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Rebirth Of A Singer 211G155

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I'm hoping this particular thread will do a couple things. Bring a better understanding of industrial machines for people that may be having trouble, educating those who are deciding to buy new or used. I do know that having a reputable dealer is worth a lot.

Thanks to fellow member miaoreo for trusting me to repair her machine to a useable condition. There is a lengthy thread outlining her trials and tribulations with her newly aquired Singer 211G155. I have always been big on education and I hope to share some of what I've learned repairing machines for a living. This website is a never ending resource of information. I know my leatherwork has improved a great deal as a result.

During the course of following her troubles, it was obvious to me the machine had been modified poorly and it had multiple issues. No sense beating a dead horse, so on to the issues I encountered:

Top and bottom shafts were out of time.

Hook timing was too far advanced.

Needle bar height was off (I reset to original Singer needle and timed it using existing timing marks that you will now see.

Removed original thread lubricator as bottom edge was sharp as a razor.(replaced with Singer guide)

Hook compartment cover was wrong one, not enough clearance above hook (replaced with proper one)

Replaced tension release pin (old one had been ground down)

Replaced entire tension plate

Hook was too far from needle.

Needle guard was not adjusted.

Tension post was bent.

Tension release disk was wrong one for the machine.(replaced with proper one)

Feed dog hole had been modified WAY too big (I replaced the feed dogs and throat plate to match)

Replaced set screw for check spring (head was destroyed on old one)

Replaced bobbin basket and tension spring.

Latch opener was not adjusted correctly.

Adjusted tension release correctly.

There as surely some things I didn't list that I'll remember later, but you can see why a novice would have a tough time, though Mia was a real trooper!

Regards, Eric

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I always check the top and bottom shaft timing first. Unless this is set correctly, everything else is a waste of time. This machine was off by one tooth of the gear, which you'll see in the pictures below. It's hard to say why the individual changed this, but I suspect it had to do with trying to time the hook to the longer needle. It was pretty quick to slip the belt off the bottom gear and line the timing marks back up. On the vast majority of Singer machines, you rotate the handwheel until the take-up lever is all the way up. Instead of just watching it, I push on it with a finger. I will already have the machine tipped back so I can see the timing marks. Just one tooth off is more than enough to throw several other setting off.

Regards, Eric

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The needle bar had been raised to use the longer 190 needles. Had the machine actually been timed properly, it would have at least a chance to sew correctly. Just because a machine can be changed to a different needle system doesn't mean it's a good idea. Especially if you're not capable or retiming things correctly. On this particular machine, there's really little to be gained by using a longer needle. There are plenty of needles available in the system 135x17 and 16. You are limited by the lift of the presser feet. I have changed the Singer 211G151's (no walking foot) from system 135x7 to the longer 135x17. There is plenty of presser foot lift and the standard 211's will handle the additional thickness when working with softer woven goods. Singer actually produced a needle bar with 3 timing marks in order to easily switch between the two classes. I would not however convert a non-walking foot machine to the longer needle to sew leather. The lack of a walking foot would not allow for a gain in thicker, hard leather. That said, here's a couple of pictures of what I did with the needle bar.

Regards, Eric

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Before I get into the hook timing, there were issues I had to address with the tension unit. I removed the top screw which also holds the thread guide, and then the often overlooked set screw which holds the check spring unit. The screw was damaged which Mia had warned me about. I got it out without much trouble and replaced it.

The tension post was bent which you can see in the photo. The tension release pin looked too short as soon as I saw it. A lot of the time the pins just wear, but this one had been ground off. I suspect it was attempt to make it work with the bent post. I figured this was the begining issue with the tension not releasing when the foot was lifted. When I took the machine apart, I also noticed the hook cover plate wasn't the correct one. There had been an attempt to grind off the wrong plate to give more clearance above the hook. I'm sure the heavier thread was getting caught against the bottom of the plate. The correct plate in the picture allows plenty of room. I was begining to understand some of the issues Mia was up against.

Regards, Eric

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This sewing machine autopsy is interesting !! I'm learning things that i never knew about.

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This sewing machine autopsy is interesting !! I'm learning things that i never knew about.

Now you know why most experienced sewers do not recommend buying old iron sight unseen, or untested on one's own material, or sewn off by the seller. An inexpensive but damaged machine, especially one missing important parts, is going to cost much more than the buyer expected.

