Bugstruck

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About Bugstruck

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  • Location
    Maryland
  • Interests
    Sewing, fixing machines, woodworking

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    Heavy materials sewing
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  1. Crazy stitching

    All is well that ends well they say. Learned some things here too. I had a sense, when Clintok put that photo up of his stitching in response to Ferg, that he was going to beat this and somewhere in there he told us what he did for work and I knew for sure he had this beat in time, with all the good info being posted. I'm sure I wasn't the only one walking to my machine checking something and some here obviously did way more than that. What Rocky Aussie recently posted about the lower tension polish and oil. Well in the checking (radically altering) my machine upper tensions during this effort I noticed how choppy my lower tension was and thought that needs some attention. Oil on the felt crossed my mind but the polishing he recommends didn't, that will occur too now. Kudos to him and Wiz for some added things to check on bobbins going forward. Combined posts, this thread is an arsenal on clone tension issues. I think they only thing we may have missed and I may have missed that myself, is checking for any contamination below the bobbin spring. If it wasn't perviously it is now. I run that 180 degree thread path nearly all of the time on my top tension. Definitely helps keep the thread where it belongs.
  2. Crazy stitching

    Indeed, good looking holster work there. Hang in there, we've all wanted to kick our machines at times. The more you learn these machines the easier it gets but they can surprise us even then. Most of the time it is an easy find, not always. Two more items, don't think I mentioned in this particular thread?? 1. Make sure that after you wind the bobbin and cut the tail it pulls back in, get it flush at minimum. I've had a wayward tail (maybe 1/8" or a little more) chopping up the bottom tension once and that took me some time to spot it. I only had that once but I know what to look for now. 2. Be aware that sewing single ply, depending the nature of that leather and thickness, with the higher tensions we run at this thread weight, can cause an occasional stitch to pop through. Very rarely, unless doing decorative stitching, do I sew single ply. Others may know better on that. I do know two plys give the knot a better resting place. You pop it through or (nearly through is good and safe) the bottom ply and it has a place to park, between the plys. If you've ever sewn two layers of ballistic nylon you know that one could go bonkers trying to center a knot . Two on bottom, one on top, two centered, etc. That material is an exaggeration of the issue here but it is representative of what 1 ply sewing can sometimes create. Thinner the material, heavier the thread, and higher the tensions the more likely it is in my experience. When I rarely sew single ply leather I have the knot favor the bottom a little to mitigate pop through. You could back the top tension off until you just occasionally see the knot on the bottom, back the bottom tension off a tweak, not enough to re-center it or get you too far out of a workable range, and then move the knot around a little with top tension. If you reduce the tug of war and loosen the stitch a little it may help on single ply sewing, all else being correct. Worth a try perhaps? Are you getting occasional knots on top with two plys? You may have covered that and I missed it? Think you said 4-5 oz was the weight. I assume you are not fighting any frayed thread, correct? Didn't see any.
  3. Crazy stitching

    You are correct. These machines have a wide range of threads, materials and applications so you have to be more involved getting things where you want them than on many machines with a narrower range of ability. Basically I don't sew much below 207 thread on the Cowboy but it will go lower for sure. Think Wiz wrote how to dumb one down for the lighter threads. When I started out I had to try them all though, poor Bob. Waste of time except for what I learned about the machine, what it likes and doesn't and what materials it is best suited for. You will from time to time have to adjust bobbin tension. Get it sewing well at current settings and get familiar with how that feels. Once you get a sense of that you can move it around when you have too. Gauges and the like are fine but you would have to be recording all that and it may be a useful baseline but each sewing operation wants something a little different, unless the materials and thread are reasonably close to what was last sewn. So for me I want to feel it. If I'm sewing 207 or 277 on mine it would almost never need a bobbin tension adjustment, just where I have it set. Most of us sew predominately in a range of materials. That setting may even be good enough at 346 most days, depends. Drop to 138 though in similar material and it may (likely actually) need to be a tweak tighter for tension on the bobbin. My experience is while I can get mine to sew 92 without any trouble or radical top side adjustments (in materials I sew), I made some mods to the bobbin spring most wouldn't want to attempt and I sure don't recommend. I was new and hard headed, worked out okay but that could have gone wrong. And frankly, now it's a very rare occasion I run that light a thread through it anymore, even though I can. Bottom line is you center the knot and look at stitch tightness. If the tightness is off enough to matter, it's a bobbin adjustment followed by a re-centering of the knot with the top tension. The more you do it the easier it is and on the Cowboy it's an easy adjustment, just don't over tighten the lock screw on the bobbin spring tension screw (just very lightly snug it) and don't forget to loosen that same lock screw before adjusting the spring screw. The less you have to do this the better but again, there will be times. And you will learn how to put that lower tension in the range (sweet spot) for what is most often sewn. There are things on these machines and others better left alone but tensions are not one of them.
  4. Crazy stitching

