Cool presser foot (turret)

So maybe you already knew about these cool presser foot changer-outers -aka turrets (thank you Stu) but they were new to me. I had seen them in the sewing line of a customer’s factory but even then, I didn’t know where to buy one because I didn’t the name of it -much less a part number. My customer couldn’t help because being new to the industry, they didn’t realize these parts (that came pre-installed on the used machines they bought), were unusual. Long story short, I finally got around to looking for the part, ordering it and having it installed.

Oh, I guess I need to explain what this turret does and why you may need one. This turret holds three different presser feet. When you want to change feet, you swivel the round thingie to the mounted foot of your choosing. This is much easier and faster than getting a screw driver to completely remove one foot to replace it with another.  This means you can go from sewing straight seams to installing a zipper or switching to a compensating foot or whatever.  You only need to have the thread cut, you don’t need to rethread the machine or anything else in switching out the feet. Click on these links if you want to see more photos.

This turret is most useful in smaller operations or in sampling when you need machines to provide multiple functions. It’s also heavily used in lean manufacturing. By extension, this turret probably wouldn’t be widely adopted in larger plants because most machines are set up specific to one operation. So, if you need flexibility in your tiny factory or workshop or in sample making, installing one of these turrets is a grand idea.

There are two turret types; one for Juki (model #NB3F) and another for all others; sometimes called a Brother or a German turret (model #NB3F-A). The difference between the two types is that the Juki requires replacing the needle bar too.

I bought one of each kind. On Saturday, my mechanic installed the “German” type (model #NB3F-A) on my Adler. I had actually called him for a crisis repair but when he saw the turret, he couldn’t leave without installing it too. He’d never seen one either. He thinks these are the best thing evah.  But I digress. The NB3F-A comes with a replacement pressure gauge but it didn’t fit on my machine (Adler 271-140342). Paul worked around that by modifying the foot pressure in the head.  The summary is that an individual could probably install the German type turret themselves provided the pressure gauge fit their machine. If not, you may want a mechanic to do it for you. And no, don’t even ask, there were no installation instructions. That is fairly typical in this business.

The Juki turret (#NB3F) is yet to be installed, I bought this one for my needle feed (yes, this turret will work on a needle feed!). Paul says you have to open up the side of the machine and get into the guts to install the Juki turret. Still, I imagine it isn’t difficult if you know your way around machines.

I bought my turrets from Intersew (scroll down to the bottom of the page). Another company that has them is Superior Sewing. The lowest cost I found for these is $35 each (both Intersew and Superior). I did see some places that sell them for almost double but also generic (pirated?) versions of these on Alibaba for $8-$10 each -provided you could pony up for a 1,000 unit minimum order.

Most of you will want to order from Intersew because Superior only sells to dealers. If you already have a parts dealer, then by all means order this part from your dealer who will order it from Superior or whoever else I don’t know about. As far as I know now, ordering direct from Intersew will mean calling by phone with a credit card because most apparel industry suppliers don’t do web stores, PayPal or any of that.  I spoke with Tammy, she was very nice. It took two or three days for it to ship but she called me when it shipped. Most people email these days so that was nice.

I don’t think these turrets are a critical must have item but they sure are nice. They are the sort of thing that will make stitchers very happy.

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24 comments

  1. Theresa in Tucson says:

    Too bad they don’t have these for domestic machines. I’m always switching out my feet on my everyday machine. Wonderful that your mechanic cold make it work and I like that he was as intrigued as you were with something new. Now that’s a mechanic!

  2. Jess S. says:

    I DEFINITELY need one of these. I have an extra Juki that is being converted to a roller foot for sewing lambskin, though I originally acquired it with intentions of setting it up strictly for piping. Because I make each of my garments start-to-finish in one stretch, having one of these to switch between a regular foot, topstitching foot and piping foot would be a dream. I also need a zipper foot crammed in there, maybe there’s one with 4-foot capabilities (in my dreams…)

  3. Natasha E says:

    I was just thinking as soon as I saw it that it was like the rotating nosepiece on a microscope. At least you don’t run the risk of breaking your coverslip with this one.

  4. Quincunx says:

    Would those even have adequate clearance on the low-shank settings that so many home machines have? If low shanks don’t have enough space for the dish-shaped doodad that provides the rotating motion and the feet also, we’d all have to replace our needle bars too, and that won’t be happening for domestic sewing. If they DO have clearance enough though, gadgetry ahoy! Not that snap-on feet aren’t nice, but they have a tad too much play even when snapped into place to keep me entirely happy.

