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DonInReno

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About DonInReno

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    Leatherworker

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  • Location
    Reno, NV
  • Interests
    old machines, anything that makes a stitch

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    Auto interiors, vintage western
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  1. Thanks for those videos - for some reason I missed the original video in this post, but it was very interesting seeing it now!
  2. Great job getting it sorted out! In a previous post you asked how to tell if the bushing on the hook shaft is worn - the short answer is to compare the upper bushing inside diameter with the lower since the upper wears faster it will give you a rough idea of the amount of wear. If your hook is a replacement part there’s no telling what the diameter of the shaft is - many are undersized. Same for replacement bushings - you might get one on the loose side or tight side. The guys making these parts are using metric machines and tooling so it’s no wonder few things are spot on the original dimensions. If parts you’ve adjusted keep moving slightly it might be the torque on the screws. Sewing screws are quite tough. Unfortunately it’s difficult to explain how tight is too tight. If you ever run across an old sewing machine headed for the dumpster it’s quite informative seeing how tightly different screws can be tightened before they snap or strip out. The big screws on the hook saddle can take a lot of torque. All screws on a singer 111w should be available from an shop that deals with industrial sewing machines - at least I’ve never heard of one that wasn’t readily available.
  3. Unlike household machines that are used relatively little and have few owners fiddling with them, over a long career industrial machines may have been adjusted by dozens of people with different abilities, knowledge, and access to the proper parts. While it’s possible the wrong parts were assembled at the Singer plant, it’s far more likely sometime in the past the mechanic working on it used the part he had in front of him to get the machine going. Given the choice between not working/not getting paid, vs having to use a machine without thread release, I’ll bet most operators would just put up with having to pull extra thread past the tensioner when finishing. Hopefully it’s not too hard to drill, but if you are able to drill it, the pin can be most any diameter that fits between the slot in the post. The shank off a dull 3mm drill bit would probably be the first thing I’d try. Good luck - let us know how it turns out!
  4. Any machine that can’t sew well is only worth half the price of one that will - even if it’s operator error. Unless you enjoy troubleshooting and are okay with the possibility it may never sew correctly, this is not a good purchase. Paying someone who may not be familiar with patchers to throw parts at it in hopes of getting it to sew perfectly only has a 50/50 chance of success. Some of my best deals have been repair shops that have botched something on an industrial machine they aren’t familiar with.
  5. It’s been a while, so last night I scanned for a double needle to see what pops up. I found a few that were mislabeled as single needle, and a few more that the owners didn’t know what they were at all. Some of the best deals that have popped up in the past were long arm machines in the $500 range - at that price they get snatched up very quickly so you have to be quick. Lol Now that you’re getting farther in the search, keep in mind that most older Singer models have a near duplicate Consew, juki, or other lesser known brand.
  6. Once you have a double needle, there are a number of fun projects that you might never have thought of - I like the look of a 1/4” double seam next to some heavy duty zippers, and it holds heavy material flat if nothing else. Sometimes a single exposed row of stitching just looks sparse and if the rows are close together a second row has to be exact or it really catches the eye. Also be on the lookout for zipper feet - essentially just a more compact foot with less side clearance - these are my favorite for general use. At least I’ve never thought to myself, “It would be nice if this foot was bigger and more clunky.” Lol Ive been a fan of Cechaflo on YouTube if you haven’t seen his videos.
  7. On the top, the tensioners are the same as single needle machines that sew 138 size thread. On the bottom end it gets a little more complicated. Some, especially the older models, use the same hooks as are found on walking foot single needle machines and they will sew up to 138 as well. However, some are set up for lighter weigh fabrics and the hooks may max out at 92 or even 69 size thread. The walking foot machines are more likely to be set up for thicker thread, while the needle feed may be set up for heavy canvas or very light fabric. Also watch out for retired factory machines that were used with binders - for instance mine spent its entire life sewing canvas straps of some kind and the binding attachment protected the bed from obvious wear. These machines can have paint that looks brand new, but the mechanicals may be worn out. Mine had been rebuilt many times, but all the replacement parts were high quality so I was lucky. Its always a good idea to sew on a potential machine with the thread and leather you intend to use. If that’s not possible I force myself to reduce the top dollar by 25% or so. If the needle set is not the width you want to use, a cheap import set will run $50 to $75, so factor that in.
