Author Topic: Variable Tacker  (Read 387 times)

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BergspitzeCustoms

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Variable Tacker
« on: January 27, 2019, 12:23:37 PM »
A Singer 269W popped up on Facebook semi-local to me recently, but thanks to the seller giving me the runaround on if it actually worked or not (he "only ever used 1" and didn't want to adjust it in case it wouldn't go back") I missed out on picking it up.  Not in a hurry to get one, but a tacker capable of different widths of tacks would be quite handy, and I'm wondering if anyone knows of other comparable machines out there.

Now before anyone gets on the "just get an electronic tacker" soapbox, yes I understand the advantages.  However, I do all my own machine maintenance and repairs and strictly-mechanical models are much more appealing, both for that and for my wallet.  85% or more of what I do is 1" tacking, but a smaller size, such as 1/4" or 1/2" would be very useful in a small percentage of projects (some of the sniper-related items I have been doing for USCG MSRT, for example).

Are there any other non-electronic variable tacker models out there?

Edit:  For those not familiar with it, this is what I'm referring to.  Adjustment levers on the side to change stitch parameters:
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 12:28:39 PM by BergspitzeCustoms »

WhiskeyTwoFour

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Re: Variable Tacker
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 12:58:42 PM »
A Singer 269W popped up on Facebook semi-local to me recently, but thanks to the seller giving me the runaround on if it actually worked or not (he "only ever used 1" and didn't want to adjust it in case it wouldn't go back") I missed out on picking it up.  Not in a hurry to get one, but a tacker capable of different widths of tacks would be quite handy, and I'm wondering if anyone knows of other comparable machines out there.

Now before anyone gets on the "just get an electronic tacker" soapbox, yes I understand the advantages.  However, I do all my own machine maintenance and repairs and strictly-mechanical models are much more appealing, both for that and for my wallet.  85% or more of what I do is 1" tacking, but a smaller size, such as 1/4" or 1/2" would be very useful in a small percentage of projects (some of the sniper-related items I have been doing for USCG MSRT, for example).

Are there any other non-electronic variable tacker models out there?


Mechanical bartackers are usually variable to some degree.  Juki LK-980.  Pfaff 3334.  Brother LK3.  Some sub models are more desirable than others.  While the stitch count is fixed, the length of the tack is adjustable. 

The entire post reads as though it was written by someone with lack of understanding on the subject.  Please be very specific when sharing an opinion as the uneducated may take it as fact when it is, in fact, a folksy misguided half-truth "weird little secret" based on a lack of experience.

A well maintained, desirable subset mechanical tacker will cost about maybe 25-30% less than a used electronic tacker.  A basket case mechanical tacker that sorta gets the job done is cheap.  Cheap, cheap, cheap-->  If one prefers tinkering over profiting; get a mechanical tacker.  If one considers their time valuable and wishes to keep up with modern practices; get an electronic tacker.

Did USCG MSRT say it was cool to disclose that you're performing work for them?  Does it benefit their mission and safety for you to disclose that piece of information about them?  Wouldn't you want to use the best equipment available to make parts for those putting their life on the line?





BergspitzeCustoms

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Re: Variable Tacker
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2019, 06:30:46 PM »
Because for me, the ROI on a tacker is not as great as other potential purchases, IF I can add one for the deals I have seen in the past, I would.  Have passed on four tackers, all in great shape, for under $800, in the past 26 months.  All of them were in 95% condition or better, and were local to where I was at the time.  The timing for the purchase simply wasn't right when they came along, and that was a judgement call I made.  Just like I'm making the judgement call, for my personal situation, that spending $500 for a Singer 269 makes sense, but spending $3k for a more fancy tacker does not, even if it means I am more likely to spend some time here or there to keep it up and running.

I also don't have the luxury of 220V or pneumatic hookups, and I understand that limits my options to what some would prefer.

Will I continue to stash away some funds from each project for a programmable tacker?  Of course.  But capitalizing on a good deal on a less-fancy machine could, in turn, speed up that process in the long run.  Does that type of thinking work for everyone, especially if they have production lines to maintain?  Of course not.

Different strokes for different folks.  If you feel the inquiry spreads misinformation, feel free to remove the thread.

