PDA

View Full Version : Need to make some machine tool covers--Sewing machine recommendations would be great



hammerfest
03-12-2011, 12:04 AM
OK--I got a bunch of these to do, and yes, I can admit that I don't mind giving it a try. The problem is I know little to nothing about sewing machines and their use, but that's never stopped me before.....

I am thinking of a canvas, duck, or denim type weight material for the covers. I have found this site that provides excellent instructions on making covers:

http://www.projectsinmetal.com/norman_newguy_malking_custom_covers_for_machinery/

The master plan is to buy a machine off Craigslist or FleaBay and see if I could talk one of the fine seamstresses in my area to give me a paid lesson.

So any of you fine gents have any recommendations on a machine or the type I should be shopping for? I am making the assumption that because of the weight of material I am most likely after a "heavy duty" machine maybe a walking foot?

As always, thanks for any suggestions.

Forrest Addy
03-12-2011, 12:52 AM
No recommendations on sewing machines but I'll go on record that machine tool covers are an excellent idea - provided they can breathe. Canvas or duck would be my choice. Anything non-permiable traps rising moisture which condenses to drip whre you don't want drippage.

willmac
03-12-2011, 05:37 AM
Covers are especially important in a home workshop because we usually try to cram as much as possible into a small space . That means grinders within grit drift distance of lathes and mills for example. If that grit settles onto oiled ways a lot of insidious damage can be done. Dressing grinding wheels is particularly bad in this respect. Whenever I can, I cover my sensitive machines before grinding then let the dust settle before uncovering them. Same thing for wood work, although this is a bit less destructive. I use old duvet covers - they are big enough to cover up my machines and as Forrest says they don't cause condensation.

tlfamm
03-12-2011, 07:59 AM
No recommendations on sewing machines but I'll go on record that machine tool covers are an excellent idea - provided they can breathe. Canvas or duck would be my choice. Anything non-permiable traps rising moisture which condenses to drip whre you don't want drippage.


For U.S. residents, cotton-duck drop cloths are available in various sizes at Home Depot (priced in the $25-$35 range). So far they've had the desired result in my garage shop.


* The HD product line also includes plastic-backed cotton-duck - obviously those are not breathable.

quadrod
03-12-2011, 08:38 AM
Not to try an hi-jack the thread, but will covers help stop condensation on the machines. Here in Arkansas we can get wild swings in humidity and temp. Have gone out several times and found machines very wet, just like someone took a garden hose to them.

Lew Hartswick
03-12-2011, 09:17 AM
Not to try an hi-jack the thread, but will covers help stop condensation on the machines. Here in Arkansas we can get wild swings in humidity and temp. Have gone out several times and found machines very wet, just like someone took a garden hose to them.
Won't help in your climate. :-) The relative humidity is such that it
doesn't take much of a temp swing (down) to get below the "dew
point" and there you go, "condensation". :-( Was almost as bad in
PA but here in NM it has to drop a BUNCH to get anywhere the dew-point.
Just yesterday the RH was 4 % :-)
...lew...

AiR_GuNNeR
03-12-2011, 09:19 AM
Ok, I'll admit to this one...I do some sewing. Heck, I just like making things. It doesn't matter if it's sewing, machining, brewing, gold smithing, or cooking.
You don't need a fancy new machiine. I have two expensive Husqvarnas, but if it''s something thick I want to sew like canvas, out comes the fifty year old Singer. Just like old lathe iron, the old cast iron Singer sewing machines, (normally black with gold pinstripes), are real work horses. They are nice and stiff, and plow through the thick stuff with ease. Check the resale shops. I see them there quite often. The needles come in different sizes, and tip profiles. They make needles suited for canvas and thick materials.

Duffy
03-12-2011, 09:49 AM
I checked with my resident expert, and SHE says the simplest, non-computerized machine that you can find. Elna, Singer, Brother, Husquevarna, whatever. BUT buy needles used for making jeans-they are ideal for denim or canvas.
Also, a commercial machine will just make crooked seams faster than light!

paulsv
03-12-2011, 10:19 AM
And even with a slower, home machine, that cloth can drag your finger, and you can put that needle right through your finger, quicker than snot. (Don't ask me how I know.)

Those things scare me a lot more than a lathe or a milling machine. Be careful out there!

