Joe in Canada

New trimmer in the works

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I bought a Singer 111W155 industrial machine and now my friends are waiting  to see how long it takes me to stich up my fingers. Now I was already thinking of that and was wondering if anyone has slowed up these fast machines and how you did it. I was thinking of putting on a larger pulley on the motor to see if that makes a difference. Any other tips out there as I am in a totally new field.

 

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You're thinking backward.

You need to decrease the size of the driver, increase the size of the driven pulley or both.

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More Practice! I assume this has a clutch motor. Running one of these is an acquired skill, and it takes a while.

 

Clutch motors come in either 1/3 or 1/2 horsepower, and in my opinion that makes no real difference for upholstery or auto trim work. 1/2 horsepower is the common standard on a walking foot machine.

 

They also come in 1725 RPM and 3450 RPM (assuming you live in the land of 60 HZ electricity).

 

Always get 1725. It is a little easier to control, and the situations where you would want to go full speed with a 3450 RPM motor are very few. You may never even encounter it. Some machines can't even do it.

 

I think any change you get from a pulley is going to be minimal fine tuning. You would have to calculate it out and see how much could be gained. I have never heard of anyone in an upholstery or trim shop bothering to do this on a machine that is already set up and running.

 

There are "servo motors" available now that allow just about anyone to sit down at the machine and effectively control the speed. That might be a possibility.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Pedal all the way back is a brake. As you tip it forward slightly it should be in neutral and you should be able to turn the balance wheel easliy. You can try this with the motor off.

 

The clutch motor has a couple of adjustments. I can't remember what they do anymore. Too long ago. The Internet probably knows....  It may be possible to make it a little better, but clutch motors are just not controllable until you have been using one for a while. Stitch.... Stitch... BRAPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!! is just what happens when you are a beginner.

 

Do this: Make a nice long scrap, long enough to go for a foot or two if it runs away. Put it in the machine, start the stitch by hand with the balance wheel. Move the pedal forward very slowly and listen. Listen for fssshhhhhhhhhhhh.... just hold it there for a second... fshhhhhhhhhhhhh.... maybe the balance wheel starts to move a little and make a stitch. Back off slightly. fshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... fshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..... Try to make one stitch at a time. Keep your fingers back.

 

Ok, it's probably gonna run away. Keep trying. You can go back and forth on that long scrap many times. More than anything listen to the motor. If you can get it to slip at all, you will get at least a partial second of that fssssssssshhhh noise, and maybe hear the motor slow a little. Practice finding that magic spot. Practice backing off ever so slightly when the first stitch goes through.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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I had the same problem ,it ran too fast for me to control. I ended up using a piece of scrap flat stock to extend the arm that attaches to the pedal, that made it much more controllable. I found directions how through You Tube.

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Bloo is correct, except for his statement about "no one"!

 

My current Pfaff was bought at Keystone in Philadelphia.

 

The first thing I did was ask them to put the smallest pulley they could find on the motor, to slow down the machine.

 

You also need to make sure the clutch is in good condition and adjusted correctly.  You have to be able to slip it, which is a learned foot action.  I've seen machines that had a clutch like a toggle switch, either full on or full off.

 

Many industrial machines were never made for fine detail work, they were sewing tarps and such where speed was immaterial (so to speak!), the faster the better to get production out the door.  

 

The other option, and not very expensive, is to go with a new servo motor.  Most people who use them love them, I'm just so used to being able to control my stitching the old way that I won't switch.

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Yes I installed a small pulley on the motor and it made a large speed change . The other 2 machines had clutch drive right off the motors and u just have to learn to work with it.   Mike

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We just bought an older double needle machine and it has the servo motor which allows the speed to be controlled from very, very slow, to quick but not uncontrollable.

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I have the same machine and put a servo on mine.  I can go at a crawl and speed is much easier to control.

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I little old lady doing piece work will jam that machine right up and complain it is too slow.

 

Once upon a time I was a sewing machine mechanic at the Superba Cravat tie factory.

image.png.1b3f54f776de257b2f52e09e447b5faa.png

 

The machines were activated by a chain attached to a foot treadle. A chain broke one day and I fixed it but left out a couple of links. That brought the treadle closer to the lady's foot and it felt like it went faster to her. The other workers demanded I "speed up" their machines too. I came in after hours and shortened all the chains by about 3 links. They loved me.

