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Thread: Motor Life

  1. #1
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    Motor Life

    Do any of you wonder how long the motor on your machine will last? Until the last decade or so, most home sewing machines were spec'd for garment sewing by the manufacturers. Garment sewing, as we all know, is very start and stop with rare instances of continuous sewing. Since these are the machines that were/are available, they are what we bought, with a few quilting accessories thrown in, to make them more user friendly for quilting.

    Quilting using a domestic machine can be really hard on a machine motor. Do you think machines marketed to quilters have ample motors for the stress we put them through or do you think the manufacturers are using the same motors for all machines because there isn't a problem from the constant usage for quilting?

    I just spent 12 hours riding in a vehicle and my thoughts wandered to this topic so I thought I'd ask.
    Last edited by Mitch's mom; 09-11-2013 at 03:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    for my latest sewing machine fix, the 'brushes' in the motor had to be replaced. A $4 part, but the labor was extensive!

  3. #3
    Reb
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    I just started FMQ and haven't been able to control my speed yet. I'm wondering about my motor too. Mine is a Bernina 440QE so the marketing suggests it can take anything. But when it zooms, I worry.

  4. #4
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Very good thought. I know some guild members have had motor problems on their machines lately. And they do machine quilt with them so that is something to think about. All dealers will say their machines will machine quilt, well sure any of them will, even my Featherweight but for how long?
    Got fabric?

  5. #5
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I bought two identical machines, one year apart. First one the motor lasted one year, burned up, filled the room with stinky smoke. The other machine is still going strong after five years. The motor costs about half as much as the machine and took about three months to get.
    I think machines are like cars, some get to 3 thousand miles and some maybe get to 1 thousand miles. Just the luck of the draw. I have often wondered how cost effective is making quilts with tiny scrap pieces. When electric, sewing machine life and time is all factored in.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  6. #6
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    I have often wondered how cost effective is making quilts with tiny scrap pieces. When electric, sewing machine life and time is all factored in.
    I definitely will never worry about cost effectiveness in making a quilt or my sewing machine's life. I'd be afraid to sew.
    Got fabric?

  7. #7
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Interesting, had not thought about it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Scraplady's Avatar
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    I never really thought about it. I suppose if you measure the life of a SM motor in actual stitches, especially if you use it for machine quilting as well as for piecing, you're going to reach the end of its useful life sooner than if you only used it for making garments, curtains, etc. It would be the same difference between the car that "the little old lady drove to church every Sunday" as opposed to the 4WD pickup the guy puts thousands and thousands of miles on every year. The car might last 50 years, the pickup only ten, but they would likely get to the end of the line with about the same amount of miles. Nothing in this world lasts forever, but most of us know that a car's engine will last longer if it's well maintained and actually driven, not just sitting in a garage. I think it's the same with a SM, take good care of it and use it well to keep it running as long as possible.
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    "Piecin' a quilt's like livin' a life...The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut 'em out and put 'em together pretty much to suit ourselves, and there's a heap more in the cuttin' and the sewin' than there is in the caliker...I've had a heap of comfort all my life making quilts, and now in my old age I wouldn't take a fortune for them." (Eliza Calvert Hall, Aunt Jane of Kentucky)

  9. #9
    Senior Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    As a car person, a sewer/quilter and the wife of a mechanical type, I have to chime in on this. There are a lot of factors involved in engine life and it's not always how much it's used. A lot has to do with maintenance. Good maintenance on car can make the difference between 80,000 trouble free miles and 150,000. That being said, there are also lemons that give you trouble no matter what you do.

    I agree with Scraplady that mechanical devices need to be used. We have had several vintage cars over the years and if they aren't started and run, preferably actually driven, they will give you trouble. My husband claims that a mechanical engine (as in pre computerized controls) will break faster if left in the garage and never driven than it will if it's used and cared for.

    I don't really worry about "cost effectiveness" with my sewing/quilting. I could most always buy something cheaper than I could make it. Would it be a beautiful, as unique, as well made? No, probably not. But it would be more "cost effective". I'll go for the beauty, originality and true value of a hand made quilt any day over a mass produced one.

  10. #10
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I have my Mom's singer 306 W that has seen so much use from my Mom making every bit of our families clothing including coats .. and house hold items like pinch pleat curtains. In other words if it was made of fabric it was made at home. I have it and use it for hours and hours a week. It still has the original motor.

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