Fixit Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

We publish negative results here. :D Keep fighting.

Loner
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Loner »

Some real quick fixes.

I needed some mudguards for my bike, but I didn't feel like paying 50 bucks. So I just waited until I found some in the trash. I did last week. The plastic clips that attach the fender to the metal Vs (which in turn are attached to the fork) were broken. I fixed it with steel strip, three rivets and few nyloc nuts and bolts. Cost: a dollar, maybe? I had to drill the bolts, but I live in a tiny studio with no vise, so I first filed a flat surface on the side of the bolt, and then drilled a hole by holding the bolt precariously with a small pair of vise-grips. Really fun.It is in those moments that I long for a proper workshop. It worked out regardless of the hassle.

I also made two covers for my (free) sewing machines (using a trashed long skirt) as well as a new handle for a camping axe with a bit of dead ash found around here. I cut the general shape with an axe+saw, and then finished the job with a drawknife (10$, bought at an antiques' place) and an old Stanley spokeshave (1$ in a yard sale).

https://ibb.co/dQwkktK
https://ibb.co/P9QTMxS

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

That’s a beautiful axe handle! That takes patience with a draw knife.

Loner
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Loner »

Thanks a lot Sclass. Yes, it took some time, but I like the work, it's relaxing. Also, it looks beautiful, but it's less functional than it could be. Owing to my non-experience in woodworking, I ended up removing a bit too much wood, so the handle is not quite as thick as it could be in the axis in which you hit, IOW, it's probably not as solid as it could be. But the grain orientation is perfect though. Gotta start learning somewhere.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

Hello again. I took @Ego's great advice and tried Offerup. Wow, craigslist is so 2004. A graveyard of old listings that stay up forever with unreasonable pricing. Offerup has much better stuff that is priced to move. I bought this sewing machine. I know, I have five machines now. I couldn't resist. I was dying to get into a Husqvarna. I had to see why my mom and her friends all swooned over this machine back in the day. I got this for $40. It was jammed up inside.

These were high end machines in the 1970s. Kind of a status symbol with suburban mom's. I remember my mom and her friends name dropping their machines like they were cars. This model cost about the same as a good used car back in 1977. We're talking $500 in 1970s dollars when a new Vespa costed $500. I really wanted to see what made these so special over a Singer or Kenmore. Turns out it was the tight tolerance bearings. They give it a solid feel and a very consistent stitch. They were designed to be oiled for life. So they had a tight fit that would not leak oil and never required the ubiquitous dropper other makes required. The problem was the oil dries up after 40 years and glues the tight fitting bearings solid. :|

So the trick is to take the machine apart, clean the bearings out with carb cleanter. Relubricate with high quality light synthetic oil - I used 0W20 Mobil 1 left over from my Honda oil change.

Removed all the access panels to get at the guts.Image

Motor had smoke coming out of it. Turned out to be a capactior short. I was wondering if I should replace it but I realized it was a filter capacitor to eliminate RF interference with AM radios and analog TV broadcast. :lol: So 1977! Not needed anymore so I clipped it out.
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All of the bearings and pivots were glued together with solidified grease. Solvent + light synthetic oil + wiggling got them free. I couldn't turn the machine with the motor. So I hand cranked impatiently till I broke the handwheel. Finally I got the friction low enough to rotate the machine with an electric drill hooked to the mainshaft. Once I was able to see the parts in motion I knew where to focus my solvent spray.
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This is the most I had to strip the machine down to. I finally got it to rotate freely but it still wouldn't sew backwards or zig zag. The mechanisms were jammed. I found each one by operating the knobs and observing what worked and didn't work in the machine. Wiggling, spraying and oiling freed it all up and made it functional. I was ready to totally disassemble the machine but that would have been daunting given its mechanical complexity.
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I cleaned up and lubricated the motor. A mess in there. I operated the machine with a hand drill while I repaired the cracked handwheel.
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The handwheel cracked inside. Go figure the prior owner and me tried to crank a frozen machine. I glued it here with JB Weld. Probably one of the greatest fixit glues with utility up there with duct tape and baling wire. Amazing stuff, a must have for the workshop.
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Back together under drill power.
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Everything runs at this point but it tangles up the thread under the bobbin and hook carrier. So I knew it is catching the top thread and that means timing is close but somehow it snags down below and makes a big ball of thread down there. I disassembled the bobbin and hook a dozen times sanding and filing away all the burrs caused by needle strikes. This will jam the thread down below. Still no luck. It still made a big hairball of thread down below.

Then I realized the tolerance between the hook driver and hook are too close and the thread cannot get through. I was not sure how these are set on a Husqvarna but I took it apart and found these two shims that set the clearance. On a lark I took them out to give the thread a little more space.

