Leila

What Machine For Dual Duties?

28 posts in this topic

Hello, I am a seamstress with many years under my belt in garment sewing. But I'm new to leather, and I am in need of an industrial machine that is good with medium weight smooth finish lamb, elk, and calf leathers for handbags. But that I can also sew a medium weight cotton or even satin on with just switching out foot, needle, and thread. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Perhaps a needle feed industrial machine, equipped with an accessory roller foot, will do the soft leather work. Then, switch back to a standard steel foot for the satin and broadcloth.

A walking foot machine will eat up the satin and light fabrics. A straight stitch machine will not feed the leather properly, unless it is converted into a roller foot system machine.

A needle feed machine keeps the layers together as the needle pulls the material for each stitch. These machines must have a presser foot with a long slot down the middle, to allow the needle to move forward and backward.

Juki makes great needle feed machines.

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Wow thanks for the quick response! And for the helpful info! I only need the machine to handle up to 4 thickness's of the soft leather, and I would imagine that wouldn't be a problem. *Also what gage thread do you reccomend for such leathers?

And when buying needles for the needle feed machines, is it similar to the home? As in would I just look for a medium gage leather needle? Thanks so much! I really appreciate all your knowledge on such a vast subject!

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Wow thanks for the quick response! And for the helpful info! I only need the machine to handle up to 4 thickness's of the soft leather, and I would imagine that wouldn't be a problem. *Also what gage thread do you reccomend for such leathers?

And when buying needles for the needle feed machines, is it similar to the home? As in would I just look for a medium gage leather needle? Thanks so much! I really appreciate all your knowledge on such a vast subject!

Industrial sewing machines do not use home style needles. Industrial needles are totally round at the top, whereas home needles have a flat side to align them inside the needle bar. You must read how to properly align the eye and scarf of the needle and make sure the top is fully seated in the bar.

Needle size depends on thread size, top and bottom. Your soft leather may be fine if sewn with #69 or #92 bonded nylon or bonded polyester thread. You should use a leather point needles only for leather. Use a #16 or #18 needle with #69 thread, or a #18, #19, or #20 needle with #92 thread (same sizes on top and bobbin).

The needle "system" is determined by the make and model of the machine you buy. The system is determined by several factors involving the diameter of the upper shank, length from shank top to top of eye, length of eye opening, and overall length. There are also different types of leather points. First get your machine, then worry about needles, bobbins and cases and oil.

Four thicknesses at what thickness per layer? One sixteenth of an inch? 3/32 inch? If the total thickness exceeds 5/16 inch, some non-walking foot machines may not handle it well, if at all. It would be best to find a machine for sale and take your leather there, to see how it handles your work. You may have several disappointments before you find the right machine.

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Thank You! I looked into a Juki DLN-5410N single needle, needle feed machine, new it runs around $2000. Hoping I can find some used models. I live in Los Angeles so I feel like there should be some options out there for me.

The leather I'm using is about 1/16" thick single layer, so 1/4" thick should be about the thickest I would need to go, so it sounds like the Juki needle feed machine could work fine, but yes I will absolutely be bringing sample of fabrics with me to look at the machines. If you know any reputable used sewing machine dealers down here, or a good sorce for me to find one I would love to know. As I'm sure you know there are a lot of husslers in the business:)

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Thank You! I looked into a Juki DLN-5410N single needle, needle feed machine, new it runs around $2000. Hoping I can find some used models. I live in Los Angeles so I feel like there should be some options out there for me.

The leather I'm using is about 1/16" thick single layer, so 1/4" thick should be about the thickest I would need to go, so it sounds like the Juki needle feed machine could work fine, but yes I will absolutely be bringing sample of fabrics with me to look at the machines. If you know any reputable used sewing machine dealers down here, or a good sorce for me to find one I would love to know. As I'm sure you know there are a lot of husslers in the business:)

Leather Machine Company (Cobra brand sewing machines), one of our supporting dealers, is located in California. They often have used machines in stock, or know where to get them. Their toll free number is 866-962-9880.

For 1/4 inch stack of leather, you will probably need to use #92 (Tex 90) thread, with a #20 needle. Make sure that whatever machine you look at, that it can handle that size thread and needle (read the specs).

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I have an Adler 069 flatbed machine I am looking to sell. I use it for tarp and canvas work as well as leather. In fact, I stitched a full 1/2 inch thick leather with it just to see how much it would do. I put a new Servo motor on it a couple of years ago but probably have not used it 15 hours since then. I really don't use it a lot.

If interested you can email me at rcsaddles@yahoo.com or pm me here.

