Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Necchi Zig Zag Issue


Tammy is having problems with her Lelia, it won't zig zag. Probably half the vintage Necchis I have owned had this problem when I got them. Necchis are victims of their own perfection - tolerances are so tight that even a minor build-up of corrosion that would not affect a lesser machine is enough to freeze a Necchi up tight. The cure to that problem in all my machines has been to lubricate the swivel arm top and bottom and wait overnight to see if the oil has penetrated enough to loosen up the swing arm.


Mere oiling will probably not be enough to free up the swivel arm, it might need some help. First thing to try is heat, preferably from a hair dryer. Heat will cause the parts to expand, hopefully they will expand enough for some of the new oil to work down in where it will do some good. It might take several applications of oil and heat to get the swivel arm loose enough to move. Apply oil, heat and wait overnight.


Once the swing arm swivels the tiniest bit, you're almost home! Remove the needle, bobbin case and shuttle and hold the stitch width lever to the widest point you can get it without forcing it and bending some linkage. Run the machine at top speed, holding the stitch width lever to the right. As that new oil works its way in, you should notice the needlebar taking wider and wider strokes and the stitch width lever moving gradually to the right. When you are able to move the stitch width lever all the way to the widest stitch and the needlebar is taking full 5mm zig zags, you are done.


Ironically, the Necchi oiling diagram does not show these as oiling points and does not even direct the owner to remove the end cover to oil anything in that end of the machine. There are lots of moving parts in that location that require lubrication - the needlebar, presser bar, takeup lever, and others. Once you've taken care of the zig zag problem, before closing up the machine, put a drop of oil every place metal rubs against metal and your machine will run quieter and smoother.


Ed

41 comments:

Tammy said...

thank you so very much. I am going to try this right away. There is no date printed in the manual. Do you know how old the Necchi Lelia's are?

Ed Lamoureux said...

The Sewing Machine Blue Book does not give specific manufacture dates for the Lelias, but places them in the range of machines made between 1963 and 1971. - Ed

Tammy said...

Hi Ed,
You sir are a genius. The oil and heat did the trick, the needle bar moves freely, it zig-zags and we have three different needle positions yipee. thank you so much.

New problem now that we have three different needle positions, the needle is hitting the bobbin shuttle making a clicking sound and bending needles. Also the needle positions are not exact the centre position is off centre and the left is not all the way to the left. I am on needle number 4 now. Your thoughts? Also, what is the tension supposed to be like? My old treadles the tension is really tight both top and bottom. On my Piedmont the top is tighter than the bottom but the stitches are perfectly even. My newer computerized machines the needle tension is darn near identical top and bottom.

Hope to read more from you soon.

Tammy said...

Good Morning,
I slept on it then fixed the needle hitting the bobbin shuttle. There is a screw attached to the lever that adjusts the needle position. while my needlebar was froze up I loosened that screw the lever to the needle bar would move, when I retightened it I must have moved it off centre to the right. So this morning I loosened the screw and positioned the needle right in the centre position, tightened the screw and it is fixed. Yes most Excellent. Then I threaded it and eased up the tension until it was sewing perfect straight and zig-zags in all three needle positions.

thank you so much for your help.

How often should my Lelia be oiled?

Ed Lamoureux said...

Most mechanical machine instruction manuals say that they should be oiled after every 8 hours of use. I personally think that is a bit too much and I judge by the sound and performance of my machine. Once you become familiar with a particular machine, you know when it is starting to get noisier than usual or controls are getting stiffer. Also, it varies between machines - some of mine need oil every month, others only once a year. - Ed

BB said...

What happened to your Necchi pages, by the way? It says the page isn't found now.

Tammy said...

Hi Ed,
I would really appreciate some help dating these toys:

Domestic Automatic Model 761 by White. The serial number is JZ85340 I believe it was made in Japan. It weighs a ton, I bought the machine in a cabinet with all the accessories, including 12 cams to make fancy stitches, the manual and a chair for $45.00. There is no date printed in the manual.

Two identical Piedmonts model No. 108 #KB900227 J-A2 the other is J-A2, J-C3 #Z14379. They have a left side needle position % they are zig zag machines. Lovely finishing on both. I believe they were made in Japan.

