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#101205 - 08/13/08 10:44 PM Need recommendations for a new machine
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
After years of fighting with my beloved SuperElna (inherited from Grandma), I am ready to throw in the towel. I am close to crying, i am so frustrated. I just dissassembled, cleaned, and re-assembled the entire bobbin structure, and the same $#@% problem keeps happening, no matter what I do. I know two other people with SuperElnas and I can scavenge parts off of them, but i am sick, sick, sick of this and am seriously considering a new machine. Every sewing project is just agony for me now.

Please help me before I walk into All Brands crying and they take advantage of me. I must have a free arm. I just need basic stitches (straight, zigzag, blind, etc.), no fancy embroidery. It would be great if it had a shank that would allow me to use my extensive collection of vintage Singer feet (i believe it's a low shank). I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars, but if that's my only choice i could make it my Christmas present.

Help me, please.

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#101206 - 08/14/08 02:45 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
leadfoot Offline
member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 954
Loc: Virginia
Cheer up, tarbubble. Just think...a new machine to sew oodles of things for you! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

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#101207 - 08/14/08 04:53 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Aww, now now....never cry over a wrecked sewing machine.
What does it do, anyway? (symptoms)

Around here, I've made friends with my local sew & vac store and the guy always has used trade ins that he's rebuilt and warrants. Most under $100 for the basic machines. I sew about 60 school/church play costumes a year on my old Singer Fashion Mate 252, a super basic beginner machine that must be 30 years old, so I know it holds up. Might look for one of those. Check Craigs list in your area too.


Edited by Dryer (08/14/08 04:57 AM)
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#101208 - 08/14/08 05:26 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: Dryer]
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
When it works, the bobbin case spins and catches the top thread, then winds it around so it wraps over the lower thread and forms a stitch. What is happening every time now is the upper thread gets caught - either under the spring arm that controls the lower tension, or on a knob on the bobbin case (whose function I am uncertain of). A huge tangle occurs within three strokes of the needle, and the upper thread always breaks off.

My mother has another of Grandma's Elnasupers, but she never uses it and would let me salvage the bobbin assembly and transplant it. I also have a friend at church who has one that she never uses (hopefully she hasn't chucked it out; it was jammed on straight stitch).

I'm just fed up. This machine has done some beautiful work for me, but lately it is nothing but a fight to use it.

i need to step in to the sew & vac. at least it's a good starting point. thank you.

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#101209 - 08/14/08 07:12 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Sorry about the machine. All my relatives (mom, grandma, aunts) that sew a lot, have Berninas. They are expensive, but worth it. If you want to buy new, then I would consider a Bernina or a Husqvarna. They are also great used. I hear old singers are great too. Good luck. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#101210 - 08/14/08 07:28 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
I think I understand. That's a problem with my machines when there is a little sliver of thread caught in the bobbin tension spring (little tiny sheet metal spring that wraps around the front of the bobbin case), or lint collects around the bobbin assembly, gunked up with oil. The problem cause isn't obvious and is very frustrating. Your problem might not be with the bobbin assembly but the linkage running it. So......
About once a year I haul my machines out into the garage and blast 'em all over with compressed air. Canned air works ok if you don't have a compressor. Then I do what my sister, who owns a huge window treatment workroom in Dallas, does with her commercial machines......floor board the machine to full-tilt-boogie while spraying machine lube/solvent to flush everything out.
I watched one of her service techs do this. I've used WD-40 for this with good results, following up with a drop of sewing machine oil after I dry it all off. Do NOT spray the motor or anywhere near it, if you do this. Use the straw that came with the spray to get good pressure and direction. Spray/clean ALL bearings, top/bottom, underneath, while it's running.
I know this sounds drastic but it gets everything running in tolerance again. It also exposes real adjustment and timing issues if you have any. Sewing machines technically don't wear out but have very close machine tolerances, with adjustments built in to compensate for normal wear. Hidden lint "mud" will turn one into a boat anchor unless you clean it out. Try a mongo cleaning before giving up on your trusty friend. Hope this helps.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#101211 - 08/14/08 04:15 PM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
Rick Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 708
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Oh, I feel your fruatration all the way up here in another country.

I too was once ready to throw Grandma's 1917 Singer into the scrap heap. I asked around a couple sewing shops to find someone who could service this antique and lo and behold I found someone in another town down the highway.

After a tune up, cleaning and a couple of new used parts, voila, I'm back sewing.

If for no other reason than to keep a smile on my mothers face knowing that her son is sewing with the same machine her mother made her school clothes with, I'm glad I went this route (even if secretly I wish I had a machine that did something more than straight stiches).

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#101212 - 08/15/08 07:51 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: Rick]
pennys Offline


Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 2842
Loc: Washington
Why aren't you taking it to a pro for servicing before you plunk money down on a new machine?

Anyway, rumor has it the new berninas aren't nearly as nice as the old ones. If I were going to buy a home machine now I would really look at Janome.
_________________________
tips for making gear

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#101213 - 08/15/08 09:55 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: pennys]
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
it's been serviced many times. just always seems to be something else, then something else, then something else.

but you're right. i should at least have it looked at. i think my first post was premature and heated, like a teenage girl going on MySpace after a fight with her boyfriend. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

thanks everybody. i can't tell you all how much i appreciate this forum and the support you all offer.

