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Wyowally

Singer 111W155 - several questions

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I acquired one of these just a week ago. It is my first of this type, but I'm not new to machines at all. I've hit all the resources, copied files, read and re-read. Our forum here seems to have the most knowledge. So far I've cleaned up, lubed, checked and reset adjustments. Cleaned up the locked up stitch selector and reset it. Does what it should now. Has a Consew csm550-1 servo motor. I have it stitching pretty well.

I have an old Necchi BV with clutch motor that I went through and it sews well. It will start smooth and go pretty slow, I need that. On the Singer I didn't like the fine line between brake release and power on, so removed the brake shoe. Also installed a smaller motor pulley. All good. 

The questions:  The manual lifter barely disengages the thread tension. I think all the pieces are there as there is some movement of the pin coming out that engages the tension unit itself. Just not much. What is normal, what can be done to improve the pin travel? I've watched Uwe's video, but his machine isn't identical.  Next: I should have taken a pic, but at the bottom of the rear presser bar is a clamp that the foot lifter rides on. The clamp is held by a small screw accessed from the rear. How do you determine where to set the clamp, once you've moved it without marking original location?  Finally, I have tried to eliminate slop in the knee lifter mechanism. When I remove it all, then the rear foot doesn't have adequate pressure on a couple layers of vinyl. Pretty sure I have no force from the lifter, just zero slop. Still puzzling over that.  One more:  the tensioner check spring doesn't move smoothly, it hops around as the arm is lifting. I think the very end of the outer part of the spring is wanting to rotate and snagging where it rides on the hub of the controller disc. Maybe. Actual tensioner action is smooth, discs clean.

Nearly all the screws on this old machine show marks from poor-fitting screwdrivers - making me question the previous work and forcing me to learn and re-do all the common settings. Perfect! No better way to learn a machine. I'm almost there.

Edited by Wyowally
added check spring question

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Hoping for some answers soon, no replies yet :(

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There's a bracket hold on with 2-screws behind the tension unit,it probably needs to be bent more to take the gap out between the release plunger & it.You can do this 2-ways,the easiest for me is to wedge a screwdriver in front & one in back of it & bend it so the lower part is bent towards the machine to lessen the gap.The other way is to take the whole tension unit off & bend the bottom & re-install,you might have to do it a couple of times to get it set so it opens enough.

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Thanks, Bob.  I did get the tensioner. Seems like someone lost the internal pin and cobbled one out of a nail. It was truly a nail. I made my own from an extra punch and got it the right length, but did bend the tab as you suggested. Got most of my other concerns taken care of for now.  The long rod that gets pushed to the tensioner was worn. I forged the ends down and smoothed them up and gained 2mm or so, that helped, too.  Whoever installed the knee lifter didn't take into account the arm going up into the machine needs direct vertical force to overcome the presser spring. They had it off to the side and trying to push from an angle. The last thing today I just kept rotating the lifter eccentric on the shaft a little at a time until things came together OK. Location of each pinch screw clamp for the foot shafts seems to be critical as well, but not much tells you where they go. Loving this project.

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Did you get the machine from the ad in the Rawlings Craigslist?  Sounds like you are  doing a good job sorting it out quickly.    There just aren’t a lot of industrials in Wyoming it seems.

Buggered up screws are pretty common - you’ll find they are all slightly different thread pitches and odd sizes - searching or ordering by Singer part number is usually the way to go and prevents a lot of confusion.   The good news is one of the sewing shops that works with industrials like Keystone Sewing  or Toledo Industrial Sewing can get any of the screws if you need to replace one.

There is also good information on restoring screws to near new condition in gunsmithing videos and discussion groups.   Essentially you peen the displaced metal back as much as possible, spin the screw in a drill and carefully file or sand the rough surface off.   Then the slot can be cleaned up with a screw slot file available from Brownells or other gunsmithing suppliers.

You’ll find sometimes it takes a few days for responses here, but there’s always someone who knows something helpful that will come along.

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Don in Reno, thanks. Yes it is the machine from Rawlins (not Rawlings). We did a barter/swap for some upholstery work and we are both happy. Having worked on a number of really older Singers I found that they had their own screw factory and they had screw sizes and pitches proprietary or unique to them. I'm careful about that. I do some gunsmithing as well, so am fairly well screw educated. (Wife may disagree!)

The machine is running well, I believe I have the mechanicals pretty well set. Worked over the knee lifter today. It was mounted too far right resulting in having an angled push rather than a straight shot. Much better now. Also discovered that the last vertical shaft going up to the bell crank cannot be straight, but bent to put zero bind on the crank. After I straightened it, of course.