The Piedmonts, Domestic Automatic and Necchi Lelia all use high shank presser feet.

Elna Special in a grey portable case with one half fitting into the free arm to make a flatbed sewing surface. This one sews zig zag, blind hem and a wavey stitch.
#91CM235557. Several needle postions, it is white with a soft pink top.

My Elna Stella was manufactured in Switzerland in March 1981.

Some of my machines are published on my blog.

Does the sewing machine blue book have any information on these?

The Queen Bee said...

Hello, I don't have a question about the Necchi, I have one about a Singer. I am a collector of sorts (but also a user!) and I have a 603E that sews great but is a bit loud. It sat in someones home for 20 years unused and I would like for it to be a great machine for my daughter. Any suggestions?

Love you blog, thanks for all the great info.

Syndy

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Karen Joy said...

If I come up with any questions about the Necchi Lelia I just got at an estate sale I will be back. Tammy gave me your website after I put a comment on hers. It is so nice to find a place like this. I have to watch out, because I love to collect things.

Marieke said...

Ed! I'm so glad I found your blog. I need your help!
I recently bought a Necchi Lelia 510 (looks like it's from the 50's or maybe 60's) and it's got all the parts except for the bobbin case. And I'm not sure the proper needle is in the machine either.
Any advice on how I can find the right parts?
I can send you a photo of the machine if you like if that helps.

Jonathan said...

Ed, I've heard such wonderful things about Necchis. I was so disappointed to see a plastic lever to raise the presser foot on the pics of the Lelia 510 I found on eBay. Was this something they started doing on later models?

Ed Lamoureux said...

External plastic parts have been on sewing machines for many years. The problem comes when the manufacturers put plastic inside the case for two reasons:

- The teeth on plastic running gears are under much more stress than faceplates, balance wheels or stitch length levers. Early plastics were not strong enough to handle that stress.

- Internal plastic parts are in contact with sewing machine oil and grease. Plastic and petroleum do not co-exist peacefully. It takes years, but the plastic parts yellow and become brittle and crack or break.

I am not concerned about plastic on the outside of a machine but if I lift the top cover and see plastic inside (especially gears), I walk away. - Ed

necchigek@yahoo.com said...

Hi, I think I have the same problem with a Necchi Lelia, I can HAMMER the swing needle to left and right but IT WONT BUDGE AT ALL, with oiling, havent tried the hairdryer treatment yet (dont have one) do you really think it is in the swing needle where the problem lies? as it is BLOCKED SOLID! thanks necchigek@yahoo.com

Ed Lamoureux said...

It does sound like the same problem, I have had them frozen so tight that I had to use a hammer and block of wood to get any movement. After a few cycles of hammering, I grabbed the swing needle with a large pair of pliers and moved it back and forth using them. After that, I could get just a little zig zag when running the machine. I kept holding the stitch width lever to the left and running the motor and the zig zag got gradually wider until eventually I got full throw. -Ed

necchinut said...

Hi, I have EXACTLY the same problem, Ive got a few Necchi's and this Lelia 512 is the fist that I have had that is TOTALLY FROZEN up in the needle bar assembly, the zigzag lever WILL move when the handwheel is in a certain position and the needle position selector WILL move when the handwheel is also in a certain position, but the swing needle WILL NOT BUDGE, its in Holland this machine and I can HAMMER the needle bar to left and right, I havent tried heat yet, just got a hairdryer to try it, its a real SHAME as it sew straight stitch PERFECTLY on the left needle position but WILL NOT even move to the right even with pliers on the needle bar. Do you think this is DEFINITELY the needle bar that is to blame?? I am totally stumped and annoyed that its the first Necchi I havent been able to fix. Thanks NecchiNut!!!

