Thursday, June 15, 2006


Monster Sewing

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I just got my new sewing machine. It’s old, but new to me. It's a 1950s Necchi. It’s steel, all steel, and weighs 45 lbs. This was back when they actually made sewing machines, not these piss-ant Cheap-Mart specials they've got nowadays.

Seriously, most "home" sewing machines are designed for dressmaking not tentmaking. The home machines can't handle multiple layers of thick fabric like canvas, packcloth or Cordura. Just imagine driving your car with half the horse power and only running in 3rd gear or above. That's what today’s "home" sewing machines are like. They have thier purpose, but not for what I want to do.

Now industrial sewing machines are different. Industrials are like Top Fuel Dragsters. They can sewing threw concrete. Maybe not concrete, but I bet they could sew threw thin cardboard.

Anyway, the “old” home machines are another story. Many were made of steel. And in the bicycle world we all know that Steal is Real. Those things had heavy gears which didn't wear out, bigger motors and lower gearing. Which means an old machine is much more suitable for my ambitions: sewing bicycle panniers and other outdoor equipment.

And the guy who fixed up this Necchi bolted on an even bigger motor than the original and lowered the gear by installing a big freaking balance wheel. He even turned the balance wheel inside out so the load would be exerted directly over the bearings. He also cut a groove in the balance wheel to install an industrial grade drive belt: a Gates 2L190.

My Hot Rod Necchi isn’t industrial, but it’s a whole lot stronger than any other home sewing machine. I guess that means it’s heavy duty or semi-industrial.

Here’s the guy who sold it to me:
Firefly Ridge Sewing Products

He also wrote a great Ebay Guide titled Want Industrial Strength or Heavy Duty Sewing Machine?

Cool. Could you make me a dress our of sheet metal? It's for when Lyndal starts dating.
Na, titanium would be better. Lighter wieght.
Looks like your doin well! Congrats on the new machine! My little family have made the big move...we are officially "Alabahamians". Just thought I'd post an update. Peace Brother, Ritz (The Tour De Pants)
Cool, dude, where are you in Alabama?
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