May 23, 2018

Necchi Nora - Custom Roller Foot

I started on my 1st attempts at Leather Inlay - Overlay and didn't have a roller foot for any of my flatbed machines.

I chose the Nora because of her extreme reliability and the number of spare feet I had to modify.

I made one with two rollers; one on either side of the needle but this  was unsatisfactory.

So I kept at it until I was able to create a center wheel foot.
I like the center wheel because regardless of whether you turn left or right around the corner the minimal change in stitch length is the same.







So far the results are positive, I can stay between 1 - 1.5mm from the edge of the work piece.



May 12, 2018

15-91 Clone "Fashion" (1953)

OMG just another amazing 15-91 clone.
With the motor belt removed it can spin about 4 times around with a single spin; these old masterpieces of manufacturing precision are a pleasure to work on.
A very nice condition machine with just a couple of chips, needed almost no cleaning but required rewiring of the motor plug.
Sews beautifully, needed a little bobbin spring tension adjustment.
When I saw that it was a "Fashion" brand I had to have it!
Says 1953 on the made in Japan tag.
Accessories and manual too.
Always like to have one of these on hand; so many newbies relate to them better than the complex machines, so I have a range of machines to offer.

Manual is great! It has the sales date on the Official Guarantee page
The 20 year Guarantee was up 55 years ago.
Strangely enough this machine was purchased was 22 years to the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor



May 6, 2018

Necchi Lelia 513 (1961)

My latest find is the Lelia 513.

  A very nice condition girl that was nearly completely locked up.
It took a while to free up the main works and a lot of time to free up the ZZ pivots. I found references to the needle pivot being commonly frozen; this one was Super frozen.
Got the manual and accessories too but sadly had to remove from the cabinet and so have no case for it. 






Lelia is one of the supreme examples of fine manufacturing of the mid 20 cent. All parts are painted separately and assembled with care to avoid paint chipping.
The reputation for precision is very evident here and is sited as the root cause for the freezing up issue. In the early days of plastics (60s-70s) the freezing (think Viking horrors) are a different type of cause.
So frozen ZZ, very stiff crank shaft was not all. One thing they did not do well was making a solid provision for oiling the motor bearings, if you have one of these machines with the original motor you should consider getting a drop of oil at the two ends. I believe this was a considerable problem for this machine and will cause slow sewing, low power, and replacing the bearing is not going to be easy.

 Note the plastic buffer between the body casting and the motor mount keeps the paint from scratching. and the little piece of felt to isolate the motor mount from the casting too.
This machine had a really hard time starting up and would get a little slower as it heated up. 

The only way to get to the bearing is to open up the motor but definitely do NOT do this unless you must.
I always pull the commutators out file them down, blow it out, and reassemble once I get this far.

I pulled the front cover off (the part I don't recommend doing) because the shaft seemed loose, only then did I see that the front bearing was bone dry.
Got a little oil on it and reassembled it; it's working much better now.






I found that the hand wheel was very tight to the main casting and so I gave it 0.003" clearance with a feeler gauge: I think this helped.

Lastley went ahead and cleaned every tooth on the thumb wheels because it deserved it!



I think this machine will make it to 100 years old.

March 8, 2018

Pfaff 332 (1950s)

My 2nd 332 for the purpose of "rescue and resale"

It had a couple of problems
1 - The motor belt was very loose.
I've made this fix several times; you have to make an extension to the idler pulley bracket because it doesn't have enough travel
2 - The motor made a horrible noise when running



So the guys on the FB Pfaff site gave me some ideas about the motor (none of them applied) but when I went in to look at it again I found that the two main screws holding the motor together from front to back were loose? Once tightened the motor was as good as new.


Necchi Logica 592 (1980s)

I sold my Sensor Sew with great regret but I was after the real deal... The Logica 592

The 592 I think is the primo version; it has both the speed control slider and the needle position switch.

As soon as you go for a computerized machine you have to at the minimum have needle up-down position.

The Logica has needle up-down and motor speed control



It was a risky ebay purchase and of course it had a machine killing broken part in it.
It has several unfortunate damages but I will pick a parts machine when I find it.
Came with original manual all of the attachments and cover.

The broken bit is probably very common but is exactly the type of part I can fabricate.


This is the part that raises the feed dogs out of the Quilting or down position.
Reading online it seems that if you force the up-down lever when the cam is out of position you can break it.
The steel insert is there to slide on the plastic cam so I decided to make the whole thing out of steel


I digitized into cad but got a key dimension wrong so had to make a second one, I will go back to the cad model and correct it.




With a quick test it seems to be working perfectly

No more (eye roll) free quilting though

Update 04.20.18:

Love using this thing however, it does not have left/right/center settings for the needle! (least I havn't found it or a way to fake it) Necchi really dropped the ball on this one, I think the SensorSew does and so the "perfect" machine is in fact a combination of the two.

