Good morning, all! For the last 2 weeks, I have been trying everything under the sun and on the 'net to get the tension right on this setup I acquired. I did try to get help in the Vintage forum and got nowhere, I reckon it is an unheard of machine..? Anywho, this is what I have:
A Singer 96-45 mounted on a frame for longarm-style quilting. The frame is similar to the kenquilt system, with the 3 rollers all the same height. (I have seen a lot of frames with one of the rollers mounted higher or lower than the others.)
The machine has been cleaned thoroughly, tension assembly removed, cleaned and remounted, new needle(s) have also been used, bobbin housing was completely removed and cleaned as well. Timing has even been reset since the hook wasn't coming across the shaft at the exact middle, although it did stitch fine before and still does after. The issue is just the tension. I can't seem to get it right. I have used 40 wt & 50 wt threads, 100% cotton, and the poly-cotton/cotton-poly wrapped combo , all in every imaginable combination. The bobbin will take and use whatever thread ya throw in there. Upper thread breaks randomly. I believe this is due to it being too tight but, in order to get no loops on the back it has to be that tight. Any ideas, suggestion, tips, maybe even a spare sledge-hammer I could borrow for a few days?
I have begun making sure the sandwich wasn't too taut, after reading that somewhere, but that's not the problem either. I am gonna add a few more thread guides this weekend, as was suggested in a YouTube video, see if that helps since I know there is at least 1 missing. I have tried new thread, old thread, in-between thread and am getting a bit frustrated. I also seen somewhere that maybe the 16 needles are not ideal for high-speed machines..? Maybe going up a size would work since it runs at 3500 spm? I tried to make a genie bobbin thing out of the teflon I use to FMQ with my domestic machine but all that did was super heat the bobbin and the thread! That did not work out so well, and actually stopped the machine. So, popped that out and let it cool off for a few hrs and she was all good again. Well, except for the small problem of the upper thread breaking. And I'm not so sure it's threaded right since the manual online(the only one I can find for this machine) is nothing more that a parts list and of absolutely no help! Grrrr.
Believe me, I am totally open to suggestions and desperate for anyone's help! Thanks a bunch.
stitches on top
stitches on bottom
**note* I have been restitching over and over til I get the hang of it, using different colors for each pass. that's why it looks such a mess! The really heavy bobbin is actually loose upper tension, very loose! Last pass made was with blue upper and blue bobbin, white was the pass before that one, and variegated was the first pass.
how it is threaded(with arrows to help see it) :-)
It comes off the cone/spool goes up into a make-shift cone stand "thing", then R to L thru first hole, L to R thru 2nd hole and R to L thru 3rd hole, down and around tensioner making sure to catch the spring, under the bar on the left there, up thru the needle arm hole, down thru 2 rings(not shown) on the face plate(?) first one has thread go under it to pop in there, and the 2 nd one you wind the thread thru it L to R, then down to needle bar eye and L to R thru the needle. Yes, the needle is in right as far as I can tell, it is round shank so hard to get dead perfect. Needles are DBx1 16x231 size 16. A size 12 refuses to work and is only good for skipping tons of stitches. This is why timing was reset, as it was suggested as a possible problem.