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new machine for auto upholstery

Started by jasongtr, January 24, 2013, 08:05:20 am

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Here you go, I'm a motor trimmer by trade and I have had one of these for 30 years, cannot be beaten for canvas and motor trimming. If you walk into any motor trimmers in Aus they will have one.


are these singer walking foot machines, and would you say they are better than the highlead machine in the link i put up, also i assume ill need to fit a servo motor to it

Darren Henry

Quotei assume ill need to fit a servo motor to it

I've never used a servo---so take my point with a grain of sand. Clutch motors do not have to be big scary beasts that some would have you believe them to be. *. It sounds like you are just getting set up so on top of the expense of the machine there will other expenses to deal with at the same time. Your first 5 hog rings will come with 4,995 friends, maybe a set of S.A.E spanners, etc...You can always upgrade to a servo later if you find your new machine already mounted on a clutch motor at a more digestible price and keep a little more "investment money" at your disposal.

* I've used treadles, the old style clutches that were a separate entity connected to the motor by a second belt and the new style where the motor/clutch is one assembly. I've posted several times on sewing machine control. If you can't find it in my history, I'll post again. Short version---90 % of the problem is operator adjustment [try driving your car with the seat all the way back and the mirrors looking into the pavement], and 10 % is easily repairable "settings" on the drive train.The way my machines and the ones I use at work are set; I can usually get someone "comfortable" with the controlling of the machine and doing exercises by coffee time.

Last summer I thundered in off a ladder and smashed my calcaneus (heel bone) but still had to go into work (as much as I could) while on compensation to keep my job. I learned to sew with my left foot after using my right since '86. The first few feet   ;D were pretty weird and I had to look down and see what my base malfunction was a couple of times, but I sorted myself out in short order.
Life is a short one way trip, don't blow it!Live hard,die young and leave no ill regrets!


my first machine I upgraded to servo, because of the horror stories I had read about clutches, but when I got my singer it came with a clutch and while at first I dreaded the idea, within 15 minutes I found I actually had MORE control with the clutch than I did with my servo....only thing I do not like about my clutched machine is the constant humming of the motor...it annoys me!


never having used a clutch controlled machine im a little in the dark.

but i have been told / read that with a clutch machine its running all the time and when the pedal is pressed its like a switch - all or nothing, and to control the speed you have to feather the pedal is that the case?

Darren Henry

Absolutely not! If your seated properly the pedal is as variable as the gas pedal in your car and as easy to control.
Life is a short one way trip, don't blow it!Live hard,die young and leave no ill regrets!


ok, thanks

can you explain the differences then and why one would be better than others, seems i have had bad info



Most of us here were raised on clutch motors. If you've sewn with one for many years, you won't notice an appreciable difference when you switch over to a servo.

One complaint that we get often here from those who are just starting out is "How do I slow the machine down? It just RUNS AWAY with me when I mash the foot pedal"

It's similar to the first time you drove a car with standard transmission. Until you got the feel of the clutch, you lunged forward and the car died. But within a half an hour (more like 3 hours for my wife) you were driving all over town with no problem.

The servo has multiple speed settings, so you can sew very slowly if you want to. I like this feature when I'm sewing a tedious and/or delicate project.  But again, if you are used to a clutch motor, you can accomplish the same feat.

The servo does consume less energy because it only turns when you mash the pedal. the clutch motor is always turning, but only engages with the clutch when you mash the pedal.

With a clutch motor, the hand wheel can't be turned by hand unless you depress the pedal slightly. With a servo, you can turn it freely anytime.

If clutch motors aren't properly balanced, they can be loud (vibration). Servos make no noise at all.

Some will contend that a clutch motor has more power for getting over a "hump". I've yet to encounter any humps that my servo isn't more than powerful enough for.  But I'm a furniture guy. Car guys often sew through stiffer humps.

If you're buying a machine on a budget, and adding a servo is going to cause you to go over budget, don't worry about it.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


I have to agree with Dennis on this ( and I hate agreeing with Texans :).

So much of what we were raised on makes a difference in our particular tastes of machines.
Like Dennis eluded to, if you cut your teeth on a clutch motor then using one is no biggie. It becomes second nature. But if you are like me who never sewed on anything but a servo learning the touch on a clutch motor can be very frustrating.

The same holds true for top and bottom load machines. I am used to bottom loaders so when I bought my Juki 563n I had to learn the art of changing bobbins on a top loader. It is no biggie but it is amazing how we are habit forming creatures.

I can only think of two stitchers on here who have a vast amount of experience with different machines 1.) Bobbin  2.) Darren. The old man  of the North has sewn anything and everything from shoes on postbed machines to canvas. Bobbin is a rare breed. She has sewn on so many different type machines that it isnt funny. Her vast experience with everything from sergers to walking foots to production machines puts her in a class all by herself. I wished I had a 1/4 of the experience she has had with different type machines. She also has sewn in production settings which will make you one very awesome stitcher.

