JUKI
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Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
JUKI on 05/27/2012 02:55:20 MDT Print View

I'm looking at buying a Juki DDL555 can anybody give advice on this machine, is it a decent machine for MYOG? I have a Singer 401A that works good, but I plan on doing a lot more MYOG, maybe to the point of selling stuff. The asking price is $399.00, that comes with the motor, table, thread holders, light, bobbin winder, and a different pulley to slow it down a bit. Is this a good price? I'm also wondering if anyone uses bias tape, if so, where do you buy it in bulk, and what materail is it made out of?

Thanks, Jack

David Bolduc
(boldav47) - F
Juki straight stitch on 05/28/2012 12:26:32 MDT Print View

The Juki 555 from my understanding is a fine straight stitch only machine for light to medium weight fabrics, but there are other machines out there that you may want to consider when making backpacking gear. Personally I own several commercial sewing machines and I find my Pfaff 138 ss/zz and my Consew 206RB walking foot to be a good combination. The Pfaff works great for most light to medium weight fabrics like silnylon through medium weight cordura, and I do use the zigzag function a fair bit. However, once the layers get thick, I move up to my Consew walking foot with V69-V92 thread to tackle such jobs as shoulder straps, grosgrain bindings and hip belts.

Anyways, getting back to the Juki, it would work nicely for sewing many things and the price sounds about right. I bought my all commercial machines used for under $350 complete, but they did require cleaning, oiling and timing. One thing to remember is that most commercial machines are set up for high speed production work; therefore, you will want to swap out the old motor pulley for a smaller 2 1/4" one. Luckily this is very easy to accomplish in a few minutes time, and then all you will have to do is get a shorter belt. Another option you may want to consider is to purchase a new servo motor, which will allow you to control the sewing speed more easily and precisely than a clutch motor. I have a Reliable Sewquiet 4000 which I can recommend.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
RE JUKI on 05/28/2012 18:08:56 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the info David. Yeah, when I tried the machine out, it was super fast. I did ask if they could change the pulley, they said no problem. I'm glad you mentioned the servo, someone else had told me about the servos, and how they were better than a clutch. That's where I seem to have a problem on the commercial machines, not enough foot finesse, and I hope the servo will eliminate that, or at least help me. How much is the servo you mentioned, and where can I get one? I've sewn through some pretty thick stuff with just my old Singer 401A, it doesn't like it, but it will do it. The Juki looks like it would sew what I would want to do for a while, I hardly ever use zigzig. If the jobs not to big I can always use the Singer for the zigzag. My main concern on this Juki was price point (if it was in the ball park) and the better stitch that it produced.

David Bolduc
(boldav47) - F
Juki on 05/29/2012 11:20:21 MDT Print View

The Sewquiet 4000 runs about $170, but I'd go ahead and just buy a 2" pulley initially and see if you can get use to the clutch motor. Putting a thick piece of foam under the foot pedal for added resistance also helps to make the speed changes less abrupt. In regards to stitch quality there are alot of factors involved besides just the machine; though higher quality machines that are well tuned and matched appropriately to the task do better. For instance, my Consew walking foot would be a bad choice to sew 1 ounce silnylon, but it excels sewing many layers of heavyweight packcloth using size V-92 thread. On the other hand, my Singer 237, which I paid only $10 for at the Thrift Store, would do an excellent job with the Silnylon, especially after I've taken the time to adjust the thread tensions perfectly and put in a size 10 needle and Gutermann thread. Now the thing I like about Industrial machines that are not all worn out, which can be the case when you buy them used and find yourself having to replace worn out parts like the hook, is that they often feed materials more easily due to their stronger motors and bigger feed dogs. Another thing I like is that once they are set up, they don't tend to go out of adjustment easily since they are intended for continuous production work. Lastly, when sewing bulky items the added underarm space on many machines is a real bonus. So in conclusion, I'd have to say that commercial machines can be handy for making backpacking gear, but many fine home machines like the Singer 401 you have will do reasonbly well when tackling UL gear.

Edited by boldav47 on 05/29/2012 11:59:23 MDT.

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: RE JUKI on 05/29/2012 11:36:50 MDT Print View

400 is on the high end of reasonable for a machine in good shape, either lightly used, or refurbed by a good shop. A brand new machine with a servo can be had for 7 or 8 hundred, so putting a servo on this one is probably not cost effective. Any commercial sewing machine shop can sell you a servo motor, or you can buy one from any number of on-line sources, some where between $100 and $200. Installation is easy, just three bolts, some trivial wiring changes, probably a new belt and maybe a new plug and bulb)on the table's lamp. (lots of lights on industrial tables are low voltage from the motor; most servos have a 120V outlet instead. so you need to change the plug and light bulb.) If a dealer is selling this machine, they should be willing to make the switch for you.

David Bolduc
(boldav47) - F
Juki on 05/30/2012 14:56:13 MDT Print View

Yeah, $400 might be a bit pricey. I just saw a Juki 555 with table pop up on craigslist locally for $200 (greensboro.craigslist.org/for/3046380909) though it does need a tune up.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Juki on 05/30/2012 15:13:46 MDT Print View

Yeah I went in yesterday and tried to offer less, but she said " No, that is the price, if jew want I can sell to you for for this price" her exact words! Will see what happens when I go back