Computerized vs. Mechanical Sewing Machines
What are the differences between a computerized and mechanical sewing machine? Both types of sewing machines will contain the same essential moving parts and structure. The main difference is how the various functions of the machine are controlled. In a mechanical machine, the user manually controls all the functions of the different parts by turning knobs or levers. These engage gears that allow the machine to perform the desired function. In a computerized machine, these functions are controlled by microprocessors in the machine. The user inputs the desired functions with the use of buttons or knobs. The computer stores these commands in memory and controls the movement of the various parts to achieve the desired result.
One of the major differences between a mechanical and computerized sewing machine is the accessories. Mechanical machines use manual processes to achieve various tasks. They, therefore, require an army of parts to different settings like the type of stitches. You’d be lucky if you can make 20 different types of stitches with this kind of machine. You can select various stitch types with the touch of a button on computerized sewing machines. You won’t need to switch parts to achieve these settings as you’ll do on a mechanical machine. Some have USB ports or internet connectivity, which allows you to download thousands of additional stitches or make your own.
Setting Up of Computerized and Mechanical Sewing Machines
There are similar tasks that you have to undertake when setting up both types of machines. You will have to place bobbins and thread spools in the machine manually and manually change the presser foot for your desired stitch selection.
When selecting a stitch type on a mechanical machine, you do so by sliding a lever to the desired stitch, which is the same procedure for adjusting stitch width and length. A computerized sewing machine uses a different process for stitch selection. You select these settings using buttons or sometimes a touchscreen. Most computerized sewing machines come with an LED or LCD display that displays the chosen setting and a visual of the type of stitch you have chosen. The screen will then recommend the ideal presser foot to use for your selected stitch.
If you are like me, then you hate having to thread the needle manually as you do with mechanical machines. Some computerized sewing machines come with automatic needle threader which does all the work for you. Hooks automatically catch and pass the thread through the eye of the needle. This saves you time, avoids finger pricks and strain on your eyes.
How Mechanical and Computerized Sewing Machines sew
On both types of machines, the fabric is automatically advanced, and the needle moved in the right direction to form the desired stitches. However, there is a difference in the control of the sewing process on both machines. On a mechanical machine, you’ll have to manually guide the fabric across the feed dogs as you sew. You control the sewing speed with a foot pedal or a speed control button. A computerized sewing machine has automatic processes that control functions such as speed. There is also a fabric guidance system that ensures your stitches are straight and even. Making a buttonhole with a computerized sewing machine can be as simple as pressing a button.
Needle positioning on a mechanical and Computerized Sewing Machines
The position of the needle when the machine comes to a stop can determine the strength of your stitches. If the needle stops in the up position, the fabric can move around and weaken your last made stitch. Ideally, you want the needle to stop in the down position, which holds the fabric in place and allows you to turn it without weakening the stitch. In mechanical machines, you’ll have to press the foot pedal carefully to stop the needle in the down position before turning the fabric. Most computerized sewing machines often have a feature known as the “needle up/down” selector. The user can set this to stop the needle in the down or up position automatically when you stop sewing. This is a convenient feature that reduces errors and loose stitches.
One other useful feature on a computerized sewing machine is the automatic thread cutter. Old fashioned machines require the user to cut the thread with a pair of scissors at the end of sewing. The automatic thread cutter does this for you on computerized sewing machines.
Thread Tention Adjustment
On mechanical sewing machines, you adjust the thread tension turning a knob until you get your desired tension. Computerized sewing machines feature an automatic thread tensioner which senses when the thread tension needs adjustment and automatically adjust the tension.
Both types of machines have similar parts and are of similar size. They both take up roughly the same amount of space if you want to store them. Some come with a carrying case, and you can easily find carrying cases that fit both. However, mechanical machines contain gears and are therefore slightly heavier than computerized sewing machines. If you would be taking your machine to and from classes regularly, you might want to get the lighter computerized models.
Durability and Maintainance.
As good as any machine is, it cannot run forever. There’ll come a time when you’ll need to replace or repair some parts on your sewing machine. Mechanical sewing machines have parts that are easy to replace at home. Also, the parts on a mechanical machine are less expensive. Computerized sewing machines contain parts that will most likely require a professional to replace. You might even lose all of your stored favorite stitches if there is a problem with your computerized machine.
When it comes to durability, both machines are very durable. They can last more than 10 years before you experience any problems.
Your skill level can influence the machine you ultimately chose. Some beginners prefer the mechanical sewing machine because it helps them develop their basic sewing skills. You will learn the basics of sewing better with this type of machine because you control most of the sewing. It will take practice to be able to sew clean, even and straight stitches with a mechanical machine. However, novices who want to go straight into sewing without having to learn the basic sewing skills will find a computerized sewing machine easier to sew with. Automatic processes make sewing much easier than a mechanical sewing machine. You’ll start creating beautiful works of fashion in on time once you quickly acquaint yourself with how the various functions work. If you are a beginner and looking for the best beginner’s sewing machines, check out my sewing machine for beginners section.
Rate of Usage
Those who sew once in a while seem to find mechanical sewing machines easier to manage. For those who sew daily, a computerized sewing machine offers many time-saving and convenient features. You can save your preferences and re-use them at the touch of a button. When you use a computerized sewing machine, you spend more time sewing instead of fiddling with settings.
Type of Sewing
Some types of sewing are ideal for certain types of machines. Mechanical models are suitable for making simple stitches, stitch repairs, and hemming. This kind of machine is suitable for short-term sewing projects that do not require large fabrics. For more elaborate sewing projects such as embroidery and quilting, a computerized sewing machine is more suitable. The automated sewing process is suited to long-term and large projects. A computerized model can help you make embroidery designs you couldn’t achieve with a mechanical machine.
Cost of mechanical and computerized sewing machines
The price of a mechanical and a computerized sewing machine can vary wildly. A good mechanical machine can cost you a few hundred dollars, while a decent computerized sewing machine can cost a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Some high-end computerized models can cost upwards of $4,000. It is up to you to determine how much you want to spend on a sewing machine. If money is no object, then buying an advanced computerized machine for $5,000 might not be a problem for you. The amount of money you spend on a machine may be determined by expected revenue for those wanting to make a living from sewing.