I used my Janome 3160QDC (my baby) during my last bag making session. It worked well with a Jeans needle, but there was an “oh oh” moment when my machine was going through a few particularly thick layers of fabric and fleece and it made a strange “whirring” noise. I backed off, stopped pushing it so much, took it easy and never heard the noise again. Just to be safe I dropped it off today with the sewing machine repair mechanic for a cleaning and a check up. I have in the past opened up machines to see how they work (or clean and fix them) but I don’t feel comfortable opening up a computerized machine.
For about a month now, I have been hunting for a mechanical sewing machine that was not fancy and could take all the layers I could throw at it. Something reliable. I asked on a few Facebook bag making sites and was told the Juki TL series was a good choice. Unfortunately, they are ridiculously priced for my budget! Someone else suggested industrial machines. Those in my price range lacked features.
Another recommendation was the Janome HD5000 or HD3000. More in my budget!
I found some short reviews of these machines on line, but nothing detailed enough to convince me! I did find this chart though that showed me that, although there is a $40.00 price difference, the only difference in features between an HD3000 and an HD5000 is a .5 mm stitch width!