Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Little Project

My friend Barbara had a spare Brother 930 that she wanted to sell, and she didn't want a whole lot of money for it.  It had previously lived at her friend's house and wasn't used much at all.  The machine looks practically new!

This was a machine in great shape, but it needed some of the usual things.

Our club heard from a lady from the prominent local university's theater department who wanted to buy a knitting machine and make it available for the students to use, as well as herself, in costuming.  As a group, my knitting buddies and I were pretty excited about this, because we are not aware of any machine knitting going on at that school.

So, Barbara brought the machine over.  Of course, it needed a sponge bar!  Once that was replaced, we set it up and tested it.  It was miss-patterning on both ends of the needle bed, and the center carriage buttons were stuck.

My husband came to the rescue once again - he took the carriage apart enough to thoroughly lubricate everything, and instantly, no stuck buttons and no miss-patterning!

Barbara also had a KR850 ribbing attachment, and the university wanted that, as well.  It needed some parts, and I inventoried it against the ribber manual and ordered items.  I ordered a few things for myself, as well.
This arrived yesterday, all carefully and closely fitted into a rather small Priority Mail shipping box. On the right, wrapped in honeycomb-looking shelf liner, are four claw weights I ordered at the same time.  

Barbara and I feel really good about the students having all the parts they need to have a great machine.  

This little story has some good lessons if you have to rehab an older machine:
  • When a machine miss-patterns (selects the wrong needles in pattern), it seems to nearly always be the carriage.  John has fixed quite a few of these, and only one was something in the machine.  
  • When you test a machine to see if it selects needles correctly, put all the needles in work and check out the entire bed.  I really don't know why, but this carriage only miss-patterned on the ends, and if we'd just tried out needles in the middle, we'd have had no idea there was a problem.
  • Oil, oil, and oil!  Each moving part on the bottom of the carriage needs to move fast!  Flippers should "flip!" rather than move lazily back into position.  The carriage zips across the needles very quickly, and a slow flipper doesn't have enough time to put the needle where it should go.
  • Most used machines need a new sponge bar.  Always check the sponge bar!  It should hold the needles down against the bed.  It should have some height left in it, not be crushed down.  Look at the ends where it wasn't against needles, and compare that height to how tall it is where the needles are.
  • If you are buying a knitting machine, don't be embarrassed to pull out the manual and inventory all the small parts.  Those little things are expensive, and if you're picking up an unusual brand or an older machine, spare parts can be quite rare.  However, don't assume that it will not be possible to get parts.  I have found that most parts for the punch card and electronic era Japanese machines are available.
  • If you find yourself with an unusable knitting machine, maybe one that was dropped, has a badly warped bed, or some other major fault, please part it out rather than discard it.  We machine knitters love these old machines, and you can sell your good parts on eBay or give them to a dealer, knit club, or repair person.    

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