If your a veteran stitcher who has sewn with clutch motors then you wont be bothered with a machine that has one. If you cut your teeth with servos like I have you will find that clutch motors are damn frustrating. I replaced my Juki clutch with a servo within a weeks time. I have been to busy to screw around learning that delicate touch with the right foot. That and I hated the constant hum of the machine. It drove me around the bend. Turning it on/turning it off. Turning it on and turning it off.

I believe June is one who used clutch motors for years and when she bought her new machine recently she got a servo. Correct me if I am wrong June but I believe you liked the servo.

As Dennis said alot of your comfort will be based on what you are used to. If you have never sewn then I am going to suggest that servos are the way to go. Much easier to control. :)



thats very helpful thanks,

ill explain my experience, i have used a domestic machine for about 2 weeks, and have quickly learned that its not going to be anywhere near up for the job hence looking for an industrial machine.

as ill be learning properly on the industrial machine i think the added difficulty of a clutch motor will be too much, plus i think it will drive me mad having it running all the time - let alone the power consumption.

Im looking to spend about £1000 sterling, and that includes the servo motor which ive been quoted at £120 extra for a speed and acceleration control (thats a fitted price to the new machine id buy)

so i think the minds made up ill go for the new highlead with a servo motor, unless the guy in wales can come up with something soon for me



Quote from: jasongtr on January 30, 2013, 05:20:06 pm
so i think the minds made up ill go for the new highlead with a servo motor
There are several good options that you will never end up regretting. The Highlead w/servo is certainly one of them. It may be the last machine you'll ever buy.

But as for the learning difficulty of a clutch motor, I go back to the car analogy. If you learned to drive on a standard xmission, then going to automatic requires no adjustment period. But if you learned on an automatic, then you will still have to get used to a clutch.

Same with servo vrs. clutch.

If I'm sounding "anti-servo", I don't mean to. Both of my machines are servo. And if I acquired another one tomorrow that had a clutch motor, the first thing I would do is get on the phone and order a servo.
But if I found myself working in a shop filled with clutch motors tomorrow, I would have no trouble adjusting.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


ive been driving a manual transmission car for 22 years, but i still remember the first time i drove, id rather not learn another clutch - at least until i can drive a servo machine properly, learning to sew properly and mastering a clutch motor are for 2 different days/weeks/months etc

Darren Henry

I guess my training came in the right order that I never really had much of a learning curve when I first started using clutched motors. I started out using the big Adler patchers that had been tricked out like a domestic machine when I started doing shoe repair.Inside the I.M.S shroud was a small electric motor attached to said Adler patcher with a cord down to the floor with a foot pedal. More than half the time I'd just use the handle on the flywheel. When I  earned my apprenticeship as a shoemaker I used a little 10-30 Adler  ( or 30-10 ?) that was a treadle on a stand up height base so had to find that "sweet spot" on the treadle. You guessed it--- same spot on a clutch/motor assembly. When I graduated to the fitting room my problems were learning to turn the project and not the machine and the freakish speeds that post machines can run in comparison to patchers.

For those who have never used a patcher: The presser foot is also the feed dog and turns 360 *. You jam the shoe onto the horn in what ever manner it takes to get at the repair and sew which ever direction you need to.

QuoteWith a clutch motor, the hand wheel can't be turned by hand unless you depress the pedal slightly. With a servo, you can turn it freely anytime.

I've always been curious about that. Is there not a brake with a servo set up? I am not one of those people who are full throttle/slam the brake/repeat; but it is nice to know that all I have to do is rock the heel back and we stop --- now.

Personally; I'm trying to go the other way with technology. While everyone else is embracing these new servos, I'm looking for a treadle table. No it's not just my being a '90's kind of guy (1890's that is) again, I do alot of furniture repair on site and out of town. Quite often back  in N.W Ontario and not always an extension cord away from power. I have to drag one of the RV techs over to my shop to help load the machine, and I can't unload at the other end so have to take a diesel cube van  to work out of ($118.9/l) and maybe a generator. If I had a table [preferable folding] that I  could load myself into a minivan ($107.9/l for gas) I could drop it in the customer's driveway etc... and travel alot more comfortably for less coin.I have a treadle table for a 31 class singer ( if the neighbour hasn't stolen it like he did my truck) back in Kenora but I don't want to cut it out to receive a 111W155 because I still have the head for it and because of it's age.
Life is a short one way trip, don't blow it!Live hard,die young and leave no ill regrets!


January 31, 2013, 12:37:54 am #28 Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 12:39:05 am by gene
Darren, you reminded me of the first time I saw a treadle lathe. The treadle lathe on the Woodwright Shop TV show.

Oh my goodness. I would not want to go back to that.





my clutched machine the wheel can be turned by hand, the only time it "brakes" is if I apply pressure at the heel of my foot to the treadle...it may just be the way I have my treadle adjusted though...i Like it because I can stop the needle on a dime by applying pressure at my heel to "put on the brakes" I have also found I can do 1 stitch at a time easier with the clutched motor...honestly other than the constant hum, I regret upgrading to the servo when I bought my consew