WhiskeyTwoFour

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Re: Variable Tacker
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2019, 03:12:15 PM »
Because for me, the ROI on a tacker is not as great as other potential purchases, IF I can add one for the deals I have seen in the past, I would.  Have passed on four tackers, all in great shape, for under $800, in the past 26 months.  All of them were in 95% condition or better, and were local to where I was at the time.  The timing for the purchase simply wasn't right when they came along, and that was a judgement call I made.

Over the course of more than two years you were unable to seal the deal on one of four mechanical tackers that met your criteria and were unable to save for an electronic tacker.  You're unaware that most cam tackers have adjustable length tacking.  If one is unable to demonstrate understanding the basics of a class of machine, it seems unlikely one could intelligently evaluate the condition of that machine.

This reminds me of 90s/00s gunshows and the ever present 35 year old gunshow SEAL talking about his time in Da Nang and shooting M43 out of an M16 because they tumbled through the air across the border from his secret commando base in Laos or Cambodia.  Or the jackwagon who, during VCC LEA 94 mag ban, insisted that shitbox aftermarket mags were as good as factory mags.  Or that guy who thinks a carbureted motor is more reliable than fuel injection.  Or the home builder who thinks their experimental's Rotax is as reliable as a PT6.  Or Uncle Rico regretting coach not putting him in the game '82.

Just like I'm making the judgement call, for my personal situation, that spending $500 for a Singer 269 makes sense, but spending $3k for a more fancy tacker does not, even if it means I am more likely to spend some time here or there to keep it up and running.

I also don't have the luxury of 220V or pneumatic hookups, and I understand that limits my options to what some would prefer.

Again, the above appears to be written by one who does not understand the subject.  There are plenty of 110v electronic tackers that don't need air.  If the tacker is 220v, a little adapter box is under $100 to run on 110v.  If the tacker needs air, a suitable air compressor can be had for under $100.

There are plenty of electronic tackers available under $2000 and under $1500 if one looks around.  Electronic tackers are still supported by their respective manufacturers.  Based on 14 years of tracking machine maintenance expenses through QuickBooks, mechanical tackers have cost us about 1.6x as that of electronic tackers.  Based on 14 years of tech'ing all of our machinery, a malfunctioning electronic tacker takes much less time to return to service than a malfunctioning cam tacker.

Will I continue to stash away some funds from each project for a programmable tacker?  Of course.  But capitalizing on a good deal on a less-fancy machine could, in turn, speed up that process in the long run.  Does that type of thinking work for everyone, especially if they have production lines to maintain?  Of course not.

This has nothing to do with fancy and everything to do with proper execution.  You have assigned a (remarkably low) value to the lives of those counting on critical life support equipment for their job.  Why would one not want the best piece of equipment for the application especially when lives are on the line?  How could one, in good faith, manufacture life support items for top dudes with bottom end equipment?

I have a busted 430D sitting in the corner.  The 430D is 110v and does not need air.  It does need a new X motor, table, control box, and panel.  How much do you have stashed away right now to spend on a tacker?  If it will cover the table, motor, box, panel, crating, and freight, I'll fork it on a truck and send it your way.  It's cheaper than spending my time policing threads like this.

It's a casualty from freight company negligence.  Some guy thought he knew how to operate a forklift but was really just a walking calamity of mistakes and lesser points that, "aren't his fault," even though he is the common denominator in all the situations.  He always has someone or something to blame for his inability to execute.  He's always willing to take a shortcut in the name of time or cost.  He always has an excuse as to why he didn't do something correctly.  It's a mantra of self sabotage so he doesn't need to experience terrifying success or his fear of abject failure.  He's the one who, with his total apathy, causes aircraft to fall out of the sky and then he shrugs his shoulders.

Different strokes for different folks.  If you feel the inquiry spreads misinformation, feel free to remove the thread.

It is disclosed that WTF entirely funds gearmaker.org.  WTF have a fiduciary responsibility to quash erroneous info immediately if not sooner.  Our valued OEM, ODM, and contract clients often express our conduct on gearmaker as one of their deciding factors to send us work.

Threads like this must not be removed so that others may learn and spend their valuable time and money wisely.

BergspitzeCustoms

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Re: Variable Tacker
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2019, 09:00:59 PM »
My inquiry is based off of my personal experience.  Obviously someone like you has a lot more to base your decisions on.  Seems like it would have been easier to say "Kory, it seems like you've got some blinders on about a few things.  Let's set up a time to chat so I can help you broaden your perspective."  Thanks for the critique and the input, I learned a lot, and not just about tackers.

