Sewing Machine Troubleshooting ?.
I have been following along with the Truck reupholstery thread and have been attempting to get my skills to a level where I'm ready to have a go with our F350 seat. :thumbup:
I bought a used Mitsubishi LU2 4410 a couple of months ago and have been practicing on and off with exercises from Don Taylors Upholstery book, including making the stadium cushion........a disaster I might add. :mad:
Now I'm not too good with the technical names for sewing machine parts, so please put me straight.
A problem has only just arisen with the machine the last time I used it last weekend. When sewing welt on vinyl (I'm not using a welt foot as I don't have one) the machine has just started cutting the thread on the needle. I'm using a Polyester thread (16 oz?.) that came with the machine. It cuts through a strand at a time, then the thread bunches up on the needle and finally breaks. :(
When this happens it sometimes drops a stitch. It took quite a few test runs to actually see what was going on. Bobbin thread was also bunching up, but it appears that the problem starts at the needle.
It sews OK on flat items i.e. french seams, flat fell seams etc., just doesn't like sewing welt anymore. :confused:
I have had a close look at the "needle bar" , i.e. the bar which the needle passes through and presses against the material. That bar appears to have a nick in it from, I'm guessing the needle has hit it. I have smoothed it out with a fine diamond file but haven't tried the machine again.
I'm also guessing that sewing the welt is perhaps pushing the needle bar a bit and pinching the thread on the side it passes through the needle ?. Is this a possibility ?. What else should I be looking at ?.
Finally the Mitsubishi Instruction manual is VERY basic at best. It doesn't have the error codes or anything that are displayed on the readout for troubleshooting. Anybody here got one of these machines ?.
Thanks for your time..........Barry.
First of all, you can not sew welt without a welt foot. If you try to do this, you will make a gigantic mess out of whatever you try to sew that requires welts. A welt foot for your machine will cost about $35.00 at most. Why would you destroy a hundred dollars worth of fabric to save $35.00, and try to do this without the proper equipment?
The reason you had such bad luck with a project out of Taylor's book, (or the Taylor -Mangus book) is that it is explained so poorly. I have been sewing and upholstering for 34 years, and what they describe is to me, incomprehensible. In fact, none of what they show in their books is a complete description of anything. None of the projects they describe are ever followed through to completion. My opinion of their book (books) is that they are disjointed at best.
Your problem is as follows: 1) For heaven's sake, put a new needle in your machine. The eye in the needle may be doing the damage to the thread you describe. 2) The tension on your machine might not be set correctly. It may be sewing correct stitches in some instances , but the tension is set too tightly, both on the bobbin case and through the upper tension mechanism, or not fed through your machine properly. If the tension is set too tightly it can cause the problem you describe, especially with polyester thread. Or......the twist of your thread is incorrect for your machine. Thread comes with either a right twist or a left twist. If you use thread that is not compatible with your machine, it simply will not work. 3) The needle bar is the shaft that holds the needle. It goes up and down with the needle, and could not have been damaged by the needle itself, because it holds the needle. What the needle passes through, in your case, is the inside part of the presser foot. 4) The "manual" you describe is the same for every machine out there. It is not intended to teach you how to sew, it assumes you already know how to operate an industrial sewing machine that cost you well over $1000 new, and tells you what you need to know to adjust the machine, not to operate it correctly. This is the perfect reason to buy a sewing machine from a trusted local dealer. Will it cost you more? Yes. Will it save you untold grief? Yes. Is it worth $150 to $200 to avoid all these problems? Yes. If you had bought this machine from a reputable local dealer, it would have been set up to sew perfectly from the git-go, and any questions you had would have been answered before you ruined your seat.
