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Kitcarlson

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 Light Weight Hand Cranks

 Reproduction hand cranks are light weight alternative (14.4 oz), to much higher quality original Singer cranks (11 lb 11.3 oz). It takes significant effort to improve reproduction cranks. I ponder if it is worth it, for me it is because I enjoy working with my hands.

20191207_102524.jpg 
I planned to purchase a few reproduction cranks, mainly for their gears. Reproduction cranks extend about 1/4” longer than a Singer crank, enough to conflict with bentwood case top attachment. I planned to cut off mount “L” section and replace with an aluminum casting that would bolt on like original hand cranks, and be 1/4” shorter. It was going to be a project where I built an electric foundry and learn to sand cast.

 Cranks were ordered  via Banggood, three for $34 shipped. The package arrived and seemed small and light. I realized crank cases were smooth, and had a different look. The mount dovetail was heavily painted. A file was used to clean off dip and excess paint. The metal underneath was white like aluminum, but had the high pitch sound of magnesium. Magnesium is 30% lighter than aluminum, yet stronger.

20191130_104412.jpg

 The light weight, and superior casting surfaces excited me, however measurements and test with bentwood case suggested length still a problem. I decided to try a few small changes to reduce length. The mounts of crank handle to large gear, is the protrusion with bentwood case top. The ears on gear where pin fits could be reduced if the pin hole could be relocated closer to gear. The old pin hole was directly tapped with a 6-32 tap. A screw filled the hole, was super glued in, cut off at ends and sanded. New hole was drilled for revised location. Ears were shortened, close to original pin hole. A new pin was fabricated from a 16P finish nail. The opening in crank handle was closed slightly, using a hammer and anvil, for nice fit. Seems all reproduction cranks need this improvement.

20191205_075959.jpg 

 A new handle was fabricated from wood, stained and finished.

20191207_102555.jpg 

 Finished crank weighed 14.4 oz, about ½ the weight of an original Singer crank. I plan to use on a few Singer 128 portables, aluminum 99, aluminum 201K. The later, have custom cases with totes, so no need to shorten gear ears.

Plan to finish paint surfaces, and add decals purchased from Keeler sales on ebay.
20191225_104130.jpg 

I hope to highlight floral decal, to look more like this original.
20191226_174646.jpg 



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Dave in middle TN
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #2 
I've been modifying and improving those Chinese hand crank units too. If I'm making my own case, the hand crank is figured into the measurements, so that's not really a problem. But I do have to do quite a bit if fitting, shimming, bodywork etc. to get them halfway decent and looking the same. One thing I have been doing is turning a wood handle like you do, the other I have begun doing on my next one is scrapping the factory stamped crank arm and carving a decent one similar the old Singer crank arms that were machined, not stamped. They not only look and fit better, but they are a lot stronger. I'll take pics of that when done. Here is one of my rebuilt hand crank units on a Singer 319 that I did. This is the one getting the new crank arm, but the photo shows the old arm on it. I'll eventually retro fit all of the machines I turned into hand cranks with the better arm and wooden knob. 

I have had to redrill and tap a couple of these units from China because they weren't right when they were made. Some are ok, some are deplorable, none of them are great. All of them, and I mean all of them require a lot of work to be anything more than Chinese crap, but they can be improved. I consider them nothing more than a kit when I get one and know I will have to work over each piece. 

- Bruce Singer 319w hand crank assembly.jpg 

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Kitcarlson

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Reply with quote  #3 
Bruce,

Nice work above!

I agree about being a kit, worth more if just cast parts. If we could just buy cast parts, and machine holes nicely, what a time savings.


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Dave in middle TN
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vichou007

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesHand52
I've been modifying and improving those Chinese hand crank units too. If I'm making my own case, the hand crank is figured into the measurements, so that's not really a problem. But I do have to do quite a bit if fitting, shimming, bodywork etc. to get them halfway decent and looking the same. One thing I have been doing is turning a wood handle like you do, the other I have begun doing on my next one is scrapping the factory stamped crank arm and carving a decent one similar the old Singer crank arms that were machined, not stamped. They not only look and fit better, but they are a lot stronger. I'll take pics of that when done. Here is one of my rebuilt hand crank units on a Singer 319 that I did. This is the one getting the new crank arm, but the photo shows the old arm on it. I'll eventually retro fit all of the machines I turned into hand cranks with the better arm and wooden knob. 

I have had to redrill and tap a couple of these units from China because they weren't right when they were made. Some are ok, some are deplorable, none of them are great. All of them, and I mean all of them require a lot of work to be anything more than Chinese crap, but they can be improved. I consider them nothing more than a kit when I get one and know I will have to work over each piece. 