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#101214 - 08/18/08 09:38 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
oregoncarver Offline
member

Registered: 10/06/05
Posts: 129
I think Dryer is probably right--a tiny piece of thread is stuck somewhere in the bobin assembly. They can be a real PITA to find but easy to fix. I understand your frustration--been there done that. Thankfully I didn't throw the machine away--just let it sit for a while then went back to it and finally fixed it. IF however, you do decide to part company with your Elna I would be delighted to have it and would be willing to pay the postage and packaging <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />. Also go back to the manual and make absolutely sure you are threading the machine & needle correctly, winding the bobin and having it loaded correctly, and the needle is installed correctly. Super simple but you would be suprised how many machines I have "fixed" by studying the manual and going through all of this step by step.
My advice is to keep the machine just because of it's history even if you can not ever use it to sew with. Good luck.

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#101215 - 08/18/08 02:34 PM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: oregoncarver]
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
the machine is now in the shop. as i said above, i disassembled the entire bobbin structure, cleaned it, and reassembled it. i actually took it apart & put it back together three times, testing each time. still the same problem - the thread gets caught under the bobbin tension spring arm. I opened up the whole machine, just to make sure there wasn't a hidden problem. the gentleman at the repair shop suspects i may have a broken or missing bobbin gear.

when i painstakingly examined the photographs in my manual (used a magnifying glass), comparing them against the bobbin machinery, i could not see anything awry, but then this gentleman's business is repairing sewing machines. i am on pins & needles (pun sort of intended) waiting to hear if he can save my baby.

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#101216 - 08/18/08 07:38 PM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
pennys Offline


Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 2842
Loc: Washington
slight derail.

My new Bernina (Tacsew) 950 has occasional seizures. I finally put a drop of oil on the axle of the bobbin case. Voila, no more tension problems! The bobbin was dragging if you can believe that.
_________________________
tips for making gear

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#101217 - 08/19/08 08:29 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: pennys]
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
LOL, now you've made me paranoid that all i had to do was oil it.

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#101218 - 08/20/08 05:38 PM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
$189 for servicing and repair, $98 for repairs alone. money i ain't got. i go back to college next week and textbooks are killing me. so i guess i wont be sewing for a while, unless i go to my mother's house...

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#101219 - 08/21/08 07:34 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
pennys Offline


Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 2842
Loc: Washington
ouch! Holy Cr*p!!! Where do you live? I've never paid more than $80 for servicing, except that one time a couple of boards on my electronic Bernina got fried by a home lightening hit.!!!
_________________________
tips for making gear

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#101220 - 08/21/08 08:47 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: pennys]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
High repair quotes sell new machines! My local sew & vac guy talked me out of buying a Burnina I found at a garage sale that had a defective LCD screen. $600 for part and circuit board. Uh....no.

So, tarbubble.....ask around with family and friends for old machines in closets. Free usually, a spritz of oil usually fixes the reason they are in the closet. Then, wander into garage sales....if no machines are present, ask if they have one they'd like to sell or donate (you'd be surprised, if the timing is right). I bought a killer serger for $50. Several sewing machines for $10-20....and several free ones for asking around at church. I fix 'em and donate 'em.
Check Craigs list. Don't fret.....the machine with your name on it is out there. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#101221 - 08/21/08 09:26 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: pennys]
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
i live in south Orange County, which explains the high price (on everything - even our thrift stores are comparatively pricey). yeah, i almost had a heart attack when they quoted me over the phone.

i'm taking the machine back today and will try to do some surgery on it by stealing parts from my mother's Elnasuper, which she never uses (they bought a Husqvarna a few years ago). If that fails, i will have her take it into her repair shop to get a quote. she lives an hour inland from me, so everything tends to be less expensive.

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#101222 - 08/22/08 03:56 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
leadfoot Offline
member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 954
Loc: Virginia
try the oiling it first. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

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#101223 - 08/23/08 08:27 PM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
fiddler Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/06/03
Posts: 2
Loc: Washington State
Look into some of the older Pfaffs from Germany. They were well-built and the ones that I used could take the low shank attachments. The time period of 1948 to 1970 is the era that I would investigate. Sometimes you can find old machines at donation stors like Goodwill, and they are very well priced.

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#101224 - 08/26/08 03:13 PM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
tarbubble Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/03
Posts: 996
Loc: ca-li-for-ni-a
my husband talked me into spending the money on the repairs. i lucked out and got a great price (like $100 off) on a used textbook, so i had some school-budgeted money to work with. arrrgh. i hope they fix it well.

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#101225 - 08/31/08 06:49 AM Re: Need recommendations for a new machine [Re: tarbubble]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
How goes the machine repair? I feel your pain. My Singer is in the shop right now with a repair bill of $88. In this case though, it's my own fault. It's over 15 years old, and I cleaned it for the first time last year. I've treated it like crap, too. But I promise to CHANGE THE NEEDLE OFTEN once I get my baby back. So much gear to make, so little time!
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Why am I online instead of hiking?

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