I have been sewing with the same machine for 25 years, and today it would not sew a correct stitch. The lower tension appeared to be wrong, but no matter what I did to adjust the lower tension, I could not correct it. I finally loosened the tension on the bobbin case so far that the tension adjusting screw came out. In order to put that screw back in, I had to remove the bobbin case, or risk dropping the screw into the bowels of the machine. It was only then that I realized that one of the screws that held the retainer that held the bobbin case in place was loose and was what was causing the problem in the first place. Would the manual have told me that? No, but a reputable dealer may have been able to troubleshoot it over the phone.
I apologize for the long post and the endless preaching, but sewing is a skill that is learned over time with tons of practice. It can not be learned without endless failure.
Thankyou for your detailed reply. By the tone of your reply I must have struck a "raw nerve".......I apologise. :(
Specifcally in responce to a couple of your points.....
Point (1) "First of all, you can not sew welt without a welt foot. If you try to do this, you will make a gigantic mess out of whatever you try to sew that requires welts. A welt foot for your machine will cost about $35.00 at most. Why would you destroy a hundred dollars worth of fabric to save $35.00, and try to do this without the proper equipment?"
I have discovered that this is not practical. I haven't investigated costs of a welt foot yet. Here in Australia as a "novice" I'm finding help thin on the ground as upholsterers are seeing me as a threat. I guess they don't want me to succeed.
Point (2)"The reason you had such bad luck with a project out of Taylor's book, (or the Taylor -Mangus book) is that it is explained so poorly. I have been sewing and upholstering for 34 years, and what they describe is to me, incomprehensible. In fact, none of what they show in their books is a complete description of anything. None of the projects they describe are ever followed through to completion. My opinion of their book (books) is that they are disjointed at best."
I will have to take your word for this.
Point (3)"Your problem is as follows: 1) For heaven's sake, put a new needle in your machine. The eye in the needle may be doing the damage to the thread you describe. "
Yep.....will do !.
Point (4) "The tension on your machine might not be set correctly. It may be sewing correct stitches in some instances , but the tension is set too tightly, both on the bobbin case and through the upper tension mechanism, or not fed through your machine properly. If the tension is set too tightly it can cause the problem you describe, especially with polyester thread. Or......the twist of your thread is incorrect for your machine. Thread comes with either a right twist or a left twist. If you use thread that is not compatible with your machine, it simply will not work."
In my defence here all I can say is the machine was setup to work with the thread. I have to "learn" all of this. Like you said, you've got 34 years under your belt and I haven't got 34 days under my belt yet !.
Referring to the "manual" shows an explanation of thread tensions and it appears to be OK. The machine was bought from the female machinist who had used it (the machine) for auto upholstery work, mostly door trims etc. from new. She bought the machine when the company closed up.
Point (5)" The needle bar is the shaft that holds the needle. It goes up and down with the needle, and could not have been damaged by the needle itself, because it holds the needle. What the needle passes through, in your case, is the inside part of the presser foot. "
Thankyou for explaining that one.
Point (6)"The "manual" you describe is the same for every machine out there. It is not intended to teach you how to sew, it assumes you already know how to operate an industrial sewing machine that cost you well over $1000 new, and tells you what you need to know to adjust the machine, not to operate it correctly. This is the perfect reason to buy a sewing machine from a trusted local dealer. Will it cost you more? Yes. Will it save you untold grief? Yes. Is it worth $150 to $200 to avoid all these problems? Yes. If you had bought this machine from a reputable local dealer, it would have been set up to sew perfectly from the git-go, and any questions you had would have been answered before you ruined your seat."
Thankyou for explaining that one. In my defence, I paid $700 for the machine.....a bargain in my opinion. Similar machines when they come available in my neck of the woods would be at least double that. A chinese knock-off sells new here in good ol' Australia @ arround $1900-$2500. Interstate in Melbourne or Sydney is no better, plus freight on top if I buy from there and I'm still in the same boat......no dealer support.
In closing I appreciate your detailed responce and I'll update with what I find etc.. I will "source" a welt foot at my earliest convenience and replace the needle as suggested.