It does however have a better up/down needle position than either the Pfaff 1471 or the Bernina 1230 in that the needle goes down or up WHEN you hit the button instead of waiting for another cycle?




October 15, 2017

Bernina 1230 (late 1980's)

After a year of looking and thinking about it I pulled the trigger on an Eba y 1230
This is part of my "looking for the perfect machine" project, and as mentioned before the 80's is where it has come together for me.

Of course it needed service when I got it and it may be that I felt more comfortable with it because I have the best service Tech about a 1/2 hour away at the Fabric Affair 
Rich is great; a collector restorer and refixit guy that loves sewing machines.

He asked me why the 1230?
As I have mentioned in other posts I have a huge background in what we at Chrysler called Human Factors, I was tutored by the great Howard Estes and many years of product development.
Human Factors now may also include HMI, Human Machine Interface. With the omnipresent "touch screen" HMI includes this difficult task.
We all have a touch screen or two that we are not fond of, they are fine for running electronics BUT when it comes to running a machine with it they are behind several systems. How would you like to ride a bike with a touch screen?
So simply; the 1230 has a computer that is controlled by physical buttons, buttons that have dimension, move a noticeable distance when depressed, have a feeling when depressed, and a light when they are activated. So in direct opposition is the Viking Designer 1 which I love but it has none of this "feedback" from the screen. "Haptics"attempts to mitigate this problem by creating a actual "thump" and a noise (thud) when activated and is in place in my Cadillac touch screen (although poorly) to mitigate the effects the problem; the problem is not knowing that you actually hit the button WITHOUT LOOKING AT IT.
The buttons are great but the dials are the real mark of excellence.
The dials combined with the LED "temperature" style bars are the "home run" part of the machine.
SOO easy to understand and use. The trick is to have the dial on the right side of the bar so I can see the bar, AND to have the side of the dial closest to the bar move in the same direction as the bar, hard to describe, easy to understand. This is what Human Factors is all about. The stitch width works in the same friendly way.

So Kudos to the experts at Bernina back in the day, they really knew there stuff and set out to do it right.

Got everything but the manual with it.

August 26, 2017

Necchi BU Mira (1954)

I think I have had all of the 1950' series Necchi's at this point?
Miranda
Nora
Lydia
Nova
SuperNova
Logica 592 80s


This one cam out of a cabinet and needed both the full "all metal bits off" cleaning as well as new wiring from plug to pedal. Fortunately I had this handy BU wiring diagram to work to.


 Super saturated in 63 year old oil/grime it was a tough nut to crack.
Nice to have the original motor with the date and the hefty 1.1amp stamped on it.
Unfortunately this green paint job did not survive nearly as well as my grey Nora

She was frozen to the point of about a half turn only but the most fun is getting them unstuck. I made a custom crank handle out of a spare lock knob so that I can have better leverage while doing the loosening / break-in phase





No case on this one but it came with this unusual accessories box

The "Press Here" box


August 22, 2017

Bernina Virtuosa 150 QE

Found this little gem at an Estate sale up north while staying at Crystal lake
Again I have become very interested in the early and 2nd generation computerized machines, with my background in CNC machining I have an affinity towards motor controllers and believe that the over concern regarding a computer board failure is just that.

I think the Virtuosa is a lesser and more rare version of the Artista, but it is still a Bernina

A handsome machine, classic late 90's
During clean up I found  thread wrapped around the counter weight crank and all the joints involved with the take-up lever, that was a new one!
Got the knee lift working with a DIY steel rod it makes such a difference in operation, did a small upholstery leather project very well

Another endearing feature, if they even intended it is the thread cut-off on the left side of the machine. About 90% of the time the cut-off  holds both ends of the threads up in place, this is really nice because you know where both threads are and starting the next stitch line is like having someone holding the threads up for you


Made in Switzerland, that's all we care about!
It has a Stainless Steel free arm top cover; it will NEVER show signs of wear with that!
Reverse switch at the head

Very heavy... stop complaining about heavy; heavy is good!
The wall plug is extra long, the foot pedal has a winder feature on the bottom, nice
The foot pedal also has the needle up-down feature, just press with your heel and the needle goes down, press again and it goes back up.
 
Without any effort the basic controls are extremely easy, I used it for a little repair project and just love the sound, it is an oscillating hook but Bernina does it different than everyone else, seems hard to beat.


The small LCD screen may look a little lost on the front face but it's all you need

Look at this...
  • Needle left - right with two buttons close by
  • Needle up - down one button for that
  • Stitch width with two buttons for that
  • Stitch length two buttons for that
From a Human Factors standpoint it could hardly be easier; I spent a large part of my Advanced Vehicle Engineering career doing what's called Human Factors, the practice of how people interface with machines, sometimes refereed to as HMI or Human Machine Interface.

All in all there are a large number of nice options
Has a separate motor for the bobbin winder

Needle position left - right and ZZ are controlled by a separate servo for super accurate positioning

It came with nothing but the No.3 foot, manual, and a flat bed conversion