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Heavy Duty/Multipurpose Sewing Machine for under $500?

Discussion in 'Do-It-Yourself & Gear Modifications' started by Bumper, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Bumper

    Bumper Loaded Pockets

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    Hey folks,

    I've decided to give sewing a go, for a second time. I have wanted to make my own gear (I have a number of hair-brained ideas) for sometime now. I took a class a few years ago, but it didn't quite take. The thread feed from the bottom just threw me...

    Amazingly, the wife is amenable with spending the money for a sewing machine. I suggested we get one AND take a class together, so I guess that helped.

    Can anyone recommend an all around sewing machine that can sew webbing, Cordura, etc., as well as standard clothing, for under $500. I looked and found a PFAFF 262, with table for 200 bucks on Craigslist, but my wife wants something more modern/easier to use. So I researched and came across this one:

    Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine with 18 Built-In Stitches + Hard Case (specs on Amazon)

    Any thoughts/recommendations?

    Thanks!
     
    Nighted and T.H.Cone like this.
  2. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    I have no idea, but good luck and I look forward to seeing whatever you create.
     
  3. CatherineM
    • In Omnia Paratus

    CatherineM Loaded Pockets

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    I'd check out your local sewing store. They often have good used machines, and if you buy there, you often can get free lessons. My Bernina is 40 years old, solid metal, and built like a Swiss watch. I wouldn't trade it for a new piece of plastic with a computer brain. They bounce around and screw up just about as often as your regular computer does.


    Sent by owl post.
     
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  4. Eagle Scout
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    Eagle Scout Loaded Pockets

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    Your local tailor is also a good resource. You know the shop that does alterations on site and has several machine stations behind the counter. Their machines are serviced and sometimes replaced or upgraded by another local company. You might find a commercial machine used for short money. Heck, they may have one out back to sell you for cheap.

    Also do a search on Hammock Forums. Lots of guys into DIY gear and several threads on sewing machine recommendations. Seems like the older ones are better for heavy duty gear making.
     
  5. Pete3

    Pete3 Loaded Pockets

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    Hola Bumper, I have no experience with the machine you posted, But... I do have experience sewing gear.
    I used for about 1 year an old school singer model 1592. It did the job, it stitched through the material, not with ease, but it was decent. I got that for free.
    I have since bought a Sailrite portable straight and zigzag stitch machine. It was above your price range though. It may be hard to find something quite right to work between you and your wife, my machine tears through cordura and webbing, 8+ layers without missing a stitch, but it would be a bit much for delicates, (The lowest thread size it really can use effectively is #69.)

    Something that was a massive improvement over my singer was the walking-foot, it was night and day stitch quality difference. Not essential, but it makes sewing less stressful for sure. Check out Diytactical, They have some guides for machines, If I recall. its popular to buy and use old industrial machines for these applications, thats the route I would have gone had I the space for it. I opted for portability. good luck! HMU with any other questions, I might be able to help.
     
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  6. Bumper

    Bumper Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks all! Excellent tips!

    Pete3, I'll be eyeballing Diytactical and the walking foot!
     
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  7. tattoosteve99
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    tattoosteve99 EDC Junkie!!!

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    Why not go with a older pedal type singer? You can add a electric motor for cheap and it sews through cordura and leather like butter.
     
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  8. vinsanity286

    vinsanity286 Loaded Pockets

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    Hi,
    This is a bit over budget, but take a look at a used Tacsew 111 like those sold new by sailrite. It's a walking foot machine and would most likely be perfect for your needs. My father has used one for years now and loves it.
     
  9. metropolicity

    metropolicity Loaded Pockets

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    Just a bit of warning, most Pfaff machine parts are SUPER expensive and hard to find.

    I love my industrial table top machines, once you get the hang of the thigh push for the needle raise, you can't go back!

    Another reason to avoid most newer table top machine is the largest needle they will accept is 18 size. Industrials will take much larger needles (I use a 22) and sometimes will even snap those.
     
  10. Garen Osborn

    Garen Osborn Loaded Pockets

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    It's a little late to respond but I'll throw my 2 bucks in. I have the janome 1000hd that I bought for regular clothing weight fabrics and for that occasion I need to do an appliqué on a bag. The zig zag comes in handy for that. Now, the machine will sew 2 layers of 1000d just fine. Where you're going to run into problems with it is going to be thread tension. Sewing with #69 bonded nylon can get problematic for any domestic sewing machine. Sometimes you just can't get the top tension tight enough. You'll get nasty ugly rats nests on the bottom cause the bottom tension is pulling the top thread way down below the work. Don't depend on these machines. Eventually you will cry.

    The machines I use for 99% of my sewing are pretty big dollar industrials. A pfaff 1245 and 335. Between these two machines it's about 4500-5k new. But you don't have to spend that much money to get a good machine. Haunt craigslist eBay for a cheap consew 206rb series machine. You should be able to get one for around 400-500 if you're patient. You'll be sewing at probably 75% of what my 1245 can do, and at 25% the price. And 75% of what that pfaff can do is plenty for making pouches and bags and whatnot.
     
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  11. cap6888
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    cap6888 Loaded Pockets

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    Anyone have any experience with a Pfaff 230? I found one for free and plan on using it for simple mods such as straps, buckles, and maybe some simple pouches.
     
  12. Lester

    Lester Loaded Pockets

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    I am lucky enough to have an old Singer 401a from my grandmother. It will sew though anything. Almost...