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Messages - Misadventure Gear

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Update on my Tacsew T111-155: I gave up on the idea of adding foot lift to my Tacsew. Machine compatibility issues aside, the solenoid and other hardware would run $400-$500 on top of the servo motor. In the end, I ordered the SP-1100NPFL servo motor with needle positioner from Keystone. It took about 2 weeks to arrive. My excitement at seeing the box on my doorstep quickly turned to concern, when upon picking up the box, a screw fell out. I could only hope and pray that no other screws fell out in transit.

On unboxing, there was little damage to the box or it's contents. However, the ziplock baggie which held several screws was not sealed shut, and I also found a washer floating around in the packaging. Everything else appeared intact. Installation of the motor and control box was straight forward. I removed the old servo motor, now destined for another machine, and bolted in the new one. The motor control box, power switch, and speed control switch which connects to the foot pedal were also screwed in to the bottom of the table.

The fun began when I tried to connect the synconizer to the handwheel's axle. For those of you not familiar with the set-up, you remove the stock handwheel screw, and replace it with a longer one supplied with the motor. This screw secures a round cam, which the synconizer then attaches to. The synconizer counts the revolutions of the main axle, and tells the motor when to stop. To prevent the synconizer from spinning along with the axle, a second L-shaped bolt is screwed into your machine. It sits in a slot on the synchronizer to fix it in place.

Of course, the only handwheel bolt supplied with the motor was the one which fell out as I picked up the box. And of course, it did not match the diameter or thread pitch of my machine's stock bolt. Furthermore, the L-shaped fixing bolt also did not fit the existing screw holes in my machine for attaching the belt guard. The holes were also not in a good place for the fixing bolt to engage it's slot in the synconizer properly.

To install the fixing bolt, I ended up removing the handwheel, then drilling and tapping a hole in the side of my machine's pillar. First, I positioned it so it just cleared the handwheel, and then verified by looking inside the pillar, that I wouldn't accidentally hit something vital inside. I was able to position it in a thicker part of the wall, and drill a hole nearly ½" deep without breaking through to the inside. Tapping it to match the L-bolt was easy enough. As an alternative to drilling and tapping, I could have bent up some sheet metal and screwed it to the table top to fix the synconizer in place, but then I would have to remove it every time I wanted to tip the machine back. With the fixing bolt in the pillar, you don't need to do anything.

Replacing the main axle bolt proved the be the hardest and most expensive part of the upgrade. The rather generic instructions showed three different bolts, advising you to use the one which fits your machine. It even listed the sizes, one of which, 11/32" diameter with a 28tpi, matched the screw from my machine. Assuming that I probably lost the screw I needed in shipment, I called Keystone for a replacement. They were less than helpful. They did not have any motors to look at to see what I was talking about. I'm guessing the motors are probably drop shipped from the distributor, and not kept in stock by Keystone. After a few phone calls and some pleading, they sent me a bolt which wasn't anything close to the measurements I provided for the missing one. They also made it clear that they wouldn't help me anymore.

Exercising my Google skills, I confirmed what I already suspected….. You're not gonna find screws in an 11/32" diameter. It is possible to find screws with an Extra Fine 28tpi (threads per inch), but only in ¼" and ⅜" diameter. Taking my screws with me, I went to see my local automotive machine shop to have one made. It took them a couple weeks, and I also needed to bring the machine head down for test fittings, but they were able to do it. The machinist told me he's never had to cut a bolt like that. The unusual diameter, and high precision called for by the Extra Fine thread pitch made for challenging work for him, as he had to remove the screw from the lathe for test fitting several times, then chase the threads again once back in the lathe. His skill and excellent work made the $135 bill for a single screw more palatable. As I reminded my wife, good work isn't cheap, and cheap work isn't good.