There is no apology needed, except from me to you. No, you didn't hit a nerve,.......sometimes my answers get a little too emphatic for my own good. The point I was trying to get across is this: the welt foot is absolutely essential if you are sewing welts.
I didn't notice that you were in Australia when I answered your questions. I'm sure locating and buying the correct supplies and equipment is a heck of a challenge for you.
Please take this advice, which I tell everyone who buys a used machine: Throw away the thread that came with the machine and start over with brand new thread (and bobbins if pre-wound ones came with your machine). It could be as simple as bad thread. Why risk doing work that could come apart prematurely and getting a bad reputation when it can be so easily avoided? Good Luck, and G'day to you, too.
One more thing, the lower hook can have a bur on it. It might be the last thing to check but you can run some emory paper on the areas the thread runs around. It can cause a frayed thread. But usually a new needle will take car of it.
It can also be a timing issue. But that gets a little bit more complicated even with a timing button.
Thanks for your replies. I will check the bottom hook out. Also the "manual" has details on timing the machine, so I'll check that as well.......but not adjust or touch anything until I'm sure something is not right. I'll ask here first.
Dan, I'm trying to source a welt foot here in Adelaide. Failing that I'll get onto the "net" and buy one O/S. How different are they to a regular foot ?. I've not actually seen one. Can a welt foot be made from a regular foot ?.
OK, I've looked at DanTwoLakes attachment on "sewing windlace" thread and he has got a picture of a 3/4" welt foot. I can see that the inside presser foot has an angle on it which would allow the needle to get as close as possible to the curved welt. This could be made from a regular foot if I had to ?.....yes or no ??.
The outside foot has a curve on the inside of it and I guess that the 3/4 refers to the curvature. This one would be harder to make.
Thanks for posting the pic.......now I know what I'm looking for.
Check here for the welt foot for your machine.
This company is in Calif. but they may ship overseas. Don't mess with the timing on your machine, leave that to a professional. I suspect thread may be your problem. Find a source for B69 bonded thread polyester or nylon. Check your needle size for the thread your using and the general rule of thumb is the bare needle should slide down the thread by it's own weight. Observe the thread as it feeds into and out of the tension washers, is it twisting the thread, or unwinding the thread? Bonded thread will feed smoothly with consistant tension. Stay away from vylon which is not a twisted thread......tension will not be consistant. Is the needle installed correctly? Go back to topstitching some scrape pieces and adjust your tensions there and one final question.........which side of the needle is the bobbin, left or right, or below? If your still having problems let us know.
Thankyou for your input.
Armed with this information I have contacted about the only machine spare parts supply house for Industrial machines in Adelaide and they have one set of 1/4" welt feet in stock @ $45.00. So it looks like I'm sorted out for the moment.
Thanks for all of the responces.........Barry :thumbup:
You can't make a welt foot out of a presser foot because there is not enough metal on the presser foot to be able to remove enough to do the job, and then you lose your presser foot. Use the web site that ford SR suggested, that's where I got the 3/4" welt foot. For standard welt, 4/32 and 5/32, a 1/4" welt foot is the right size. Your machine is set up exactly like my Consew 226R and my Consew 255RB-3, and uses the exact same welt feet. One final question.....are you feeding your thread down through the guide on the needle bar right above the needle? There is a guide there, and if you don't run your thread through it, that can cause the unraveling you mentioned.
I've got a welt foot ordered and hopefully it will arrive Friday. That website gave me the info. on ordering what I needed locally. If it doesn't work out I will contact cutsewservice as it does appear that they will export to Australia.
Yes there is a guide above the needle and then a needle bar guide which has material in it. There is also two small wire hoop type guides above that and then the take up lever at the top. Looks like the thread self aligns but the thread falls ever so slightly to the left of the needle before threading it through the eye.
