We're learning things here at Leif Labs...learning things the hard way, the expensive way. ...Introducing my second industrial sewing machine: The Tacsew T111-155, walking foot needle feed, fo' shore. The Sailrite Professional that I purchased in September did not meet my sewing needs (I'll explain below) so I bought the 111. Now I have more sewing machines than bikes (four--I also have a Kenmore domestic machine). Ha.
It's a race!
The Tacsew is a copy of the Singer 111w-155, and from what I can tell, the Singer was a heavy-duty contender for some time. [Note: as I learn more about the Singer 111w155, I've come to realize these machines are quite different, despite the shared numbers. The Singer has a vertical-axis hook, belt drive, and no oil pump. Go figure.] This machine is also similar to the following machines (in how they feed fabric): Sailrite 111, Seiko STH-8BLD-3, Juki DNU-1541, Consew 206RB-5, Yamata FY5618, Rex RX6-7D, Artisan 618-1SC, Singer 411U967A, Durkopp Adler 867-190040, Durkopp Adler 267-373, Pfaff 1245 6/01 CLPMN8...and more, and more. I can't believe how many industrial machines are out there. Damn.
(Note, the European brands often use a different needle system than the Ameri-Asia brands...in case you were wondering. Ha.)
I'm pretty sure Tacsew is part of the industrial sewing branch of the Tacony Corp., whose central offices are located right here in Missouri (Saint Louis 'burbs). I bought the machine online from Hazlet Sew Vac Inc., aka Industrial Sewing Machine Man (ha) in Jersey, who had it drop-shipped from the Lou. After I ordered the head, Richard from ISMM called me to make sure I knew I was just ordering a head, which was a sweet thing to do. Aw.
Oh, and they have complete Juki DNU-1541's for 1400 bucks, shipped, which is the cheapest I've seen 'em. (Note, this does not have the safety mechanism. That's another $50.)
If I had to do it again, I'd probably go with the Juki or the Seiko and just use my Ultrafeed for zigzag work. I got the Tacsew 'cause it has the same bed size as the Pro...and I'm not sure how I'm going to set up the Pro just yet. And the 111 is pretty cheap. Yeah!
From the Tacony Web site:
"Tacony is a primary importer and distributor for most of the famous brand industrial sewing equipment, including Tacsew, Juki, Brother, Singer, Consew, Pfaff, Kenquilt, Sussman, Thompson, Pacific, Naomoto, Johnson and Yamata."
Fyi, I'm pretty sure walking foot needle feed is also called unison feed and compound feed...but I could be wrong...
So oily.Sweet, this has two tension knobs. I had to pretty much max out the top tension on the Pro to get proper tension when sewing webbing, even with a stronger spring. Oil pump! Hot.
Big bobbin. And you can see the oil wick there, too.
So this is my main problem with the Pro: look at the feet: they're almost squared off in the front, and there aren't any teeth on 'em. Needless to say, this machine won't ride over thick seams, and when it does, the top tension goes out (usually only while sewing near an edge, though). Boohiss. Similar machines to the Professional: Artisan ZH-305, Reliable MSK146B, Tacsew T146RB, Consew 146B. I'm not exactly sure who makes the Pro for Sailrite. I don't think it's Tacsew, as their factory is in China, while the Pro is made in Taiwan. Hmm...
I think this kind of machine was developed for sewing wet suits. And it'll also make a good sail machine, I think, because it zigzags like a champ...it just doesn't climb as well as it should for bagmaking, even though it's a walking-foot machine.
Now look at the 111's feet. They're ramped and they have teeth. The Utrafeed's feet look a lot like this, but they have even bigger teeth. Oil bath!What's underneath? The built-in knee lift is pretty sweet on this...not that I've used a lot of knee lifts. I used a pedal lift on the Pro, which was pretty nice except for the occasional old-person-hits-the-gas-instead of-the-brake-and-runs-into-a-Taco-Bell mistake. Vroom.
And that's the SCR servo motor made for Sailrite there with a cogged belt--super nice slow-speed control and power. Yeah. It's pretty quiet, too. I've heard that some servo motors are kinda noisy at slow speeds, but not this. Though, for the price, it should grant me wishes or play music. For my Pro, I'm thinking about getting a Reliable SewQuiet 4000...I've read some good things about it...but we'll see. My sewing machine has an eye. Nice. Too bad it's not red...then I could call it Hal. This machine can take a size 23 needle (right), which is huge. I use a size 20 (left) for sewing T90 thread. The best 88 cents you can spend if you sew. Ha.