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Sewing Machine Maintenance

Please refer back to this page over time; information will be added.

  • Oiling

    • Points of lubrication
      Every surface on a machine, which is in movable contact with any other point, must be lubricated. This is true even if the operators manual does not indicate the need to lubricate every point. A small drop of oil on each point is sufficient. Take off the machine covers and rotate the handwheel in the normal direction of rotation. Observe and note every movable contact point on the machine. This includes the visualizing of shafts within bushings, etc. Perform this exercise thoroughly while lubricating the machine, and you will soon find it quick to lubricate every point without fail. Please note that manuals usually have very poor depictions of oiling points.

    • Frequency
      Each lubrication point should be oiled every four hours of use.  The hook race, and corresponding bobbin case or bobbin case base, and the needle bar, all require particular attention to lubrication. These are some of the primary wear areas on lockstitch sewing machines, (the needle bar on chainstich machines). These points may be oiled more thoroughly and/or frequently. If oil contamination of the material does not prove to be a problem, it would be best to oil the hook race at each change of the bobbin, especially with a new hook assembly. Of course this is easy to accomplish on machines in which the bobbin is loaded from the top of the bed, and difficult  with bobbins that are inserted under the bed.

    • Oiling systems
      Manual oiling systems require the operator to oil each point individually, and on a regular (preferred 4-hour) basis. Automatic oiling systems can supply all points of lubrication or can be combined with manual oiling. The oil in automatic systems can be distributed through gravity, through splash, through wicking (such as cotton cord), or through pressure supplied by a pump. All automatic oiling systems require the reservoir to be filled to a certain level with oil. Wick fed systems range from small reservoirs (the wicking itself may serve as reservoir) to more substantial cavities. The smaller the reservoir, the more often oil will need to be added. Larger oil reservoirs of any system type may have marked indicator levels, so that the operator can verify that enough oil is available in the reservoir. Pressure lubrication systems may have sight windows or bubbles. A flow or splash of oil seen through these windows or bubbles will indicate that there is likely a good pressure of oil in the system. Pressure systems may also have adjustment needles or valves to control the flow of oil to critical points such as the hook race. Any system can have an oil return mechanism to recirculate oil and to prevent build-up of oil in pockets from which it may leak or overflow. The oil return mechanisms can be gravity flow, wicking, or both. Pressure systems may also incorporate a suction return, operated by the same pump that supplies oil pressure.

    • Oil
      There are two basic categories of oil, and some secondary ones. Plain mineral oil ( the same as baby oil) is commonly used. It is clear and sometimes marketed as "stainless" oil since it will not stain material as severely as other oils. It is adequate for normal speed, pressure and heat applications. Additive oils are usually identified by a "color" to the oil. They can be clear, but are not normally clear in color. The most important purpose of the additives are to provide adequate lubrication in high speed, high heat conditions.

  • Cleaning

  • Hook system

  • Thread handling system

  • Needle bar

  • Adjustments


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Mark Rofini

Telephone: 503-759-4373


This page last updated January 01, 2014

Fax: 503-759-4374

E-mail: mrofini@industrialsewmachine.com

Molalla, OR 97038 USA