Passap Duomatic 80 Knitting Machine
Has to be one of the best semi-industrial double bed knitting machines ever produced – as time went by, they added more and more extras to it, and the most essential were the Form Computer, this allowed you to use any yarn by requesting a tension square and you then had to enter the numbers plus your size etc – this was one of the reasons I bought this machine way back in the 90’s – however I the sales person had sold it to me on the basis that if any future innovations were to come about it would be an upgrade – this was obviously not the case as after about a year the wonderful E6000 was introduced. At that time another great machine came onto the market and that was the Singer 9000 – we had so much choice it was hard to make a decision and I decided to sell my Duo and buy the E6000 and now owning all these machines I know I made the right decision.
Look into the future with no electronics to go wrong!
This however, detracts from my piece re the Duomatic 80, and to my mind as it does not need electronics it may be the only semi industrial machine left that possible could outlast the E6000 – if you know your stuff – and many do, there is so much you can do with this model. I was fortunate enough to work for a designer who bought his from a charity shop and taught himself, and the designs he produced for the London and other fashion shows took my breath away, who would have thought that these wonderful pieces of Haute Cotoure were produced on a domestic knitting machine. With the Duomatic you have a true double bed machine with patterning on both beds thanks to the pusher system and that coupled with say short-rowing techniques can produce some unusual designs.
As time goes on I realise there were so many wonderful patterns that you could produce on the Duomatic that were difficult or even impossible to convert to the E6000 electronic system. Especially patterns with needle spaces. Take a look at the older Passap model book that you can find on machineknitting.com and you will see what I am talking about. Some of the materials are
so beautiful but try to convert those patterns to the E6000 and you may find like me, it is seriously difficult. Now I am not a great expert on the Duomatic and I am extremely lucky that I own several Duomatic 80's as well as the several E6000’s so I can indulge, but unfortunately for me I find the patterning system on the Duo’s hard work ie the punchcard system the Deco – frightens the life out of me and have literally hundreds of punchcards that came with the machines I bought.
Motor or not - perhaps?
I am at an age whereby I need to use the motors to use my larger machines and the thought of it sweeping or should I say clattering along with the deco attached does not appeal, this is probably complete nonsense as many great designers must have used a deco with the motor in the past – come to think of it, when I bought mine new at the Scottish Exhibition Centre, it was running a Deco with the motor to produce jacquard.
How to convert Duomatic patterns to the Electronic E6000
A wonderful publication I managed to buy was the book by Jack Pullan – Learn to convert Duomatic Stitch Patterns to the E6000. I studied this book and it talks about many techniques and the principal of bars and gates to enable the translation of the Duo stitch patterns to the E6000 techniques – this allows the wonderful missed needle patterns to be translated, but its seriously difficult to come to terms with. One would have thought that when designing the E6000 they would have perhaps tried to keep the techniques the same instead of changing for instance from for example the dial selection CX to LX – the rear bed on the Duomatic is exactly the same as the E6000 however, the front bed is not – and requires the electronics to operate the pushers. This subject is way too complex to go into at great depth but you should get the idea.
I must say one of my must haves with the Duo and the E6000 is the good old dependable U70 –
this gadget is a necessity as it transfers the stitches from one bed to the other, and I know there are others and I have them – but guess which one sits on my machines. I am a great believer in simplicity; it gets things done quickly without hassle.
I also love the 4-colour changer plus the no weight system. The old motors still do the job admirably and have the added bonus of a foot pedal to help you on your way. I will warn you though the noise can be terrifying until you get used to it and I always use ear plugs with all my motors.
Check out Pinterest for new ideas of what to knit
Take a look at Pinterest – type in machine knitting or knitting machines and look at some of the gorgeous knitwear that is produced on the domestic knitting machine – the patterns nowadays are so much better than those offered at the time of the dreadful end of 90’s when designers seemed to concentrate on stitch design and forgot about the end product. Remember those dreadful drop shoulder designs – no shape at all.
To conclude, a Duomatic 80 is a seriously good machine and if you are into individual design, one of best on the market – it produces stitch patterns that can tuck for instance with a fine yarn up to 20 times on the same needle. With the form computer – I just look at the outline of the design and move on from there, I am not interested in the pictures of the old fashioned garments, just try to think outside the box and design your own pattern, with whatever yarn you like and when you have it right, enter the figures and off you go. The form computer patterns are just tailor outlines – pity there was no easy way to get these imported into DesignaKnit 8 – you would never then run out of ideas. (Bear in mind I am talking about the form shapes rather than the form programme.)