Saturday, August 13, 2016

Unusual Singer Featherweight

A friend picked up a Singer Featherweight at an antique shop (first mistake).  The seller told her it had been recently serviced and was good to go.

The first thing I noticed when I flipped on the power switch was that the light did not come on.  There was no light bulb in the socket.

The presser foot installed was a gathering foot.  That is not what you want for straight stitching.  There was no straight stitch foot in the box of attachments.

The installed needle had a burr on the point.

The motor belt was too tight.

There was thread caught in the bobbin case base.


There was a considerable amount of lint around the feed dog.


The bed cushions are all completely squashed.


The gears are in dire need of grease and the rest of the mechanicals need oil.

The good news is that it does sew.  It might need a slight hook-to-needle adjustment, but that is minor.

I have seen hundreds of Featherweights but this one was unusual in one respect - it had a generic motor installed.

I understand why someone would want to do that because replacement motors retail for well over $150 while generic motors can be bought for around $20.  The problem is that Featherweight motors have much different mounting provisions than all other sewing machines, making it impossible to attach a generic motor in place of the original motor.

The previous owner overcame this by designing an adapter plate.

  The motor attaches to the adapter plate and the adapter plate attaches to the Featherweight motor mount.  It is a very simple arrangement, just a flat piece of 1/8" steel plate with two holes to attach the new motor and an anchor nut at the FW motor mounting point

Unfortunately, the motor is mounted so high that the belt would hit the belt guard. 

 Instead of drilling a couple of holes to lower the motor and using a longer belt, the designer added an idler pulley to push the belt down to clear the guard.

I have searched the internet to see if this is a commercial product and have found nothing even similar.  I have a FW with a weak motor, maybe I'll design a similar adapter and install one of my spare motors.


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