Looks like Lady Ladyada hacked an industrial sewing machine. Definitely check it out.
Unlike little portables which turn on the DC motor when the foot-lever is pressed, industrials use a clutch motor. The motor is running the moment you turn it on, and when the foot-lever is pressed, it moves the clutch towards the motor, engaging it. This means higher torque when you turn it on, thus getting rid of the frustrating “have to help the machine al