Sewing Machine Motor- Janome edition
July 30, 2018 6:36 PM   Subscribe

I can't find info online regarding actual motor strength of particular machines. When comparison shopping, it's a little maddening! Help me understand how to find and interpret this information, so I don't tear my hair out!

I sew with a Janome DC2015. For reasons of insanity, I'd like a second machine- preferably a heavy duty machine. When reading reviews, the machine I already have is listed among the "heavy duty" machines, others say I should not use it as such (it does just fine...but for how long???)

I'm looking at the Janome HD3000 and wondering if it is in fact more heavy duty, at a cheaper price (far less features)? How do I know if they have the same motor?

googlefu is utterly failing to show me motor size, motor power, how the machines stitches compare, etc.

All I want the second machine to do is glide over 8 layers of 13 oz denim without a hitch. It can be mechanical. No bells or whistles. I haven't tried it on the 2015 because while I'm supposed to be able to do it- it's a glorious machine I don't ever want to have to replace. I want a beast...

ALSO! Local shops where I live want to talk about upwards of $1K machines, somewhere over the rainbow. They seem to think it's crazy that my $600 machine even works. BHARG.

Janome website is particularly useless- they really want to sell you a machine in person. I don't live near a good "in-person" shop, unfortunately.

Thoughts, hivemind?
posted by metasav to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Doing a search with "Janome HD3000 motor amps" brought up several reviews that say the machine has a 1-amp motor. The motor on your existing machine should have a plate on it somewhere that gives the amperage, frequency and voltage it operates on, so you could compare the two.

I use a Pfaff Hobby 1142 that copes fine with multiple layers of denim, especially if you don't try to pull the fabric through the machine too fast and break the needle. The motor plate on the bottom of the machine says it's 0.6 amps, so a 1.0 amp motor would be quite a bit more powerful. I would recommend the 1142 but for the facts that, one, the model is discontinued, so you might have a hard time getting parts and service; and two, for some reason, the thing makes really awful buttonholes.

The sewing machine stores really really want to sell you the $$$$$ machines for quilting and embroidery. When I got the Pfaff, I took my own fabric samples into the store with me (including some heavy denim) and did my own tests. Only after I had personally confirmed that yes, it would work, did I buy the machine. I'm sure they were glad to get rid of it, since it was low-end and not computerized and generally uncool.

Another option for heavy fabrics would be a sailmaker's machine. Sailrite and other companies offer them. If it will handle the sail canvas, it will handle your denim, if a bit more expensively than the HD3000.
posted by Weftage at 6:05 AM on July 31, 2018

All I want the second machine to do is glide over 8 layers of 13 oz denim without a hitch. It can be mechanical. No bells or whistles.
You now have a mission, and that mission is to start monitoring Craigslist and exploring all of the thrift stores in your area, keeping an eye out for a vintage Necchi BU (if all you need is straight stitch, you can also look for a BV.) They were top of the line home machines in their day. They're solid cast iron (no crappy plastic gears or cams) and 100% mechanical. Absolute tanks*. Condition and price may vary wildly; people who know what they've got may try to get a couple hundred bucks (well worth it, assuming all is in good working condition) but sometimes you find someone who's just cleaning out an attic and thinks it's old junk. Even if you find one for $50 and spend $150-200 to have it rewired/repaired, it's worth it. There are older solid-metal Singer and Pfaff machines out there too, I just don't know enough about those makes to recommend a particular model; if you google "vintage solid metal sewing machine models" I'm sure you'll find plenty of recommendations.

*All of that being said, if you're going to be doing a ton of that kind of sewing (8 layers of denim all the time) you really should think about an industrial sewing machine that was purpose built to handle that kind of load. They do show up on Craigslist and often sell for less than you might think. The old solid metal home machines can handle heavy duty like that, but they weren't made to do it all the time.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 7:09 AM on July 31, 2018

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