Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oh Armature!!!!

I have been working on 201 motors, as you know.  Every armature that I have ever seen (it has not been many) look similar to this:  copper comutator and windings and then gray, metal armature
The armature from the motor I re-wired today looked like this:
There is brown, shiny, "varnish" on the armature.  I have no idea if that is supposed to look like that.  It looked so uniform to me I figured it must belong there.  So I left it.  But now I wonder.

It does not look like this armature that I pulled from that dreadful 201 motor  that someone really cobbled together on a re-wire:
That armature was stick and dirty.  I did try to clean it up and now it looks like this:
When sitting side by side, the armature in question does not look dirty.
So I just don't know.  I did put the motor all back together with the armature looking just like that.  I figure that I can always pull it and clean it if advised to do so.  I am off to post the question on WeFixIt now.  I am hoping someone there will help me out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More 201 Motor action

I am determined to get the 201s stitching and some of them out the door.  I have three too many.  This motor came off of the 1936 201 that I just cleaned up and got stitching.  The Centennial 201 awaits some parts (feed dog screw, bobbin case position bracket) so it can lend its motor for a while.  But I really want to get some room in the shop.  So I thought I would set to work on this motor.  I am taking photos of each step of the way.  A tedious task, but I want to illustrate the directions as found in the adjuster's manual.  That way when I need to service one of these motors, I will have, at hand,  clear illustrations. 

The motor is all ready for new leads.  That task is planned for Saturday.  I have already cleaned out the grease tubes and managed to break one of the old wicks.  It is probably just as well.  These wicks cannot be at all functional after all this time.  Seventy six years is a long time for some felt to maintain its integrity.

 I discovered that Jenny at Sew-Classic ( )sells grease wick by the inch.  I bought 20 inches today.  I have four 201s (10 inches needed) and three or four 15-91s.  So I need that much.  I also discovered that she sells feed dog screws.  I lost one Sunday when I was working on the centennial.  I think it landed on Wilson.  He was standing right next to me as I was working.  I heard it drop on the work bench but did not hear it drop to the floor.  GONE.  I was relieved to find that Jenny has them in stock so I bought 2 just in case. 

It only took me an hour to get ready to solder new leads and that includes taking time to photograph the steps.  Not bad.  Tonight I tore into a motor from a 1948 15-91.  That motor won't require new motor leads, I hope.  I haven't pulled the field core yet.  I had had enough of 60 plus year old grease and kerosene.  Time for blogging and bed.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sews through 12 layers of DENIM...WITH EASE!!!!

So sellers on eBay proclaim.  Or better yet, SEWS THROUGH  LEATHER.  The 201 is a strong machine and, indeed, it can sew through leather and many layers of denim.  But not day in and day out.  Still, it is what sells machines.  So sellers will continue to brag about all those layers.

I have four 201s and I really wanted to get another one stitching today.  This one, being the one with the best wiring, seemed like the best candidate.  I took the motor off the machine and serviced it first.  It was not in terrible shape and the wires were fine.  I decided against replacing the motor leads after I inspected them.  Less work.

I thought that I would replace the brushes as long as I had the motor opened but when I compared the new brushes to the old, I saw absolutely no advantage to doing so.

I cleaned up the commutator
and the grease tubes and the worm and the housing itself and popped the whole thing back together.

I had some difficulty getting the flat on the shaft of the armature to line up with the screw of the worm but finally lucked out. 

I then cleaned the presser bar and needle bar
The bobbin area was VERY RATTLY so I took a look in there.

The bobbin case was loose.  I could see that the finger of the bobbin case was not secure in the position bracket.  I tried to afix the bobbin case but instead the bobbin case ring and bobbin case just came out.  I thought I was missing the spring, but consultation with another 201 in stock proved that it was there.  It was just very loose.

I managed to tighten it so that the bobbin case would stay put.  But when I tried to replace the bobbin case position bracket, it broke.
 Well, I was BUMMED.  I think that because the bobbin case was not positioned correctly, it kept hitting this piece, weakening it..  I spent all that time on the motor and now I had a piece that was broken.  Time for lunch.

I decided to look over the other two 201s that I have and see which one looks the best and switch over the motor to it.  Neither looked better than the other so I took the one with the less bad motor, thinking I would switch motors back once I had the other one re-wired and had a new position bracket.

So I set to installing the motor.  I really wanted to hear what it sounded like.  In retrospect, I wish I had just set to cleaning the machine.  Mucking around with the motor on the machine was cumbersome.

But it sounded very sweet and strong, though I could hear some protesting somewhere.  So I set to looking around

All the gears were dry dry dry.  So dry there was no evidence of flung off grease in the gear caps
I greased them and oiled corresponding oil ports and where metal rubbed against metal.