  5. sfriedberg says:

    Quincunx, most single needle industrials are compatible with domestic low-shank feet. It was probably a Singer low-shank machine that standardized industrial feet in the first place. :-) The harder questions are: How much clearance does the machine have above the foot? Is that enough to revolve the turret when changing feet?

  6. Brina says:

    Um, S. Friedberg, that’s not correct. Most single needle industrials use high shank feet; this height is also called high shank for domestics. Standard or generic industrial feet are high shank. Low shank feet (which I’ve only seen made for domestics, but I’ve seen adaptors for use with industrials) are quite a bit lower. The low shank domestics are about 1/2″ from the bottom of the foot to the bottom of the screw slot, which high shanks are about 1″. Some industrial brands and models and, for that matter, domestics use X or super higher shank feet–some Kenmores, Pfaffs–1 1/4″ or more from the bottom of the foot to the bottom of the screw slot. I agree with you that the question of fitting a turret is more a matter of clearance above the foot–but most domestics with low shanks don’t have much.

  7. nowak says:

    It would just be awsome if that could be installed to my domestic sewing machine! (Though changing feet doesn’t require a screwdriver for mine it is very annoying, that I always have some feet laying around, because I am changing feet too often to but them back to storage.)

    I guess I’ll have to ask my mechanic. He’ll probably kill me…

  8. sfriedberg says:

    Brina, you’re right. I was completely backwards. I was certain they aren’t slant feet, but misremembered which type all my machines take.

    My bad! This is twice in as many weeks that I’ve misspoken. Bad Stu!

  9. Emily says:

    I got one of these for my Juki after hearing about it here, and just installed it. FWIW, it’s a piece of cake to install.
    (pardon my lack of correct part names, I don’t know what anything is called)
    You just open up the side panel (un-do the three screws and then pry it off, because it has a rubber piece that sticks), unscrew the set screw holding the presser bar, unscrew the presser foot tension adjustment knob thingy, take out the spring and the shaft it goes around through the hold in the top, and take out the presser bar through the same hole. You unscrew the new presser bar from the turret, drop it into the same slot, and put everything back. You might have to wiggle around the hook thingy on the front of the machine that attaches to the presser foot lift and the collar with the set screw in it. Then you can screw the turret back onto the end of the presser bar.

    The way I got it screwed on tightly was by tightening the set screw to hold the presser bar still, then tightening the turret. Then I installed a foot and turned the hand wheel until the feed dogs were down, loosened the set screw again, and positioned the bar so the foot was pointed straight ahead, then tightened the set screw. You have to set it with the feed dogs down because the presser foot raises up a little bit when the feed dogs come up to help the fabric feed. Then put the side panel back. It only takes a few minutes and isn’t complicated at all.

  10. Jen Rocket says:

    I have to get one of these. You should see my poor thumb screw! Three is a good number too, one for the Teflon foot, one for the zipper foot, and one for the invisible zipper foot. Now what do I say to my screwdriver when it goes into the drawer!!

  11. Jen Rocket says:

    Just placed an order at Intersew for my Juki too. I can’t wait to install this, thanks so much Emily for posting some instruction.
    Tammy the sales person at Intersew says she has been getting a good number of orders for these and hopes she doesn’t run out too soon. Thanks for the post Kathleen!

  12. Leonore says:

    Oooh, I love those! Thank you for giving me a name for it and all the yummie info :) . We hade those at tailoringschool when I was a student many years ago but I didn’t realize they weren’t a standard utillity on industrial machines untill after I graduated..

  13. I was surprised to see that this device is díscussed here and glad that we can still offer it.
    At this moment we have some turrets for class 272 on stock, the one for class 211 and 271 is not, but could be produced. Our device will fit only on these machines from Durkopp Adler.
    Of course the price for this device is not cheap due to the fact that it is produced in Germany in very low quantities. But I decided to keep it alive for a while after reading your comments to see whether we can help somebody.
    Further information about order numbers you can get here:
    http://sew24.blogspot.de/2012/12/sewing-foot-turret-for-classes-211-271.html

    Thomas Brinkhoff
    Head of Spare Parts Business
    Dürkopp Adler AG

  14. Update. I’ve been dreading putting this turret on, but armed with Emily’s instructions I started on my brother straight stitch. Everything was ok until I realized I could not unscrew the turret from its post in order to drop the post down. I’m going to call intersew, but I did realize that they also offer a turret that attaches to am existing post…so I should have ordered that. Will update with the continuing saga.

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