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About DonInReno

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

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    Auto interiors, vintage western
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  1. There are some parts available but the prices are crazy expensive - the reason so many 29-4 machines are for sale cheap.
  2. You are in luck. With obsolete or oddball machines that don’t have any manuals available it’s usually quite acceptable to follow a manual for a different machine with similar design. 95% of all industrials use roughly the same dimensions for hook/needle timing and clearances. I only looked at the parts diagram for a minute, but there seems to be a lot of similarities with the 206 series of machines - Consew is known for poorly written manuals, but Seiko sold an identical machine and it seemed there manuals are much better. As with any sewing machine - making any adjustment without knowing what it does and knowing how to go back to the original adjustment is a quick way to disable it. On one hand this is nice because after a lot of frustration these machines are often sold for next to nothing.
  3. You’ll notice many of the feet commonly available today are different heights - sewing thin material it can be a little frustrating - luckily feet are cheap.
  4. Usually broken needles are caused by the material being forced in a direction that bends the needle far enough to make contact with a hard part. Often, changing how material is fed under the feet is all that’s needed. A thin needle bends more - I’ll go up one or two sizes larger than normal when sewing difficult items that are likely to put side pressure on the needle (heavy smooth vinyl with thick seams is especially bad). I’m guessing this machine has a clutch motor and the high speed makes it hard to tell what’s happening when the needle breaks. Going slower greatly reduces broken needles, but that’s probably easier said than done. There will be marks left on the part that’s breaking the needles. Maybe the needle needs to be better centered in the needle plate. Maybe you simply need a needle plate with larger hole. Maybe they are breaking on the hook - the condition of the hook’s point is where I’d look next. It’s possible something up top is loose or worn out allowing too much movement in the needle bar. I have no idea how many parts are available or what interchanges with the 206. Hopefully it’s an easy fix.
  5. That’s a great machine for a first industrial - you will really enjoy it. Any good sewing machine oil will work just fine. As a general rule of thumb you just add one drop of oil to all the moving parts - your machine automates some of that with the oil reservoir at the hook and up above. With a new old machine it’s a good idea to remove the top and end covers to make sure the automatic oiling wicks are in place - I’d just manually oil everything while it’s open. The upper reservoir probably works and feeds oil to the wicks just fine, but there’s no guarantee. Not everyone understands how they function and someone may have disabled it. Mine over oils things so I tend to not fill the reservoir, but rather take the cover off and manually oil the wicks once each time it’s used. The hook reservoir is similar - there’s nothing wrong with filling it with oil, but it might leak heavily. I manually oil the hook each time it’s used and don’t worry about the dip stick. Many of us don’t use a metal drip pan under the machine, but rather use a rectangle of heavy canvas or leather draped underneath and held on with clips of some sort. Of course there’s nothing wrong with the metal tray. Cowboy Bob has a good suggestion with brazing the take up arm - it’s a challenge to get the old one out and new one in, not to mention replacement part quality won’t be as good as the original singer part. Enjoy your new machine!
  6. You’ve received some great advice - good quality thread is nice to sew with. Getting it from a reputable supplier is also a safe bet. As thread ages the wax that bonds the fibers together can get hard and cause tension issues, so “good deals” on eBay may cause problems. Having said that, after you’re up the learning curve and comfortable with the new machine, it’s nice to have a selection of sizes and colors, and low cost import thread is an option if you keep in mind it may not be as easy to sew with or even the correct size. Measuring thread diameter and breaking strength isn’t necessary by any means, but if someone were to check, the cheaper import threads are generally on the thin side. Good luck and enjoy that new machine!
  7. I really like that color - good job! The lower shafts come out pretty easily, but old screws might be really tight and everything gets disassembled so take a lot of photos and even make small scribe marks to it can be reassembled in the correct order. You might even discover a few set screws are of the wrong shape or have been out of the proper location this entire time. In general, removing something for minor issues makes more problems than it solves. An easy way to check for bent shafts is a cheap dial indicator and magnetic mount - even a $20 set from Harbor freight or Amazon will work fine for this kind of thing. It just lets you know if there is a bent shaft and if so how bad it is. You can also use it if a shaft needs to be straightened to judge if you’re bending it enough.
