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View Full Version : Addictive Hobby # 3, sewing machine taps and dies



RussZHC
03-11-2016, 04:03 PM
For some odd reason I seem to be collecting "classic" domestic, so far, sewing machines. I think the appeal to me is the mechanical aspect of it, plus relatively speaking, its not horribly expensive.

Every so often there are posts here about threading be it fit, oddities, difficulties with some materials etc. etc.

I am finding out that quite often sewing machine manufacturers made threads to a given diameter and thread count, regardless of whether or not those threads fit to any sort of common standard. And further research has yielded some real gems of information, none of it particularly good from my view.
As example, part numbers maybe good but often the description of the item is how stock is "known" BUT few in the chain of information will know what the thread actually is...Singer may have something called "attachment screw" and that may be enough to get what you need but that plus a part number will most likely get what you need while the part itself maybe something like 11/64" x 40tpi.

I have found a few posts on several different boards, some themselves a decade old, the suggestion in one case was the range that die heads (like Geometric) would allow a screw like the 11/64" x 40 tpi to be made, another gave a link to a supplier who at that time I guess still sold some sets made specifically for sewing machine repair but that link is now dead. Discussions about a factory full of screw machines are OK but not that useful for me wanting/needing less than a handful.


Has anyone out there ever come across a set of taps and dies as would have been supplied to a sewing machine manufacturer? Or as a manufacturer would have supplied to its service centers?
As example, I have seen a 5 page pdf file of various Singer screws but would estimate there might only be 25 or 30 dies.

Some dies have a small range (the type that has the screw adjust) but I am not sure if those would be enough to allow working screws to be cut?

The 11/64" x 40 tpi is a valid example, and nothing in what "should" be the range, either #8 course or fine or # 10 course or fine is anything close to a good fit, one way too loose, the other binds very early on. Changing sizes is a consideration but that has potential to open up a whole other can of worms, not the least of which some of the threaded parts have been hardened AFAIK.

Thank, Russ

Carm
03-11-2016, 04:44 PM
There's a little town near me where the local sewing machine guru has the classic jam packed cluttered shop full of old stuff...which is a thriving business due to Amish who use sewing machines for all manner of things, not just clothing.
Will be attending a funeral there early April, I'll ask.

Rosco-P
03-11-2016, 07:03 PM
To the best of my knowledge, the Singer Company made most of their own fasteners in house to what ever size and pitch the Engineer deemed appropriate. You might find the occasional "special" tap or die that matches a Singer thread, but most repair and restorers single point their screws. See: http://www.singersewinginfo.co.uk/screw_threads/

loose nut
03-11-2016, 07:12 PM
Will be attending a funeral there early April, I'll ask.

Do people there plan their deaths that far in advance. Very considerate of them.

chipmaker4130
03-11-2016, 08:21 PM
Do people there plan their deaths that far in advance. Very considerate of them.

Maybe he meant wedding. For some people its the same thing!

RichR
03-11-2016, 08:36 PM
The 11/64" x 40 tpi is a valid example, and nothing in what "should" be the range, either #8 course or fine or # 10 course or fine is anything close to a good fit,
That's because 11/64" would be approximately a # 8.6 screw.

RussZHC
03-11-2016, 09:12 PM
Rosco-P: thanks for that link, I have been to that site fairly often but there is so much information there.
That link has potential to save me a bunch of time as that other reference I had, the pdf list, shows photos/drawings of each screw and gives the Singer die but nothing else, this saves me having to do all my own cross referencing.
I am selling what compromised my "shop" as I have lost that space BUT if this continues many of the parts I may need can be done with much smaller equipment, these screws as example, so maybe something like a Unimat...

boslab
03-11-2016, 10:56 PM
The thread series " model engineer" may be close to that, also BA turns up on some sewing machines too.
http://www.motalia.com/Html/Charts/me_chart.html
Mark

dave_r
03-12-2016, 01:22 AM
Maybe he meant wedding. For some people its the same thing!

That's just last decision you get to make...

Carm
03-12-2016, 08:23 AM
Do people there plan their deaths that far in advance. Very considerate of them.

Well apart from taxes it's the most certain thing to plan, nicht wahr?
Actually, the deceased has family that wouldn't have been able to attend in a timely fashion due to distance, old age and snow storms.

