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Forum > Sewing Machines > Machine Chassis - Metal or Plastic ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Machine Chassis - Metal or Plastic
How do you tell?
Runrover
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Runrover  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/3/13 3:58 PM

So, I confess to suffering with the Friday 4:00 slump -- after a long, hard week of late night work and then early morning meetings. This will definitely be a weekend of much needed rest and hopefully a bit of sewing. Alas, I digress...

As I sit here at my desk mulling the questions of the universe, I read a PR review of a fairly popular and inexpensive Brother sewing machine. I was curious and decided to read the reviews on Amazon -- like I said 4:00 work slump. The machine had a lot of 4 star, some 5 stars, but also some 1 star. Most of the lower rated reviews mentioned the machine puttering out or dying after six months or a year or two. Some referenced that the machine had a plastic chassis and with a plastic chassis, you really couldn't expect much from the machine.

I have owned an all metal Bernina 1000 -- there was no doubt that machine was metal through and through. It weighed a ton. However, I also own several older Vikings (Viva, Freesia, Daisy and Prelude); they are clearly plastic on the outside, but I can't imagine their chassis is plastic. They sew through almost anything and have a beautiful stitch quality - even though they are a bit dated. I also have a tiny 3/4 Janome that is clearly plastic, but also sews well and has held up for a number of years - though I don't really use the small Janome for my regular sewing.

I am by no means an expert sewer or have an extensive knowledge of sewing machines. In fact, my question is very simple: How do you tell if a machine has a metal or plastic chassis? Is there some way to "look under the hood" so to speak? Not that I need to even consider purchasing another sewing machine, but who knows...

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Cynthia

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Date: 5/3/13 4:06 PM

If you can take the bottom cover off of it, you can tell. A dealer should be honest about these things; I'm not sure what one would do in a department store. Although, you could buy it and if you find it substandard it should be easy to return.

Soolip
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In reply to Runrover <<
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Date: 5/3/13 4:20 PM

All currently-manufactured domestic sewing machines have plastic gears. Bernina started using plastic back in the 60s. Your 1000 has plastic gears as well, though the outside is metal (and I believe the side with the balance wheel on it is plastic). Most manufacturers began using plastic gears in the 60s or early 70s, with the exception of Kenmore. They used metal gears (and metal casings as well) through the mid-80s.

Most sewing machines have metal framework, all but the most cheap brands sold at places like WalMart and Target. Shopping at a dealer who is knowledgeable and willing to answer your questions is a good practice.


-- Edited on 5/3/13 4:21 PM --

Runrover
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Date: 5/3/13 8:30 PM

Very interesting to learn about the introduction of plastic gears. I think I was using the word "chassis" when I meant framework.
Thanks for the responses and insight.

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Cynthia

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