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KenmoreGal2

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A post on QB described a 31-15 Singer Tailor's machine from 1916. It was described as having a pretty large throat space which would be nice for quilting. While I don't know much about this machine it got me thinking about other alternatives for my FMQ. 

I cruise Craiglist almost daily for sewing machines. (just window shopping!) I would not mind replacing my 117.740 with a machine that has a larger throat space but.....I'd want a machine that takes commonly available parts like needles and bobbins. Does such an animal exist? Can you guys help me prepare a list of possible model numbers to watch out for? If it's ok, I could also link to machines that I find which may work.

Edited to add that I've been to Craigslist and found the following. I have emailed to ask the model number and price. Does this machine look familiar to anyone? And what is "oil bath mounted"?? Do I have to learn a bunch of new stuff to use this machine?

Thanks!!!

http://cnj.craigslist.org/bfs/5380538510.html

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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #2 
I wonder what model number that is. I have one that looks like it but I can't remember the number. It is very common. Parts are available. Takes a regular bobbin. I'm thinking L type.. Mine doesn't have much stitch length so would be nice for free motion. They do sit In a pan of oil. There is a little pump on there to pump oil through the machine as it sees. Mine seems to have kind of a high shank. I've not tried but I have a set of attachments off an old Viking might fit. Mine is in very nice shape and I would sell it for not too much - make offer - local pick up... I just don't use mine and I just need some space. I think it is from the early 1940s. Mine has been set up to start slow and I can keep it slow if I like but it will rock and roll if I push it.

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KenmoreGal2

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Reply with quote  #3 
Interesting Miriam. Can you please tell me more about this pan of oil? Is it sealed at the top? How does the pump operate?

You are right that stitch length (and zig zag capability too) are unneeded with FMQ. What's really needed is a large throat. The one spoken about on QB was also high shank. 

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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #4 
It is just a pan. It is supposed to have a cork gasket around the top of the pan where the machine joins the pan. I am not sure how the pump weeks. Mine is in the machine. I'm guessing something moves causing the pump to work. The table for my machine is about 4 ft and 20 or so deep. Kind of a space hog. I don't know how it would be for free motion. I haven't tried. There is plenty of room. I think I would find some way to keep the speed down.
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #5 
our 241-12 was the same.  sump pump in the machine, pickup in the oil pan when closed.  the system pumps oil through tiny tubes that have wicks in the ends to plug them.  the wicks ride along the bearing surface and make sure it is oiled ALL the time.  Mine had a window where the system was set to drip oil so you could see it was working, if you ran it for just a few minutes with no oil showing it would seize a bearing.  If a wick "pop out" the resulting over oil can be spectacular!!!
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KenmoreGal2

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks. What an education! That type of machine sounds so different from what I am used to. It's intimidating. Plus it would be my only FMQ machine so if I ran into difficulties, I'd be totally stuck. I think I should stick with something more familiar.
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #7 
it also stitches at over 2500 spm...  Heather NEVER did projects at more than 1/2 speed.  the material can really get away from you on those beasties.

Now I have an industrial treadle (Singer New Industrial) that will do the same but at 1800 spm max

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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #8 
The real "power" in those is motor speed. They are made to produce one thing. In a factory they were sewing the same little piece of something over and over all day, then the next shift came in and did it again. 24/7 those machines went on and on except for occasional maintenance.
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KenmoreGal2

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Reply with quote  #9 
Since industrial machines were in use 24/7 are they all oil bath machines? I guess the employees did not take a break every 6 hours to clean and oil their machines.
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #10 
Actually in the early days it was hourly..  lint maintenance as well
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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #11 
Plus frequent needle changes
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #12 
good point.. (SO Sorry..)
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sewbeadit

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenmoreGal2
Since industrial machines were in use 24/7 are they all oil bath machines? I guess the employees did not take a break every 6 hours to clean and oil their machines.


My Singer 31-20 is not an oil bath, not all industrials are oil bath.  My friend has a 31-15 that is not.  I have heard people using these machines for fmq and yes they have a larger throat space, around 10 inches.  You just have to look around and see what you can find in your area.  I wouldn't mess with an oil bath machines as they were made for continuous sewing and oiling.  Where we don't usually use ours that much or that often, regular oiling is fine.

Each machine by maker or type stitches at their own speed, as some only go up to 2200, some up to 4500 stitches per minute, etc.  Also you can slow them down so you aren't zipping all over.  

the way I was told they stayed at their machines and did light maintenance like defluffing etc. if a machine needed more work they would come by with another machine and take the one out put the other in and on they would go.

A Singer 31-15 or 31-20 would probably work very well for you for what you want and I know people that use them for fmq.  They aren't hard to find and not too expensive either.  Easy to take care of and are neat vintage machines.