Stone

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Re: Variable Tacker
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2019, 11:10:53 PM »
I have owned (2) mechanical tackers, the second is still in my shop. First machine was a well worn Juki LK-980, 42 stitch center start/stop. Nice little machine. Got it for $350 locally. Needed a new hook and knives and a new table top, but after that I used it for almost a year. However, realizing I needed more horsepower, so when I found a steal of a deal on a used 42 stitch Brother LK3, I swooped it up. Ended up selling the Juki to a fellow who does skydiving gear.

I have adapted my designs to use what I have available to me machines-wise, that including a 42 stitch, single pattern cam tacker. On the horizon is a Brother 430HS, with a couple of custom clamp sets for certain tasks I want to integrate into my products. A BAS pattern machine would be even better, but that is beyond my current needs, unlike the upgrade to the 430HS. However, the long game would most likely see that added as well. In time...

Now, if all you "need" is a 42 stitch machine, heck even a 28 stitch machine can be used in a lot of cases, and it looks better(to my eye) than back and forth with a single needle machine, go for it. If a contract requires a 42 stitch bartack, then follow the instructions.

-Dan

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Re: Variable Tacker
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2019, 03:00:45 PM »
My inquiry is based off of my personal experience.  Obviously someone like you has a lot more to base your decisions on.  Seems like it would have been easier to say "Kory, it seems like you've got some blinders on about a few things.  Let's set up a time to chat so I can help you broaden your perspective."  Thanks for the critique and the input, I learned a lot, and not just about tackers.
Then there wouldn't be a point to having a forum if it's all done over the phone or private messages. The open discussion, and especially when someone puts in their experience, is what creates value here. It might not actually provide the info needed for all, or even the one who asked the question, but for some. Since we are in different boats here, from the lurkers who might try sewing to people who run successful businesses, it's important to figure out what applies to your situation and maybe ask for additional information suited to that specific case. A machine that works for the hobbyist doesn't mean that it works for the professional.

If one is tight on budgets, look for sewing machine auctions. A couple of buddies of mine picked up 7 industrial machines (tackers, lockstitch and overlockers) for $250 Canadian in total. It beats CL and FB out of the water.
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Misadventure Gear

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Re: Variable Tacker
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 02:48:29 PM »
Speaking strictly to the issue choosing a mechanical machine, over an electronic one, let me tell you about my recent machine purchase and the choices I made....

First of all, I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific. Any machine coming from the mainland will have an extra $300-500 in shipping. Not a deal breaker for the right machine, but always a consideration. After more than 10yrs of regular checks on my local Craigslist, an "exotic" came up....an electronic Juki LH-3188 Double Needle. I scrimped for a few weeks, and scraped together most of the asking price, and went to go see the machine a few days ago.  It was at a shop run by a guy who used to own a sewing factory in LA. He had a couple dozen industrials lined up and more under plastic tarps, including the one I was there to see. It wasn't set up to sew, but it had the control panel, needle positioner, thread cutter, all the fancy add-ons. Nearby, was a second LH-3188-G, in similar condition, but no electronic control panel, thread cutter or needle positioner. I quickly gravitated to the basic model, because I knew that I could maintain it myself pretty easily. The control panel in the other machine was probably more than a decade old already, and I didn't want to have to deal with aging electronics. Besides, I was already thinking of swapping out the clutch motor for a servo, so adding a needle positioner could be done at that time. I brought that basic machine home, and have spent the last few days getting it dialed in and getting to know her. She's a great machine, and I'm confident I made the right choice for me. Next, I'll be getting all the binders and folders to really make it sing.....

Am I making critical life support equipment? Not yet, but I'm contemplating making myself a tree saddle for bowhunting. It would be my fat behind depending on my stitching while 20ft up in a tree. Personally, I don't think I'll be turning out an inferior product just because it's not the top of the line model.

That said, he also showed me a Juki programmable electronic bartacker, that had my mouth watering. I offered a work trade, but he wasn't interested in parting with his Baby. He was having a hard enough time letting go of the machine I was buying.  ;) I told him to call me if he changes his mind.

I'm not arguing against electronic machines, but I feel you gotta make the choice based on both your needs and situation, while factoring in costs of the equipment, plus getting it set up and running the way you need it to. Sometimes, the latest, greatest isn't always the right choice.