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.

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!

February 15, 2017

White 2837

Cool retro sort of Deco design, unfortunately is a cosmetic disaster with lots of nicks and scratches.

But it is a lovable little shape, it was completely frozen, and took some time and effort to free up.

It is surprisingly smooth and amazingly quiet, some machines just have a free wheeling thing about them; this  one certainly does.

It is a left justified needle position, I don't like them that way and so, does not have the L-R-C control.

Typical of some of the White's it has a wide ZZ and we have been making boots recently, this came in handy.

February 4, 2017

Dressmaker S - 2402 (1980's?)

Dressmaker 2402 with manual, 30 cams, manual, other accessories.

I don't know if it could be called aesthetically beautiful but I am impressed with the sewing.
Good star-up torque, nice stitches, I like how quiet the machine is. Another good leather working machine.

When I got into the shop it could not be turned by the hand wheel except with great effort. I wasn't sure what I was getting into so I did a Tri-Flo soaking and worked the harder parts of the rotation with a pair of vice grips in place of the hand-wheel.

Eventually I could get the motor to drive the system and finally put a clamp on the foot pedal and got it running; it is a very smooth running machine.

I thought the ZZ was way too limited or narrow and so went in and increased the overall width by a lot.
The ZZ mechanism is the same as millions of machines and it was clear that the dial just didn't take the mechanism to its full extent, so I filed a little off the dial stop plate and now it is respectable.

So now the dial goes past 5... to 11

The face plate plastic was sun drenched and turned a horrible shade of green. I removed it, and with steel wool roughed it up and sprayed it baby blue. the printed part of the cover fell right off because the glue was all dried up.

NifetyThriftyGirl Vid

January 25, 2017

Husqvarna Viking SPECIAL (1950s)

I looked for this exact model; 3 dials on the front one on the back. An Ebay find.

So this has all of my minimum requirements and a couple more; its an FR-LRC-ZZ machine

Incredible engineering; engineered and designed by people who USED the machine because it has some very unique features. It also has basting stitch, ZZ, and multiple stitch ZZ. Also it has the 5:1 gear reduction system!

Unlike 99% of the spring loaded revers button machines of this era this one can be momentary reverse or by pushing in and down it locks in reverse.

It took several hours to get it cleaned out. The bobbin tension seamed off and the screw did nothing until I discovered that the spring was packed with fabric fuzz and so would not apply the correct pressure.

Typical of this era, when the plastic parts were engineered they didn't get all of it right.
The rear covers fastener points are all broken and the paint didn't stick completely to them.
On the rear cover you see the discoloration over the light bulb.

I didn't get the flatbed with it and the manual cover is missing.

During clean up I took the pedal apart, its all Bakelite 

The amazing thing is the design of the coil and the electro-mechanical connection

On the right of the ceramic coil instead of just a slider made of copper it has a carbon wheel; never seen anything like it.  

A little History

December 21, 2016

Singer 66 (1914)

I can generally see thru the grime to determine if the machine can be saved and this one had an OK look to it.

I oiled it, plugged it in, and the level of quiet running is just amazing; smooth as silk!

I'll do a slow restore and am only disappointment that it has no reverse otherwise I would call it a keeper.

Finished the Restoration, had to buy the bobbin cover new, every one of these things is missing the bobbin cover, what - up?

I have the stand making down, they are not pretty but especially in this case because Singer didn't put the convenient 4 manufacturing posts underneath it really needs something to sit on. The base is attached with drops of silicone sealer in the corners and so is easy to remove.

I'm going to give it a try now that its ready!

January 29, 2015

Cowboy 8810 - Problem Fixes

Two things that continued to be unpredictable on the 8810 were the top thread fouling and the presser foot loosing pressure.

Maybe these things never happen on your machine but on mine it happened just enough to get my attention.

The top thread would on rare occasion jump over and around the tension adjustment knob, strangely enough it might stitch for a while that way too.
It is hard to see and when it happens it is frustrating.

The fix is really simple and speaks to the design flaw as I see it.
I simply repositioned the thread guide by rotating it 90deg's down.
Its easier to thread and the thread loop never gets near any of the other parts, problem solved.

The next issue was the gear driven pressure foot that would always hang up if I lifted my foot off the pedal too slowly.
When you look at the entire system from the pedal to the gear driven foot there are about a dozen places for friction to accumulate. I felt that the real "sticking" point was at the last sliding shaft.
My solution was to add a small compresion spring around that shaft and no more more hanging up!
I feel like the pressure on the wheel (and leather) was pretty high so I didn't want to just keep increasing it. This solution adds a little "kick" at just the right point.