Stocksuspension

Help Me Learn To Use My Juki Ddl-5550

40 posts in this topic

How's it going guys. First of I wanna say I'm new to sewing/ leather work and interested in leather upholstery. I just purchased a juki ddl-5550. I already figured how to thread the machine. Problem im having is "threading" the bobbin. How do I getthe thread to come up from the bottom? Also I went to Joan fabric store and purchased so leather needles. Currently there is a size 90 needle In my machine. They sold me 90/14 leather needles. They don't fit? Also is there a way I can slow the machine down?

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If you have thread on the bobbin put it in. Then thread your needle and turn the wheel by hand and your bobbin thread should come up and your ready to sew.

You can get servo motor to show the machine down. I've never used one personally. There are several sewing machine dealers on here that can get you a servo motor. Plus they can probley help you the right size neddle.

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How's it going guys. First of I wanna say I'm new to sewing/ leather work and interested in leather upholstery. I just purchased a juki ddl-5550. I already figured how to thread the machine. Problem im having is "threading" the bobbin. How do I getthe thread to come up from the bottom? Also I went to Joan fabric store and purchased so leather needles. Currently there is a size 90 needle In my machine. They sold me 90/14 leather needles. They don't fit? Also is there a way I can slow the machine down?

The Juki is an industrial machine, which uses series DBx1 industrial needles, not home style needles. The machine is a very high speed straight stitch machine, designed for sewing denim garments.

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If you have thread on the bobbin put it in. Then thread your needle and turn the wheel by hand and your bobbin thread should come up and your ready to sew.

You can get servo motor to show the machine down. I've never used one personally. There are several sewing machine dealers on here that can get you a servo motor. Plus they can probley help you the right size neddle.

am I supposed to leave some thread hanging out of the bobbin cartrige?

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Yes, leave 2 to 3 inches of thread hanging out of the bobbin.

Edited by dirtclod

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Here is

showing how to thread an industrial machine similar to yours. Note, that if you intend to sew upholstery material, whether leather, leatherette, cloth, or vinyl, you will probably need at least #69 bonded nylon thread, in a # 18 needle. For a better appearance, try #138 nylon thread with a #22 needle.

Get a speed reducer, or a servo motor with a smaller pulley, so you don't burn up the thread when sewing leather and vinyl. And, keep the machine oiled!

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Here's another video of ours showing the thread coming up from the bottom:

You can see this step at about 1:36 into the video.

Good luck,

Ron

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Since you intend to use this machine to sew upholstery projects you will probably need to purchase a special roller foot equipped with steel rollers. Or buy a flip down roller foot conversion set. Most dealers have these items, or you can find them on eBay. The standard foot may not feed properly, depending on the softness or stickiness of the top grain of the material (leather and vinyl) and length of the project being sewn.

Normally, vinyl and garment/upholstery leather are sewn on a compound feed walking foot machine, also known as triple feed. Your machine is single, bottom feed and is designed to sew cloth and denim.

Here is your to do checklist:

  • get proper system DBx1 (a.k.a. 1738) industrial needles, in sizes 16, 18, 20 and 22 (regular and leather point), in packs of ten
  • if you now have a clutch motor, get a speed reducer, or a 2" motor pulley (will need a longer belt), or a replacement 1/2 hp servo motor with a speed limiter knob (Toledo Industrial Sewing Machines and other dealers)
  • get a roller foot pressor foot, or roller foot conversion kit (see
    )
  • get #69 and #138 bonded nylon thread, in the colors you want to use, two spools each (1 for top 1 for bobbin). I recommend getting 1 pound spools for most used colors.
  • get more bobbins and bobbin cases (with anti-backlash springs)
  • get a quart or gallon of industrial sewing machine oil
  • watch all of the industrial sewing videos you can find on YouTube
  • get the proper long and short screw drivers for the pressor foot, needle clamping screw, cover plate and feed dog screws.

Edited by Wizcrafts

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Thanks for all the tips and pointers guys. This week I'm going to try to go to industrial sewing store and pick up an assortment of needles and thread

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I'm not so sure Juki DDL-5550N can handle 138 (or a 92 for that matter) no matter the needle size. I've been wrong in the past, but I'm pretty sure about this one.

