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Sewnoma

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm curious to see if anybody has ever tried to figure out a 'stitches per minute' figure for a vintage machine.

It's a rating I see on modern machine - all of my modern machines are rated at 1,000 SPM.  (Except maybe my embroidery machine)

Maybe I'm insane but that feels really SLOW sometimes - sometimes I'm just putting in a long basting seam and I want it to just fly through the machine.  I am fairly well convinced that several of my vintage machines go a lot faster than 1,000 SPM when I really put the pedal to the metal - I assume it's due to the nature of the motor moving the machine that these vintage machines can really fly.

But maybe it's my imagination!  So I thought it would be kind of fun and interesting to see if I could figure out a 'stitches per minute' rating for some of my favorite oldies.  Mostly just to satisfy curiosity, but I suppose that information could be useful to determine if a particular motor is underperforming in the future - if I clock it at one speed and then a year later it's measurably slower, that could indicate....something.  (I don't know WHAT, but something!)

I'm also curious to see if I notice any trends based on the configuration of the machines - are vertical bobbin machines faster than horizontal?  Full rotary vs. oscillating? I have some guesses but I don't KNOW.

So far my best idea is to draw a line on some fabric, start sewing ahead of the line to get the machine up to full speed, and then hit a stopwatch when it hits the line and stop sewing at the 15 second mark.  Count the stitches and multiply X4.  (I don't want to stitch a full minute and then have to count a thousand or more stitches!) 

I think I'd need to set the stitch length to match across the machines, to help eliminate variables.  I'm not sure how much difference the length would make but it probably has at least a slight impact on the SPM count.  I suppose I should use the same fabric and threads each time too.

Anybody have any better ideas, or has anybody done this before?  I think I'd do the same on my modern machines too - curious to see if they're hitting their advertized speeds.

No real purpose to this other than to satisfy curiosity.  I'm a nerd, and I like data.  [smile]

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #2 
Cool thread!!  Love this kind of discussion!

Here is my initial input from the earlier machine perspective.  

The linear motion of the early Transverse machines was VERY smooth, but has a pause at the end of each direction of movement which limits it's "top end"
The arcing motion of the VS (Vibrating Shuttle) machines has the same issue, but it is less pronounced
The oscillating motion was an attempt to minimize the direction change delay even further.
The full rotary motion was the first motion to have virtually unlimited top end speed potential.

Remember that the stitch length is a measure of the movement of the feet.  The machine still cycles once per stitch, the feed just effects how much fabric and thread are involved.

The amount of "slop" in a particular machine would also have a significant effect on the per cycle due to drag/friction

CAUTION: like a car.  if you are going to run your sewing machine at full out for any time, you should make sure it is fully serviced and lubricated.  Think race car prep...


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DKuehn

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Reply with quote  #3 
I think setting the stitch length as short as you can and still be able to count stitches would be wise. Also highly contrasting thread, but this is pretty obvious stuff I'm stating. 

I am interested in your results. I might try something like this myself. 

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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #4 
I have some stitch per minute numbers taken with a laser tachometer.  SM were well oiled, all set at 12 spi, sewing through two layers of cotton fabric.  The spm is the average of three runs.  I am not making a recommendation that these sm be run at these speeds, and it was done so for only a few seconds to get a reading...no sm abuse for me...

Elna Grasshopper   883spm   smooth running
Elna Supermatic    1291       smooth
Pfaff 130             1184       vibration
Singer 201           881        smooth
Singer 15-91        903         smooth
Majestic              667         smooth  friction drive, no belt
Singer 115           1123        excessive vibration
White All Stitch    1043        This is a German Gritzner-Kayser
Singer 101-10      1095        Aluminum body, 1925
Phoenix 388F       1250         smooth, no vibration

Maximum speed treadling a Singer 66 is 1019, and not to be sustained for very long.
Singer manual 8142 for their Class 24 chain stitch sm rates most sub-models at 2000 spm, the 24-56, (for the mfg of hats and caps) at an amazing 3200 spm
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macybaby

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Reply with quote  #5 

Super fast vintage sewing machine

I think this one takes the cake - but it did have help. 


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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #6 
I've seen that before, thanks for posting it here!  awesome testament to their construction and ability to handle whatever abuse is heaped on them
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DKuehn

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Reply with quote  #7 
Well there's your answer, 186,000 stitches per minute. 
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Sewnoma

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Reply with quote  #8 
Wow...OK, I will have to watch the video later when I'm not at work, but yeah, that's a little extreme!  I wasn't planning on going quite THAT far, lol.

Farmer John - those are some really interesting figures, and actually lower than I was expecting to see!  I'm glad I'm not the only one that wonders about these odd things, though.

Steve - definitely this is only a test I'll do on machines I feel comfortable running at full speed.  I wasn't even going to test my VS machines; I am assuming they are going to be slower just by their nature, and one of mine is hand crank anyway.  I tend to be a lead foot, both with my car and with my sewing machines, so I know a few of them can definitely handle bursts of full speed just fine or I'd have burnt them out by now!

The motor on the machine is going to have a big impact too...I would imagine two otherwise identical machines could have very different speed ratings, due to one having a healthier motor.  But that's OK, I really am mostly interested in what MY machines can do.

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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #9 
It may just be a s.o.t.p. measurement but it's always felt like the longer stitches were faster - i.e. a basting stitch - maybe because the fabric just flies through the machine? 
I'd be interested to see if that's actually the truth.  If it is, one would wonder then what stitch length was used for the official statements that the companies released.

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