If this machine had been sent to a dealer for these repairs, the cost would rival that of a brand new walking foot machine.

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i have bought 10 plus machines over the last 30 years and i sewed on all of them but one before i bought. The one i didn't sew on turned out to be DUD !!!

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If I may chime in here... I did take material with me before I bought it... and it DID sew it. Apparently there were so many things wrong with the machine, that either in the course of moving it or my inept tinkering, I made it much worse. So much worse that it became impossible to sew on it. I am so very truly grateful to EVERYONE here for their advice. But Especially to Eric who has taken it under his wing to give it a new life. Mia

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Machines that aren't adjusted quite right will have spells that they actually sew. Especially if being demonstrated by the seller. I've seen this numerous times. There's no way Mia could have tinkered enough with this machine to give it the problems it had. I do recall Mia describing a big mess when she was trying to sew. It was probably the classic "birdnest" she got that made the machine not work at all. Things just weren't tight enough.

I'm convinced now that it was probably a decent machine until someone tried to convert it to the longer needle class. They removed the timing belt and advanced the hook timing, probably because they lost reference of the needle bar rise. From there it was downhill. As I said earlier, most lockstitch machines will sew with the timing belt off one tooth. These machines are pretty forgiving. When they are pressed to their max, either with thickness or speed, that's when adjustment problems reveal themselves.

I'm a firm believer in education and this site has really boosted the quality of my leather work. What a great resource, no matter what the subject. I like that I can give back something that I really enjoy. I think there are many here that fall into that category. Next up is hook timing.

Regards, Eric

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Eric;

When do you find time to do leatherwork? :rofl:

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Eric,

When do you find time to do leatherwork? :rofl:

Heh...yeah, needless to say I keep busy. I actually started two holsters this week. Both are pancakes for semi's, one for myself and one for a co-worker. I was actually searching the holster forum for more tidbits of info. Odd that I have lots of machines available, but I'm getting a kick out of hand stitching.

Honestly Wiz, I enjoy my job so much when I was a new mechanic, I usually had a machine head on the kitchen table I worked on at night. Take 'em apart, put back together, repeat. Even the years I spent as a plant manager, I still worked on machines every chance I got. We are pursuing a patent as well right now on a machine I engineered that saves 50% of the labor on a particular type of seam. If I get bored with all that, I'm an artist, guitar player, sew and fly kites, and still have a locksmith license. Like you, I do really enjoy helping folks with what I know.

Regards, Eric

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As for the hook timing, it's dependant on the top and bottom shafts being in time. Many people skip this important first step. You can certainly time the hook as I've done, but the machine won't sew good long term in a variety of conditions. That said, I always check shaft timing first unless it's a machine I've already worked on.

I've included the basic ideas right on the pictures attatched. I'll just outline the process here and attatch the pics.

I set the needle bar height, (which in this case meant lowering it back down to use the 135x16's.) I had to come up with a new timing mark since the needle bar carrier had been cut off to use the longer 190's. Once that was done, it was pretty standard.

Set the stitch length to 0. Turn handwheel towards me until needle bar is all the way down then raise to the lower timing mark on the needle bar. This places the needle where I will time the hook to. If at some point it gets moved, simply re-adjust. I then move the guard out of my way so I can move the hook saddle tight enough to just barely touch the needle. I set the rotational timing after that, which on 211's is slightly retarded (hook point is lower on the needle). I then move the guard back to push the needle to the left, protecting the needle and more important the point of the hook. Mia's hook was nice and sharp, but I did replace the bobbin basket. The rotation timing is set by loosening the two set screws on the gear that sets on the lower main shaft. Moving this left and right will advance or retard the timing as you need. Note that one of the screws is in a V groove in the shaft. Make sure it stays there. The gear is tapped left or right on the shaft as needed. Tighten them good. Check everything several times and make sure it's how you want it.

Regards, Eric

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One of the things I checked for was the up and down play in the feed dog carrier. It's common with older walking foot machines to have excessive play here. They take a real pounding. Fortunate that Singer made the eccentric on the lower shaft harder than the guide. Checking from underneath, there was almost about 3/32" up and down movement. During sewing, I could feel a bit of a chatter. This is a part that contains a felt pad that needs to be kept oiled. I put in a new one and then oiled it good. The screw that mounts this is also the screw that sets the height of the feed dogs, so that was done by setting the valleys between the teeth level with the throat plate when the feed dogs are all the way up. The pictures show the location and the wear in the old piece.