I think that because I have been attempting to sew welt with a regular foot, I have been lucky NOT to have this problem (thread cutting) from word go. Once I get the proper feet I will reassess the problem if it still exists. In the meantime I can practice doing flat seems, adjusting tensions and see what effect that has and try some of the other threads that came with the machine.
If you can't get one any other way, I will get one and ship it to you.
The best advice I ever got when I got my Juki LU-562 came from Dan. He told me to have it checked out by a professional, so that's what I did. They cleaned it, tuned it up, inspected everything for wear, adjusted the timing, and gave it a good lubrication for about $90 American. I dropped it off at the shop on Tuesday and picked it up that Friday. To me, it was more than money well spent.
Dan is also 100% correct when he says to throw away all of the thread that came with your machine and get some new thread - including pre-wound bobbin thread. I'm new to sewing as well, and I ignored that advice for about a month and just kept getting frustrated with thread breakage and tangles. I thought it was just the tension adjustments on my machine, but it turns out that wasn't the case. I picked up some #69 Nylon thread at the sewing machine repair shop and tried it out. Talk about the difference between night and day!
The thread, along with a new needle, made this old Juki of mine almost a real joy to use. Now all of my problems are with technique and not the machine itself. Practice is the only thing that'll fix that, and I'm still plugging away. I have so many pieces of scrap canvas, vinyl, and other materials that have been sewn together lying around my garage, it looks like an explosion at a quilting bee.
The secret is to use a new needle and new thread. Wind some bobbins from the same spool of thread you'll be using in the machine, adjust your upper and lower tensions while you sew on some scrap, then go for it. You really won't believe the difference it makes.
Keep practicing with it, and if you have any questions at all, you've come to the right place. Dan, ArmySniper, Horvath (Alan,) - heck, who am I kidding - all of the guys here are very friendly and extremely helpful. You couldn't find a better bunch of people IMHO.
The welt foot hasn't arrived as yet so it will probably come Monday. Didn't have much time over the weekend to try much with the machine in any case as I've been busy with rebuilding the motor for the F350 project. I reassembled the polished foot checked the timing and all is well. I did some practice flat seems on scrap vinyl. Readjusted some tensions and all is well........so far. No problems with threads breaking or unravelling. :)
So it appears that the problem has gone. My inexperience with the machine making it perform a task it wasn't designed for (sewing welt with a plain walking foot) was the main cause.
Thanks for all your help on this one. :thumbup: I'm sure I'll be back with other questions on upholstery in the future.
Barry, I'm basically going to say what has already been said with a few exceptions. The first being, a welt foot is personal preference. I hate them. In 25 years of upholstery I have never used one other than to try one out for a few days. I hated it the first time I tried to sew a tight corner. I can get the welt tighter with a ground down walking foot and don't ever have to change the foot, but I also run the risk of running over the welt much easier, but like anything else practice helps. Every upholsterer at one time or another has run over the welt and ruined all or part of their project. However, since you've stated that you are a beginner it's probably not a bad idea to use a welt foot until you get a feel for it. I agree with Dan on Taylor's book, it tends to very non-descriptive. Even when you know what they are doing the descriptions don't make much sense. The book is good for pictures and ideas, but lacking in the description. Most books show a nice finished project but neglect to tell the reader the small things that make a huge difference in how the project turns out. As for adjusting your timing....DON'T. :pain: If you think you have problems now, just wait until your machine starts skipping stitches or knocking itself out of time because the timing is out of whack. Timing is not your problem. Thread problems are nothing compared to timing dilemmas. From my experience, shredding thread comes from a burr on the tip of the needle, crappy weak thread, a burr on the thread hook, or a groove where the thread has worn on the thread tensioner...in that order. I'm glad you're attempting to sew your project yourself, hang in there, you'll figure it out. You got a good deal on your machine and as long as you keep it oiled it will out live us all. If you need help with your projects, just ask. This is off topic, but you mentioned being a gunsmith, I thought your government stripped the citizens of their right to own guns.?. Take care,
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