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Messages - Misadventure Gear

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I couldn't have gone bigger without also having to drill the steel inner cam, along with the end of the main axle shaft. I highly doubt I could have done that with a hand drill and kept everything square. I even asked my machinist if he could just weld the cam to my stock screw, but same answer. Keeping it all perfectly square would have been more difficult that just turning a new bolt on a lathe.

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

Materials science / Re: Back-pack advise needed
« on: July 08, 2019, 12:34:36 AM »
Look closely at Smeki's pack. He isn't sewing through the foam. The shoulder straps look to be sewn inside out, flipped, and then the foam inserted. Same with the back panel. He edge-stitched around the foam. If you're struggling to sew through the foam, then you need to tweak your design to eliminate that.

Materials science / Re: Back-pack advise needed
« on: July 07, 2019, 11:20:45 AM »
A lot of CCF you find laying around is lighter weight and breaks down faster. I think it's called 2# density or something similar. For shoulder straps and back panels, you'll want a denser, 4# foam. For personal projects where you don't need a large amount of foam, look to camping foam sleeping pads and yoga mats. Spend a few minutes checking them out at your local store, and you'll quickly see the difference in densities. If you're after production volumes of foam, look into plastazote or Volera in the 4# density

Looking at upgrading the servo motor on my Tacsew. The motor I'm looking at has the ability to do auto-backtacking. Can anyone tell me what sort of additional hardware I'll need to connect to my machine's reverse mechanism to make it happen?

Introductions / Re: Greetings from Finland
« on: June 22, 2019, 01:16:12 AM »
Hey Stefan!!!! I remember you from the DIY Tactical days...... Good to see you again!!!!

Materials science / Re: Multi function slider source
« on: June 16, 2019, 08:37:59 PM »
I assume you're talking about a sternum strap on a backpack. There are several examples on this page of sternum strap hardware, including ones made to slide on webbing or on piping.

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

Concept, design, and engineering / Re: Box Pouch Feedback
« on: May 01, 2019, 12:45:29 PM »
I haven't seen your product, but did you take shrinkage into account? The more stitching, PALS, etc., that you put in it, the more it will shrink. I'll add 1/4" to 1/2" depending on the size of my base piece and how much I'm sewing it. It's always easier to trim to fit if needed, than to battle with a piece that's now 1/4" too small.

As for puckering, check this out ...

Materials science / Re: Semi rigid batting options?
« on: April 29, 2019, 11:45:25 PM »
Have you been to your local fabric store and checked out their heavy duty stabilizer fabric? It's made for exactly your purpose and comes in various levels of stiffness......

Workspace, tools, machinery, and manufacturing / Re: Presser Foot Size
« on: April 18, 2019, 12:15:03 AM »
For my Walking Foot machine, I have the stock center presser foot with the hole for the needle, plus for the rear walking foot, I have the standard double-toed foot. Same dimensions as Essal. I also have left and right single-toed zipper feet, which will let me set my edge guide right up to the inner foot to sew 1/8" in from the edge. I use these a lot!!! One of my machines has the spring loaded edge guide foot. It works, but I prefer a standard foot and swing-away fence over it. I also have a selection of cording or piping feet which are grooved on the bottom to accommodate sewing down piping. I've only rarely had need of these feet, but they have helped with some repairs. I've thought about including cording on some of my bags seams, but haven't pursued that yet.

Asset exchange / WTB: Digital Urban Cordura 2-3yds
« on: March 19, 2019, 11:02:46 AM »
I have a customer requesting a pack in digital Urban camo. I can find it in a poly cotton fabric, but not in cordura or similar material. In Cordura, I can get a woodland-style Urban camo, but he would prefer a pixilated print... Anyone with a few yards to spare, or other suggestions?

Materials science / Re: Foam for back-pack shoulder straps
« on: March 14, 2019, 10:55:20 PM »
You want 4lb or more. It's more dense and won't flatten out as much under weight. For prototypes and personal use I've sourced foam from Walmart camping sleep pads and yoga mats. One of my favorites for hip belts is a a dual density pad made by gluing together a 1/4" thick yoga mat and a blue foam sleep pad, then cutting to shape.

I'm still using my Tacsew T111 that I found used locally for $500 ten years ago. It's still my primary machine and has proven very reliable. If I had to replace it, I wouldn't have any trouble paying what SewingGold is asking for a new one. It works without a hiccup every time I sit down to sew.

In all the years, I only had one maintenance issue of note: one day, the head of the needle set screw broke off. While extracting the remains of the screw, I damaged (stripped) the needle bar. I ordered a needle bar for a Singer 111-155, and found it a bit longer but same diameter as the one from my Tacsew. I cut it shorter, swapped it in, and it worked just fine. Setting the timing was easy too, although the English translation of the manual is a joke.

Introductions / Re: New guy
« on: March 04, 2019, 03:44:22 PM »
Welcome aboard!!!

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