- Bruce Singer 319w hand crank assembly.jpg 
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vichou007

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Reply with quote  #5 
What modification did you do to get it to fit on a 319? I tried to put one on one of my 306's, but it wouldn't fit. I don't have a 319, but I'm assuming it's the same. Also, how did you match the paint?
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #6 
The Singer 319 hand crank was a challenge. Since the motor boss on the 319 does not line up with the center of the hand wheel, and it is also lower (as I recall), two things had to be done. 

First, the hand crank had to be mounted so that the center of the drive arm was level with the center of the main shaft. This required drilling and tapping a new hole in the motor mount and providing a new mounting screw. This accomplished, the crank would now mount and turn the hand wheel. But - the motor mount boss is also set to the rear of the machine, not in line with the mainshaft and hand wheel nut. As such, each time the crank went around, it would rise on one side and be down in the other. It would rise enough to slip out of the spokes of the hand wheel. So, I made a Rube Goldberg contraption to mount to the crank arm to keep the arm down in the bottom of the hand wheel between the spokes. l mounted it with 2-56 screws, making all the parts otherwise except for the coil spring. The spring loaded rod pushes agains the plate I screwed to the front of the arm with a hole in it to allow the center pin to slide in and out of the hole as the arm falls and rises. The only other modification I made was to take the plastic knob off and turn a wooden one. I am currently making a better crank arm to replace the stamped steel one on this Chinese unit so it will fit and function better, more like original crank sets. Also, I put in shims to take up the slop as mentioned in a previous post. 

The rough casting pieces were filed and sanded down, then auto body filler or JB Weld was used (I forget which) to fill and smooth the crappy casting join the Chinese cast into these repros. That made it look 100% better. After that, I made a trip to Lowe's Hardware to the paint department with the top cover of the machine. They scanned it and provided a sample can of acrylic house paint to match the Singer green color. Two coats were put on the pieces and when dry they were clear coated with either gloss Krylon or Rustoleum clear spray paint. 

That is how I converted my Singer 319 to hand crank. 

- Bruce
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #7 
Here is the full set of photos I took a while back of the Singer 319 hand crank project. In them you can see the pin protruding from the end plate I screwed to the end of the folding crank arm and the large O-ring I put on the hand wheel to bring contact with the bobbin winder wheel. 

- Bruce Singer 319w hand crank assembly.jpg  Singer 319w hand crank finger tensioner.jpg  Singer 319w hand crank project case base with accessory box.jpg  Singer 319w hand crank project.jpg 

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vichou007

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesHand52
The Singer 319 hand crank was a challenge. Since the motor boss on the 319 does not line up with the center of the hand wheel, and it is also lower (as I recall), two things had to be done. 

First, the hand crank had to be mounted so that the center of the drive arm was level with the center of the main shaft. This required drilling and tapping a new hole in the motor mount and providing a new mounting screw. This accomplished, the crank would now mount and turn the hand wheel. But - the motor mount boss is also set to the rear of the machine, not in line with the mainshaft and hand wheel nut. As such, each time the crank went around, it would rise on one side and be down in the other. It would rise enough to slip out of the spokes of the hand wheel. So, I made a Rube Goldberg contraption to mount to the crank arm to keep the arm down in the bottom of the hand wheel between the spokes. l mounted it with 2-56 screws, making all the parts otherwise except for the coil spring. The spring loaded rod pushes agains the plate I screwed to the front of the arm with a hole in it to allow the center pin to slide in and out of the hole as the arm falls and rises. The only other modification I made was to take the plastic knob off and turn a wooden one. I am currently making a better crank arm to replace the stamped steel one on this Chinese unit so it will fit and function better, more like original crank sets. Also, I put in shims to take up the slop as mentioned in a previous post. 

The rough casting pieces were filed and sanded down, then auto body filler or JB Weld was used (I forget which) to fill and smooth the crappy casting join the Chinese cast into these repros. That made it look 100% better. After that, I made a trip to Lowe's Hardware to the paint department with the top cover of the machine. They scanned it and provided a sample can of acrylic house paint to match the Singer green color. Two coats were put on the pieces and when dry they were clear coated with either gloss Krylon or Rustoleum clear spray paint. 

That is how I converted my Singer 319 to hand crank. 

- Bruce
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vichou007

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Posts: 23
Reply with quote  #9 
You just made my head spin, because I knew it was no simple task! Thanks for the info about the scan at Lowes. I didn't know they did that! I've been thinking about painting a crank to match a 185. Maybe I'll take a part off of one in there, or something from my tan 201K.
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #10 
Glad to share the info on the 319 mod to hand crank. Hey, if it were easy everybody would be doing it! I will say that the work was worth the effort. I really do like the 319 and enjoy using it with a hand crank, which is special and rare, and using 15x1 standard needles which only requires using a different bobbin case. This is one of the most maligned and misrepresented machines Singer ever made, but they do have a following, me included. 

-Bruce
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