Mechanical Fiddling

So, as promised, I wanted to chat a little about my tinkering this weekend.

A must.
To start with, every single quilter should have a set of eyeglass screwdrivers. I got mine from the dollar store for... Well... a dollar. But it's easily been the best dollar I've ever spent, especially when I'm working with bobbin tensions and foot pedals. You'll always be able to get into the guts of your machine with this.

Anyways, my problems started on the weekend when I pulled Faith-Ann out after having cleaned her up the week before. I always do a complete disassembly on Sundays, cleaning, oiling, and lubricating as need be. The problem was, when I went to sew the needle made a horrible chunk noise as I brought it down (using the handwheel, thank heavens). Confused, I pulled things apart for a looksee.

A close up of the pertinent parts.
See that little extrusion at the top of the bobbin wheel? My problem was that that was at the bottom of the circle, meaning my needle was colliding with the other part of the bobbin housing and could have caused some serious damage if I hadn't pulled things apart. The moral of this story? Make sure that hook up there is in its home on the throat plate.

It wants to go right in that lovely slot.
So, that was the first tweaking I did. Well, not really tweaking, just putting things back in order. Well then, you might ask, what 'fiddling' did you actually do?

Dunh dunh duuuuuh!
I'd been having some strange issues with Faith-Ann slowing down intermittently, or not going at full throttle when I had the pedal pushed all the way down. I'd had some issues with the lever inside the foot pedal not staying in place, so I opened it up again to put things back in order. But when I took the back off I found that the lever had been in the right place and position. What was going on here?

The real culprit.
The design of these footpedals is actually pretty neat. Well, neat if you've never taken one of these apart. When you push down on the foot pedal it pulls a metal bar forward. When it makes contact with two electrodes at the end of the movement path, it completes the circuit and the machine starts sewing. Push down harder, more contact, and more power and speed.

How cool is this?
If you look at the picture of my pedal above, you might notice the electrodes are slightly uneven. That, plus the fast that the screw that runs through the middle of the metal bar was a little loose, meant that Faith-Ann wasn't sewing at her full potential. A little tweaking here and there (aka, tightening the screw a little and bending the electrodes until they were even), and she's as good as new.

Obviously, you should never attempt these repairs unless everything is unplugged and discharged. I am not to be held responsible for damage to your machine, etc. etc. I just thought it was a kinda neat note on machine repair.

I'm more than a little terrified of the blocks this unit for the JT2 quilt, but you'll see my attempts on Sunday. The extra fabric I ordered should be here tomorrow so I won't have anything in my way except my own silliness when I take a stab at the blocks. Wish me luck!


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