Rosco-P
03-12-2016, 08:34 AM
Rosco-P: thanks for that link, I have been to that site fairly often but there is so much information there.
That link has potential to save me a bunch of time as that other reference I had, the pdf list, shows photos/drawings of each screw and gives the Singer die but nothing else, this saves me having to do all my own cross referencing.
I am selling what compromised my "shop" as I have lost that space BUT if this continues many of the parts I may need can be done with much smaller equipment, these screws as example, so maybe something like a Unimat...

You're most welcome. There's a few other sites similar to that one (like ismacs), most are not nearly as complete, some are abandoned.

Rustybolt
03-12-2016, 09:17 AM
It's hard to believe but up until the first world war there wasn't any standard for screw sizes. Every manufacturer pretty much mae what they liked. Some manufacturers used odd size fasteners so that you'd have to buy relacements from them. Brown and Sharpe was famous for this. Durring the second world war my father submitted papers to the (J I C) Joint Industrial Commitee on thread standards..

RussZHC
03-12-2016, 09:37 AM
Agreed regarding the standards for screws but I am to the point I have run across it often enough, its a hassle but bothers me far less than it used to (still sort of stupid to me but...)
I understand the nature of "proprietary" and, using Singer as example, when you have much of the market (at that time for sure, I am talking from say 1920s to late 1970s when they were already very well established) producing 100s of thousands of machines with dealers all over the place you can do that BUT what I assume most did not figure on was that somewhere down the road decades later, there would be interest and use enough to warrant replacement/repairs. And then shift to more of a "throw away" design when it becomes too expensive to fix relative to the cost of new.

To me its getting the information that can be tough, I mean once you know where you are headed? Right? "Similar" helps but there are always those oddities that stump one's progress.
In this case it gets multiplied by the factor of more than one maker and each wanting to use what they want to use, standard or not and often copying what was available, read: Singer, but not necessarily copying the details to the level of matching screws plus add in some very good makers where metric joins in the mix.
Translation: if you wanted to do it all, being prepared as a business for example (which this is NOT) lots and lots of tooling or, as was suggested, repairing and restoring threads/screws single pointing them.

Danl
03-12-2016, 10:41 AM
To me its getting the information that can be tough, I mean once you know where you are headed? Right? "Similar" helps but there are always those oddities that stump one's progress.
In this case it gets multiplied by the factor of more than one maker and each wanting to use what they want to use, standard or not and often copying what was available, read: Singer, but not necessarily copying the details to the level of matching screws plus add in some very good makers where metric joins in the mix.
Translation: if you wanted to do it all, being prepared as a business for example (which this is NOT) lots and lots of tooling or, as was suggested, repairing and restoring threads/screws single pointing them.

Russ, I've been messing with a 60 year old Elna sewing machine for my wife, and I'm amazed at the workmanship I see in this thing. It was made in Switzerland. We also have a 50 year old Signature sewing machine (made in Japan), that has similar quality workmanship. A little maintenance here and there, possibly a new friction drive wheel, and they can sing just as well as they did back in the day. Very little plastic, rudimentary electronics and motors that were simply made to last for decades. The Elna was $129 new, which would be over $1,000 in today's money.


Dan

Rosco-P
03-12-2016, 10:47 AM
Probably not profitable unless run out of a shop in some third world stinkhole, but all the screw styles and thread pitches could be run off on a CNC screw machine.

RussZHC
03-12-2016, 03:44 PM
Dan:
Agreed, don't know if you have items to compare but I can feel the difference between the bobbins from Elna (or Bernina for that matter), the original ones and even original ones from Singer, the precision, fit and finish are a whole different level. Precise often = quiet.
Odd in a way but nearly all, even the very high end sewing machines, seem to have some sort of short coming, e.g. Elna is the friction drive wheel and possibly flat spotting, other makes its cracking plastic gears (usual thing there is over oiling and the drips not agreeing with the plastic over the course of time), others (including some Singer models) its the old electrics.

deltap
03-12-2016, 06:57 PM
Probably no help here. I did make some screws for Pfaff 545 industrial machine. Trial and error got me there. Screws must be proprietary, odd diameters and pitches. I started by fitting number drills into threaded hole until I got a snug fit. Then calculated OD and did a trial run a number of times until I got a screw that fit. Made a spare and marked my size and pitch on the parts list. For stock drill rod without heat treating seems to work well.

Black_Moons
03-12-2016, 07:48 PM
It's hard to believe but up until the first world war there wasn't any standard for screw sizes. Every manufacturer pretty much mae what they liked. Some manufacturers used odd size fasteners so that you'd have to buy relacements from them. Brown and Sharpe was famous for this. Durring the second world war my father submitted papers to the (J I C) Joint Industrial Commitee on thread standards..