Once back home, the synconizer bolted right in. I'm still playing with some of the control settings, but I really like it. I have it set up where the needle stops in the down position. A firm heal press raises the needle. It's taken me very little effort to get used to it, and I see this being a great time saver over time.  Aside from the drama surrounding the missing screw, installation was pretty straight forward. I'm interested to hear if anyone else has ordered this servo, and if it came with 3 handwheel screws or only one. Photos can be seen at

Tacsew T111-155: installing needle positioner

Introductions / Re: New to the forum, Shaw Concepts
« on: May 28, 2019, 10:45:21 AM »
Welcome aboard Devil Dog.....SFMF.

Nice idea..... My K.I.S.S. solution is to wrap the tail of thread halfway around the bobbin and tug firmly. The thread will seat itself in between the other thread on the bobbin and hold tight. When it's time to load your bobbin case, simply drop it in as normal. Pulling out a tail for the top thread to grab will unseat it from the threads, and you're ready to go. Same technique will also work for cones of thread if you wrap it around the base where the thread meets the cone.

Asset exchange / Re: WTB: Cardboard tubes for fabric storage
« on: November 25, 2017, 01:47:10 PM »
I use PVC pipes to store my rolls vertically. It's been a few years since I made some, and forgot exactly what size, but I believe they were 1.5" diameter. I checked out the various tubes, and found that the 1" diameter tubes fit snuggly inside the 1.5"...... They might have been different schedules (thickness of the tube walls) to fit right. I bought 5 ten foot lengths of the larger, and a single 10 footer of the smaller diameter. The 1.5" pipes were cut in half (60"), and the smaller was cut into 6" lengths, and the edges sanded smooth. I then used a hammer and block of wood to pound the 6" stubs into the ends of the 60" pipes. This made the most efficient use of the 10ft pipes, while still giving me roll tubes that were wider than 60".  I also made some by cutting a 10ft pipe to 72 inches, and then using the 4ft tubes for narrower fabrics, and/or using a butt-connector fitting to piece together longer tubes. The ones made using the butt-connectors were harder to roll straight because of the uneven diameter, but they worked.

Workspace, tools, machinery, and manufacturing / Re: Juki lu 1511 n7
« on: November 17, 2016, 11:07:57 PM »
Contact Juki. When I bought an older overlock machine, I called them. Within a few hours, they emailed me the Operators Manual, Parts List, and Engineers (Service) Manual. They were great to deal with.

Workspace, tools, machinery, and manufacturing / Re: Custom folder help!
« on: October 31, 2016, 04:26:45 PM »
I ran into a similar problem silnylon and 1.9oz ripstop through my $20 basic folder. I mostly solved it by putting strips of tape in the mouth of the folder to make the opening narrower. The fabric has a  less room to move around, and I can easily remove it if I'm working with 1000d cordura. Silnylon is also a very slippery fabric, so I use lots of binder clips to help hold things in place right up until it goes into the binder attachment.

Heres some pics of the unfinished jigs. If anyone is interested in one, I'd like $15 each, or $25 for a set of the two sizes, plus shipping.  I'm open to PayPal or trade for materials.  They are unfinished.  You will need to do some filing and sanding to remove burrs and rust.  I powder coated mine to make it more slick, but that's not required if you polish it well. 

Off Topic / Re: what the deuce is this?
« on: March 31, 2016, 11:57:27 PM »
I've encountered issues when sewing hook Velcro on a domestic machine sometimes. I suspected the hook was catching top thread and delaying the thread take-up just enough to fuck things up. I tried flipping the material so the hook was against the thread plate instead of face up under the presser foot, and it sewed much better. Of course it was harder to make a pretty Box-X when you can't see the edge of the Velcro. To solve that, I would mark the reverse side where the Velcro was placed and sew just inside that.

