As I wrote in this post, I bought a new sewing machine! It is a Juki industrial sewing machine, DDL-9000SS with CP160 Servo Moter. I thought I’d write a review – I’ve only been using it for a less than two weeks, so I still have a lot to learn but here are my initial thoughts:
I had the hardest time deciding whether to go for one of the Juki’s older models, the 5551, 5570 or 8700. They were cheaper, and I heard that industrial sewing machines last for a while, even the older models if you take a good care of them. But at the same time, I’ve heard that Juki no longer produces parts for older models, so if it broke, I would have hard time finding the necessary parts. This was a concern to me since I know nothing about fixing sewing machines. I am terrible with anything mechanical. I don’t even know how to change a light bulb!
That is most of the reason I went for the newest model from Juki, the 9000 series.
9000 is a direct-drive machine, so the head of the sewing machine is very heavy. The dealer took the machine to the second floor of my place, but because of the narrow stares, he had to take the head off the machine and carry the table and the head separately.
No particular reasons, except that I have a Juki serger. I thought I’d match. I think Juki and Brother are the two major industrial sewing machine manufacturers, and I’ve seen the designers use Brother industrial sewing machine on Project Runway. I got Juki because if something happens to my machine, I can contact one manufacturer, instead of two different ones 🙂
It goes up to 5000 stitches/minute. If it is running in the highest speed, it is so fast! I am concerned that I will break a needle because it is that fast. Adjusting the speed is very easy with this machine. It is almost like home sewing machine. You can adjust the speed with the foot pedal, but also adjust the maximum speed at the thing on the computer panel on the right side of the sewing machine. I usually set it in the medium, but it still goes very fast.
During the search for the industrial sewing machine, I learnt that there are two different motors for industrial machines: clutch motor and servo motor. Mine has servo motor and I am very pleased by that. I hear that it is very difficult to control the clutch motor, it is like driving a stick shift. I haven’t even driven a stick shift before (there are two different driver licenses in Japan! stick shift license and automatic one), so naturally I went for servo motor. With servo motor, machine works just like home sewing machine. It is very easy to control the speed.
Automatic thread cutter
I love this feature. By pressing the pedal deep on the ankle side, the machine automatically cuts the tread short and lifts the sewing foot. I did not know what a time saver it was until I started using it. It is also nice not to have a bunch of thread cluttering your sewing table.
Industrial sewing machines use different needles from home sewing machines. It uses a needle called DBx1. The shape is different, as it is all round, but has a dent on the side shaft. I struggled a bit trying to change the needle. It is really important to have the dent on the right side, and the top of the needle touches the ceiling of the place you insert the needle. For some reason, I could not get its head touch the ceiling even if I pushed, so I ended up tightening the screw for the needle without properly inserting the needle. This caused the bobbin thread stitch to skip, and I had to redo it. I feel like the needle breaks much easier with the industrial sewing machine, with small things, like touching the hard plastic part of the invisible zipper or something. I get nervous every time I break a needle until I find every broken piece. If it gets in the bobbin case or somewhere near down there, that will damage all those metal parts which will eventually cause the need for sewing machine repair.
Where I bought it
I bought my machine from this guy. He runs the second hand industrial sewing machine shop, sells sewing notions online, and sells shrimps and oranges. That’s so random. He said he used to own a sweatshop, but because many brands use factories overseas for cheaper labor costs, he had to close down his factory. After the close-down, he started a business of buying second-hand industrial machines from factories in Japan, repairing them, and selling them online. His shop is located in Kumamoto, Kyusyu island, but he delivered my machine himself, set it up in my studio, and taught me how to use it. I am very pleased by his service. Other second-hand industrial sewing machine dealers did not deliver by themselves, rather they use a regular shipping company like Yamato, so when the sewing machine arrive you will have to know how to set it up or have the sewing mechanic come in. After my sewing machine’s break down, I wanted little to do with machine trouble. So I do recommend this place. He only speaks Japanese by the way.
Unlike the home sewing machine, there is no built-in light. Thankfully my dealer attached a florescent light right above the sewing foot area, which makes it easy to see. It is just a small thing, but it counts!
I have a lot more to say, but will save it to another post!
4/23/2014 UPDATE: Here is a short video of Juki DDL-9000ss so you can see the machine in action!