Wrong, the portable ones don't have triple step zig-zag,and are only 6mm stitch width, and are over a grand. The only one there suitable for kites is a Durkopp Adler 525i they don't even list the price because it is $5000 negotiable downward. Like I said if you want to drop $1000 on industrial one I will help you find one. Just let me know.
I found a used Singer Merritt 2404 on Craigs list a couple years ago for a mere $50. It is built very strong, and has the 3-step zig-zag, which is required for canopy repairs. I've also been able to re-close leading edges with it. For any canopy fixes, no problem at all. For leading edges, yes, but you'll need practice.
I was able to repair a 16m Havoc right down the middle from leading to trailing edge, so a lot of kite can be jammed into the area under the arm. Stitch length and width of zig-zag fully adjustable. Width of zig-zag on this machine is at most 6mm, which is the same as what I have most of my kites from the factory.
This machine will handle V30, V46 and V69 bonded polyester threads. No way will it do V92, but no kite I've ever seen has V92 anywhere on it.
Merritt 2404 010_thumb.jpg (15.16 KiB) Viewed 2037 times
That is a beauty never mind the colour Looks old enough to run on metal parts. Stay away from plastic gears. 6mm stitch width for home machines is max. I have industrial that does 8mm which is optimum for conopy. With mine I can make a kite from scratch.
I just read somewhere that the Singer Merritt 2404 has nylon or plastic gears.
That sent me looking, and others out in the blogosphere say to stay away from such machines.
I've found that for light duty, it isn't an issue. In fact, I didn't know I had this so-called inferior product until I went looking after it was mentioned here to find a machine with metal gears.
Conclusion: metal is probably better for heavy use, but for my use, which is occasional kite repair, I can't see it making a difference. That is, until I destroy a gear - but parts are available for that machine.
So, for $50 for the 2404, I still think it was a steal.
PS - for the 3-step zig-zag, you need the disc to do that pattern. Mine came with 20+ disks. I've used exactly 2 discs in two years: the zig-zag and the straight stitch
The Singer looks pretty good. My only concern is that the arm is a little short. The biggest problem I have had sewing stuff is working out how to position the work so I can sew it. Most things will sew fine if you can position it neatly. If it's scrunched up you end up with sideways tension and crooked sewing and broken needles.
I bought my missus a high end quilting sewing machine. She is very happy with it and I get to repair stuff on a $2000 sewing machine. Happy wife, happy life.
Wow, another timeless piece. Now when you get one of these old machines and have no experience one word of advise: you know what the say about the old bikes: it is all in carburetor.....well here it is all in the bobbin. You have to find right amount of tension from the bottom (bobbin) and from the top. The top is usually understood. There is one correct way to put the bobbin in it's case and that is that the thread goes against the groove. If you put it incorrectly so it flows with the direction of the groove you will never find the correct tension. A lot of machines are sold next to nothing because of luck of understanding how to set the tension. These old German machines never go bad. You might get one stuck from deteriorated sometimes wrong lubricant. All you do is wash all gears with karosene just like bike chain, and put some fresh machine oil and voila.