69 of course does work well, of course.

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This isn't doing you a lot of good now, but the 5550 is really a fabric machine. It is fine for doing boot tops and stuff like that using 46 or at the most 69 thread. The machine you need is something in the Singer 111 class, like the 618 that Highlead makes (Cobra class 18 is made by Highlead) or a Nakajima 280L. Machines of the 111 class take all sorts of feet like cording, piping, zipper, etc. pretty much everything needed for the trimming trade. If you can work a trade with someone, and even have to add a few bucks, you will be a happier camper. Try Cobra or Nick-o-Sew.

Art

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This isn't doing you a lot of good now, but the 5550 is really a fabric machine. It is fine for doing boot tops and stuff like that using 46 or at the most 69 thread. The machine you need is something in the Singer 111 class, like the 618 that Highlead makes (Cobra class 18 is made by Highlead) or a Nakajima 280L. Machines of the 111 class take all sorts of feet like cording, piping, zipper, etc. pretty much everything needed for the trimming trade. If you can work a trade with someone, and even have to add a few bucks, you will be a happier camper. Try Cobra or Nick-o-Sew.

Art

Nakajima 280L? I haven't heard than name in a LONG time! Great machine, long repalced (must be over 20 years?) with the now discontinued Juki DNU-241, and now current model is a Juki DNU-1541 series.

Edited by Gregg From Keystone Sewing

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Hi Gregg,

I really put that out there so guys would know what it is if they run into one at a good price. In fact, buy two if they are cheap, there are still parts available. The 280 was a great machine and is still strokin' in quite a few trim shops.

Art

Nakajima 280L? I haven't heard than name in a LONG time! Great machine, long repalced (must be over 20 years?) with the now discontinued Juki DNU-241, and now current model is a Juki DNU-1541 series.

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I'm just now realizing that maybe this machine may not be enough for what I want to do.I'm gonna give it the old college try. Although I would like another machine it's out of the budget. Today I purchased size 19 needles for leather and some nylon threadl

. Still need to practice. My stiches are very short and tight. Is there a way to make the longer?

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My stiches are very short and tight. Is there a way to make the longer?

Have you tried moving the stitch regulator knob to the longest stitch setting? If so, and it is too short, remove the stitch regulator knob and manually set its control cam to the longest possible position. The feed dog will only move so far, so you will have to max the setting with the adjuster knob off.

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Have you tried moving the stitch regulator knob to the longest stitch setting? If so, and it is too short, remove the stitch regulator knob and manually set its control cam to the longest possible position. The feed dog will only move so far, so you will have to max the setting with the adjuster knob off.

It has settings 1-5 I set on 5 and it was still too tight. I will try that tomorrow

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Short, tight stitches can be caused by too much top or bottom tension, or both. Also, since your machine has a flat, static foot, too much pressure on it will drag leather and vinyl and reduce the maximum stitch length.

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Have you tried moving the stitch regulator knob to the longest stitch setting? If so, and it is too short, remove the stitch regulator knob and manually set its control cam to the longest possible position. The feed dog will only move so far, so you will have to max the setting with the adjuster knob off.

Max. stitch length is 5mm, anything more and you risk disrupting the feeding mechanism ,and may prevent it from functioning properly.

As stated, this machine is best suited for very fine threads and materials, up to denim. Most commonly found in tailoring and alterations shops, dry cleaners, and the such. I would NEVER recommend this machine to a potential customer who is looking to do auto trim, or any type of canvas work. The sewing and feed mechanism is not sufficient.

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I agree. Call Nick Pittman and see if you can work some kind of trade. Even if you get a used machine in good shape, you will be ahead. The 5550 is a really good machine, a trade shouldn't be a problem. You need a good machine, new or used, that uses 111 feet.

Art

Max. stitch length is 5mm, anything more and you risk disrupting the feeding mechanism ,and may prevent it from functioning properly.