Oh also, I've been meaning to check out the options available in grill covers and porch furniture covers at the local big box home store. I don't care if my Lathe cover says "Weber" on it, and it might be a cheap or at least reasonable alternative.

tlfamm
03-12-2011, 10:28 AM
Won't help in your climate. :-) The relative humidity is such that it
doesn't take much of a temp swing (down) to get below the "dew
point" and there you go, "condensation". :-( Was almost as bad in
PA but here in NM it has to drop a BUNCH to get anywhere the dew-point.
Just yesterday the RH was 4 % :-)
...lew...


I have to disagree, Lew, though my personal "experiment" is not exactly complete.


Cold weather climates exhibit the same kind of temperature/humidity inversions that Quadrod describes in Arkansas. Combine that with a massive concrete "cold-sink" (IE, uninsulated concrete floor) and you have a perfect laboratory for studying condensation on metal.


My shop is in an unheated garage, and one that is not particularly air-tight - so the garage and the outside humidity are usually in perfect synch :(

The garage also has an uninsulated concrete floor, and a fairly substantial concrete pit: 54" deep X 40" wide X 12' long: all told, that's a lot of mass, chilled by direct contact with the earth.


This is how I manage the condensation problem:

1. My mill and lathe sit on 4 x 4 timbers, giving a modest thermal break between the cold floor and the machines.
2. The machines are kept well-oiled
3. The machines are covered with several layers of old sheets, and a breathable heavy-cotton drop cloth on top.


The machines have only been in place for about 10 months, but the humidity-control scheme has been tested quite a bit already: we have had 3-5 periods of heavy humidity & rain this winter*, the expected periods of spring & summer humidity last year - and I have seen no evidence of the slightest corrosion on anything.

* Not to mention the largest accumulation of snow seen at my residence in 30+ years.



To be sure, it is tedious to have to uncover medium-sized machinery before use, clean & oil & cover after use - but that is the price for not living in a semi-arid climate.

tlfamm
03-12-2011, 10:33 AM
(split into two posts to keep the length down)

Being of the hard-headed persuasion, I had to have an object lesson in condensation before I grasped the obvious: one April after we had an unusual spike in humidity, I walked into my shop to discover my anvil so completely covered in large drops of condensation (about 5/16" dia.) that it appeared to have been rained on. (The anvil sat on an oak stump and was not in direct contact with the floor.)


Having finally grasped the obvious, I have since kept the anvil under cloth (an old sheet, sometimes an old throw-rug), In ten years, I have never seen even a trace of new corrosion on it - and I certainly don't keep the anvil oiled, either.

Everything in my shop is either under wraps, in a container, or in a cabinet. A bloody nuisance to be sure - but it appears to work.

bruto
03-12-2011, 10:40 AM
Addressing only the sewing machines, not the practicality of the covers, and if you can't find a good old fashioned black and pinstripe Singer, or of course an old industrial machine, I'd look at older Husqvarna (Viking) machines. The reason is that they usually have a two speed arrangement, giving a slow and powerful low gear for heavy work, which also can help keep you from sewing your fingers together if you're a bit unused to this stuff.

As always, however, you need to make sure you get a good one, and unlike the old straight stitch cast iron Zingers, they're likely to be a bit complex and although robust, they can get out of order, so be careful of any unwarranteed or untested ones. Older Husqvarnas had a supposedly jam-proof rotary bobbin setup, while almost jam proof, uses a plastic or fiber disk that can get chewed up if badly abused, and the parts can be expensive.

If you want a walking foot and can't find a commercial machine, you might look at the higher end Pfaffs. Pretty rare and rather expensive, I think, but you might luck into an 80's vintage Pfaff, and those had a retractable walking foot that worked pretty well.

hammerfest
03-12-2011, 10:42 AM
Air Gunner and Duffy--thanks for the recommendations, I do see those black Singer's around, they appear to be dirt cheap in some cases, I'll be sure to get the thick needles (probably easier to thread anyway). I greatly appreciate the help and thanks for checking in with the resident expert.

Bruto--thanks for the suggestions on the additional machines, in cruising around on Craigslist and Fleabay I recognize the names, now I'm somewhat armed and dangerous. Thank you for the helpful insights.