Of course the ultimate fix was a Tacsew T111-155 walking foot machine..... But that's a different story.  ;D

Concept, design, and engineering / Re: Adding structure to gear
« on: June 18, 2015, 12:23:20 AM »
Another option, especially if you are looking for something to sandwich between two layers of cordura, would be a heavy stabilizer fabric. You can get them for cheap from most fabric shops in a couple of levels of stiffness. I've also used it between layers of webbing to stiffen up belts and folded ends of pull tabs. Because it's white, it can stand out against the fabric, so I like to cut it 1/8" smaller than the piece its going into. Or, on black material, the Sharpie marker comes out.

I made my table 9ft by 6ft. Some rolls come larger  than 60", and the extra space allows me to leave my rulers, scissors, markers, etc on the table, but not on the material when I'm laying things out. It helps that I have long arms, as the middle can be hard to reach sometimes. The surface is Masonite with a base of 1/2" plywood and 2x4’s. Its heavy! This table is on casters. The Masonite is screwed down for easy replacement. I usually use scissors or an electric rotary cutter that doesn't damage the table. On occasion, I will throw down a large (3'x 3') cutting mat if I'm using a razor knife to cut foam. This table is great for dealing with rolls of fabric. Since I'm more of the hobbyist sized shop, I often buy 5 or 10yrds of fabric at a time, and these are frequently not on rolls. This size table makes it easier for me to reroll them. After I made the table, I read Kathleen Fasenella's book, where she advocates a minimum 12' long cutting table, saying anything less will cause material waste due to inefficient layouts. Still, the 9ft works for me, as I'm not laying out large patterns, and I still have room for other stuff in my garage.

In my 10'x10' workroom, I have a 6'x2' bench that gets heavily used for pretty much everything. I will frequently put a roll on it for marking/cutting  when doing a quick small project such as a pouch, rather than going to the garage. It is a recycled Formica prefabtabletop that I was given. I have a large piece of 6'x2' tempered glass on top, for easy hot cutting of small batches of webbing. Underneath the glass is a 2'x2' rotary cutting mat that I can pull out and put on top the glass as needed. The 2ft depth works okay, but 3ft would be a lot nicer to work with. Like I said, I use this table for a lot more than just cutting, and it always seems to be cluttered with bits and pieces from multiple projects. I eventually built a pegboard back panel 3ft high, on which I can store scissors, rulers, soldering irons and other frequently used items. Shelves above the pegboard and below the table allow storage for webbing, thread, hardware, some domestic machines, etc. I made this table to sit at the same height as my 3 industrial sewing machine tables so that it's easy to roll over in my chair to work on something. I'm at work, but I can add some pics later if you want.

Platforms / Re: Load Bearing System "Regulator"
« on: May 22, 2015, 12:37:57 AM »
I like the integrated sit pad. Reminds me of some turkey hunting vests with integrated sit pads I've seen. An easy mod is to attach an elastic strap or cord, so that it can be flipped up if the operator desires.

Workspace, tools, machinery, and manufacturing / Re: Fabric marking
« on: May 11, 2015, 01:34:19 PM »
I've been using the Clover chalk pen for years. I haven't worn the wheel out, but I'm also careful not to be to rough with it. When I ran out of chalk, I bought a bottle of bright orange chalk for a construction chalk line....thinking I'd save money and get a hi-viz color.. What I found instead was that the chalk line chalk was more of a coarse grind and didn't work well in the Clover pen. Now I only use the Clover refills, usually yellow.

I have that binder foot pictured, and I use it all the time with my cheap, non-right angle binder attachment on my Tacsew T111-155. It works great on one inch tape, because it presses across the entire width of the binding tape. It helps to keep the tape from rolling on curves and when straight stitching. If you can't afford a dedicated binding machine, this foot will help you get the most out of your binder attachment on your regular machine.

Introductions / Re: CDH-Tac Finland checking in
« on: March 09, 2015, 04:04:38 PM »
Welcome aboard.

Introductions / Aloha from Misadventure Gear
« on: March 08, 2015, 10:35:11 PM »
Russell from Misadventure Gear is now on board.  Nice to see a lot of old friends here...

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