    I was in the middle of a post and lost it. Tablet is squirrelly.... The wide range of thread our machines throw has an impact on tension release point. I usually sew 207 so that is what I was commenting, occurs fairly low. Run 346 and the release point is higher, closer to what we see on the narrow thread range machines. We ask a lot of these clones and they do a good job. What Rocky Aussie meant I think is the thread tension spring should seat on it's built-in rest just as the needle enters your material.
  5. Crazy stitching

    I should clarify, they do have a tension release delay but not as late in the lift as many machines. My experience.
  6. Crazy stitching

    You could try running the top thread through the upper tension then back through the eylete before descending to the lower tension. One of the clone vendors recommends that path to keep the thread well secured in the upper tension. I have had your experience and tried that alternate thread path with success one one occasion. The thread angle from the upper tension to lower looks agressive using that path but it has not caused me any issues.. Worth a shot. Sometimes the thread looks well seated in the upper tension but isn't. I don't know this but suspect the issue occurs when releasing foot pressure for turns or other reasons. The clones and presumably the Juki start releasing upper tension nearly as soon as the foot starts lifting, so you don't have a release delay there like many of our machines. Nothing wrong there, just how it is engineered, and the top of the discs stay tight which helps keep the thread where it belongs and engaged. Does ride up on rare occasion though and can give your results.
  7. thread going wonky every few stitches.

    Susan, How thick is that leather and are you getting this on two ply sewing or only one ply? What needle size and thread weight? What needle point? Don't worry about the tang (as I called it). Thought you had a flat bed and don't think that applies to your machine. I am aware you may very well may have already done all this but just in case......This may not be a machine issue as some others observed. Assuming you've done most of my and Ferg's/others recommendations, I'd back the upper tension off until that bottom thread was laying almost flat, little or zero knot pull-up occurring from the top thread tension. Then walk the top tension up slowly and check and then some more and check, until you see bottom thread on top, then back the top tension off and see if you can get those knots to re-bury with any consistency and not flat line that bottom thread. Those knots may be popping through the top at random if the material resistance to the knot formation is not reasonably consistent. Other materials are more prone to your problem such as ballistic nylon where getting a consistent knot placement in the material can be difficult to unachievable (all material related and no adjustment will make it perfectly consistent unless you have enough plys). The knots may need to favor the bottom to keep from popping through in your instance. Single ply and thinner leather will do it and if the tensions on both sides are on the higher side (and thread larger as was mentioned earlier) it can add to that. You keep trying and so will we. Might even get one of gurus in here who sees something we haven't. Your in reasonably good hands but I can surely attest, a pro I'm certainly not. Some of these guys and gals have sewn almost everything on a very wide range of machines and seen about every variance and failure possible. Would be nice to see some more of them chime in as this one should not be quite this difficult to resolve.
  8. thread going wonky every few stitches.

    Make sure you have enough foot pressure and that the leather isn't lifting. Simple as this is, make sure the bobbin thread is spooling off in the correct direction. Can cause some bottom tension variance. The needle hole size may be a bit large but that much variation I'd think a real tension issue, not just needle size. Saw you had two thread weights, but that isn't likely a contributor. Don't know your machine type but it would help to know that. Pull a good distance of thread slowly from the bottom bobbin, should remain consistent to the feel. Any hitches there, check, could be some dirt under the tension spring or debris in the bobbin area. Rarely too much thread tail from the winding can create some tension anomalies as it spins in the case. All worth a check regardless. If that reveals nothing, pull the thread out of the needle only and give that a top thread slow long pull with the pressure foot down. Sometimes you can lighten tension to more easily check for consistency on that upper thread pull. If you feel any changes in pull on the top thread, check from the needle back to the spool, path, tension engagement (thread partially seated in the discs or dirt in the upper tension assembly) and how the thread is coming off the spool. De-spooling catches or hitches alone will do what you have there but are not usually the culprit unless the thread is old or the tower isn't directly over the cone. Do that pull check at a couple of take-up lever heights if all is good on the initial test, very rarely an older take-up lever wear point grabs more in one position than another, rather unlikely but possible. If all that checks out it's below the needle plate almost certainly.... Then you would check for any burrs in the thread path below the plate and that the latch clearance is adequate. Simply not engaging the latch tang properly into the fixed side of the needle plate will do what you have but generally creates a bigger thread issue on the bottom. Make sure the latch can move freely. Hand crank it over and run some fabric through so you can see what the upper thread is doing, you may just spot the issue that way here. Make sure there is no dirt in the hook area/rotation surfaces and all is lubed. All the above is assuming a vertical axis bobbin but mostly applies regardless. I think you mentioned and I assumed the needle is known good. You can slide test that on some thread. Not always but very often, the above steps find the problem for me. Actually, I can't think of a time they didn't.
  9. Pedal to the metal!

