A Tale of Two Sewing Machines
A local community is setting up a "tool lending library", where they accept donated tools and loan them out to neighbors who need them (presumably, for a short time). This is a successor to a "maker-space", where people could gather in a shared workshop to share a pool of tools and machinery. (It turned out to require too much expensive space to be sustained.) I dropped in to see what I might do to assist, and found two sewing machines which had been discovered discarded beside the road. Both are rather heavy machines (30-35 lbs), which is considered to be an asset, since they don't scoot across the table when you push fabric into the needle.
The first had two issues: the hinges which allowed convenient access to the underside mechanism were missing their hinge-pins, as well as a set-screw which held one end of the machine to its hinge. I was able to form P-shaped hinge-pins from 1/8" steel rod, softened at the bending locations with a small butane torch. (They're P-shaped rather than I-shaped, like normal hinge pins, to make them removable with minor effort, but not self-removing. I guess it would have been easier to make them L-shaped.) I made a duplicate setscrew (0.225" diam, 28 tpi; which I think is non-standard, too big for a #12, but too small for 1/4"). The other issue was that the access plate for the bobbin was held down with a pair of spring tabs (so it could slide to the left), but one of the tabs had broken off. I had some 0.020" flat steel which was easy enough to shape to fit.
The second machine just had one problem: a plastic bracket (originally) had two pins to hold two spools of top-sewing thread, but one of the pins had broken off. Most sewing may be done with just one spool, but if the remaining pin were to break off, the machine would be useless. I found an suitable length of 0.2" aluminum rod in the junk box, put #8-32 threads on one end (with a threading die), drilled and tapped the broken bracket to match.
So, now the Tool Library will have three sewing machines to lend, and I have four more little projects for my portfolio.
Sun, 05/08/2022 - 09:58
Did you need to time either of these machines?
Sun, 05/08/2022 - 19:50
No, the timing was fine on both (fortunately).
I have a manual for a cousin of one of these machines, which included a rough translation into English on how to synchronize the upper and lower mechanisms, but I'm glad that I've never had to do it. Frankly, I'm really impressed by the mechanical engineering involved with imaging how all of these parts will fit into the space and produce the required motions.
I keep reminding myself of the old poem that starts "for want of a nail, the horseshoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost." Missing nails, I can cope with. I'm not going to forge a new horse-shoe!
Sat, 05/21/2022 - 20:30
The third sewing machine needed a spool pin
There was no way to hold the upper thread spool, so one of the other "tool librarians" cut the head off of a 1/4-20 bolt after finding that it fit the socket. I didn't like the sharp threads and edges of that solution, so I found a bit of scrap aluminum rod in my junk bins, and turned it into the pin we needed. Now, I might have bought a pin for $3.00 on-line, but it might not have fit (because sellers don't tell you the actual dimension of their products, just one or two machines that it should fit). And I would have had to pay shipping, and wait for delivery, and so on...