISON:



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Here is an upper view of the DeWalt.  The ON/OFF switch, speed control and tension knob are all up in the front for easy access.

Here is an upper view of the Harbor Freight saw.

The DeWalt air blower is awesome!  You can move it anywhere you want!  You can only use pin-less (or flat) blades in this saw and they are extremely easy to put on.  Blade changes take just over 30 seconds and if you are just inserting the blade through your work that takes even less time.

The Harbor Freight blower is worthless and incredibly frustrating.  The saw takes pin-less AND pinned blades but there's a catch: you can't put the pinned blades through a tiny hole in your work so beware... also, if you're working with pin-less (or flat) blades it is very cumbersome to put the adapters on the end (small metal pieces in photo).

Here's looking underneath the DeWalt.  The bed tilts up to 45-degrees either way.  It doesn't have a dust collection system which I don't mind because I take it outside to work.

Here's looking underneath the Harbor Freight saw.  It has a dust collector that you can hook your vacuum up to.  The on/off switch and speed control are a little awkward to get to because you have to bend down to see under the bed of the machine.

I would HIGHLY recommend the DeWalt DW788 over the Harbor Freight (Central Machinery) saw, even considering the cost difference.  You won't regret it!

It's like comparing a plastic $78 Wal-Mart Singer sewing machine to a 10-year-old German Made Pfaff 1473 that you can buy used for $400.  Even though it's over $300 more AND used, it's totally worth it!  You won't be frustrated, you'll ENJOY using it, you'll get the job done faster and you can produce higher quality products.

EDIT:  I got the bed of my used DeWalt looking like new with hardly any effort.  Luckily I had all the products on-hand from cleaning sewing machines.

Here's what I did:
-Take off bed from saw and lay paper towels over the top and soak paper with EVAPO-RUST.  Let sit for at least 4 hours (or over night).  Take off old towels and wipe clean with new paper towels.  (At this point there was still large dark splotches)
-Use cotton balls and run bed with rubbing alcohol. (Still marks...)
-Use 220 grit paper on orbital sander and sand bed. (By this time it was clear of any spots or rust and the bed was so smooth... not only did the sander remove the spots it also smoothed out the original machining marks/grooves)
-Final step was to rub metal polish cream over the bed with cotton balls and it looked brand new!