 

Start learning with a stiff pedal.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)

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 I managed several Singer retail stores in the seventies and usually had almost no contact with industrial machines. On the few occasions that I did, I learned very quickly that there were capable of scaring the hell out of me. I honestly got my tie under the presser foot one my first try. Even for me who had been around top of the line retail machines for quite a while, there was a lot of new coordination to learn. I wouldn't make any changes to your machine just yet. Just keep playing with it -- stopping fast, starting again as slow as you can. After stopping, get used to leaving the needle in your scrap fabric so that you can pivot your work and start again. It's not like using your foot on a gas pedal, but you'll adjust to the nuance in short order. Many others have before you. Servo motors are wonderful because they provide such high torque at a crawl, but it's not something you have to do right away.

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I went  one step further with my upholstery shop walking foot machine. 

 

I don't need high speed for production work, but because I occasionally sew through many layers of thick leather, I wanted the power, along with the control.

 

Going to a smallest drive pully available wasn't enough. I installed a sewing machine jack shaft system - sometimes called a speed reducer - that multiplies the power to the needle along with slowing the drive speed to about 1/3. I can do one stich at a time through thick materials and still have the motor speed range adjusted up where the motor is not straining.   It now has much more power than just a smaller pulley gives so I can do harness leather thickness type work for door check straps and accessory trunks, such as dog-bone handles and straps.

 

Some of the sewing machine sales places sell the jack shaft systems made to work with most commercial type sewing machines.  

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Hi Joe, like others here I bought smaller pulleys and tried adjustments.  I just bought one of the servo motors (see photo) and have been very happy.  Note the switch on the side, that allows you to turn it down to (I think) 950 max rpm from the standard 3450.  The motor here is only $115 on Amazon, mine was an easy install and even used the original mounting holes.  It is quiet and smooth and I recommend it to any hobbyist, take a look at You Tube for videos, Todd C 

ConsewServoMotor.png

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I forgot to mention the huge change is was when Singer and others came out with DC servo motors for household machines. It was just amazing to stuff as much leather as possible under the presser feet and watch the needle pass through at any speed you desired. Most customers were astonished.

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I used the same motor on mine with a jackshaft to really allow it to crawl. 

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P2112351.JPG

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Thanks for all the tips on the speed adjustment. I think the closest I ever got to a sewing machine was using an extra needle to pick out a sliver out of my finger a few years ago.

 Again thanks Joe 

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Just one  last  tip, start sewing  a  material that if  you  sew  it  wrong,  you  can  remove the  stitch  and  do  it  again.  leather and  vinyl are  not  forgiving. You  only  have  1  chance  to  do  it  wright. I  sewed  for  16  years  before I  did my  first  leather Hupmobile rumble seat  for  a  good  friend,  he  said  just  patch the  bottom  that  was bad. He  gave  me  a  whole  hide.  After studying the  amount  of leather  I  had, I  decided to  make  a whole  new  bottom seat. I  wish  I  had  the  pic to  show  you  but  its  not  at  this  location. I  can only  say  that  my  friend  was very  pleased with  the  seat.  

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Good advice, interestingly enough, the first sewing project I did was leather.

 

Yes, a mistake is usually not fixable, but if you learn on leather, you learn to go slow and do your best the first time.

 

kinda like learning to fly, the first plane you learn to fly can be a 747, you don't have to start with a Cessna ( or in my case, an Aeronca!!)...

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My Mother managed sewing factories and made samples for 35 years and in that time she sewed her finger 5 times. My Grandmother was totally blind yet sewed all her own clothes and blankets etc. She never sewed her finger.

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I've only sewed my finger once, and that wasn't doing upholstery!  My brother and I had a cotton gin and cattle feed business in Central Louisiana, one day I was bagging range cubes, the bag is filled then run on a conveyor belt through a sewing machine that's set horizontally.  Someone called to me just as I started sewing, I looked back and my thumb was sewn to the bag.  Not my favorite memory.....

 

Interesting that the Singer 111W155 is advertised as a "High Speed Walking Foot" sewing machine, so I can see the need for slowing it down.

 

If you get further into sewing, you'll also find that needles are different for leather and fabric.  The leather needle has "cutting" edges to slice through the hide, the fabric needle is rounded to slip between the weave.

 

If you're doing automotive work, make sure to use thread that has UV protection.

 

Let's see, what else....trust your mark, take your time, be prepared to do work over at times, keep your machine oiled, the list goes on...

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