I am experiencing the slightest catch felt when rotating the hand wheel. I think the thread is catching on the tip of the bobbin case latch, just haven't fixed that. I was using V92 bonded poly on vinyl, but the needle was a chisel point and the holes were too big for the thread, and I really don't like starting cuts in vinyl. Changed to an old Singer 16. Much better looking stitches, tighter overall.

Pic is the actual machine. It doesn't show the mud dauber nest I found in the hollow below the crank!

Thanks again for your input!

Tom

singer_111.jpg

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That’s a great bargain on a tough old bird!  

Just to see if it was me or autocorrect I typed in Rawlins and sure enough it changed it to Rawlings - that’s funny.  

The case opener and thread path between the tab and needle plate are pretty straight forward, but many people are hesitant to get in there with sandpaper to smooth out  rough edges and make sure there’s enough thread clearance.

The only thing the case opener does is nudge the tab over slightly as thread goes between tab and needle plate - so adjusting it is a simple matter of watching thread and moving the opener forward or back to where it helps the thread hang up as little as possible.

It’s a normal part of maintenance to smooth out burrs in the tab recess in the needle plate if needed and actually increase thread clearance if thicker thread is snug passing through.    I had a cheap replacement needle plate that needed a few edges taken down a little and an older needle plate that was well made, but appeared to be made for thinner thread, or was for a hook with a more slender tab.

 

EDF61572-D022-4F0F-9A60-50F8FD7991FA.jpeg

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The Superior catalog is wholesale only, but it gives you an idea of what parts are available for various machines.

https://supsew.cld.bz/Superior-Sewing-Digital-Master-Catalog

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Wow, Don, thanks for the information and the catalog! What a resource - just spent 30 minutes looking at illustrated, labeled parts. That helps tremendously. I have adjusted the case opener without knowing - case? what case? what is getting opened? - The relationship between the opener, the tab on the hook base, and the needle plate slot were unknown to me. I just moved the opener to where it worked!  Will investigate adjust and polish today. The little "hitch" I feel when turning the hand wheel through the cycle could well be tied to that. What I did notice earlier was some thread hesitation as it came across the back corner of the bobbin case latch itself. Slight, but there. Will polish that today too.

I am not hesitant to polish and smooth things. Often, I will use a Dremel with the finest sanding disc available, nearly worn out, slow speed, for shining and polishing. Also use various grades of wet-or-dry paper up to 2000. If something really needs shined up I use Flitz polish on it. (Another gunsmithing common product). Even use fine grit diamond products sometimes. The fishhook sharpeners will touch up a needle in a pinch without shortening it.  Thanks again.

 

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I haven't found a reference for positioning the lifter eccentric on the shaft. I just kept turning it and setting the setscrew and trying it until it seemed to give me free turning and good motion. Then the worm screw does change operating foot height. Then adjust the exterior pinch screw so there was no interference with the rear presser bar.

Tom

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These machines like this with a walking foot have down pressure on the foot ,so what happens is when the back or outside foot lifts up it makes it feel like there's a tight spot in it,it's normal.

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10 hours ago, Wyowally said:

I have adjusted the case opener without knowing - case? what case? what is getting opened?

Many machines have a separate bobbin case - in the 111w155 the case is built in and the part being opened is the gap between the needle plate and tab (which is part of the built in bobbin case).

The wet/dry paper and Dremel are perfect for a number of sewing machine projects!     I almost suggested them, but didn’t have to after all.   Lol

You know how there are small areas with light rust that are just a pain to clean up - just in the last year I’ve become a big fan of these abrasive polish pads for a Dremel.   They are essentially soft scotchbrite-ish.   The ones sold by Dremel are stupid expensive, but these multipacks aren’t bad and the finest grits are the most useful for light surface rust. Saves a lot of elbow grease for small areas.

You’re in luck as far as adjustments go with the videos Uwe has on YouTube.   You’ll find a lot of overlap in the design of the 111w155 and many other older triple feed industrials.    The 111w155 was adopted by the military way back (40s?) as well as by all sorts of commercial users -  it’s been very much the grand dad of many designs because it worked so well.   So there are many videos that might show a Consew 225, or Juki 562, or Seiko something-or-other, or a less known copy, and most of the adjustments are the same.   Uwe does a great job of describing what the physical movement should be at different stages of the cycle even though the exact way to adjust for it may be slightly different from the machine he’s using.