Necchinut said...

early sat. 04 dec. OOH I do hope the hairdryer and oil and wooden block hammering does work,.bought a nice cheap 1200w hairdryer in UK today to take back to NL next week and try on this Lelia, its the first one I have come across that is SO FROZEN, I can see that the eccentric cam behind the zigzag lever is moving properly there, and the linkage from the needle psoition lever looks intact, the machine will only sew (beautifully on straight stitch) with the needle at far left, but given this is frist machine that has STUMPED me I am dismayed and upset about it!!! I will e-mail if I DO get it moving, my email is Necchinut@gmail.com thanks.

Dandy said...

Ugh! I'm having just the opposite problem. My mother and I opened and oiled a Necchi Julia 534. In the beginning, only do straight stitch, but as knobs and levers started to losen with the oil, we were able to make zig-zag. The problem is that now we cannot go back to straight stitch. Everything is where it's supposed to be, there are no cams in the machine, the lever is set to 0, we don't know what to do anymore :(, can you help us?

gacp11 said...

Hi, found a Supernova today. Despite the fact that it only sews in reverse, I bought it. Made sure that the Automatic Sewing Mechanism is stopped. Knobs are in the right positions, yet it only sews backwards...but hums that great Necchi sound. Looking at the reverse button and lever inside, doesn't look like it is spring loaded. Is the lever out of alignment with a push rod maybe? Any help will be much appreciated since I haven't hit on diagrams or schematics on the web. Gail

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed, I have a question...Is the Necchi Lelia 512 and Industrial or Domestic Sewing Machine as I'm selling mine?

noriko nakagawa said...

Thanks so much. A bit of oil did the trick on my Necchi Royal 4595 (newer model but same issue).

Annemarie said...

I would love to have some help in dating my Necchi Julia 534. The serial number is 5340655659. Many thanks.

Ed Lamoureux said...

Best guess is mid-1960's. -Ed

UrbanRecyclist said...

Hello Ed, so glad to see a couple of new posts this month! I very much enjoy your blog and I was missing new posts lately.

Well, back to Lelia - I recently got a Lelia 513. Cleaned and oiled it. It sews zig-zag beautifully, but has a lousy straight stitch. It's almost wavy. I fiddled with upper and lower tensions, changed needles, changed bobbins, and thread, but no improvement. Any suggestions as to what I may do to improve the straight stitch quality? I'm not even sure if the bobbin that came with my Lelia is the best one to use. I tried my metal singer 15 bobbin, plastic bobbin that I used to use on my 90s brother. In fact, I tried all the bobbins I have that fit Lelia's bobbin case. No improvement. I'm rather sad : (

Ed Lamoureux said...

The first thing to do is unthread the needle and sew a straight line on card stock (index card) to see if the needle is actually sewing in a straight line or forming a slight zig zag. Some other things to check are feed dog height to be sure the feed dog is pulling the fabric through at the proper pace and presser foot pressure to be sure the presser foot is exerting enough pressure on the fabric to allow the feed dog to do its job. -Ed

UrbanRecyclist said...

Tonight, I reluctantly went to the machine to try your suggestions. It's been two weeks since I oiled and then fought this machine. To my surprise, it is now making perfect straight stitch. Did the machine just need some time to get the oil penetrated or did I just get lucky?! At any rate, I'm always learning from you, and I enjoy your blog. Thank you so much.

PattiF said...

I read this post long before a Lelia 514 came into my possession. And I'm so glad I remembered it. Yes, the swivel bar was frozen, tight. I oiled the bar and every other moving part. I took the top off, removed the cam assembly(thank goodness it comes out as a unit) and I oiled all of the other linkages that appeared to connect with the zig zag feature. It took a day, but I got that little movement in the swivel bar. I hand turned the wheel for about 10 minutes, widening the stitch width lever. Then I used the hair dryer as suggested. Bingo, I have zigzag and a perfect stitch to boot. Thank you so much, Ed, for sharing your knowledge. I've learned so much following your blog. Patti

Anonymous said...

Hi I freed up a Necchi Supernova Julia but it won't stay in zigzag. If I hold the lever it will sew fine but on its own it jumps out of zigzag. I am hoping someone can tell me what's going on and how to fix it.

Ed Lamoureux said...

Usually that is a lack of lubrication. Oil the points I show in this post, remove the needle, and run the machine at top speed for a couple of minutes at full stitch width to "work in" the new oil. That has fixed that problem for me before. -Ed

Scott K said...