Paulsv--they do at first look terrifying, I'll be sure not to put my eye out or worse yet sew my fingers together, thanks.

You guys rock!

Tony Ennis
03-12-2011, 10:55 AM
If your goal is to make hard-core awesome seams, like those running down your jeans, then get a serger (http://content.janome.com/index.cfm/Machines/Sergers). That's what they do. In fact, today I'm going to use the wife's serger to make some 'socks' for two flintlock rifles today.

For a general purpose sewing machine, my uber-crafty wife prefers a relatively inexpensive Janome model. I'll see if I can dig up the model number.

If you're just making two or three covers, then go to the local quilt shop and find seamstress or perhaps to the local awning or upholstery shop. They have serious machines at those places. You'll probably be able to commission the covers to be made for less than you'll spend on a reliable machine.

Tony Ennis
03-12-2011, 11:27 AM
Wife says if you want to make a few covers, anything will do, as long as the machinery works. She says new $100 Janome brand machines will do nicely for making a few covers. These machines will have few options and a shorter life.

The wife's favored (portable) machine is the Janome Platinum 760. While it isn't expensive for a sewing machine ($450) she says that you won't need anything like that. But if you're gonna sew, it's a great bang-for-the-buck machine.

Repair guy says the Husqvarnas are now made in China - the European excellence has been lost.

Black Forest
03-12-2011, 12:27 PM
Just make your patterns and cut your material. Then pin or glue it together. Then just take it to a saddle maker or even a shoe repair shop and have them stitch it for you.

Sewing is for sissies! Next you all will be telling you are taking cooking classes.
What has happened to the real men in this world?

Tell your machines to toughen up. Do you really want to work with machines that are afraid of a little condensation?

bruto
03-12-2011, 04:40 PM
Sewing may be for sissies (not really, but I'll let it slide), but sewing machines are some of the neatest gadgets ever devised. Wonderfully complex and wonderfully reliable, a bit of 19th century technology which, like the chain driven safety bicycle, was nearly perfect from the start. Think about it, there are old black Japanned and filigreed Singers all over the world, still turning out goods after a hundred years of service.

All gearheads should make friends with a sewing machine.

Mike Burdick
03-12-2011, 05:10 PM
If you want a sewing machine.... try Goodwill! Typical price runs about $25.00 for a nice "non electronic" model. I bought one for $3.00 because the case it came in was fairly beat up - the machine was perfect though!
.

Lew Hartswick
03-12-2011, 05:22 PM
Does anyone know how well old Elias made out from that invention?
...lew...

Bob Fisher
03-12-2011, 07:11 PM
Sewing is just another skill to add to your abilities. I've had my Singer walking foot machine since the 70's, and don't hesitate a moment to whip up a cover for whatever need. A trip to your local upholstery shop should end any talk of sissies. You'll see some of the most beat-up hands you ever laid eyes on. Go price a new set of cushions for your boat, and you will find it can be a profitable skill as well. Just one more thing I don't have to pay someone to do for me. Bob Fisher.

metalmagpie
03-12-2011, 07:11 PM
One of the Village Press mags had an article on exactly this topic IIRC.

andy_b
03-12-2011, 07:24 PM
I'll echo a few things others have said here (and in fact I think there have been several threads on this over the years), any of the old cast iron Singers would work perfectly. In fact, any old cast iron machine will, but since there were millions of Singers, they are usually cheapest. In Singers, the model 99, 66 or 15 would be the most plentiful. They'll all do a good straight stitch and reverse. Much older, and you loose reverse (not really that big a deal), and newer ones just have more features and cost more. Don't even be afraid of a machine that seems stuck. A little Kroil and some time and you can get almost any of them running. Usually the reason they are stuck is just due to solidified oil and grease. Two tips. When you get the machine home, download the manual for it. If you can't find the manual, shoot me a PM, I probably have a manual for almost any machine you'd consider cheap. Second, DON'T just try turning it over if something seems tight. It could be that the last operator installed the wrong needle or put the bobbin shuttle in backwards or something. Damaging something on a $25 flea market find can turn it into a $100 find in short order.

As for covers, I was just buying the cheapest heavy cotton bed sheets I could find. They keep the dust off, and seem to absorb enough moisture to prevent condensation on the machines and keep them from rusting. You might think cotton sheets would hold enough moisture to cause rust, but in the past 8 years or so I have been doing this I have had uncovered machines get surface rust on them, but NONE with the sheets have rusted.