If thread is hanging up on the bobbin case with a lot of tension it can be a situation where it helps if the hook is advanced just a small amount beyond normal hook timing - his gets the thread just a tad bit farther around the bobbin when the take up arm starts pulling the stitch tight.  I suggest sticking with normal hook timing, but keep this in the back of your mind if nothing else helps.   It’s not unheard of for inexpensive replacement hooks to be slightly off in shape and function.    Some guys in here with way more experience than I have can tell stories of cheap hooks so far out of spec they never work quite right.  Also, not all hooks are designed for thick thread - many companies have at least two part numbers - one for thinner thread and one for thicker.

Now that you have a stronger sewing machine there are a whole new selection of materials to build stuff out of.   In addition to leather projects, you’ll get a kick out of the whole range of upholstery vinyls, vinyl coated polyester (truck tarp), and dozens of different straps.   Plastic 5 gal bucket material can easily be sewn into anything you need a stiffener for - and there are plastic suppliers with all shapes and thicknesses of other plastics, not to mention kydex can be heat molded and sewn in various outdoorsy projects.  

I bet you’ll get a kick out of the heavy duty hardware at Paragear - it’s nice to have a number of specialty suppliers for various things for unique projects.

http://www.paragear.com/parachutes/10000171/PARACHUTE-HARDWARE

 

0E66D08F-D8F9-4EE4-B701-40AD12BE1B11.jpeg

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Don and Bob,

Thanks for your advice and comments. I've nearly got it where I want. Only a few thoughts.

  • Back to the foot lift eccentric. Mine has a set screw, a worm adjuster screw, plus two holes - one threaded and one not. I found a place on the shaft where the collar held by the "set" screw seems happiest. I believe but haven't confirmed that the worm screw is designed to be adjusted without loosening any set screw. At least on mine it does and I can regulate the height of each foot during the sewing cycle from zero to nearly a quarter inch. According to the text in Singer's materials, this "ability to adjust presser height for both feet allows the user to change height to match thicker or thinner materials".  Don't know what the other holes are yet. This whole process should not be confused with adjusting the lift using the hand or knee lifter.
  • Don, you've gone to a lot of effort to help me along - appreciated! As I said it is sewing pretty well. I'm still puzzled by what I call check spring bounce and it may all be normal and natural. When the upper thread is brought around by the hook and slips off, it goes by the opener just fine. About the time it is pulled out of view near the bobbin case tab, ready to pull the bobbin thread, the check spring bounces up maybe an eighth inch. Maybe it is just reacting to the stitch getting pulled tight. Probably.
  • Bob, I understand about some places being tighter than others during the wheel rotation cycle. It is working fine. What I've seen on mine is if the foot pressure is screwed down to mid range AND that foot lift height during sewing is way higher than it needs to be for material thickness (like I described in the eccentric adjuster above) - then the machine has more resistance for a longer period of time raising the spring more than it needs to.
  • I have never been able to decipher old illustrations of oiling points. I use the obvious openings, search for wicks, and drip oil on every joint and bushing area I can find. Super Lube on gears. Wondering what others do.

I have friends who accuse me of over-analyzing things, researching too much, and reaching incorrect conclusions.  Not sure how they arrived at that conclusion. :)

 

Edited by Wyowally

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9 hours ago, Wyowally said:

I have never been able to decipher old illustrations of oiling points. I use the obvious openings, search for wicks, and drip oil on every joint and bushing area I can find. Super Lube on gears. Wondering what others do.

That sounds right on the money.
The place that seems to get neglected is the upper bushing of the hook - many old machines have sloppy worn bushings.    Oil has to make it down past the bobbin one of three ways.   I’ve always just put a drop of oil dead center of the bobbin release lever - there is an oil passages down the center of the hook shaft that leads to both the upper bushing and the case opener eccentric on the hook shaft.  
 

93ABFB2F-A290-4681-AA7F-9DF811BF7431.jpeg 

Second, the depression the case opener lever sits in is also an oil catch - the additional oil passage circled goes directly to the upper hook bushing.

It’s probably not necessary, but when changing bobbins I’ll also put a drop of oil under the bobbin so it runs down the exterior of the hook shaft for a third source of oil for that upper bushing.  

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Hello Wyowally,

    You mention having a Necchi BV.  What is the throat width on the BV?

 

Thanks

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Sloop, I'll have to measure it in my shop, 3 miles away. It is pretty wide. The BV was marketed as a 'tailor's machine' according to some sources. I think the throat may be a little wider than the Singer 111w155.

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Thanks Wally,  I'm looling to do canvas projects on my boat,  and a wide throat is what I'd like.

 

 

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