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Boom! it works! First stitches made using power drill power.
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And there it is all done. Just need to polish the paint a bit. I marked up the finish with solvent and need to polish it out. I'm going to use automotive polish and give it a good shine. There are a few cracks in the plastic parts that also need to be filled and glued in. I cannot wait to get it sewing under its own power. Fun stuff.
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Makes me wonder about the history of this machine. It was cosmetically clean and didn't have much wear. Probably owned by a person who didn't sew much. The cracked handwheel had superglue residue from a prior repair attempt. It had a swatch of test fabric on it pinned to the needle plate indicating it had been tested and put away long ago. However what I don't understand is the shims. A repairman or factory assembler put those in and they put the machine out of spec. There was a big ball of thread tangled in the hook so somebody had tried to run it before it became frozen and tangled it up. The backstory would have been interesting. As it was, a young gal just wanted it gone out of her closet. I didn't ask too many questions. She did say they took it in to a repairman and he refused to fix it. Probably he'd have to charge more than the value of the machine.

Six hours of work and a lot of thinking. YouTubing. Searching for old scans of the service manual. Works great now.

This vintage machine collecting has made me remember my mom. These machines were bought by husbands after marriage and were treated like engagement rings among my mom and her friends. The richer the husband the more expensive the machine. They spent more time bragging about their Pfaff, Bernina, Elna, Necchi or Husqvarna than actually sewing. It was like a status symbol in the living room. God forbid if your loser husband bought you a Singer or Kenmore or worse, one of those "cheap" Japanese models. Mom was such a poser. When I think of it she really didn't make much stuff. Mostly she told people how good she was at making stuff. When I went through her old machines I found out they were all out of timing and needed service. None worked. I felt really sad for her. She didn't want to pay for service and she was afraid to keep asking my dad to pay the serviceman because he'd start asking questions about why she needed that thing. She kept buying more and cheaper machines and breaking them as her life went on. It seemed to be an identity thing. When she married dad got her a Necchi, then a Pfaff, then a Singer, then a Singer Tiny Tailor which is basically a kid's toy. None of them worked by the time I got to them. By the 1980s it was cheaper to get a new machine rather than repair. And now we are here.

It's all from a different time. Mom had a college degree from UCLA in "Home Economics". They literally went to college to learn sewing, cooking and home decor. She had a lot of not so serious college friends. I guess there were fewer paths back then. A different time with a different set of status symbols. Makes you think about lifestyle choices changing over time. Sounds ridiculous now.

Miss Lonelyhearts
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Miss Lonelyhearts »

Probably some degree of status comparison inherent in any branded machine that every family on the block owns, particularly so in upwardly mobile communities. It’s also the case that what one studies in college can have a major influence on what one aspires to in one’s free time, irrespective of how free time actually gets spent. E.g., the history major CEO with stack of unread Presidential biographies on his night table. From what else you’ve written about your parents, it may also have been the case that there was serious disconnect between your mom’s college aged self’s envisioned domestic bliss scene of happy husband sipping Scotch in slippers while dutiful wife mends nightgowns and the reality of marital psychodrama that made it particularly hard for her to sit down in front of sewing machine. Nice that you’re finally able to do some of the projects she couldn’t. :)

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

You nailed it.

I’ve collected two types of machines in the second hand stores. One is the worn and beaten unit with paint rubbed off where hands rubbed working the controls. The other is the picture perfect machine without a scratch. This Husqvarna is one of those.

My wife told me about her mom’s machine. It was used a lot and she made all kinds of household items from bedding to baby clothes with it. So there is variability.

My mom complained to me the life that she was trained for wasn’t the life she had. She had an idea of where she thought she should be. I feel bad when I think about her complaining. I can still hear her compromising and rationalizing how she fit into the big picture. I think there is a cautionary tale in here about how we shouldn’t be constrained by some expectations based on prior training - or some expected role. The fact they’d even have a Home Economics department at UCLA makes me squirm uncomfortably.

I can remember her saying she was raised to marry a professional like her dad. Her job volunteering at an LA art museum was supposed to drive business to my dad. Unfortunately my dad’s business was borderline criminal and embarrassing to her. So she felt useless. I think she kept up a good appearance by being a good mom and displaying her lightly used sewing machine in the living room. Some people would hit the bottle.

Well the machine is working great. I reinforced some of the brittle plastic access panels by plastic welding (explored in this thread) using PLA filament and a soldering iron. The old plastic was cracking and falling apart around the screw holes.

Sews like a dream. This one has a really wonderful two speed transmission that allows it to sew in low gear. Really works well for free motion embroidery and darning. I mended some holes with it already.

horsewoman
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by horsewoman »

Ha, success! I just transferred a card reader from my old, broken desktop PC to my current one. It was pretty easy to do, once I thought of doing it.
I use a Nikon camera and this model has no way to connect it to a PC via cord, and the WiFi function does not work. So I had to transfer the card from the Nikon to my old Canon, and plug this into the PC to get my pics and vids - very annoying. I have no idea why I did not think of putting the old card reader into the new PC before.

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jennypenny
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by jennypenny »

After being inspired by this thread, I've been tackling bigger jobs (I'll post pics soon). I"m warming up to take a stab at doing our bathroom.

