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Forum > Sewing Machines > Buying a used TOL sewing/embroidery machine ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Buying a used TOL sewing/embroidery machine
Pros and cons of buying a high-end sewing-embroidery machine
speekna
speekna  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/3/11 0:06 AM

Dealers I've talked to (3 different ones - Bernina, Babylock, Brother, Janome) have adamantly warned me that buying a used sewing/embroidery machine is a really bad idea, due to the lack of dealer support and warantee. Although that seems sensible, the prices of new quality machines that have the features I want are really high - $2000 (Brother NX2000) to $10,000 (Bernina 830). I've considered, for example, a Bernina 730E, which a dealer sells for $6700 (this is a 30% reduction from the list price for a floor model) for sale on ebay for $4600. I can buy a lot of repair work for $2000! And I'm pretty mechanically inclined (had my own computer since 1984 & an early Bernina since 1965), so I am pretty confident I can learn on my own. However I'd like some feedback from those of you who have purchased used high-end machines. What have you experienced - good and bad?

threaddy
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In reply to speekna


Date: 9/3/11 0:28 AM

If you buy a mechanical for $1000 and it is a dud you are only out the $1000... a lot ,but not enough to make you get sick over it. If you buy a $4600 machine and it has "issues" you are SOL. I personally would never buy a computerized machine outside of a dealer. I tried to buy a computerized emb. machine on ebay and it did not work. It was only $1500 and the seller took it back but I learned my lesson. (man was that a huge hassle! Lots of wasted energy and time) I'd prefer to have dealership back up as I think the computerized embroidery machines are just a bit more temperamental. The extra cost more than pays for itself in peace of mind if your dealer is good. That's my opinion...again it is because of the cost...and the complexity of those machines vs. a simple mechanical one.

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

GothDom
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Date: 9/3/11 0:45 AM

I think it depends on your comfort level and the amount of effort you are willing to put into the machine.
If you purchase it, and then get a copy of the adjusting/repair manual....well, if you're like me, you're set for life. The warranty on these machines is somewhat misleading. you have 20 years on he mechanical parts, and 1 year on the labor/computer components(last time I checked)
Is 1 yeah worth 2500$?
not to me!

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http://www.acdc-vintage.com
This one, that one, and a bunch of other ones!
(though the herd is getting more streamlined)

emg
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In reply to speekna


Date: 9/3/11 8:36 AM

Last december when I was trying to decide how to go about this, I considered buying on ebay and such. I ended up spending $1680 at a local Pfaff dealer so I guess I'm in a lower price range than you. I was scared off buying a machine on ebay. Too many people having problems in the shipping and recovery of funds for broken/unusable machines.

I'm sure you could learn the machine, but repairing it would be a different matter. Now, if you found something on craigslist, then by all means go and try it out -- if if boots up and sews reasonably well, then go for it! But online/mail order for computerized machines is a whole different ball game. Someone suggested they wouldn't be sick about losing $1000 on a bad machine but I think I'd need a trip to the hospital for that big a loss! I guess it comes down to your tolerance for risk!


PattiAnnJ
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Date: 9/3/11 9:10 AM

Buy Babylock or Brother for easier access to design formats.

Bernina's art format is difficult to convert to and many of the free downloads are pes (Babylock and Brother).

You can get a Brother SE 400 for under $400 at Walmart. You will be limited to a 4 x 4 embroidery area, which may suit your need, or not. The 400 is a combo (sewing machine and embroidery machine). If you decide embroidery is not for you at least you will have a backup sewing machine.

If you are serious about getting a Bernina, ask what the format is as well as the limitations of the embroidery area. Then look through downloads on the Internet (where it is more practical to obtain designs) for the availability of the format required for that particular Bernina model.

Also, keep in mind that every brand and model has embroidery area limitations and using a larger hoop does not mean you can stitch out a design larger than what the machine is designed to handle.

I started with the Brother PE 150 (embroidery only model) many years ago. I purchased it on a whim at a local Walmart and taught myself how to use it - pretty easy.

Then when I decided I would like to do larger designs, I bought a Babylock and sold the 150 on Ebay.

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I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

maide

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Date: 9/3/11 9:21 AM

I second emg's opinion about Craigslist. I bought an Artista 170 with emb. module for $400 on there. I do have a very good tech who cleaned it up and serviced it and gave it a clean bill of health though which helps a lot. I wouldn't go the ebay route for computerized machines, just too big a risk. I was burned twice doing that!

poorpigling

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In reply to PattiAnnJ


Date: 9/3/11 10:50 AM


I really really really REALLY want that magenta Brother. wahhhhhh..

Learn To Sew
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In reply to poorpigling


Date: 9/3/11 11:17 AM

Which magenta Brother do you want? I have seen some and I wondered about the model of your choice.

Will it match the color of your living room walls, by any chance? They are lovely.

Someday, I would like the Brother SE400.

Learn

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I really enjoy quilting. I love to play with fabrics, colors and pictures. I recently discovered how much fun applique can be. As I love making pictures, landscape quilting can be challenging, but seeing the picture come to life is so rewarding.
Bernina 630, my main machine
Pfaff 2036, my class machine
Babylock Molly
Bernina 1200DA serger
Unique Sewing Cabinet 450L

speekna
speekna  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/3/11 12:22 PM

Thanks much to everybody who took the time to reply. Your feedback supports both the dealer's cautions and my "inklings" about buying on ebay. I did have the opportunity to buy an Artista 180 on Craigslist, which I let go because I wasn't far enough along in my research. I did notice several eBay offers supposedly from Bernina dealers - but my dealer (a good one, I think) said that they are in danger of losing their franchise by selling through eBay. She also claimed that the Bernina warantee is not valid unless you buy from an authorized dealer, which would mean that buying from a private party under any circumstances means you don't have a warantee - period. Anybody know anything about that?

dfsews

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Date: 9/3/11 1:14 PM

A few years back I bought a 200E Bernina from a private party. She had maintained it well, and I tried it before I bought it. I was able to get a fab price, updated the machine to be like a 730, and all was well. I eventually sold the machine on eBay to raise $ for my 830.
It sounds like you are mechanical and computer-saavy enough that the learning to use it won't be an issue. Keep watching on CL, and tell your dealer what you are looking for. Many do get nice used machines in.
Also, you absolutely want a stitch count to know how "used" the machine really is. Good luck in the search.
-- Edited on 9/3/11 1:16 PM --

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