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Old 10-15-2008, 12:30 PM
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Upholstery Machine Upgrading

Hi, I'm looking to upgrade my upholstery machine and was wondering what some good brands and models would be. I currently have an ancient pfaff (spelling?). I have heard that the older machines are better than the new ones. The machine I have is nice but it either doesn't go at all or full throttle which, as I'm sure everyone could figure out, makes the whole sewing experience rather difficult. Also the tightness on the stitching seems to vary as I sew. The whole line will look great and then there in the middle there will be one loose loop looking up at me. If I could find parts I would but I haven't been very successful. So, any advice on new machines within a decent cost figure. Say, around a grand? Thanks.

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Old 10-15-2008, 12:56 PM
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http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/sear...archid=2044859

http://www.google.com/search?q=sewin...ient=firefox-a

couple of searches that will help a bit..Others may weigh in..

Sam
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:45 PM
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Good morning,

I'm still pretty new to upholstery, but I have experienced some of the same things you're experiencing with your Pfaff (yes, it's spelled that way.) First of all, my Juki is the same way when it comes to using the foot treadle - it's either off, or on full throttle. It's supposed to be that way, as the clutch system isn't made to be variable-speed. Your best bet is to slow down the machine by putting a smaller pulley on the sewing machine motor. I fought my Juki for a few months before doing this, and I'm happy I finally did it. I went from a 3 inch pulley on my motor to a 2 inch pulley, and the machine is a lot easier to control, as it runs a lot slower. When you change the pulley, you'll also have to change belts (you'll need one a bit longer than the one you have now,) but the whole modification took me about 20 minutes to do, and cost less than $20.

As far as the big loop in the middle of your row of stitches are concerned, it might be your tensioning - then again it might not be. I'm not familiar with Pfaff machines at all, so I don't know what kind of tensioning system it uses. One thing I'll ask you is, have you ever had the machine head checked out by a repair shop? The best piece of advice I got here when I first started sewing on my Juki came from DanTwoLakes. He suggested I take my machine head in and have it checked out by a pro. I found a sewing machine repair shop that specializes in industrial machines and took it in. They checked it out, cleaned it up, lubricated it, adjusted the timing, and just basically tuned it up. The cost was about $90, and I dropped it off Monday afternoon, and got it back that Friday afternoon. When I picked it up, I asked the tech that worked on it a LOT of questions (especially about tensioning) while I had him right there.

One thing I figured out on my own after having a LOT of frustration with the tensioning was that when you initially thread the machine, lift the presser foot all the way up with the lever on the back of the machine. That spreads the upper tensioning disks, and allows the thread to seat itself between them so they can tension the upper thread correctly. I hadn't been doing that, and was getting a LOT of loose loops in my sewing.

Here's a link to the discussion Dan, Alan, and I had about gearing down my Juki by replacing the pulley on my motor. It starts on page 2 of the thread:

Q About Zipper Foot

I hope some of this helps. Let me say that the best piece of advice I can give you is to have your machine checked out by a pro, then practice, practice, practice.
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:42 PM
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As far as the machine going too fast or too slow, why not upgrade to a Servo Motor? The Servo motor is infinitly adjustable to as slow as 1 stitch at a time if you so desire. It mounts right up where your existing clutch motor is bolted on. It only runs when you push on the pedal and it is very quiet. It only cost around $150.00, couple this with getting your machine serviced as stated by Dusty for around $100.00, you would practically have a new machine for $250.00, versus $1000-$1500 bucks.
Pfaff is a decent machine, no need to spend the extra bucks when you already have a good base. IMHO
Tim
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:51 PM
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While it is true that the clutch motors on sewing machines are only on and off, an experienced operator can slip the clutch to slow the machine down very slow. This is not easy, but can be done with a lot of practice. The best addition to any industrial machine is a servo motor. Changing the clutch motor to a servo gives you the option of slowing the machine way down during the learning process or when you need to be extra careful and turning it back up when you have more experience. I upgraded both of my machines to servos and couldn't be happier. A new servo costs about $150.00, and can be mounted with the same holes the clutch motor uses. What I like most about them is not having to listen to the clutch motor running all day long. The servo only makes noise when it is operating, even when the switch is on.

My guess is that you need more than just proper tensioning. You probably have some parts that need to be replaced, and it definitely needs to be timed. You also could be not threading the machine exactly right. Pfaff is a very good machine, and it is worth having it tuned up. Just tell the sewing machine mechanic you only have a certain budget you'd be willing to spend, and to call you before he fixes it. The Consew machine I use every day is way over 30 years old, and with regular maintenance works like a new machine. I just spent $200 to have it fixed, but a new machine costs way more than that.
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:40 AM
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Taking it in

All of this sounds wonderful and I think I will just find someone to look at it. The machine is built into a table though and as I'm sure is common knowledge isn't exactly light. Did you all just load the whole thing up on a trailer to take it somewhere or is there a specific part that I need to take off to take in or does the actual machine come off the table? I don't really know a whole lot about the machine I just use it as best I can to please all the local farmers that have big holes in their seats. But I'm having some customers start to drift in that want better than just an old farm seat. So I need this machine to work GOOD.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:59 PM
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If you look at the bed of the machine at the back where it meets the table top, you should see two hinges of some kind. All you have to do is tilt the machine head back until it reaches the wooden (or plastic) dowel which most machine tables have which will hold it up. Then all you have to do is take off the loosened belt from the pulley on the machine and pull the machine towards you to take it off the two hinges. Then the machine head is free and you can take just the head to the repair shop. They will have some type of fixture to mount the head in to run it and repair it.

In the pictures, you can see the two types of hinges and the wooden and plastic dowels to hold the head up.
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:07 PM
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Thanks. This has all been very helpful.
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:01 PM
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The sewing machine, without the table or motor, is called the 'machine head,' or just 'the head.' The shop will only need the head. As Dan said, the head comes off of the table pretty easily, but as you mentioned, it's very heavy.

I'll be the first to tell you that you won't regret having it serviced. When you go to pick it up after it's been serviced, that's the perfect time to ask the tech any questions you have about the machine. In fact, I made a list of things to ask the tech when I went to pick mine up - questions about threading it, cleaning it, oiling it (where to oil it, how often, and with what,) and just basically maintaining it. Having the tech right there when you pick it up is the perfect time to have those questions answered, and most techs are more than happy to help you out if they can. I found a manual for my machine online, and you might be able to find one for yours online too, but if not, ask the shop if they can order you one when you drop it off. It does come in very handy.

You'll find that this board in general, and this forum in particular, is just full of good people, with great info. Dan in particular is one of those people who goes way above and beyond to help out us newbies on a daily basis. Just look at his posts - he does tutorials for us here at Hotrodders while still trying to run a business full time. He really lives up to his signature. Guys like that are pretty rare.

Dan isn't the only one on this board that does things like that, but he's the one I'm most familiar with. All in all, you won't find a better bunch of folks, and you certainly won't find a better resource for real-life info from experienced people who deal with the subject on a daily basis.

Good luck with your machine, and have fun with it!
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