Yep, also the concept of interchangeable parts came up around then. Before then, a replacement part would have to be filed to fit (or the thing it was being applied to filed/adjusted..)

Good luck if your replacement part was too small :P

Paul Alciatore
03-13-2016, 01:38 AM
Humm!

You mentioned the possibility of finding dies and taps that may have been made for those who repaired the machines. I doubt that many such dies and taps existed outside of the Singer and other factories. The repair shops probably just purchased parts from the OEM or from sacrificial machines and when they were no longer available they simply told the customers that the repairs could no longer be made.

I have a Unimat and it may not be the best lathe for cutting these special threads. The Unimat (DB200 at least) uses a thread chasing attachment which had a limited number of thread patterns available. They did have both English and metric pitches. If a pattern for your pitch is not available, you would have to make one. I would also not suggest a lathe with a quick change gear box as they usually only cut the standard thread pitches and odd ones may not be available. You get the most versatility in cutting threads with a lathe with manual change gears, although some threads may require additional gears.

I have noticed that McMaster does stock a somewhat large number of non-standard dies and taps. You might try there for the sizes you need. But you first need to know what those sizes actually are and there is no guarantee that even the diameters are a standard size.




Rosco-P: thanks for that link, I have been to that site fairly often but there is so much information there.
That link has potential to save me a bunch of time as that other reference I had, the pdf list, shows photos/drawings of each screw and gives the Singer die but nothing else, this saves me having to do all my own cross referencing.
I am selling what compromised my "shop" as I have lost that space BUT if this continues many of the parts I may need can be done with much smaller equipment, these screws as example, so maybe something like a Unimat...

RWO
03-13-2016, 01:26 PM
For what it's worth, there is an 8-40 thread used in some gun sights. Some screws, taps, and dies are available from Brownells http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/general-gunsmith-tools/taps-dies/index.htm

RWO

Rosco-P
03-13-2016, 01:35 PM
For what it's worth, there is an 8-40 thread used in some gun sights. Some screws, taps, and dies are available from Brownells http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/general-gunsmith-tools/taps-dies/index.htm

RWO

8-40 is hardly an odd size, it's UNS. McMaster stocks them.

flylo
03-13-2016, 02:08 PM
Sorry Rosco-P NS is 8-32, NF-8-36, 8-40 is NEF (National Extra Fine)

Rosco-P
03-13-2016, 02:29 PM
Sorry Rosco-P NS is 8-32, NF-8-36, 8-40 is NEF (National Extra Fine)

Not according to McMasterCarr's catalog page.

While it's not the be-all and end-all for reference, tiffiepedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Thread_Standard

flylo
03-13-2016, 03:43 PM
On your own chart it shows 8-32 as UNC & 8-36 as UNF #8, 0.1640 \ 4.1656 32 0.031250 \ 0.7938 36 0.027778 \ 0.7056 Take a look.

Rosco-P
03-13-2016, 03:55 PM
Sorry Rosco-P NS is 8-32, NF-8-36, 8-40 is NEF (National Extra Fine)


On your own chart it shows 8-32 as UNC & 8-36 as UNF #8, 0.1640 \ 4.1656 32 0.031250 \ 0.7938 36 0.027778 \ 0.7056 Take a look.

#8-40 is not NEF as you posted. From the chart in the link it's plain to see there is no UNEF for #0 through #10.

No dispute that #8-36 is UNF. Why did you throw that out there??

JCHannum
03-13-2016, 04:44 PM
UNS designates a special thread that conforms to standards regarding profile, etc.

Standardized parts usage dates well before WWI, to the latter part of the eighteenth century. It has been largely credited to Eli Whitney in the early 1800's but was afoot before his time.

RussZHC
03-13-2016, 05:04 PM
Paul A.:

I was thinking Unimat strictly from a size perspective, thanks for the info about them, except reading information in passing I am not familiar with them to that detail.

I am guessing I will regret selling but unless something substantial happens, I don't know I have a choice in the matter, I checked the threads of that parts list of Singer, my early Sheldon (still not sold but in process) is a change gear model and except for the 50 and 100 tpi threads, it cuts all screws on that list with basic set-ups i.e. all are listed on the gear chart without extra conniptions. Yaaaaaaaaarg!