This past week, I was asked to come to 2 quilt guilds to give a sewing machine maintenance class. One guild wanted a hands-on class where they opened their machines and did what maintenance they could on them. And I took my camera, but forgot to take pictures. Dang! The other guild just wanted a lecture/demo. There were 7 students in the hands-on class, and about 30 at the lecture/demo. It was great! I love teaching these classes!
One question that was asked at both classes was, "what gets done when we bring our machine in for a service?" So, I've made a list.
When you bring your machine in for a full service, here are some things that get done:
1. Clean and oil throughout, which can get very deep. We remove some, or all of the outside of the machine, and use an air compressor to blow out the lint. We oil where metal rubs on metal, and put grease on certain gears and tracers.
2. Service the motor. Older machines have carbon motor brushes that wear out and may need to be replaced. We oil the bearings at each end. In addition, we clean the motor’s commutator (or armature) when it’s accessible. Then blow the carbon and lint out of the motor when it is open.
3. Check the belts. Belts need to be replaced when they start to shred, get deep cuts in them, or get saturated with oil.
Check the electrical components. Foot controls and cords on older
machines may be a fire hazard. On newer machines, circuit boards and
stepping motors need to be checked. We also make sure the lights are
5. Check for
mechanisms that have been gummed-up with old oil. When necessary, we
use a solvent to remove the old oil, then re-oil.
6. Replace or repair any broken parts.
7. Polish the burrs and scratches off of the hook and needle plate, if needed.
8. Replace the needle.
Check and set the timing. We make sure the needle, hook and feed dogs
are working together to make a good stitch. Never try to adjust the
timing yourself! There are too many variables, and you’ll just scramble
10. Balance the tensions and do a sew-off sample.
11. Clean the outside of the machine.
What To Bring With Your Machine When It Needs a Service:
1. Foot control and power cord (these need to be checked, too)
Standard presser foot. This is the foot that can sew all of the
stitches on your machine, and has a nice flat bottom. We need this foot
to do a good sew-off sample.
3. Bobbin case (so we can balance the tensions)
4. The right bobbin
5. Thread (if a particular thread is giving you trouble)
6. Embroidery module and hoop, if it's an embroidery machine
7. Please write what problems you are having on the service order, and if you’d like to include a full service.
What NOT to bring (because we may loose them):
1. Accessory case and accessories
2. Carry case, bag, box or crate
3. Walking foot or other specialty feet
4. Thread (unless the thread is giving you trouble)
5. Snap-on sew table
If you are still having problems after the service, please bring your machine back right away, so we can sit down with you, and figure it out.