  8. Machines with small hand wheels always seem a bit fast with the industry standard 3:1 ratio reducer. Definitely try a small drive pulley if you don’t already have one, then a different servo as Wiz has suggested. If that still doesn’t get it slowed down enough, you could install a larger handwheel, or cobble together a 5:1 reducer.
  9. French seams do look nice! While a walking foot dual needle machine will feed better over seams and whatnot, the old singer needle feed machines are about 30% cheaper and are commonly used in upholstery. These would be the 112w140 or 212g140, or other variant. The needle helps pull the material along, helping the feed dog. Every once in a while I’ll see one for under $200. The slightly newer bullnose 212 machines have an automatic, or semiautomatic oiling system that was better for production sewing, but there is no other advantage over the 112 series machines. I’ll probably eventually get rid of mine and upgrade to a walking foot dual needle, but the needle feed was cheap and a good introduction to dual needle machines.
  10. It’s always a good idea to start experimenting with electrolysis by treating old rusty tools and bolts to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. If not done carefully you can ruin the entire machine - there is a good amount of misinformation online saying only rust is removed and it doesn’t damage the metal. Electrolysis is removing metal - the trick is to only remove as little as possible. Many instructions online over simplify the process and just say hook it up and leave overnight. The size of power supply and concentration of electrolyte in the water change the speed at which metal is removed by a factor of 10x or 20x. The chemical process is straightforward - metal is eroded from the negatively charged side and deposited on the positive. The machine is hooked to the negative and a scrap of metal is hooked to the positive. Water has to have an electrolyte of some sort for the electrons to pass - salt, baking soda, lye and any number of substances will work, but washing soda (sodium carbonate) is typically listed as ideal for this purpose. Lye has the additional benefit of removing paint and degreasing - if chemical burns or worse life altering injuries can be avoided. In a 5 gallon bucket I just add a roughly measured cup of washing soda. The smaller the power supply the slower the process will be - I have a small 12v car charger for longer overnight soaks and a small 115v arc welder that works quickly at 28v and many times the amperage. The bubbles given off in the process are flammable so do this outside. For me, the key to getting the best results is in the size and placement of the positive electrode as well as the negative electrical connection to the machine. Electricity follows the path of least resistance - if a shaft is frozen and the connection is made to the machines base and the positive electrode is nowhere near the shaft then nothing helpful will happen. Much better to energize the shaft on one side of the rust and place the positive electrode near the other side of the rust. This is something you need to develop a feel for by experimenting on other items before using it on your machine. Rusted/frozen areas need to be degreased prior to soaking - oil is a barrier to the electrolyte. All the penetrating oil that has been applied should be flushed out as much as possible. Avoid break cleaner because it can remove paint. A soak in dish washer detergent and hot water works well to degrease, but will dull the paint somewhat. Periodically the item has to be taken out and wire brushed to judge progress - it’s unreasonable to expect this to be a simple matter of soaking until it’s all rust free. It’s aways fun to learn a new tool to use with old machines, but as with many things, this is easy to do, but difficult to do well without practice. Screws and shafts will still need to be removed with heat - there’s no way around getting a propane torch and developing a feel for how much heat and where to put it. Honestly, if you really like the machine you’re working on, find a low value rusted up machine to practice on. As with anything new, it’s always a good idea to not practice on the machine you’re trying to save. As much as possible try not to put pressure to move one part by putting more than normal pressure on a different part. For instance if the needle bar is stuck, don’t crank hard on the handwheel to free it up, but rather find a safe way to tap on it directly with a wood, brass or aluminum block of some kind. Keep up the good work - we look forward to seeing it sewing again!
  11. Wow - a wire EDM should make short work of it! Great work! Your project has me reconsidering a worn out patcher - in the past I’ve steered clear of them because of gear issues.
