A key to machinery? LISTEN. (literally.)
And: why I really wish I’d take a small motors class at some point during my education. They should be mandatory for sewing students, because machine repair people are few and far between in our disposable age.
And: it was today that I confirmed that motors & engines are not the same thing, and the sewing machines do not have engines. =>
Now that we have a fair selection of industrial machinery, we more often face machinery problems. And they have, to date, always been due to one of three things:
1. a loose screw
2. lack of oil
3. thread or fabric bits getting caught
Now, knowing that it’s most likely going to be one of those three things- it makes more and more sense to try to identify and resolve the problem ourselves! and frankly, the results of doing so have been improving, each one giving us a sense of self-reliance & empowerment that’s just great.
1. a juki straight stitch motor started making a terrible noise this morning and then the belt stopped turning. I offered Daniel this problem to solve, and within a minute he’d identified it as a loose set screw (the screw that attaches the belt wheel to the motor, in extreme layspeak.) We had the appropriate set of allan wrenches for this to be tightened up.
2. The zigzag pulled a bit of thin fabric down into the bobbin case, and the machine just stopped. I called Mike for a phone diagnosis based on symptoms, and he assured me it was almost definitely a tiny bit of stuck fabric in the hook casing (aka bobbin casing.) With patience and tiny screwdrivers, we took this miraculous and precise little piece of machinery apart. After finding the offending, and pin-sized scrap of fabric, putting the thing back together seemed like it might be the easy part. Jacquelyn had advised me to use the method of photographing every step of the disassembly (smart girl) – so that was easy enough… Until it came to aligning the hook casing to needle position. (took about 30 tries.)
3. Another set screw, this time on the buttonholer: Our dear friend Geo, who has a way with machinery identified and resolved this one. (and I’m taking from this that set screws are a big deal, as well as a common element! Something a small motors class would have done well to teach.)
4. the bobbin winder of the straight stitch stopped working- stopped spinning the bobbin. Guess what it needed? oil.
5. My home serger sounded like the motor had just died. It whined a little but wouldn’t move. Guess what it needed? oil. Nobody tells you that home machines need oil.