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Marcos

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6Instructables300,705Views158CommentsAcross the Bay from San Francisco, California
I love to design and make things; and am currently developing a variety of small consumer products.

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  • 10 Tips for Buying a Sewing Machine

    If a new machine costs less than $200, don't buy it! The new machines are, er, less than reliable. I work on sewing machines, and with the help of a friend who knows more than I do, attempted to repair a Brother machine that's less than 5 years old. It took us 90 minutes to open it up, and we never did find the problem. It's still in pieces over a year later. Just prior to that, in the same evening, I spent a little over an hour working on a 70's era basic Singer machine (with a metal body). It was up and running smoothly and sewing away, as it will be for another 40+ years.If you want a good quality machine, head for your local thrift store! I have over a dozen excellent machines in my collection, and 98% of them cost less than $25! They all needed some level of cleaning, lubrication and…

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    If a new machine costs less than $200, don't buy it! The new machines are, er, less than reliable. I work on sewing machines, and with the help of a friend who knows more than I do, attempted to repair a Brother machine that's less than 5 years old. It took us 90 minutes to open it up, and we never did find the problem. It's still in pieces over a year later. Just prior to that, in the same evening, I spent a little over an hour working on a 70's era basic Singer machine (with a metal body). It was up and running smoothly and sewing away, as it will be for another 40+ years.If you want a good quality machine, head for your local thrift store! I have over a dozen excellent machines in my collection, and 98% of them cost less than $25! They all needed some level of cleaning, lubrication and adjustment, which is easy to do on your own. Even if you pay a local shop $150 (the standard rate in California), it's still a bargain for a machine that you can pass down to your grandchildren. Craigslist is also a good source, if you avoid the ads that say, "I just dragged my grandma's machine out of the closet where it's been for 30 years. It's old and heavy so it must be worth $300 or more!" Nope, unless it is a rare model of a good brand in pristine condition, which most of them ain't. I have gotten several gems in great shape for free, with the owners happy that their mom's machine went to a good home.The department store brands like Kenmore and Montgomery Ward are excellent machines, most made in Japan. They were so good and so economical, Adler and other European companies couldn't afford to match them, so they now only make industrial machines.

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  • How to Make a Sewing Machine Tractor

    OMG, I hope that machine was well and truly dead before you decided to dismantle it!That particular model is fairly rare, and the one I own is so smooth and quiet you barely know it's moving! Pfaffs are still among the best sewing machines made.Surely you could have found a weary Singer Touch 'n Sew, or any of the new white plastic machines that failed irreparably 2 or 3 years after they were purchased new! The horror! 😖

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  • Make Safer Table Saw Cuts

    A plastic bolt may be a good option, in the hopefully unlikely event that the blade finds it's way into that block.

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  • 5 Dollar, 1/2 Hour Worm Composting Bin(s)

    That's great, thanks for letting me know! It's gratifying to see that after so many years, this Instructable is still being appreciated. You might put a mineral oil or some other non-toxic finish on your lid so that it doesn't warp, and eventually rot. Or you could just wrap it in plastic.Please post more photos after you have had it going for awhile!

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  • How to Service a Sewing Machine

    How did you do with this machine? (approximate age, make and model information are always helpful :-)The first thing to do is check the strength of your thread, if a firm, steady pull breaks the thread easily, try a different, stronger thread and see if that helps.Next, make sure that the machine is threaded properly, and that the thread is pulled into the tension discs all the way. (pull gently on both sides of the thread until you feel it go it). Improper threading is the most common reason for thread breakage.If the machine is very old, it may take a different size needle than modern machines do. See the manual, or online references to your particular machine for confirmation. If it worked fine earlier, and is having trouble now with the same size needles, it may be something else.Make…

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    How did you do with this machine? (approximate age, make and model information are always helpful :-)The first thing to do is check the strength of your thread, if a firm, steady pull breaks the thread easily, try a different, stronger thread and see if that helps.Next, make sure that the machine is threaded properly, and that the thread is pulled into the tension discs all the way. (pull gently on both sides of the thread until you feel it go it). Improper threading is the most common reason for thread breakage.If the machine is very old, it may take a different size needle than modern machines do. See the manual, or online references to your particular machine for confirmation. If it worked fine earlier, and is having trouble now with the same size needles, it may be something else.Make sure that the thread is going through the tension spring properly. When the machine is running, the thread should be pulling against the spring. If you're not sure, you can probably find the threading diagram and manual online if you don't have a paper manual.--Are you using a sharp needle? They do wear out. If there is a burr on the end of the needle, it's time to replace it. If you hear a thunking sound when the needle hits the fabric, that's a telltale sign that the needle is dull.If the eye of the needle has a sharp edge, it can also break the thread, but that's less likely than the other potential causes.Is the bobbin area clear of debris and any broken needle ends? Try removing, cleaning and lubricating (lightly!) the bobbin race. There are tiny slots cut in the race that often fill with lint and should be clean.

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