Registered: 1593440686 Posts: 1
Reply with quote
I mostly work on textiles, webbing, vinyl and light leather. Nothing professional, all for my own stuff. Primarily, I work in vinyl and leather for my motorcycle and car projects (ie: motorcycle seats, etc) and textiles are usually things like covers, tops, etc for Off road toys. I don't do anything like belts, harnesses, chaps or the like. It's all "lighter" stuff. I also usually end up doing clothing repairs and the like for my missus (she can't sew a stitch). It's all personal stuff, and maybe the occasional small things for friends and family. I've always used domestic machines, but the older ones. Things like assorted Singers (iE:319W, 328, etc) White rotary's,assorted Kenmore's, etc. Mostly 50'-60's machines. I just like the industrial look and the feel of an all metal machine.
But they have their obvious limitations. I usually do the waxed paper trick if I have to pass leather or vinyl under the flat presser feet of these machines, but that's never ideal and you end up with lots of little pieces of waxed paper stuck in your material/stitches. I never really wanted to invest more into them than getting them looking decent and working right, so no roller feet, etc. I've been vetching for years for a walking foot machine, but they're nearly impossible to find here, I've seen a total of two up for sale in the last two years. One was a Pfaff, but the seller never responded to my inquiries and the other was a knock off of what looked like the smallest of the Sailright's (like a domestic sized machine) that they wanted waaaaay too much for (could have almost bought a new one). I've been watching ebay/online forever, but you're talking in the $2000-3000 (Canadian) range to get anything worth buying, ship it, duties, taxes, etc. I could pay that (and it would hurt a fair bit), but I just can't bring myself to spend that kind of money on something I might use a couple times a year (when not doing a larger project of some sort). A couple days ago, a Singer 331k105 showed up on facebook marketplace and it was only 10 mins away. Here's the add pic: It's all there, it's just a little....ahem.....neglected. It's not really a "commercial" model, nor is it a "domestic" model. It seems kind of halfway between both worlds. I guess that's why they put "professional" on it: more than domestic, less than commercial, so it needed it's own category....lol! I actually kind of like it that way, as I can still do domestic tasks on it yet have enough "punch" for entry level/light leather work. Straight stitch, no reverse. Not that big of a deal. Has a manual with it, but I don't think it's the original one. There was actually a bill of sale/warranty card in the drawer and it said it was sold in 1966 in Baden-Baden, Germany. That it originated in Germany isn't that big a surprise, there's a major airbase just up the road a ways (I'm retired Mil Aircrew) and when we pulled out of Germany in the 80's lots of German items came back with our troops as household belongings. The manual is for all 331k's, with a publication date of 1975. There was a parts list too, but it's for a 331k5. Still, lots of good info there and the original owner card was kind of neat to see (I was born in 65, which may very well be the birth year of this old rig). The lady that had it said she had it "tuned up" last year, but it was now out of timing. In a nutshell, the hook doesn't seem to be picking up the thread. She says she was sewing, broke a needle on some fabric and it's been out of time since. Probably shifted the needle bar too high. That doesn't worry me, I plan to pull it apart to the nuts and bolt and restore it. She took a hundred off her asking becuase that's what she had to pay to get it timed. 300 bucks all in. Information on it is pretty sparse on the web, I'm guessing because it's not as common as a domestic (or more mainstream) machine. I'm aware that it is intended as a tailor/seamstress machine. It's got a walking foot, but it's not the compound feed. It's the hopping/vibrating/kick/hobble foot. Basically, the dogs pull back the outer foot when they go and then it springs back when the feed dogs drop. So it's got it's limitations, but it will do what I need it to do: light leather and vinyl work. Certainly better than a fixed presser foot. Parts are a little hard to come by it seems. At least for a 105 model. It appears (from what I have read) it's basically a 31 series refresh in a "new" body. The kick foot 31's seem to be serials like 31-47. When I got it home, I started pulling it down. They were smokers and man it shows. Took about an hour with cleaners and a toothbrush just to get most of the baked on tar loose. And that was just the exterior. I ran a little Neverdull over the brass bits and they start to clean up nicely. that's a good sign for later when I actually clean/polish/buff them back to new. The body is decent, but I'm probably going to have to strip it down to bare metal to deal with some light rusting and what not. Probably go back to the same "robin's egg blue" color. The names (Ie:Singer,Professional, etc) I'll photograph and have replicated in vinyl stick on lettering. Would be nice to save the original painted letters, but if I strip it down that's not an option. I plan on dropping all the bits and whatnot into the ultrasonic, which will take care of the 50+ years of crud baked into this thing everywhere. First was a quick overview/check. Well, it's not feeding material. A quick look reveals the feed dogs are loose. Tighten that up and it now wants to just spin the material under the foot. I also notice that the "walking foot" doesn't "walk" all the way back to the point where the dogs drop. A little cleaning, positioning and work on presser settings gets it moving. A bit more adjusting and it "mostly" feeds now, it just has a slight tendency to pull the fabric to the right. I pull the foot off and flip it over. Ah, there it is: it's a piping foot and a large one at that. There's almost nothing contacting the dogs on the right, so the left is just trying to "spin" the materials. No flat presser in the box of bits, so I order one up. Sheesh, there goes 80 bucks! (exchange, shipping, etc) But I have no choice, I can only find it one place online. Well, 2 places, but one of those is ebay and it's the guy who is selling them on his own website. Stitch length is a little short for leather work. It is only spec'd for 4.5 mm. Well, I'd like a longer stitch length than that, so i start digging around. I discover that if I remove the nice decorative plate around the stitch length lever, the lever drops down further. I try out a stitch on some paper and it measures out to 6 mm. Not bad, not bad at all, considering it started closer to 4 mm. I then notice that the lever has a nice little pointer on it, but that also hold the lever up off the bottom of the slot. I pop that off and gain another .5 mm for a total of 6.5 mm. I may try a little filing on the case to see if I can gain another .5 mm without messing up the machine. 7 mm would be a decent length for exposed stitches on leather. The kick foot was still in contact with the dogs at 6.5 mm with lots of reward movement still available (and the needle and center presser firmly in contact with the material) so squeaking out another .5 mm without puckering the material should be possible. Thread sizes? Well, that will have be a little trial and error. But I've read a few (very few) posts that indicate it will run 92 fine and one that indicated 138 runs fine. It's got a clutch motor, which (as an amateur) is obviously not ideal for me. It runs like a tailoring machine right now, meaning it's g-d frighteningly fast as soon as you even graze the pedal! I play around with it for a while (longer arm, pulleys, etc) since I already have it and it costs me nothing to mess with it. But I just can't reliably get it where I like it. I can sort of run it slow with some careful foot work. But the pedal is so sensitive and finicky, I never know what RPM it's going to start at or when a little too much pressure will make it zip up to warp speed 9! If I were to use it every day for hours at a time, I might be able to better control it, but that's not how it's going to go. So I throw up my hands and order a servo motor. The clutch motor will do for now, as I'm just going to be tearing it apart and need the motor to confirm function when I get it back together. It should be a fun learning experience messing around with the clutch motor, even if it eventually ends up on a shelf somewhere..... I'll have to see how that "hopping foot" deals with some leather/vinyl. If it's not working out, I may switch to a roller foot and see how that goes. I'm sure I'll find no end of modifications and substitutions that will fit the ol' girl. Should be a fun little project and hopefully, it will fit my needs. Any info, suggestions or links to info/manuals on the 331k105 appreciated! Oh yeah; first post, so......Hello! :)