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KenmoreGal2

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Reply with quote  #14 
Thanks sewbeadit for all that info. I'll make note of the model numbers you recommend and keep my eyes open.

Edited to add - I'm assuming both of these machines are straight stitch, electric machines? 

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sewbeadit

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenmoreGal2
Thanks sewbeadit for all that info. I'll make note of the model numbers you recommend and keep my eyes open.

Edited to add - I'm assuming both of these machines are straight stitch, electric machines? 


Yes they are both electric straight stitch one needle machines.  Hope you can fine one or something you like.  Wish someone would come on and add to what I said as I know someone on here, I think, maybe it was treadleon she was on, uses hers for fmq and others said the same.

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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #16 
I have a 31-15 here as well as a darning foot for it.  I do plan on sitting down with it one day to see how it FMQs - maybe I'll make a point of it fairly soon, since this topic is fresh.

The 31-15 uses a common bobbin case (not a 15 but close) as well as common bobbins.  Throat plates, feed dogs and presser feet should be matched but all are cheap. 

The only concern I would have with an industrial machine as an FMQ machine is the noise.  If you want to do this, I would strongly suggest considering a,... uh,... non-clutch motor.
(Sorry, I have the "day after teaching fuzz" brain!)

DH had never sewn and was convinced he was going to sew straight up his arm before he stopped the machine but he had no trouble with it at all - the speed is managable - but you do need to do it eyes and brain fully alert.

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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchaicArcane
The only concern I would have with an industrial machine as an FMQ machine is the noise.  If you want to do this, I would strongly suggest considering a,... uh,... non-clutch motor.
(Sorry, I have the "day after teaching fuzz" brain!)


Duh!  A servo motor.  LOL!
Apparently I'm still not caught up on my sleep. [wink]

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KenmoreGal2

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Reply with quote  #18 
How would I know if a particular machine has a clutch versus a servo motor? Hubby does know the difference between them but he's not sure if he could tell them apart.

Oh, thanks for your help Tammi!!

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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #19 
As a rule of thumb - the original Singer motors would be clutch motors.   If it's got a Singer logo on it and it's one of these vintage machines, it'll be a clutch motor.  If the ad says it's a replacement motor - ask if it's a servo if you're not going to see it first.  When you RUN the motor, you'll know.

A clutch motor runs all the time.  Pressing the pedal will put the power of the motor to the machine.  There's lots of variability but it takes a little more finesse at first to get good control.  You can also install a different pulley to change the speed of the machine to make it a little easier to manage but that doesn't quiet the noise.
A servo motor is more like what you're used to on the vintage domestics - they only run when you press the pedal.  They should also be easier to control.

I would say don't make a clutch motor a deal killer - just factor it into your acquisition price.  I read that they should be around $120 for you Americans - which is probably $2345 at our current exchange rate for me.  [wink]
http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=39364

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sewbeadit

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Reply with quote  #20 
Some people really like the clutch motors, some do not.  I know it sounds really hard to figure out, but it isn't.  My 31-20 works really well with the clutch motor, but I think someone fixed it up to work that way, it doesn't zoom when you push on the pedal, there is some resistance there, so probably has been adjusted with what it needed to make it easier to work.  I too was thinking of putting a servo motor on mine, but think I will use this one for a while longer and see, may wear this one out and then put a new one on.  If you want it to run like a regular sewing machine and not be on all the time you need to change the motor.
There is an industrial on our CL for 50 bucks right now that would work, I think.  

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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #21 
The on all the time and sheer volume for me is the deal killer.  I could only use it for longer than a couple of minutes at a time if I had really loud music in head phones to drown it out.  Of course, a lot of loud noise like that really makes me twitchy and edgy - so your mileage may vary. [wink]  I will be trying to find a servo motor for mine but since I use the machine so seldom, it hasn't bubbled to the top of my list yet.

There's also a rattle in the linkage between the pedal and the motor I can't seem to quiet unless my foot's on the pedal with a tiny bit of pressure so that adds to my frustration with it. That would also go away with a servo motor.

If I feel ambitious, I will see if I can find a DB meter for the phone and see what the motor runs at.

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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #22 
I don't mind a clutch motor but there is a learning curve. Mine is set up to take off gradually. I think there is some adjustment in the linkage.
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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miriam
I don't mind a clutch motor but there is a learning curve. Mine is set up to take off gradually. I think there is some adjustment in the linkage.


That and the right pulley helps.   I don't find mine hard to manage, I just don't like the noise.  I suppose the other thing that compounds the noise is that this machine is right next to the stove in my studio.  It actually rattles the coil burners! [wink]

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KenmoreGal2

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Reply with quote  #24 
This board sure gives me an education. When I started this thread I assumed that an industrial machine was just like my home machine except bigger. Now I see there are many differences like the oil pan ones and the motor differences. I had no idea that they simply ran all the time they were turned on but that makes sense for a factory environment. You folks are sure helping me to make an informed purchase (if I ever do buy one) and for that I thank you!
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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #25 
As far as the machine itself - a 31-15 pretty much is a domestic but bigger.  It's the motors really that are different.  Different care (to a degree) and different operation but the same outcome - only faster. [wink]

I'll try to make a measurement of the sound levels this weekend.  I might as well try out my darning foot at the same time. [smile]

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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #26 
OK, I sat down with my 31-15 today and set it up for FMQ.

