Thursday, September 01, 2016
Yesterday, I broke out a really nice 603E that I haven’t used in a long time. I oiled it up and was running it in and it was humming along perfectly - no rattles, squeaks, or clicks. At full speed, I moved the stitch width lever over to check out the zig zag without thinking to check whether a zig zag needle plate was installed - it wasn’t! Not only did the needle break, the straight stitch needle plate also broke.
Thinking that the 603 uses the same needle plate as many other slant needle Singers, I grabbed one from another machine sitting nearby.
When I started up the 603 again, there was a clicking sound that wasn’t there before. My first thought was that a piece of the broken needle was somewhere down around the hook but close inspection dispelled that idea. While looking for the needle fragment, I realized that the clicking sound was not present when the needle plate was removed. Reinstalling the needle plate brought back the clicking sound. That indicated to me that the feed dog was probably hitting the underside of the needle plate. I could not feel any vibration on the plate, the feed dog was just kissing the underside of the plate.
My next thought was that the needle plate I had cannibalized from another machine might be slightly bent so I robbed one from another slant needle machine. The clicking sound was still present. My next thought was that perhaps the 600 series machines used a different needle plate than the 400 and 500 series machines, I rummaged through my partial sets of 600 series attachments to find a needle plate that was actually supplied with a 600 series machine. I found one in the box of attachments that came with this machine, probably the only attachment set that has not gotten separated from its machine. Installing this newly-found needle plate, the clicking sound disappeared and the machine runs as smoothly as before my accident.
Now, here’s the reason I felt this was worth blogging about: I have three different styles of needle plates for slant needle Singers, all with the same part number - 172200. While the plates are identical on the top, there are marked differences on the undersides.
The only plate that does not interfere with the feed dog is the one on the right. I am not going to pull off the needle plates on all my slant needle Singers to see which ones have which plate but I will be on the lookout for this in the future. On second thought, maybe I will pull all the needle plates so I can match up the needle plates with the correct machines but first, I need to figure out whether the plate on the left and the one in the center have any positive or negative effect and which machines perform best with either one.