First, let’s just say, “This ain’t your mama’s sewing machine.” The majority of home sewists use their machines for making apparel, home decorations, crafts and quilts. Many are avid sewers and use their machines almost daily, while others sew infrequently.
A small group of people run home or small businesses in which they mass produce soft goods and need a machine capable of ultra-high speed, commercial durability and longevity.
For these folks, the Juki DDL 8700 may be a perfect fit for their business. Sure, some busy hobbyists may find this machine spot-on, but for most, this machine either lacks versatility or is far too cumbersome for their needs.
The Juki DDL 8700 is an industrial machine upon which many home and small businesses rely. Unlike the average home sewing machine, the Juki has a wet bath reservoir that holds oil. Most home machines do not need lubrication between visits to the service department.
It also is available with either a clutch motor or a servo motor. The clutch motor is more powerful, but the servo motor has a regulator to set or reduce the motor’s RPMs. The servo motor is popular, as it allows you to maintain a constant speed when free motion quilting or when doing work where precision and stitch consistency is essential.
The Juki DDL 8700 is a mechanical machine, not relying on computerized components. Maintenance is relatively easy and straightforward: Maintenance and many service issues can be done at home, and there are a number of videos on-line to answer questions and address problems.
- 5500 spm (stitches per minute) maximum
- 5 mm maximum stitch length
- 4 Row feed dog system with drop feed for free motion quilting or thread art sewing
- Presser foot lift 5.5 mm by hand, 13 mm by knee lift
- Weight 62 pounds (machine head only)
- Automatic lubrication (oil reservoir)
- Electronic DC servo motor 1/2 H.P., single phase, 110 VOLT, 3300 RPM (Different sellers offer either a clutch motor or a servo motor)
- Table and accessories are included in the purchased package
- Included table dimensions: 48” x 20” x 36”
Pros And Cons
The Juki DDL 8700 sewing machine’s speed is incredible for stitching miles of seams quickly. At 5500 spm, it can blast through projects as fast as you can move the fabric beneath the needle.
The 10.5” throat space provides a lot of room for moving large, bulky items through the machine.
The presser foot knee lift gives you hands-free control, as well as ½” lift for extra bulky seams.
The drop feed dog feature and the wide throat make it a good choice for free motion quilting or thread painting art.
The treadle foot control allows the operator greater freedom in controlling sewing speed, and full-foot contact can reduce foot and leg fatigue.
The 110v, ½ h.p. servo motor is not only powerful and quieter, but stitching speed can be regulated using a variable rheostat dial with a range from 0 to 3300 RPM.
The machine comes with a specially designed table that’s built specifically for the Juki DDL 8700. The machine head is attached to the table with hinges for easy lifting to replenish or check the oil level in the reservoir.
The unit comes with a dual-spool thread stand and a separately installed bobbin winder.
Like many industrial machines, the Juki DDL 8700 automatically lubricates itself. This machine is a wet oil bath machine with the reservoir directly beneath the sewing head. The oil needs to be refilled occasionally by lifting the head and replenishing with sewing machine oil. For folks accustomed to modern home sewing machines that don’t require lubrication, this may be an unwelcome chore.
This unit is heavy. It will take two strong and handy people to unpack and set up the machine, motor and table. It will probably arrive on a shipping pallet and will need to be uncrated and moved to its final destination.
It does not have any conveniences like a thread cutter, automatic threading or other features often found on current home sewing machines.
A few users commented that the sliding compartment to change the bobbin is too small to be easily accessible.
The most often reported disappointment is that the company does not produce a good manual. One party complained that a 3-page instruction brochure was too dark to be legible, while a number of other buyers complained that there was no manual at all. A manual or user’s guide does not appear to be easily found on-line or on the manufacturer’s website.
Several buyers commented it took a number of hours to assemble the machine, motor and table but did not complain that it was difficult. However, other owners mentioned that the Juki DDL 8700 arrived already set up. It appears that the amount of assembly will depend on from whom it is purchased.
Most sewists who bought this machine with a servo motor praised its quiet motor and adjustable maximum stitching speed.
This machine is advertised as built for light and medium weight fabrics. However, with the proper heavy-duty needle, many sewers report that they use it quite successfully on leather and very heavy-duty materials.
If you’ve gone way beyond the confines of a typical home sewing machine and are looking for an affordable industrial machine that is easy to use and maintain, look no further. The Juki DDL 8700 sewing machine is just what the doctor ordered.
At less than the cost of many home sewing machines, you won’t break your budget adding the Juki to your collection, and it’s simple enough to do most maintenance and repairs yourself.
Although it’s a single-needle straight stitch machine with absolutely no bells or whistles, the Juki DDL 8700 is a workhorse that will probably outlive any other machine you own, and maybe even you! The all-metal construction and components are built to last, as evidenced by its weight. Parts are easily replaced and can be purchased relatively inexpensively.
This machine is an excellent investment for serious sewists. However, the necessity for oil and regular maintenance must be taken into consideration before welcoming the Juki DDL 8700 into your sewing studio. It’s not a big commitment, but it is a necessary step in using your machine successfully for many years.