And yes, I was using an old Singer to sew the covers. :)

andy b.

sansbury
03-12-2011, 11:10 PM
Does anyone know how well old Elias made out from that invention?
...lew...

Well, he died a multi-millionaire in 1867, but had a very hard road getting there and didn't have much time to enjoy it.

http://www.history.rochester.edu/scientific_American/mystery/howe.htm

In terms of effect on quality of life, the sewing machine has to rank as one of the greater inventions of all time. It significantly reduced the cost of clothing, which used to represent a fairly large capital expense for a household. It also raised fears of mass unemployment as tens of thousands of seamstresses and tailors were made redundant. All this 50 years before Hank Ford started selling his Model T....

Black Forest
03-13-2011, 12:26 AM
Gentleman I thought you all would know I was being funny.

I love to sew. I have even made my own shirts. I do a lot of leather work and sew all the time.

I have an air operated sewing machine. It is great because I can slow it down to two stitches per minute. Not that that slow is good for anything though. I have thought recently about making covers for my machines because my shop is really dusty.

Also I like to cook!

paulsv
03-13-2011, 12:42 AM
Sure, y'all sew- but how many of you guys knit?

Hey, if Russel Crowe can do it on TV, I can do it at home. Can't bring myself to do it in public tho!

andy_b
03-13-2011, 01:14 AM
Sure, y'all sew- but how many of you guys knit?


It would take forever to knit a cover for a Bridgeport! ;)

I wanted a long scarf. I was a big fan of Tom Baker as Dr. Who. My son asked why I was taking up a hobby of old ladies. :D

andy b.

Weston Bye
03-13-2011, 07:00 AM
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned running an incandescent light bulb or other similar heating device under the cover with the machine. Warms the machine ever so slightly, but warms the air inside the tent and prevents or reduces condensation.

Dawai
03-13-2011, 08:58 AM
Weston, a light bulb makes the "critters" looking for a nice warm place to reside much more comfortable.`Having a possum sitting on my pc inside my cnc machine with heater lightbulb..

Sewing.. yes.. I sew.. I have a edge serger that I have not figured out how to thread yet, and a old consew walking foot machine I put a HUGE pulley on the head to slow it down.

Another idea, I have one, a 3 phase sewing machine motor and inverter drive to slow it on down more. I have the sewing machine motor with clutch on my power hammer thou.. it sucks sometimes to be doing so many types of things.

Where you at unknown person who needs a sewing machine? If local?? well... mine sits mostly.

andy_b
03-13-2011, 09:19 AM
Another idea, I have one, a 3 phase sewing machine motor and inverter drive to slow it on down more. I have the sewing machine motor with clutch on my power hammer thou.. it sucks sometimes to be doing so many types of things.



No need for all that trouble, just get one of these (although there are plenty of 3-ph sewing machine motors if you really wanted to run one with an inverter):

http://cgi.ebay.com/CONSEW-PREMIER-CSM550-SEWING-MACHINE-SERVO-MOTOR-3-4HP-/350446697581?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5198403c6d

I have one of the servo motors on an old industrial Singer 153W with a needle-feed walking foot, and you can run it at just a few RPM. I'd be terrified to run that machine at full speed. It would suck my fingers in for sure!

andy b.

Tony Ennis
03-13-2011, 09:36 AM
...industrial Singer 153W with a needle-feed walking foot,... I'd be terrified to run that machine at full speed. It would suck my fingers in for sure!

My cousin's wife runs one of those at full speed. It is absolutely terrifying. As it is with machinists, time is money so she's all 'Go baby go!'

tlfamm
03-13-2011, 10:21 AM
Gentleman I thought you all would know I was being funny.

I love to sew. I have even made my own shirts. I do a lot of leather work and sew all the time.

I have an air operated sewing machine. It is great because I can slow it down to two stitches per minute. Not that that slow is good for anything though. I have thought recently about making covers for my machines because my shop is really dusty.

Also I like to cook!


Do you wear lederhosen at the lathe? That's a yes-or-no question, please don't send pix :) :)

http://www.coachhousegifts.com/seasonal/image.php?type=P&id=21774