  12. Good job on your progress! Your measurements show a pressure angle of 9.2 degrees, while many/most older gears were 14.5 degree and most gears used today are 20 degree. Obviously non of the readily available involute-profile gear cutter tooling would be of any use - probably why it’s rare to find anyone who has done this. I find the tooth profile on the rack interesting - involute-profile racks have straight sides where the pinion actually makes contact, where the slight curve on the upper portion of the tooth shows these are pretty unique compared to most older gears profiles. I’m wondering out loud if this is a cycloidal-profile style of gear such as was used in clockmaking. On the following page it mentions that on pinions with few teeth the involute-profile becomes difficult to manufacture, and cycloidal makes more sense. https://www.csparks.com/watchmaking/CycloidalGears/index.jxl Looking forward to seeing progress!
  13. For a number of years I've been surprised that someone in a home shop hasn't started producing replacement gears - my guess is the labor costs are just too much to have a reasonably priced part, not to mention there is more to getting a worn out machine to work than just changing gears. There are a number of good introduction videos for cutting gears and racks. However, as Mr. Pete says in one of his videos, all it takes to machine a $10 replacement gear is a $5000 milling machine, $2000 in tooling and an entire weekend of messing around with setup. Gears can be made in many different configurations and sizes - as with Singer's tendency to build machines with oddball screw sizes, my guess is their gear patterns are slightly off from any standard size. It can be confusing at first sorting out all the information, but just keep in mind metric gears use a different system of measurement and cutter geometry, so ignore that and just look to old school American standard gear information. All Machinist Handbooks have sections on cutting and measuring gears that would be helpful for anyone serious about getting set up to make gears. Still, a machinist could come close to oddball gears with readily available tooling and fudging the dimensions for a one-off set of gears if the machine was in front of him. That's the most expensive route. Fully machined gear racks and rough length pinion material is readily available. Using these a machinist would not have to cut the actual gears, but would still have to machine the dimensions to retrofit them to the machine - not a trivial task. I know of at least one person who has replaced the entire lower arm with one machined from from a solid bar of steel along with new gears and rack as described above. This was definitely more a matter of bragging rights and the enjoyment of machining, rather than something for profit since the time involved must have been significant. The high strength epoxies are often used to attach wear strips to worn out parts in industry as an alternative to more invasive repairs. As CowboyBob mentioned, brass strips are often used on a worn rack to reduce clearance between gears. Likewise, it wouldn't be impossible to epoxy a partial cylindrical metal band to reduce clearance in the hook area, but the time involved would be prohibitive and the wear is not in an even circle so it would have to be machined round for the shim to have any chance of working correctly. Having said all that, I'm humbled by clock makers that would simply cut, file and fit all the gears by hand - the skill set and time requirements are quite impressive. My prediction is that the proliferation of higher and higher precision CNC machines for the home shop will produce a regular Ebay or Etsy supply of gears for these old machines in the near future.
  14. If your current machines didn’t break needles and had more power to sew threw thicker seams would that solve your problem? If so, you may just want to get an industrial flat bed without a walking foot. Juki ddl 8700 machines are well under $1000 brand new. On the used market they often sell for $400 in new condition with servo motor. If you have more time than money, the older ddl machines like 555, 5550, 8300, 870 sew just as well as the new ones - I’d say a made in Japan ddl 555 in good shape is even better than one of the new ones that are made in China - and these crop up for under $200. Unfortunately the older ones typically won’t have a servo unless it’s been replaced, and the older tables definitely look more dated than a nice white one from a 870 or 8700. On the used market, if you wait for one of a average price or below, there is no reason you can’t use it for a year or two and turn around and sell it for as much as you purchased it for. Any of these, or similar machines from other manufacturers, are a huge bang for the buck and a great way to get your feet wet.
  15. Ouch! That’s a bummer, but you’re not alone - many of us have had that sinking feeling in the gut from breaking a cast iron part and that’s just part of the learning curve. Old machines can be very hard to get parts for so I’d almost plan on having the broken part repaired - in this case it won’t be a difficult/expensive repair.
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