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Just a question for the experienced kite builders out there, do you just use a standard sewing machine or do you need an industrial machine. 

I thought maybe a NPW kite might be the way to go as a starting point.

Happy for any tips for a good first kite build.  I haven't touched a sewing machine for 20 years.

 

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Hi Matt, any machine can be fine for sewing ripstop, I recently bought a singer heavy duty 4423  from spotlight for around 300, and on my latest build has not missed a beat. Easily sewing through multiple layers and Dacron. I also bought a walking foot for it for around 60 and this has helped immensely when doing the appliqué. Many stitches but I use mainly straight and triple step zig zag. A brilliant machine for the money.

regards Doug 

https://www.spotlightstores.com/sewing-fabrics/sewing-equipment/sewing-machines/singer-4423-heavy-duty-sewing-machine/BP80304571

$299 currently

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I have exactly the same machine and have now used it quite a bit for 3 years.  Sewing kites is one of the least demanding things (for the machine) you can.  The fabric is very thin and pretty easy to sew.  The "Heavy Duty" name is probably overstated though - my machine can't make it through the seam when hemming a pair of blue jeans for example.  But if kite making is the main use of the machine you don't need much.  I've only ever used 3 stitches - straight, zig-zag and triple zig-zag.  Probably every machine made now has many more stitches than that.  So you don't have to spend a lot.  A walking foot is probably a necessity, and for NPW's I would get a cording foot.   This is because often you use kite line as a seam reinforcement (see Tom White's plans on kiteplans.org).  This provides a very strong attachment for bridles.  It is very hard to sew a a reinforcement line without one, but quite easy with one.

 

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