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I have an Adler 069 flatbed machine I am looking to sell. I use it for tarp and canvas work as well as leather. In fact, I stitched a full 1/2 inch thick leather with it just to see how much it would do. I put a new Servo motor on it a couple of years ago but probably have not used it 15 hours since then. I really don't use it a lot.

If interested you can email me at rcsaddles@yahoo.com or pm me here.

Why don't you advertise it for sale in the Marketplace section of the forum, under Sewing Machinery

Edited by Wizcrafts

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Thank You! I looked into a Juki DLN-5410N single needle, needle feed machine, new it runs around $2000. Hoping I can find some used models. I live in Los Angeles so I feel like there should be some options out there for me.

The leather I'm using is about 1/16" thick single layer, so 1/4" thick should be about the thickest I would need to go, so it sounds like the Juki needle feed machine could work fine, but yes I will absolutely be bringing sample of fabrics with me to look at the machines. If you know any reputable used sewing machine dealers down here, or a good sorce for me to find one I would love to know. As I'm sure you know there are a lot of husslers in the business:)

I have at least 20 of the Juki 5410's in service in the factory. They are a good machine for the price. Be aware there is a problem with the oil pump tube that runs from the submerged pump up to the top shaft. In at least half of my machines, this tube was too short from the factory and ironicaly rubs against the shaft that drives the oil pump. The result is over time the tube gets a hole in it and the top shaft no longer receives any oil. It's an easy repair, but if the machine has been run in a factory, there's a risk the top shaft hasn't been getting oil. I had one machine that seized a bearing and burned up the servo motor. On the plus size, we sew anything from two ply of lightweight Lycra up to 1/4" of heavy nylon webbing with basic adjustment.

Another older machine worth looking for is the 60's era Singer 281-22. It's a needle feed machine that sews lightweight fabric nicely as well as heavier. It's much more solid than the newer Juki's and they are inexpensive.

Regards, Eric

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Thanks for that input Eric. I was hoping you would see this and respond.

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Thank you Eric, much appreciated, it seams in general the older industrial machines were just built better, not a huge surprise:) So I am leaning in that direction, Im going to do more research now for the 60's singer. If you guys know of any other older machines that have a good rep that fit my needs Im all ears, just to have more options. Thx

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Another option in an older Singer is the 211 series. They will easily handle the thickness you want, but will be a little tougher to adjust because of the differences in how the hooks are oriented. Both the Juki 5410 and the Singer 281-22 have horizontal hooks. All that means is the stitch pulls up different and has an easier time running lighter tension on lighter thread. The Singer 211's and all the clones have vertical hooks which set the stitch different, not as nice on lighter fabric. I do sew lightweight nylon for the kites I make with my older version of the 211, the Singer 111 just fine, but then I work on machines all day. The best thing about the older Singers is how inexpensive they are. There are warehouses full of them from factories that have closed. There should be a lot of them in your area. The sales value of the 211's and 281-22's is around $300 with the table and no motor. Keep in mind, both the Juki 5410's and the Singer 281-22's use an oil bath for lubrication. Can be a bit messy in your home.

Regards, Eric

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Thanks! I am looking at the 281-22's online now, and thats about what they run. And I agree, I should be able to find one down here, I just have to dig, and figure out who to talk to. If I do find one, and it needs a new motor, which one would you suggest as a good match? And yes they are a bit messy, but I have a great garage with lots of natural light where I plan to set it up:)

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Thanks! I am looking at the 281-22's online now, and thats about what they run. And I agree, I should be able to find one down here, I just have to dig, and figure out who to talk to. If I do find one, and it needs a new motor, which one would you suggest as a good match? And yes they are a bit messy, but I have a great garage with lots of natural light where I plan to set it up:)

If you find one, make sure it's a 281-22. The other 281 series are not needle feed machines. As for the motor, I'd go with a recommendation from one of our dealers here. I deal mainly with high speed motors for factory use. (I disabled the speed adjustment on our Juki's so the operators couldn't slow them down.) From the reading I've done here, there are good choices at a reasonable cost. I think Wiz has used several of them. Have fun!

Regards, Eric

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Hello again, I found one! I found aN OLD SINGER 281-22 needle feed with motor and table delivered $400. It sounds great runs great, the only concern I have right now is the lubrication into the head. The dealer I bought it from said I would not need to put oil in the pan for a few weeks because he had lubricated the head. So I waited until I could make it to the store and bought oil and put it into the pan. The problem is in the oil window on the head, its not dripping. My question is if the head is lubricated by the dealer, does it not need the oil right away and therefor not draw it up into the head? Or should it be dripping right away and this is a sign that its not working properly? Or does it solely have to do with the speed that I am running the motor?