  8. Somewhere I saw a picture of a guy who used a drill press with no motor and the shaft had a pin so it didn’t rotate. It was essentially a low pressure arbor press. Drill presses are often free so that’s a good low $$ toy.
  9. I’ve probably picked up 30 generic Chinese feet for singers, some directly from China, and about half of them have been noticeably out of whack and have been tossed in the trash. Mostly alignment issues so it crowds the foot next to it, but sometimes the bottom was not flat to the table. Of those that haven’t been tossed out, some are very nicely made and others not so much. It seems to be difficult making cheap feet at the same height as factory feet - at least one was about 1/8” taller than it should have been, but most are close or only 1/16” off. I still buy cheap feet, but get one from two different places and usually in the mid price range - and still expect to toss out one of the two, so I’m usually not disappointed. Lol
  10. I have an Artisan 3200 that’s a slightly older model without the built in bobbin winder. At times it’s confused with the Cowboy 3200, but the Artisan is essentially a short armed (about 8” shorter) equivalent of either the full size class 4 or Cowboy 4500. The short arm does make a difference and just turning the smallest of items would be easier with a longer arm. As a full size 441 clone it accepts the same feet and accessories. My machine functions well and I have no complaints about fit and finish or how it sews. The stand is quite similar to other stand up stands - no better, no worse. Personally I think the 3/8” steel plate that serves as the base on any of these is thin enough that it’s not as solid feeling as it could be, but as I said they are all the same. I would upgrade it to 1/2” or even 5/8”. It will function without a speed reducer, but it’s very nice to have one. At least the new one that came up in a quick google search didn’t come with a reducer, which I think is a mistake. The new servo motor they are using has a good track record, and the long flexible led light is one of the best out there. The bad news is management at Artisan doesn’t seem to give two sh*ts about… …well, there have been issues… …let me rephrase that in a positive way. Cowboy and Cobra are more supportive, with Cowboy at the top of the list here. It’s nice supporting companies that provide support for this site and are often here providing advice. If I was in the market for a new full size 441 clone I’d get the Cowboy.
  11. Once upon a time I saw some of those brass pins with a rosette head - I’ve searched and searched and came up with nothing. Searching for oddball things has become much harder since every searched item seems to be paid placement anymore. Lol
  12. Old machines have tension issues more often than not - at least with my luck - a simple check I started doing with any machine I’m not used to sewing with is to thread the tensioner and manually pull thread a little while cranking the tension screw all the way out and all the way in, as well as while lifting the presser foot all the way to check the operation of the thread release. Even brand new tension disks can be the wrong shape and not function correctly.
  13. When there’s a problem don’t forget to change to a new needle in case a slight bend is causing fits. I couldn’t get the video to run for some reason, but it’s on my end I think - one video that did play seemed to show a needle with the tip broke off, but for the life of me nothing could get it to play again so I’m not even sure that was your video. Sometimes a needle can bend and stab something with the point leaving a rough divot, that can fray thread. If the point of the hook contacted the needle the very tip of it could be damaged causing frayed thread as the hook gets behind the upper thread, but frays it or even jambs up or breaks the thread. I’m curious to see what you find out.
  14. Nice! There are good deals out there if someone knocks on enough doors. How much was the United sewing machine selling for? The first thing that popped into my mind was it’s missing a lot of paint, but that’s not a bad thing since it shows it wasn’t a factory machine with multiple coats of paint in between rebuilds. At least with my silver 111w155, the paint seems to be thinner and less durable than the older black one - but that may be due to some aggressive cleaning with solvents at some time in its life. In upholstery shops that sew a lot of things with zippers and preinstalled snaps, the paint really takes a hammering. Same for really large canvas if it’s allowed to drag on a dirty floor and pick up sand and dirt. Heck, even the bad habit of resting scissors on the bed will strip the paint over the years.
  15. Of course you’re right about the metric gears on your machine - it’s such an American thing to think everyone used d.p. on old gears! Lol I found this explanation of the similarities and differences between the metric and American designations that was just what I needed to better understand the gear modulus system. Best of luck on it - that’s quite a nice machine. https://qtcgears.com/tools/catalogs/PDF_Q420/Tech.pdf
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