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Thinking about buying a machine

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I have been considering buying a sewing machine lately. My wife has a PR edition Brother and I have been wanting one similar. My kiting role model has an old school Pfaff. I have seen brands such as Singer, Brother, Janome.

 

Any recommendations? I have learned about needle sharpness this far.

 

Price range :100-200.00

 

 

 

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I have a $100 Brother SM 2700 I've used for the vast majority of my kites.. I do have to clean up the gumminess from the seam tape and I make it a point to do so after every bobbin but it's still going quite strong and for the price it might be cheaper to replace than repair if it does break.

 

 

 

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Some things I have noticed on my wife’s is: sewing plate area has lots of plastic parts, bobbin is plastic. I remember my grandmother’s Singer having these parts in metal. Not sure if it makes any difference.


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16 minutes ago, TeamVee said:

Some things I have noticed on my wife’s is: sewing plate area has lots of plastic parts, bobbin is plastic. I remember my grandmother’s Singer having these parts in metal. Not sure if it makes any difference.


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I'm sure it does over time..

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My recommendation? a lightly used Pfaff mechanical machine is what to seek-out, USED

it has a "walking foot" which grabs the fabric like the jaws of a pliers, from both the top and bottom.  That makes a huge difference when you finally begin working with super slippery material like Icarex and a seven foot seam!

I've seen kites made with just a straight stitch (as opposed to the triple stitch zig-zag, as that was all that was available on that old model, almost like a manual with the foot pumping mechanism.

After my first kite sewing retreat struggle, I gave that machine away, promised the bride we'd never own a kite I couldn't acquire w/VisaCard, but eventually a bunch of great kite builders in my local club forced me to learn how to do it myself.  (particularly Dave Ashworth, he only flies stuff he built himself, never the same twice!)  

That Pfaff led to an even greater appreciation for the workmanship of a true master builder, such as Shook or Bazzer. I took lessons from a guy who owned 7 different brands, each time I had to learn a new one, you learned what features were most desirable and then I found machine that could provide those desired functions as a reasonable cost.  Low bottom bobbin warning, needle down/stop locking, walking foot, a fitted table so more of the fabric is flat going thru the machine.  Lettering and advanced (Kewl) stitching features are a computer as opposed to a mechanical feature, costs will also increase accordingly.

no one will EVER care as much as you yourself do when building YOUR kite, but that doesn't mean you can't get something made as a custom, perfect and your way, for a little bit of extra cost, try ASKING for it.

The best thing about doing it yourself is the sense of satisfaction when folks converse about your creation, or enjoy flying it themselves.  Changing something for testing purposes?,.... what happens if?  Being a builder make these considerations fun to explore, most resulting in failure, but occasionally you hit a home run with the bases loaded.  These are magical moments to savor or share.  

Being a builder allows you to work cooperatively too.   From my experience this is the single most rewarding activity in kiting,... your entertainment choices may vary

-plm

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next time you get a chance,... examine one of the master's kite building effort up close & personal,.. see how Ron Gibian does it?  What is his seam width,.. how many stitches per inch, .... do you want "black" on both the front and the back sides, like him?

The Randy Tom method (sew all the fabric colors together for the entire sail, then front and back cut out the appliqué pieces until you're left with just a single thickness). Wastes huge amount of fabric, but nothing can slip/slide/or wiggle out of alignment, there are no hot tacking holes either, no gummed-up sewing machine, your efforts are expensive but completely perfect, like your own national entry into the AKA building comps?

Some folks (Lam Hoac) "mount" all the colors onto a white carrier piece of fabric, easy to see the lines, simple to butt the pieces and an accurate fit of the appliqué based upon experience.  Now you have to hold those pieces in position as you slide thru the sewing machine.  What is your solution?, masking tape, hot tacker, spray-mount adhesive, water adhesion thru a capillary action?  You do NOT back-cut out the backing layer, the white stays one piece.  Ask Lam for a black kite and oh how he howls, back-cut out the backing layer yourself and now he's concerned if you did a good job,... "cause his name is on it!"

Did you know you can make the entire kite with no sewing at all?  3M's 9460 VHB adhesive tape,... I've flown single skinned quads of this construction method for 3,000 hours.  Guess what?, no weight of the thread, no excess overlapped seams, no perforations (sewing needle holes) to promote early failures.  It is not faster, just another choice to be made as a builder.

Here's a word to explore,... if a dualie sport kite is your interest: catenary cut,.... that's where you adhere a curved surface to a straight edge, thereby making a 3 dimensional shape w/o any framing to force that shape.  Like a tent instead of a tarp.  Who's the master of this technique?,  Ken McNeill, blue moon kites.  Until you have personally experienced a kite built this way, ...... anyway, more options to consider as a builder.

If I wasn't so impatient I'd be making my own kites too, alas I know my own serious flaws and deal with 'em, accordingly.  I will pay for expert production by a true master class builder who signs their work and backs the product.

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When I had my machine tuned up the guy showed me the weak points on the machine. While it is mostly metal (Bernina 830 vintage) it does have some plastic inside, including two parts that are gears. The repair guy taught me that if you are gonna buy a used machine you should open it up and hand crank the machine while you look at each gear for condition issues. Don't buy if you see irregularities in the gears.

On my machine everything is good for now, but he said those gears are not made anymore for my machine and if they break I am SOL. If that happens I may have to do a crash course on 3d printing.

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17 hours ago, Paul LaMasters said:

 

 catenary cut,.... that's where you adhere a curved surface to a straight edge, thereby making a 3 dimensional shape w/o any framing to force that shape.  Like a tent instead of a tarp.  Who's the master of this technique?,  Ken McNeill, blue moon kites.  Until you have personally experienced a kite built this way, ...... 

Okay now I got to put together some kites side by side and REALLY look at the BMK Mongoose. Extremely pleased with it. The Mongoose feels very silky to me and haven't understood why.Now maybe I will 😊.Took awhile but I got a descent Pfaff 1122 for $58.00.Needed a good cleaning so I followed some you tube tutorials. Doesn't have the walking foot but that can be bought.I think a lot of the newer model machines plastic parts are to eliminate the need for most oiling. Some of it's cost but some makes sense ,weight etc..Some of the older machines(60s,70s) I researched that were on the list were White from England, Singers made in the U.S.and Canada and the Kenmores made in Japan.Some really nice ones in my area for less than $100.00. Going back to the 40s and earlier some are just stunning to look at.Went the Pfaff route because of the popularity amongst kite builders and not knowing a thing.The 1122 is considered fast for a newbie and have found controlling it a little difficult. Won't be long and that won't matter.Should last a good while. Been looking for a large sewing cabinet to make feeding easier. Lots of smaller ones at good prices. The bigger ones get a little pricey. My sewing room got delayed but it won't be long. Watch the classified free section. Amazing how much free glass pops up for your cutting table.

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Lots of great information to take in, I have been practicing on the Brother And getting to know it’s features. Next time in kite shop I will look at the Pfaff closely and also at the different stitching on quads in-house.


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