Sewing machine problems
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Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
Sewing machine problems on 02/12/2013 11:19:14 MST Print View

I was sewing some webbing recently, and my Elna was doing just fine, whizzing through the work (a bit too quickly...). I used the reverser, and hand-turned the machine for a few stitches, after which everything went rather stiff, and the motor struggled to turn the mechanism, even without any material under the needle.

I've removed the shuttle, etc, but the mechanism is still very stiff.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might have gone wrong, or useful service guides? The manual for the machine doesn't mention this problem in its troubleshooting section...

It's an Elna 2000 or 3000 model, circa hmmm... 1998, although it's not had a huge amount of use over the years (the occasional outdoor projects, and a best man's waistcoat...)

I'm suspicious that something has slipped in the mechanism alignment.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by captain_paranoia on 02/12/2013 11:24:23 MST.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sewing machine problems on 02/12/2013 11:48:45 MST Print View

I would first replace the needle then check the needle alignment with the pick up hook to see if you knock it out of timing (happens more than I'd like).

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
look for on 02/12/2013 12:37:22 MST Print View

thread wrapped around a bobbin axle or something.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: look for on 02/12/2013 13:52:06 MST Print View

"thread wrapped around a bobbin axle or something."

Don't you hate when that happens?

My sewing machine does that once per year or so. You just have to clean the thing out.

--B.G.--

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: look for on 02/12/2013 14:46:56 MST Print View

yeah, also check the handwheel.

This problem -- thread getting wrapped around the hook or its shaft -- is one of the reason you should never turn the hand wheel the wrong way.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: look for on 02/12/2013 17:27:08 MST Print View

> thread wrapped around a bobbin axle or something.
+1

Srip the bobbin mech down.

Cheers

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Kevin, on 02/12/2013 20:10:52 MST Print View

This has happened to me lots of times with webbing and tape. Always do what Roger recommends above, and that usually works. If not, there is a little spring in my Kenmore in the bobbin mechanism that can be stretched too long when stressed and lose its function. When that happens, exactly what you describe is what also happens.

Sometmes I can get the machine to sew, sort of, after this happens; but to get back to normal, the spring must be replaced. The guy at the local Vac'n Sew does it, or I could send it to Sears Repair(more $).

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
Thanks on 02/13/2013 11:16:29 MST Print View

Thanks for the replies, but, unless I've misunderstood, I think there's something a bit more complicated than trapped thread...

I've taken the entire shuttle mechanism out, so there's no bobbin, no shuttle, just a big hole. Even trying to turn the machine like this, it's very stiff.

I'll have a look to see if thread could have been pulled deeper into the machine somewhere...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Thanks on 02/13/2013 23:11:47 MST Print View

Hi Kevin

> I've taken the entire shuttle mechanism out, so there's no bobbin, no shuttle, just
> a big hole.
Ah no: we didn't mean just take the bobbin or shuttle out. There is a spinning mech under the bobbin - that's what drives the whole stitch-making process. We think there is thread jammed down in there. I can't be more specific as I don't know what the guts of your machine looks like.

The biggest alternative would have to be a nearly seized bearing. If you have not been oiling the machine regularly, this could be very possible. Many of the rotating bearings will be actual ball races, but there will be some plain sleeve bearings - rotating and sliding. Strip all covers off and oil all moving surfaces. Include the round shafts which go up and down for the presser foot: they have plain sleeve bearings. Ideally, those round shafts should 'float' gently up and down, but if they haven't been oiled recently - trouble.

I go over our machines before any significant project, oiling them. If they make a noise, I oil them, and clean the bobbin area out. Both my machines are quite old; both run very smoothly. They NEED maintenance.

Cheers

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Thanks on 02/14/2013 18:01:37 MST Print View

"I go over our machines before any significant project, oiling them. If they make a noise, I oil them, and clean the bobbin area out. Both my machines are quite old; both run very smoothly. They NEED maintenance."