Great minds think alike! A few weeks ago I went to The Boston area to an estate sale that said they had a few sewing machines for sale. When I got there everything they were selling was in literally like new condition. When I commented on this fact, the woman that was the daughter of whom the estate sale was for said that her mother was an extreme clean fanatic that used to drive the house staff nuts. I inquired about the sewing machines And to my extreme delight I saw a pink and white portable case similar to my Necchi Supernova Ultra that is in green. When I opened the cover it was a Julia 534 that literally looked as if it just came off the production line. It's just a sewing machine but, it's the one I have been looking for and I ended up finding the absolute holy grail of Julia's! The woman said that this particular machine was a gift to her mother from her father and because it was such a nice machine her mother would never use it or allow anyone else to either because she didn't want it getting scratched, lol. The case had a few marks from being moved around and a couple little stains but the buckles were perfect. The machine......absolutely brand new perfect. Honestly if you didn't know sewing machines and this was sitting on a shelf there is not one thing that would tell you it's used. Unless of course you turn it on and tried to do a zig zag stitch. Needless to say the swing shaft was frozen solid and this thing hadn't seen oil for decades. But it was obviously kept out of the moisture so there was zero corrosion anywhere. Underside just as new looking as the top but also no oil. I turned it on and the motor started to move the parts so I took it. Ready for this? She wanted only $30!!! I told her that wasn't fair and I gave her $50. She then demanded that I take the other little machine for that price! Moms primary one, a well used Singer 99 that was in great shape and still had all of the original electronics and the wooden round top case with the knee arm that attaches to the front of the portable base. "Just get them out of here. Go! Go!" She said laughing. So when I got back and looked over the Julia I pulled out my secret weapon for stuck parts; Bluecreeper Precision Penetrating Lubricant. I have never found a penetrating lube that even comes close to the effectiveness of this stuff! It even has a really handy little precision applicator tip for the really tight spaces. Perfect for sewing machines. Any how, I gave the area a little heat with the heat gun on low, put in the Bluecreeper, let it sit overnight and, Voi'la!!! The Julia is zig zaggin' again!! Now I know what all the buzz is about from the grandmas about how this machine was the most wanted machine back in the days when it was new. Because this was basically. New machine I got to experience it first hand. But Ed, you are absolutely correct. Every Necchi machine that I have found has needed to be well cleaned and relubricated to run like they truly can. Once you do that, every other machine feels sloppy in comparison. The quality in the precision construction of these machines is simply fantastic and are in my opinion the finest domestic machines that were ever built. Smooth and flawless with Olivetti like styling. This one may end up looking the same in the next 50 years because I don't want to scratch the thing same as that woman's mother that originally owned it. I will have to just keep working on my Supernova Ultra. Not aesthetically as perfect as the Julia, but mechanically brilliant! Thanks for reading my little story of triumph!!

Anonymous said...

I searched for reviews on Necchi Supernovas and Necchi Lydia 3 Model 544 and Necchi 512 and found this blog post. I'm wondering if you can tell me anything about these machines, like when and where they were made and if the Asian ones (I read are made by Janome?) are as good as the Italian ones. I did find a review that praised the Supernova 535 above all other domestic machines. I realize that is a personal opinion by one man, but I'm wondering if you would agree. Also, what seems to be a fair price for the vintage machines, and are all parts and mauals still available somewhere if needed? Thank you. I Will have to read your blog later, as I haven't figured out how to use my google account yet. I need my kids to show me, LOL. Thank you.

Mark Shelly said...

