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Servo motor, clutch motor or motor taxi?


I still can’t believe that I’m in Jakarta! After months of preparations and most of all looking forward I have arrived at our new apartment, which is very close to the tower in the picture in my previous article. To show me the city we went to Skye bar Saturday night to watch over the skyline while drinking a cocktail (I can really recommend this place).

This city is BIG! And it seems even bigger due to traffic jam 24/7; a few kilometres can take more than 30 min. Alternative is a motor taxi's called Ojek that cross through the traffic like kamikaze pilots. So I'd better get used to the taxi; sit back and enjoy the ride :-).

But let's get to business. I did bring my fabric sewing machine (that explains the 53kg of baggage). My old PFAFF was too big and heavy to bring with me and shipping would be overly expensive, plus customs won't allow me to import industrial machines. So I need a new industrial sewing machine to sew leather. I found a small shop called Handycraft in Bekasi, one of the suburbs of Jakarta, that imports machines from Japan, mainly Juki and Janome. I have a very old Juki overlock machine back home that is still working so I have some trust in this brand.

The owner, Mr Emil, is very nice and speaks good English. He had one machine that I could test which would be shipped to a customer the next day. The machine is a JUKI DU-1181N, which is a semi-industrial machine with a running foot. And I have to admit I was impressed. It sews effortless through multiple layers of leather. The only requirement I have is a servomotor. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, let me explain (I did not know this until I started looking for a new machine). A clutch motor runs constantly when the machine is on so you always hear the quickly identifiable humming noise. A Servo motor does not run until you engage the pedal, comparable to smaller home sewing machines. Without the motor running, it makes no noise at all. With the servo motor, you can control the speed of the motor with a switch that lets you adjust between 0 and 3300 RPM. This makes it ideal for beginner sewers. Once the adjustable speed is set, it remains constant no matter how hard the pedal is pressed, unlike with the clutch motor.

My old PFAFF machine has a clutch motor, it’s constantly humming and by training you can adjust speed with the pedal. It is also super heavy, one other characteristic of a clutch motor, and consumes energy the whole time the machine is switched on. In the past the clutch machine could handle heavy materials better but nowadays this difference can be neglected. Generally speaking, for beginning or amateur sewers, or for projects that require slower stitching speeds, the servo motor is recommended. For sewers who do not mind faster sewing speeds and require the highest possible sewing volume, a clutch motor is a suitable alternative.

The machine I tested comes standard with a a clutch motor for Rp 8.5M (app. €540) and Mr Emil offers me the same machine with servo motor for Rp 10.7M (app. €680). I’m debating with myself whether to buy a servo or a clutch motor.

Next blog I will tell you which machine I bought plus the price I paid after bargaining, and how the hunt for leather, fabric and other sewing supplies is going on.


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