As stated, this machine is best suited for very fine threads and materials, up to denim. Most commonly found in tailoring and alterations shops, dry cleaners, and the such. I would NEVER recommend this machine to a potential customer who is looking to do auto trim, or any type of canvas work. The sewing and feed mechanism is not sufficient.

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It has settings 1-5 I set on 5 and it was still too tight. I will try that tomorrow

I think this machine runs around 3000 to 3500 stitches per minute. this will not work for leather.

Like the man from Keystone sewing said 5mm is all the stitch length you can expect.

The machine will not like sewing the 138 thread. 92 or 99 might be the biggest thread you can get to work.

I don't want to bust your bubble but I agree, you have the wrong machine for what you want to do.

Edited by busted

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Today I saw a video on YouTube with my machine sewing leather. I'm open to upgrading machines but I want to learn how to sew first , then when the budget permits I'll upgrade

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Today I saw a video on YouTube with my machine sewing leather. I'm open to upgrading machines but I want to learn how to sew first , then when the budget permits I'll upgrade

This is akin to entering a stock Honda Civic into a Monster Jam monster truck contest; sure you could do it, but I wouldn't recommend it! You are likely to either tear up that machine, or quit from the frustration of using the wrong tool for the job.

It's none of my business, but I always wonder how people show up with equipment like this, especially with all of the fantastic recourses available here.

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This is akin to entering a stock Honda Civic into a Monster Jam monster truck contest; sure you could do it, but I wouldn't recommend it! You are likely to either tear up that machine, or quit from the frustration of using the wrong tool for the job.

It's none of my business, but I always wonder how people show up with equipment like this, especially with all of the fantastic recourses available here.

Most are first time buyers of industrial sewing machines and come here from the Sewing Leather Forum. Someone may have told them that they need an "industrial" sewing machine, but not the exact type or feed system. Without any background knowledge of what is actually required to sew various types and thicknesses of leather, they go for what looks like a big, heavy duty machine, only to find out here that it can't do what they thought it could.

I, as well as many of the other sewing professionals here, had to work our way up through a variety of sewing machines, until we got the right machine for the jobs we need to sew. We spent a lot of time, money and frustration trying to kit-bash old machines, or wrong machines, into leather stitchers. After a lot of wasted resources we bought the best machine we could afford, that was actually capable of feeding and sewing thick leather. My first industrial machine (1984) was an old Singer 96k40, which I eventually converted into a roller foot feed. Still, all it could sew was leather garments and chaps, with #69 thread, tops. From its appearance, I thought it would sew 10-12 oz of belt leather without hesitation, but I was wrong. Ya live and learn.

I will try to write-compile an article detailing this matter and perhaps it will be sticky'd. The title will be targeted at newbies to leather sewing. I and others have already posted most of the information that newbies need to read, but it has floated out of the current posts.

Note: No disrespect is meant by the term "newbie." It defines a point in time where a person has yet to gather any meaningful experience in a particular subject they wish to pursue. Our forum exists, among other goals, to help bring newbies up to speed.

For those, like "Stocksuspension," who have already bought an inadequate industrial machine, they can try to sell it through our own Machinery for Sale section, or their local Craigslist, for free.

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This is akin to entering a stock Honda Civic into a Monster Jam monster truck contest; sure you could do it, but I wouldn't recommend it! You are likely to either tear up that machine, or quit from the frustration of using the wrong tool for the job.

It's none of my business, but I always wonder how people show up with equipment like this, especially with all of the fantastic recourses available here.

well theres no need to get upset. i've always been interested in leather upholstery. i spoke with a local upholstery shop and he advised me to buy an old iron/steel looking sewing machine to sew leather. i checked craigslist locally and came across this machine rather cheap. i found a video of it 'sewing" leather on youtube so i purchased it. I have no problem

with upgrading to a better machine i was just curious if could possibly use this machine. With that in mind what machine do you guys recommend for sewing leather in the

range from uphosletry to 1/4 thick?

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Juki DNU-1541S

Cobra Class 18

Adler 267

Adler 867

Pfaff 1245

Consew 206

Singer 211

To name a few, but whatever you get, it should be setup and provisioned for the work you will be doing by a brick and mortar seller who will be there for you when you need them.

Art

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