Then I took a look around front.  CRAP.
The bobbin case and hook area were worse.  I should have realized this because I took the needle plate off of this machine when I was "consulting" with it earlier.  The feed dogs were loaded.
I cleaned that all up and then cleaned the tension assembly.

No adjustments necessary.  This machine sailed right through denim, again and again and again.  I got up to 8 layers, just by folding it over and over.  It would not do 16 layers.  Nope.  But 12, yes it did.
AE313680 ABOUT 1936

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kenmore 117.141

This morning I decided that I would just put this thing back together and tuck it away.  There is a "catch" somewhere and I cannot find it.  Occasionally there is a drag on the handwheel as I turn it.  I have oiled the begeezus out of this Kenmore and it still has that hesitation.  Oh well, time to move on.  So I got it all re-assembled and tried out the stitch.  Not bad but there was something terribly wrong with the presser foot.  NO PRESSURE.  I looked inside and discovered that I had neglected to replace the spring that belongs on the presser bar.  Luckily I found it.  At my feet.

The stitches looked pretty good but I was turning the handwheel , well, by hand.  The better test would be after the motor was installed.  I had some re-wiring to do before I could put that back on.

I elicited a second opinion about the wiring to the three pin terminal.  Steven advised that it looked fine.  I was all to happy to agree with him.  "If its not broke, don't fix it."  The wires  look fine inside the knee controller box.  Less work.  So I set to replacing the power cord.  Those wires did not look fine inside the knee controller box.

I was stymied, at first, over how to get those wires off.  I have been using screw drivers as my main tool for much of this repair work.  Now I was confronted with NUTS.  Oh great.  I did not have a good set of wrenches.  But wait, don't I ?  Yes I do!  I have a

 NUT DRIVER.  And it was the PERFECT size. 

I found a nifty quick wire plugs at the hardware store.  I used one over the weekend and loved it.  I picked up another today.  It certainly is easy.  I recommend it.  Of course I could have done the Bill Holman technique: an inexpensive extension cord with the molded plug.  He recommends that you merely buy one  and cut off the female end and there you have a molded factory fresh safe plug. Which is true and a good option. I just have so much wire that I opted for the quick connect plug.

Once I had the cord all re-wired I set to work on the light .

It was in tough shape. I released the wires from their connection to the three pin terminal attached to the motor body.  I marked the "white" lead with white tape before I unscrewed the wires.

Then I loosened the base of the lamp where it was crimped together.
And pulled it apart revealing the paper lining and the screws that connect the wires to the lamp

I was then able to loosen the wires inside the lamp. I marked the side that corresponded to the "white"(in this case striped) wire.
Then I threaded the new wire through the base of the lamp and

Fastened the new wire to the screws on the lamp and soldered some wire rings at the other end.

then I re-connected the wires.  Upside down. gee whiz, I am an idiot
So I had to turn it all around and fix it.
OK. So once that was all together and I put the cover plate back on I was able to install the motor on the machine and try it out.  The only problem was that this is a knee controller and I do not have an accessible Kenmore cabinet.  I have a Kenmore cabinet.  It is not accessible.
So I screwed the knee controller to the top of my work bench, upside down, and just controlled the machine by hand using the knee controller.  Not ideal.  But it worked.  And I was able to stitch with the machine.

It is noisy and clattery but it stitches.  I think once I get a new drive wheel for it the clunkiness will settle down.

 It is fast and strong.  Again, pretty nice stitches despite my shenanigans with the tension assembly and the hook.  The thread was dirty dirty dirty when I was first stitching with it but that was because the hook is dirty dirt dirty and oily from my working with it.  I succeeded in getting it to stitch.  That, for me, is a milestone.  This machine is totally different from the Singers.  So, I feel rather smug that I could apply basic knowledge from one machine to another.  Now I want to get a White 77 rotary.  They are fancier.  There is one on Craigslist.  But I have no room.  Really.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Post Mortem

It was a beautiful day.  The tree guys ( Bob and Brian) came. I had to take one last picture.   And as I was going back in the house I came across this little seedling.  Reminding me that life is a cycle, after all.
But, gee whiz, somehow it looks very sad, lying on the ground this way.
Steven stood looking at this scene for a very long time.  I thought he was grieving.  He was, in a way, for all the work ahead of us (mostly him) in getting all the fire wood cut, split and stashed away.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Good Bye, Old Friend

This Silver Maple has shaded our house for decades.  It had a companion when we first moved here.  That tree, also a Silver Maple, was rotted in the center and we had to take it down.  This one had some limbs that needed trimming, but it was still robust.  Not now.  It is time for it to come down, too.  Sometime this week the Tree Guy will come with his big truck and crew.  We will get the fire wood.  We will miss the shade.