Quick question ... how do you get automotive paint off your hands? Normal methods aren't working. (what the hell is in that stuff? the smell is overwhelming)
Last edited by jennypenny on Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by SavingWithBabies »

@jp I'd try the methods outlined here:

https://lifehacks.stackexchange.com/que ... ne-g-hands

Guessing rubbing alcohol/acetone is going to be the solution. Automotive pain is tricky as what it means changed over time (today, seems like they have to used water-based paints but in the past it was solvent).

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

jennypenny wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:42 pm
. (what the hell is in that stuff? the smell is overwhelming)
Uhh JP...modern isocyanate automotive paints are not something you want on your skin. I’m hoping you have old school acrylic enamel or lacquer on your hands and not 2k iso paint. The whole point of the catalyst 2k stuff is that it won’t come off even if you soak it in gas.

My experience is with older lacquer and acrylic enamel finishes that thinned with xylene. “Synthetic reducer” available at the auto body supply store. Probably carcinogenic. Perhaps you can call your local auto body supply and ask what they use for the paint you have?

Over the pandemic I’ve been fantasizing about converting my garage into a spray booth and painting a car. Too much YouTube. :lol:

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jennypenny
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by jennypenny »

Yeah, I was afraid of that. I was careful during the painting but then got it on me while cleaning up.

At least this weekend's project only involves latex paint.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

I walked up as the seller was unloading it from his truck and said, "Here, let me help you." Then I asked how much he wanted for it. By the time he said $30, three other buyers had surrounded me waiting to see if I would take it. It came with a larger wooden custom-made base that I imagine doubled as a shelf. I have not tested it yet but judging from the exterior I am guessing it will have at least one problem. It has some oxidation on the base. There is no filter thing that holds the coffee but came with a double spout. It looks like I will be learning about vintage Italian espresso makers.

Image

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

The on/off switch is broken. I will have to search for a replacement.

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I opened up the bottom. It is surprisingly clean.

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Here is the back side of the switch.

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It is a Zacconi Riveria. This is what it looks like when it works.

https://youtu.be/GyT98C-EBiQ

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass »

Wow what a cool machine! It looks infinitely rebuildable. With some seals this thing is probably BIFL. I’ve worn out three pump machines in thirty years. The electric pumps always break. This one will probably last forever if you know how to change the piston seal.

The switches look easily sourced from a hardware store, auto parts store or Grainger. Best would be a surplus electronics place if you have one in town. Pretty standard switch.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

I spent the afternoon working on it. Lots of shiny parts to polish with my buffing wheel. I marked the wires, removed the bad switch and will take it with me tomorrow to the swap meet to show my junk friends. I feel confident someone will either know where to get one or will know someone who will know.

There is some evidence that there may have been a leak at the pump. I will test it first and if it ain't broke I won't fix it. I may try to remove the handle and lubricate the gasket. There must be some sort of high temperature food grade lubricant. If that doesn't work I will try to make a new gasket. Cross that bridge when I get to it.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

I was hoping to find a second-hand switch but none of my junk friends had any. They all suggested a particular shop that does equipment dismantling. It is an hour drive round trip so I decided to follow Sclass's advice and found a new one at an electronic shop for $11.50.

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With the new switch installed the espresso maker worked perfectly. I found the coffee basket. It was stuck to the seal at the bottom of the steam head. I think that's what it is called. The steam wand is not working. I think maybe the wand is clogged? I'll have to pull it apart to see.

One of my friends told me he has a matching brass/copper coffee grinder he doesn't use and said I could have it.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

I cleaned the holes at the end of the wand with a pin. That did not solve the problem so I ran a pipe cleaner down the length of the tube and then reinstalled it.

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That solved it. The steam wand now produces steam as it should.

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Brasso shined up the already shiny parts. 1600 grit sandpaper worked well on the oxidized sections. It doesn't look perfect, but good enough for us. Now I need to find a few espresso cups, a few cappuccino cups and saucers, a tamper and some other accessories. Apparently there is a whole culture around the making of different types of drinks from this type of machine.

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tsch
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by tsch »

What a great find, and nice restoration job! It is interesting, watching a video of how it works, to consider how this isn't strictly a coffee-making tool. It offers a whole mindful experience, from the pleasure of using a beautiful piece of equipment all the way to tasting what you prepare with it (it seems that espresso aficionados are in love with the quality of the brew of this device in particular.) And you get to explore that culture, all via serendipity. Very cool, all around. It speaks to a good life.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego »

@tsch, thank you! It was fun learning how to play with the machine this morning. I discovered that the pestle from our mortar and pestle is the perfect size and shape to use as a tamper. My first cup was terrible, the second okay and the third was not bad at all. I suspect that not bad for me is terribly for an aficionado. I fell into the world of youtube espresso last night and very much enjoyed the lessons. I especially like the history of espresso from this guy. https://youtu.be/I8uStVXNf0M

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