I have a 10 year old Janome

I never oil or clean it or adjust the tension

I asked the store and they said they'de go over it for $60 - no thanks, it works just fine

I just found an on-line user manual and it says just to vacuum out the bobbin area - well, I've done that a little but there wasn't much there

I think newer machines require less maintenance - I remember my mom's machine that I broke (she claims) when I was making a tent had about 20 points that you had to oil regularly

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Off piste on 02/14/2013 20:47:06 MST Print View

Jerry,
Your post reminded me of the story about the contest to see who were the world's three oldest men.

The first guy said he didn't drink, smoke, exercised regularly. Asked his age, he said 108. He looked pretty old, but was in OK shape.

The second guy said he did all the first guy did, and also stuck to a strict diet of rice, fish and greens. Asked his age, he said 114. He looked quite old, though.

The third and last guy said, "Nah, I never do any of the stuff that those guys do. I eat tons of fried food, drink all night, visit the opium dens and mess around as much as I want." He looked really old and wrinkled. Asked his age, he said 21.

Edited by scfhome on 02/14/2013 20:49:07 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Off piste on 02/14/2013 21:06:12 MST Print View

ha ha ha...

I'm just saying that newer machines require less maintenance

And I believe in eliminating any tasks that aren't really needed

I don't think I have you convinced yet

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: Re: Off piste on 02/15/2013 10:50:15 MST Print View

Modern machines require loads less maintenance than older ones. Most have properly sealed bearings, which have no provision for lubrication, and where they don't have those they have oilite pieces, or oil impregnated plastics, which don't need lubrication unless operated under very severe conditions. The only places many of them require lubrication is around the hook. This is because very few people can be bothered to oil a machine every four hours of use, and if they can, they can't remember all the places they're supposed to put oil[1], plus parts that need oiling means they're parts that are losing oil, which has to go somewhere. That's typically on what you're sewing, which is not what people want.

They still require cleaning, of course. Lint and bits of thread still collect in the hook race, longer pieces of thread wrap around spinning bits.


[1] I used to drive a machine that had at least 30 oiling points. Many of them were not constant points, but it was still a pain to keep that properly lubricated.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Janome on 02/15/2013 19:22:13 MST Print View

Jerry,
Was only kidding. Will keep an eye out for a Janome.
Sounds like a Mercedes of sewing machines compared to my ca. 1970s Kenmores.
Note, though, that the second Kenmore that I just got as a back-up cost only $20 off Craigs List, plus $30 for a new top thread tensioner. OK, I did have to drive almost a hundred miles to the Mass border to buy it. The good ones list for well over a hundred on eBay, though.

Let's see ... how to remember "Janome." Human Janome Map? Nah. Will think of something.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Janome on 02/15/2013 20:04:31 MST Print View

Janome is only one brand

My wife bought mine intending to use it for something

She hardly ever used it but I have taken it over : )

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
sewing machines on 02/16/2013 18:09:52 MST Print View

Jerry,
You had me all set on a Janome, and now it sounds like you are backing off a little with the comment about it being only one brand.

Over the years, I've acquired a few newer machines: a White "heavy duty" "industrial" one, a "Euro-Pro" sold by Sears, and an Elna. I can't do anything with the White and the Sears, the operation being so erratic and jerky; and the Elna I think was designed for embroidery, as it doesn't handle thicker materials well. But the old Kenmore has served me well for all the materials that go into gear, including leather (with the right needle). The newer machines just take up storage space in the basement.

There is a good sewing store not far in Rochester NH that handles a lot of used ones; so I will go and check out some of the used but newer ones, and look around for one of the Janomes to try. I'll also ask the owner of the local mon&pop sewing store, who does all the repairs, about the Janomes.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: sewing machines on 02/16/2013 18:49:41 MST Print View

I don't mean to be jerking you around : )

I have a Janome and I think that would be a good choice

I'm sure there are other good machines

I think a newer machine, like a Janome, requires a little less maintenance than an older machine that has 20 or so points you have to oil occasionally. And maybe an older machine tends to collect lint a little more.