Stick with the Italian Necchis. Only buy a complete machine in good working order. Be aware that bobbin winder tires are hard to source for most of the 1960s machines. Unless you want to work with fancy embroidery stitches I would stick with one of the following machines: BU Nova, Bu Mira, Miranda or Lycia BUL (camless). Once you get the machines that use cams (for embroidery stitches) you get into more complicated and potentially troublesome mechanisms. Most simple of the embroidery capable machines are the BU Nora and the Lelia. The BU Nora is a great machine and the cam mechanism is simple as it only uses single layer cams. The Lelia came in a series of configurations but being a slightly newer machine included some plastic components which can fail over time. The most revered Necchi's are perhaps the SuperNova series - SuperNova, SuperNova Ultra, SuperNova Ultra Mk2, Julia and Lycia. With the exception of the Lycia BUL these all have complicated in built cam systems. By far my favourite Necchi is my Lycia BUL but these are rather rare outside of Europe. Expect to be up to 300 USD for a high quality and complete vintage Necchi in good working order.

Thirsty Hurston said...

What does my Necchi Supernova ultra get stuck while I start sewing and hums? I turn the balance wheel then it run fine for a while but gets stuck again, only at the start never while its running. When it runs it runs and sews great until it gets stuck again?

Ed Lamoureux said...

Sounds like you have missed an oiling point. Disregard the oiling diagram and put a drop of oil every place metal rubs against metal - pivot points, bushings, and don't forget the swivel in the nose and all the other points in the nose that aren't called out in the oiling diagram. After the machine is oiled, remove the needle and bobbin case, put it in full width zig zag and run at full speed. You will probably hear the motor run faster and faster as the oil works in. When the motor no longer speeds up, reinstall the needle and bobbin case and try it out.

If that doesn't fix the problem, you might have a motor belt that's too tight. -Ed

AngelaDee said...

Hi! What's your advice for 1) a frozen feed dog drop on a Supernova
2) sluggish motor at max speed and almost no movement on minimum after much oiling and it sews beautifully how can I tell if it's a motor issue and not a machine in need of more oil?
Btw I found this blog post after hours of trying to free up zz and needle position mechanism on a different machine (Julia) by working on it mostly behind the zz plate. I had paid little attention to the points you indicate to oil in your diagram in this post. In fact, I ended up concentrating on the needle bar itself working it with my fingers/hand back and forth Over the course of several hours. I should have pulled out the hair dryer! Had I only known to concentrate on the swivel bar! My finger tips are bruised!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Ed
I have a Necchi supernova automatic that had not been used for decades.
A few years ago I have had it checked by a sewing machine repair man because it would not sew at all. He cleaned the machine from old grease and oiled it.
Since then I have used it only a few times but only for simple sewing.
These functions work perfectly again (zigzagging works good too). Recently I wanted to use the automatic embroidery function with the discs on top of the machine. Unfortunately the cam driving pin did not move at all. Not even without any discs on it.
I am afraid that the repair man did not check this part of my sewing machine. His check-up already cost me € 70,- so I wanted to try to repair this myself.
I unscrewed the lid on top of the machine and oiled the cam driving pin but it would only turn while I was holding it with a pair of tongs, thus helping it to turn around.
Do you have any tips for making this part work again?
Thank you.
Greetings from the Netherlands:
Annika

Kay Callaghan said...

Hi Ed, I have a Necchi BU Nova. It sews great going forwards but skip stitches or none in reverse. Whats going on?
thanks, Kay

Anonymous said...

Many thanks Ed, I was giving up on my 513 Lelia until I read your blog, Its now zigzagging but not completely loosened up but i think once left overnight and a further oiling and I'm pretty sure everything will be working perfectly.
Mike, South Wales

Ed Lamoureux said...

Mike,

If you have the needle bar zig zagging a bit, try running the machine while holding the stitch width lever to the widest position it will go and apply a bit of pressure in that direction. Soon, the zig zag should get wider and the stitch width lever should achieve more travel. -Ed

Ed Lamoureux said...

Kay, If your BU is still acting up, suggest you look at the needle bar height. An easy way to check without opening up the machine is to loosen the needle clamp, drop the needle down about 1mm and re-tighten the needle clamp. If your BU sews well that way, the needle bar needs to be lowered. -Ed

Unknown said...

Hi Ed

I've got a Lydia 3 which, a friend' damaged when she borrowed it - and never said anything!

The bit that the thread goes through - then moves up and down is jammed sideways. I've found someone who may be able to repair it - if it isn't bent. I can't get inside to see. How do I open it up?

Hope you can help?

Jenny