I haven't done any FMQ in probably 2 years and I haven't been frame quilting in over 6 weeks so my control was bad.  Really bad. [wink]

The machine hit a quick spike to 93db on start up, idled down to about 78- 80db, then averaged about 85db while sewing.

My music/audiobooks sit in the 65db to 70db range and that's good and loud to me. Not rock concert loud of course, but I do have to turn it down to hear DH when he gets home.

For comparison 10db increases are perceived to be twice as loud as the thing they're being compared to.

So if a vacuum cleaner is about 70db (though I call BS on that! Mine has to be way louder than that!) Something at 80db is perceived to be twice as loud as that vacuum cleaner.  80db is classified as the average factory whatever that means, or a freight train at 15m (about 50ft).  30db is ambient room noise only.

This machine ran about the same as a diesel truck at 40mph at 50ft and peaked at something almost twice that.
Hearing damage is possible at 80db with 8 hour exposure. Damage is likely at 90db for 8 hour exposure.
http://www.industrialnoisecontrol.com/comparative-noise-examples.htm

To me, that puts a vintage clutch motor into ear plug territory especially because we're closer to the machine than where a measurement might be done from.  I'd be interested in what a freight train is right at the crossing for instance.

Now, having said that - the clutch motor was very controllable if you're not shaky like I am these days.  I depend on my stitch regulator on my LA more than I should and muscle relaxants for more than just pain relief.  I had it down to single stitches as well as fairly good graduation of speed with full concentration.  This motor and clutch have only had basic maintenance and rewiring, no major go overs.

If you want, I can post the video and you can hear how the machine sounds because it's not just about the level of the sound, it's also the quality of the sound.  Some sounds are less pleasant than others regardless of volume.


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KenmoreGal2

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Reply with quote  #27 
Tammi, If you should ever have a spare moment to post a video of this machine running, I'd love to see and hear it. 
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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #28 
LOL! OK, try this:

Oops.   Oops.   Ooops. [wink]

You can see a reason not to run cross wound thread on a vertical pin on an industrial too. Right at the end - what caused me to stop.  See how it blows up the tension even without the tensioner being adjusted? That's because the pre-tension is important and does make a true difference.  That's why the thread path is so important.
Now that I know that it works, I will do Leah Day's modification the hopping foot and that will quiet it down some as well.

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KenmoreGal2

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Reply with quote  #29 
Thanks! That was pretty neat to watch and to hear.

Funny - I had my computer volume at 100% and the Youtube volume at 100% and I didn't think the machine was very loud. My Kenmore 740 is pretty loud when I FMQ! But I FMQ pretty fast. Sometimes the table gets to vibrating and I have to slow myself down. Anyway - hubby was across the room and he said "Are you really watching someone sew on your computer" to which I replied that it was really to hear the sound. He thought your machine was pretty loud. Maybe I have bad hearing??

Also - regarding the tension. Since we last spoke I've been using only traditional spools of thread and have had no issues with stitch quality. I'm sure at some point I'll try my cones of serger thread again for piecing. If I find I have stitch issues again, I'll know the culprit.

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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #30 
I think if you had something for comparison - i.e. another video shot with the same phone - it would be easier to tell how loud it is. Most of my videos are fairly quiet.  It's why I've been looking at the possibility of using an external mic. 
I do think that the mic in the phone "noise cancels" a little too - which would block some of the running motor noise.

Hubby's frame of reference might just be different.

I'm glad you're working your tension issues out!  I do think that the inconsistency in thickness with serger thread is at least one culprit.

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sewbeadit

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Reply with quote  #31 
I bought a swing away binding foot/tool for my 31-20 so I can bind quilts, I have practiced with it and it works great, but I need a bigger bite so I have to move it over.  Fun things can be sewn on these machiness and once you get use to them 2200 mph lol, isn't too bad.  It is the bigger faster ones I stay away from.

Would be neat to see the sound level on your machine.

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ArchaicArcane

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sewbeadit
I bought a swing away binding foot/tool for my 31-20 so I can bind quilts, I have practiced with it and it works great, but I need a bigger bite so I have to move it over.  Fun things can be sewn on these machiness and once you get use to them 2200 mph lol, isn't too bad.  It is the bigger faster ones I stay away from.

Would be neat to see the sound level on your machine.


What does that foot look like?  You wouldn't have a pic would you?

Sound level on which machine?

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