    Heim joint linkage made me grin. Slick. Planetary
  10. Singer 78-3 Leather Needles

    Bob sent me two flavors of needles and the 134-35 needles he has in S point worked well in the 78-3. I didn't know he had that size or that they are nearly identical to the 135-16 but I do now. I should have thought that one through myself, didn't. Not many have that needle type on the shelf in my experience. I imagine possibly a few suppliers up here do, short list no doubt. Short list in the entire country actually. It is as if he has a friend in shipping somewhere, his shipments are always (wasn't I just talking to him?) fast. Nothing else I order out of that part of the country arrives faster unless you next day it and it's shipped out as you order. Works for me.
  11. The Outlaw has finally Struck....

    You just had to remind me Of that, didn't you? Sure IS different.
  12. Exudes quality and just great looking combination of materials. Care to share what leather you used on the bindings and straps? Like that. The pads on the bottom have me scratching my head as to how you got them attached that cleanly. Least seen but impressive workmanship.
  13. I have a clear sense you don't need this but some others reading may? I'll just remind the basic things I'm slowly getting better at recalling when I have a stitch issue on any machine, before I jump too far into the weeds. Been there, done that, think most of us have and I'll do it again at some point. 1. Adequate foot pressure. 2. Good consistent pull on the top thread right to the needle. Released but more importantly under tension. Just a clean path check for any anomalies. 3. Check same on the bobbin though rarely problematic if the tension is even close. I have experienced it though and in one instance it only showed itself when sewing. You could not feel it but you could see it. Generally these bobbin issues just impact the consistency of the stitch appearance (like you are playing with the tension as you sew), so not a big deal to resolve. 4. Take-up spring adjustment. Most recommendations are they are seating about the time the needle starts to penetrate the material. The 78-3 I just got holds tension to within about .05 mm of needle bar bottom motion but that does not impact the loop on that machine. I don't recommend that setting but I'm not changing it for no reason and I've learned these machines have their own personalities, so to speak. In general I think the take-up spring disengagement point is a little over-stressed sometimes but it certainly does matter. 5. Good, correct size, proper type for the sewn material, needle and well seated and oriented. There are some machines and/or thread combinations that will improve loop position a little with the needle a few degrees off true but that's rare and not where I'd start. Probably forgetting a few things but that's the short list of what I do before I dig deeper. If you have to go into the weeds, and this is rarely a problem, but hook to needle clearance is a quick one to eliminate and not where people generally think to start. Use your largest needle.
  14. I am with the others, really like it. Someone will likely know max thread wt. If it is passing the thread on one side of the stitch and not the other, that's hard to say but I assume it's catching the loop cleanly on both sides? If not, that is often just a missed stitch but if the hook is sometimes piercing thread on one side of the throw that will jam it up as I'm guessing you know. Pinned machine, just bought my first one, straight stitcher though. Needle bar height adjustment fixed that one FWIW. Might be worth a look but a different animal you have there. Zigzags don't have much tolerance for calibration error on the wide settings in my experience and one side is usually the problem side and usually timing. Then again, could just be the thread weight as you noted. Great find!
  15. Singer 78-3 Leather Needles

    Well, you guys are more industrious than I am but I like the ideas. Fortunately the one I found is in good condition and it's in time. Would be a hard machine to toss away if it needed adjustment though. I don't know if those pins could be drifted out or not but don't intend to try. I don't imagine drilling them out is a real option, would still have to drill and tap the shuttle driver, etc. Come to think of it I don't think you could get that shaft out without removing the pins or cutting it??? I've read here before about controllable clutch motors, never observed one until this machine. The singer external clutch works quite well. Old Westinghouse motor is smooth and reasonably quiet. So that's a keeper. I may reposition it one day. You have to pull the belt to tip it back. Eventually I may remember that and get over it Old dog, new trick.