April 28, 2017

Necchi BU Miranda (1959)

Can anyone make any sense out of these names?
Anyhow found this near perfect condition Miranda with an excellent condition case, manual, and  accessories.

Absolutely filthy with oil varnish, so it required the full disassembly, soaking in SuperClean, and brushing with PineSol.
I have this whole operation down to 5 or 6 hours.

The SuperClean is perfect for chromed and unpainted parts; it will remove paint and etch aluminum! From experience I know this; the chrome parts need nothing but rinsing off.

For the all the painted parts I went with PineSol; couple of sprays, wait five minutes and scrub with a very soft scrub pad. To return the shine I like to use TR3.
Original case with logo on the front.

The thing with Necchi is the ultra smooth as silk running, this is exactly like my Nora, with a twist of the hand wheel it spins silently.

April 19, 2017

Singer 15-91 (1951)

Thru the great kindness of my cousin I was bequeathed this beautiful Centenial that was my Aunt's.

I doubt it has seen the light of day since Aunt Darlene passed in 1979.

It needed the whole "remove all the shiny bits" treatment, and came out pretty nice

April 17, 2017

Pfaff 260 (1960)

The problem with the 200 and 300 series is that they are so smooth and quiet that even though this one is an aesthetic disaster it functions beautifully and had to be saved.

One of the reasons I like going thru these old machines is just how much I learn about the dozens of ways things can and do go wrong.

The machine had a little "slow" spot when you turned the hand wheel and in reverse that spot really hung up.
I left the hook assembly until last, thinking that the slow spot was in the main gear. It turned out that (under closer inspection) the bobbin case was from a different machine! Almost identical except for one detail, I ground down the offending difference and all is fine.

I am completely sold on rotary hook machines and although the Bernina 830 is not you won't find many other systems work better.

The worse cosmetic feature is the large paint chip on the top cover. Otherwise I'll be making a base for it soon

April 1, 2017

Bernina 830 Record Electronic (1979)

So now I know...

What all the fuss is about...
What a beautiful machine, smooth, quiet, has everything you need and a little more.
I am very lucky; this one was kept out of the sunlight and so has no yellowing.

The precision is amazing. It is in the Que for the next shoe

The Hall of Fame

It did not come with the knee lift so this is what I came up with.
The diameter is just under 1/4" so I turned the end of a 1/4" steel tube down on the lathe.
It has a 1/16" pin thru the end

Amazing to have a domestic machine with a knee lift!

Sooo I now have the infamous "full speed only" foot pedal😒
Have to figure out what to do... I think I'm going to try a conventional controller?
Turns out  we have a top notch Bernina Technician in our corner of Michigan.
The Technician at Fabric Affair gave me excellent advise and got the system running with the suggestion of replacing the brushes in the motor as a 1st order of business. So between him adjusting the sensitivity on the pedal and my replacing the brushes the machine is fully functional although it still has little bits of hesitation purring start up.

March 19, 2017

Kenmore Sensor Sew 100 (1980s)

Necchi made the classic mistake of shooting too far into the future, but I love it.
It had real potential, they almost got it wright, it is a little reminiscent of the Lotus, maybe they were trying to get into the MoMa too.
Necchi Logica 592 by Ital Design Giorgetto Giugiaro Noted here.
Pictures from my copy of Giogetto Giugiaro The Genius of Design, given to me by my older brother.
I actually met Mr Giugiaro during a design review at the American Motors Design Studios in about 1988, when we were working on the Coupe version of the Eagle Premier. I was in Advanced Vehicle Engineering at the time working for Marcel Marchond, Delbert DeResse, and host of other good Engineers

This one (like many?) seems to have had little use. FYI the reverse switch definitely needs a tactile component to it; you simply HAVE to look at it to press the correct spot and so take your eyes off of your work.
I see it a little like my beloved Custom Imperial in that the Engineers were to drunk with the concept to accept real world usage/testing; the concept is great but just a couple of details could have been improved with a little user feedback.

When I got it home it did sew but the stitch length could not be changed, even though the digital readout was showing the change.

I decided to "go in" and see what was under the bottom cover and discovered that the feed dog mechanism was frozen, I freed up the mechanism and have full control restored. Without the stitch length working the reverse did not work I of course thought that the computer was going to be the problem but it was just 1980s frozen sewing machine technology. Remember not to oil the plastic parts.
The only thing so far is one of the one of the LED numbers has burnt out.
Trying to figure out if it has needle stop position and L-R-C?
I did get the ZZ working.
I actually drove several of these things as lease cars at Chrysler, they were big, and nice to drive.

So after using it for just a little while the the presser foot mechanism slowly froze up!
The pivot shaft had the original grease on it and it nearly stopped move all together.
I opened it up but it was so frozen I could not get the shaft out.
I worked it back and forth and remembered some of the test fixtures from work so I made this little device to move it.
I assembled this little geared drive assembly and hooked it up to the lever, truth be told the over night sitting with oil made a difference but I was able to make a 1000 back and forth cranks on it while cleaning up the shop.

All is well with the presser foot now.
Printed out the Logica manual free online and discovered a little more about the differences; the LOGICA has needle position in-place of the fast-slow speed switch. Its such an obvious option I guess Necchi saved it for their own release.

Made a bunch of pattern tests too

Easy to change and work just fine.
The Necchi also has access to an adjustment screw to tune the proportion of the pattern stitches; this is important to their electronics and is not available on the Sensor Sew

The Auto Back-Tack works perfectly at the beginning but of course does not know you are at the end of the stitch, and so goes forward three stitches from where you stop.