All my best,

Leila

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Leila;

You need to ramp it up to at least 20 stitches per second to get the oil pump circulating the oil to all the extremities. This equates to about 1200 rpm at the wheel on the back of the machine. Actually, they pump oil better once you sew at 2200 rpm or faster, at the machine.

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Make sure you have enough oil in the pan to submerge the pump intake screen. You'll see it dripping when you tip the machine back. If this machine hasn't been used much recently, the wicks that transport the oil through the head will need some time to saturate. There is no way a dealer by hand oiling the machine can do what the wicks will do. Wiz is right about running the machine at higher rpms to get the pump working. What the dealer should have done was fill the oil pan, remove or lift the presser foot and run the machine at a higher rpm to get the pump going strong. Don't worry about damaging the machine until your oil gets circulated. These pumps will never "gush", but you'll see it in the sight glass easy enough. The bearings in these old Singers are about bulletproof, so no worries.

You'll love the versatility of the machine. We bought them originally to run quilt lines on down jackets and vests. They sew nylon, tricot, polyester, lightweight leathers and suedes, cottons, about anything up to 1/4". That's 1/4" woven, not leather. You'll have no trouble sewing wallets and liners though, I've done it. These machines are very adjustable. They will handle thread down to about 27 tex for tricot and netting. We still use these machines to train new operators how to use a clutch motor. They use them for a few weeks until we put them on our 5410's. If you need any help at all, I know these machines really well. Honestly, you've covered most of your needs up to the point you need a walking foot machine. Have fun!

Regards, Eric

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Thanks Eric! You were right I just needed to run it more and at faster rpms. I love this machine, as you said its a great starter machine, and really cant be beat for the price! I just have one other question right now, what are the best brand\size needles for leather on this machine? And do you know of a good online retailer I can purchase them from? There is sooo much out there, and when Ive gone to a couple shops in town they wanted me to by a giant amount.

Thanks!

L

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I have a Singer 281-1 that I use to sew the really light weight fabrics. Like silk,chiffon and the anything related to that thickness. I have sewn two pieces of nylon webbing that is used for the belly straps on horse blankets. I don't have a reducer on it and it runs like a racehorse. You really have to play with the pedal to control it.

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Thanks Eric! You were right I just needed to run it more and at faster rpms. I love this machine, as you said its a great starter machine, and really cant be beat for the price! I just have one other question right now, what are the best brand\size needles for leather on this machine? And do you know of a good online retailer I can purchase them from? There is sooo much out there, and when Ive gone to a couple shops in town they wanted me to by a giant amount.

Thanks!

L

Glad that's working out for you! It really is a decent machine. It's unusual to find a needle feed machine that will handle lightweight fabric so well. As for needles, I'm a big fan of Groz Beckert. It's mainly what I use in the factory. Here's a link to some pdf's about sewing needles for leather. http://www.universalsewing.com/images/catalogs/grozbeck/english/gbsew15.pdf The basic needle for your machine is a 135x7. The original Singer # is 1955. I'd check with the sponsors here far a particular point type. Garment leather is less demanding than heavier. We are making equestrian knickers out of Lycra and setting on 2 oz. deer suede pads using a ball point needle. Using a leather needle cuts the rubber filaments in the Lycra and the leather doesn't care. I prefer a wedge point for lightweight leather. I'd call one of the sponsors and chat with them about your needs. For the deer suede we use 40 tex poly/cotton and a size 90/14. We sew the leather at 3000 stitches per minute without a leather needle. Have fun!

Regards, Eric

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One thing to be ware of is that oil pump machines are not ideal if used on a continual basis at low speed. OTOH when running at low speed with a servo motor there is much lower load on the bearings. It is one of the many considerations in selecting a machine.

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All you have to do on the 281-22's is wind the occasional bobbin at high speed. The bearings in these machines are near bulletproof. Singer overbuilt most of this generation. They will outlive most of us.

Regards, Eric

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There is a formula for determining bearing life and it essentially relates to load and speed. If the bearings are of high quality then it is unlikely they will wear quickly. Mostly Igive this warning on Chinese machines.

All you have to do on the 281-22's is wind the occasional bobbin at high speed. The bearings in these machines are near bulletproof. Singer overbuilt most of this generation. They will outlive most of us.

Regards, Eric

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I agree Darren. The Chinese have yet to figure out how to make durable bearings. That and the races that contain them. Nice to see you here again btw.

Regards, Eric

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Thanks for the welcome back but I am often lurking :)

I agree Darren. The Chinese have yet to figure out how to make durable bearings. That and the races that contain them. Nice to see you here again btw.

Regards, Eric

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