Monday, September 30, 2013

Jane's Singer 500 Part II

I swapped motors with the 503 and the 500 quieted down somewhat.  The problem now was that the upper lid would not stay open.  The spool pins on a Rocketeer are under that top lid, so if the lid keeps slamming down on the thread spools while you're sewing, your finished product is going to be compromised - if you don't just throw the whole machine out in the back yard.

I looked at the springs that hold the lid in place and everything looked fine

UNTIL I held the 503 lid next to the 500 lid and realized that a spring on the 500 is broken.  It's such a smooth, square break that it looked like it should be that way.

I cannibalized the spring from the 503 and the lid now stays up.  I wish I could swap the whole upper plate, complete with hinged lid but the 500 and 503 top plates are not interchangeable.

I still haven't threaded it and sewn anything, maybe this evening.

UPDATE:  It Sews!

It only required some major tension cleaning and adjustment - both upper and lower.

And here's what the "Parts Machine" looks like

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Jane's Singer 500

  Last week, Jane from LuckySewandSew emailed to say she would be bringing me three vintage sewing machines on Saturday to work on.  Her car must serve double duty as an incubator because when she arrived, there were not three, but four machines in there!

  She did pretty good for a beginning vintage SM collector - a Singer 99k handcrank she picked up in Scotland, a Singer 500 Rocketeer, A Singer 503 Rocketeer and - my favorite - a Necchi Supernova Ultra. Most collectors start with Japanese clones and work their way up to the Rocketeers and Supernovas but Jane didn't waste time, she started right at the top.

  I let them sit overnight because I had some boat curtains to finish and I just couldn't decide which one to start on.  Today, with a clearer head, I put the 500 on the bench because that looked like the one needing the most work. It has two of the three most common ailments afflicting the slant-needle singers, a broken hinge on the nose door and a broken bobbin winder spring.  The third is frozen cam selectors.

 It also had a wad of electrical tape the size of a golf ball on the power cord.  Fortunately, the 503 had been designated as a part donor and it had all three of the broken parts in good condition. After swapping the foot control/power cord, door and the spring, I swapped some cosmetic pieces - the upper lid, the lamp shade and a few more.  I have it looking pretty good.

Next, I plan to swap out tension assemblies and possibly motors.  The motor runs okay but is a bit noisier than I like. I haven't yet tried sewing on it, I am letting the new oil soak in tonight and will continue tomorrow.  More to come....

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Singer 6620C

  A friend picked this machine up at a local auction.

 Before giving it to his granddaughter, he asked me to check it out and make sure it is functional.  We knew right off the bat that the bobbin case is missing but they are available new and not too expensive. In fact, I have a used one in the parts bin. The machine was making an intermittent grinding noise when running and watching the feed dog, it appears to be stuck in stretch stitch mode, regardless of the position of the selector knob. I couldn't immediately isolate the cause of stretch-stitch-only mode, so I started looking for the grinding noise. Turns out the vertical gear in the upper section has a LARGE crack and its mating gear was skipping a few teeth every time it came around to the crack.

That gear is so far down in there that much of the mechanics above it would need to be removed and reinstalled - a task I was not looking forward to. I did remove the camstack to get a better look at the cracked gear and found that the camstack gear is also cracked.

After discussing the cost of repairs with the owner, he told me to just keep it for parts or dispose of it.  I don't normally work on machines this new and there is no need for me to find a place to store parts that I will probably never use.  So, I am offering the parts to the readers of this blog.

There are lots of good plastic parts - all the panels, the slide-on bed extension, power cord, knobs.

As for internal parts, the motor seems to run fine and everything else looks good. If you want anything, email me at and we can work something out. I got it for free, all I have invested is time so all I will want for any parts is postage and a little to cover the cost of packing materials.  I will keep the machine until October 12 to give everyone a chance, then on the 13th, it goes to the dump.