Made this super cool cover for the machine with help from Scott Tallenger of left handed branded

So using the machine is a different experience; the start - stop is not like a mechanical machine.
The ZZ moves at precise times and moves at high speed, when your eye is used to a mechanical machine this is unusual. I believe that I will need to experiment with the needle position to understand where the strt of the motion is, it is hard to explain but the electronics knows where the needle is and decides how to complete the stitch from there, a more sophisticated computer system would likely act more intuitively. When you turn the hand wheel you move it to a computer governed position that is difficult to understand.

I still like it a lot and want to use it for fabric work, it is such a novel approach and as I mentioned it was so far ahead of its time that I will use it as a 1st prototype for the all electronic machine that I want to someday design.
Anybody want to help?

March 15, 2017

Singer 101 (1952)

OMG what a wonderful machine, again its the sound, I especially like the rotary hook machines and have recently become interested in the 201.

This picture shows the now bizarre method of castings combined with sheet metal deck.
I got this restoration project from a a friend and although it  is not cosmetically worth saving it is mechanically perfect.

I had to go into the motor after rewiring it and the light.

The motor comes out easy enough and although it ran OK I could tell it had no power.
Like the rest of the machine the Engineering of the motor is second to none; the precision fit of the shaft and the gear is astonishing.

It actually took some time to get it free but now the lube pots are clean and the speed is where is should be.

I am going to use this for my next pair of shoes.

Completed my first upper "closing" with the 101; did just fine.
The lock knob on the fly wheel would not tighten down and so I added an extra washer into the stack, it is a different set-up than all modern vintage machines.

March 12, 2017

Bel Air Imperial (1950)

A nice little 15-91 clone made in Occupied Japan (says so right on it)
This little gem was in good but filthy shape
I really like the embossed front and rear covers

The take up lever and the forward-reverse levers were bent so they had to be straightened out
During the stitch test I threw in a 2.2mm piece of leather; the machine did not flinch.
The motor was shot so that is too bad and the case was beat up but I was able to repair it with little effort.

March 11, 2017

Montgomery Ward Signature (1950's)

The Signature (or 7 Jewel) is another example of a fine running Japanese made machine. It has a unique type of cam that sits atop the machine, don't have the other cams, but do have the manual.
Unlike the Pfaff 130 it does not complain when starting in ZZ.
It came with possibly the nicest condition case I have ever had, must have been in the upstairs closet and not in the basement

It has the older style top thread tension dial; like industrial where it turns around more than once
Although missing L-R-C it has an easy to use ZZ and a push-button reverse

The motor is a hefty 1.3A

The stitch length has an odd number font but they added "clicks" to the dial so it snaps into positions
Its a pretty little machine

March 9, 2017

Pfaff 130 (1952)

I'm really zeroing in on a few top machines to have on hand for customers and friends that may need a machine.

Early Singers, 400 Singers, Necchi, and Pfaff and some crazy looking Japanese machines.

 After tear down it became clear that the 130, 260, and 300 series are all mechanically similar.
Under pinnings are nearly the same

Its the rotary hook that I like so much about the Pfaff

I determined that the thread tension spring was worn out or there was a washer missing, eitherway it needed more tension than it could provide.
I ended up simply putting another spring over the original (now there are two springs) and this increased the tension without running the knob all the way in.

The best Logo decal is completely hidden by the motor

This is a very fast machine although the max stitch length is not as great as I had thought it would be.

Vasily is at a loss for what to do on it next
The L-R-C control takes two hands to operate so I don't like that
The ZZ only stays where you set it if it is in the Left needle pos. not sure if that is typical (I think it is)

The start up at full ZZ width is labored, otherwise the start up is very good.

February 24, 2017

Singer 15-91 Centenial (1951)

Picked this up for a friend who wanted a nice clean machine.

The emblem polished up nicely

Pulled all the chrome bits soaked them and reassembled it.

Going to make a base for it next

The real thing with these pre "styling" or maybe pre aluminum singers is the sound; it is just beautiful.

For making the base nothing beats this cheapo pair of over sized calipers
With the long jaws on the calipers you can check how far under the casting your base is going to fit with ease
I make a quick check and sketch for each machine because they are all slightly different underneath

February 16, 2017

Vigorelli Robot (1950's)

Been looking for one of these for years, found this one on CL.

I am deeply committed to my Necchi Nora but as usual I always thinking there is something better out there

So since nothing else comes close I thought that maybe Mr. Arnaldo Vigorelli would have a chance since he studied under Mr. Necchi!

Very impressed with the test pieces so far. The clean up took 4 hours, she is virtually chip and nick free, the worst area is around the throat plate. Quiet and smooth, it has the minimum requirements F,R,ZZ,L,R,C plus a cam stack.

This is the only domestic I have run into that regularly gets tangled if you don't hold down the top thread as with industrial machines. 

It has the motor decals that include Mistress Vigorelli; I have seen these images before but never really looked at what she is doing...
Not only is she Puttin' her red dress on, she is Sewing her red dress on! Should be a pretty tight fit.

It is very difficult to sexualize a sewing machine so leave it to the Italians to come up with something like this.

Made a base for her
Use a 1 x 3 Poplar, this is the 1st time I made a fold up and so you need to double the rear panel so that you can use the cabinet pivots.

I picked up a parts machine too if anyone needs anything!