Regards, Eric

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I think this machine is anxious to get back to it's owner. All packed up and ready to hit the road. I've done the final sew off with the original materials I was furnished. Two layers of a really nice garment leather, and two layer of heavy blanket. It started out 1/2" to 5/8" uncompressed and measured really close to 3/8" sewn. That approaching the limits of this machine. Much heavier and you'd want something with a shuttle hook and higher lift. Again, the machine can be made to sew more, but they perform best when kept to their intended use. I used Groz Beckert 135X16 needles, size 22 with their DI/DIA leather point. They worked great for all that I sewed and for fun I sewed 12 layers of heavy denim that we're making jeans out of. You can certainly hem a pair of jeans with a leather needle if you don't mind some needle cutting, but Groz Beckert makes needles just for denim with their RG point that are titanium coated to run cooler with little needle cutting.

Regards, Eric

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Awesome Eric! That looks wonderful... I can't imagine sewing anything much thicker... and if I do I will be shopping for a new machine.( :cowgirl: you know who....) cant wait to get it, and start sewing again.

Cannot thank you enough.

Mia

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I failed to mention the tension release on this machine. Most machines have a direct link between the height of the presser foot and the tension release. Get the foot on thick material, the disk opens a bit, and you get loops on the bottom.

The 211G155 uses a great design where to release the tension. It's independant of the height of the presser foot while sewing, as long as you're not lifting the foot manually. That is of course if it's adjusted correctly and stuff hasn't been modified. On most machines, you have to move the tension unit and check spring in or out to set your opening timing. It's hard to show with a picture, perhaps I'll get the parts manual and show the details. In any event, this solves a very common problem with loose tension.

Regards, Eric

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Thanks Eric for this great series. I got a 211g155 last week for $20 It had been in a flood then sat for 3 years. Your post have been very helpful. I finished the machine today finial sew off was 1/2 inch of veg tan. sewed great but that is the max. It sews 7/16 much easier. The only mods was I added a 6 inch drive pulley with a2 inch pulley on a gear reduction servo motor and removed the bottom thread guide on the needle bar so it didn't hit the foot. Using #24 needle, 207 on top 138 in the bobbin. Thanks again Eric, wonderful for you to share your knowledge.

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Thanks Eric for this great series. I got a 211g155 last week for $20 It had been in a flood then sat for 3 years. Your post have been very helpful. I finished the machine today finial sew off was 1/2 inch of veg tan. sewed great but that is the max. It sews 7/16 much easier. The only mods was I added a 6 inch drive pulley with a2 inch pulley on a gear reduction servo motor and removed the bottom thread guide on the needle bar so it didn't hit the foot. Using #24 needle, 207 on top 138 in the bobbin. Thanks again Eric, wonderful for you to share your knowledge.

I'm glad it was helpful. It sounds like you're getting what the machine's capable of. A speed reducer and servo is a great addition. As for sharing information, it's something I enjoy doing and helping folks out. I'm still perfecting my craft. I'm starting an apprentice soon at the factory, it's about a five year process before they are "factory" ready. The apparel business is making a comeback in the US. We've been hiring steadily. I answered 37 calls for service today. :helpsmilie:

Regards, Eric

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Fabulous Eric! Your knowledge is very much appreciated. Very kind of you to share. Also, very glad the apparel business is making a comback i the U.S., that is great news!

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Here's a bump for this thread RoosterShooter asked me about. I can't seem to paste links or quotes from other threads, so I bumped it.:)

Regards, Eric

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Hey Eric...

Please forgive my long absence.. My Mother passed and I have not had time to sew in months... I had to take care of her estate, then the holidays... and well you get the picture. I just started sewing again and the Singer still works like a charm...

Mia

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Hey Eric...

Please forgive my long absence.. My Mother passed and I have not had time to sew in months... I had to take care of her estate, then the holidays... and well you get the picture. I just started sewing again and the Singer still works like a charm...

Mia

Sorry for your loss Mia. Glad to hear you'll be using your machine.

Regards, Eric

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Thank you Eric 

All your explanations are a tremendous amount of information valuable for everyone, after all this years I have the opportunity to dig in , it will take a while before can grasp how to use. 

 

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I missed this one, I'll circle back when I have more time to dig in.

 

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