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Thread: Rotary, oscillating, vibrating? What are the advantages, disadvantages of each?

  1. #1
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Question Rotary, oscillating, vibrating? What are the advantages, disadvantages of each?

    While I wait for the chance to clean/repair our machines of each sort I thought I'd ask the people who have been using them already to share their knowledge. Obviously they all do the job - each types was widely represented for years. Am I correct to assume that rotary hooks won out in the end? They're the one type that seems to be used extensively in the marketing (hence names like White Rotary or Damascus Rotary) but I don't know if they have a real edge in use or if it was mostly marketing.

    TIA

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    I have a White Rotary and it sews like a dream, so quiet and smooth. I also have a Minnehaha made by National, with the "vibrating" shuttle. It works just fine, but it's a noisy little machine. Just the noise of the shuttle moving back and forth, clickety-clack-clickety-clack. I have a soft spot in my heart because it was the first treadle I owned. The Shuttle machine is easier to clean. Once you take the bobbin case out, it's all open, not as much room for lint to gather. I'd say the drop in bobbin has its advantages because there is no case to lose. I have a New Home and without its bobbin case, even though it works perfectly now, It's useless.

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Vibrating machines, do just that and will move all over the place. Not ideal. And they are incapable of darning or FMQ (per Muv and that makes sense). So, vibrating machines are limited. I have one and it sits under its case on top of our piano. If it hadn't been a gift, it would be gone.

  4. #4
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    ...[vibrating shuttle machines] are incapable of darning or FMQ (per Muv and that makes sense).
    I don't think I understand why it makes sense that they are incapable of FMQ? Do they only work with an even feed rate (though how would that would work on a treadle)? Just curious - the one vs we've picked up is a 3/4 machine so not really ideal for FMQ anyway.

    On the vibration issue I would expect the oscillating machines to vibrate quite a bit more than the rotaries as well, though the mechanism isn't trying to stop/start quite as large a mass so I can see why it wouldn't be as bad as the vibrating shuttle.

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkCastleDH View Post
    I don't think I understand why it makes sense that they are incapable of FMQ? Do they only work with an even feed rate (though how would that would work on a treadle)? Just curious - the one vs we've picked up is a 3/4 machine so not really ideal for FMQ anyway.

    On the vibration issue I would expect the oscillating machines to vibrate quite a bit more than the rotaries as well, though the mechanism isn't trying to stop/start quite as large a mass so I can see why it wouldn't be as bad as the vibrating shuttle.

    Because of the way the shuttle moves back and forth.

  6. #6
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    I have a National-made Reversew...Queen of the West model that has a vibrating shuttle & sews smooth as can be! The only way you'd know that it's a vibrating shuttle machine is by the little double bounce that the needle makes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    Because of the way the shuttle moves back and forth.
    I guess what I'm asking is what's so special about FMQ (or darning) that the way the shuttle moves makes machines using it incapable of doing this type of sewing? I can understand that different designs might be better for FMQ (though I'm interested in why this might be so) but to be completely incapable of it just seems strange.

  8. #8
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    pinkCastleDH,

    In my collection I have:
    Vibrating shuttles
    Rotary hooks
    Oscillating hooks

    The VS machines are noisy and do indeed vibrate a lot. This is because of several things. The shuttle carrier arm swings back and forth very fast under the bed. The needle bar does a little hop at the bottom of each stitch stroke which makes the stitch lock. You can actually watch the little hop as you turn the hand wheel slowly.
    But they do make wonderful stitches. I have 6 of them. Each has their own personalities. The noisiest is my Franklin 1911 in her parlor cabinet. The cabinet acts as a megaphone and magnifies the noise, but she sews good so who cares. My little Minnesota A will walk right through heavy layers and seams of denim that will bring our newer Singers and other to a dead stall. I use this one for piecing denim quilt parts. She just will not stop.

    The Oscillating hooks do exactly what they say. The bobbin hook oscillates back and forth to make the stitch.
    They work great, are quieter and are found everywhere. They come in side and front loading, vertical loading and horizontal drop in loading, and just work.
    You can do all your sewing on one and never know you missed anything. Cos you didn't really.

    The Rotary hooks do exactly what they say too. The bobbin hook simply rotates around and around as you sew.
    They are "generally" the quietest of the designs and have the least vibrations. Not always but generally.
    They also come in vertical end and front loading and drop in designs as well.

    From what I've read here, the best for FMQ and machine embroidery are the machines with vertical loading bobbins. The thread simply stays in the vertical plane as it goes around the bobbin. That puts less stress on the thread and that makes it easier to keep the tension consistent.
    In the horizontal bobbin machines the thread goes from vertical to horizontal, around the bobbin then back to vertical to complete the stitch. Supposedly that works the thread too much and causes tension and other troubles.
    I do not have any experience to prove or disprove any of this, I'm just reporting what I've read.

    I like them all and in my limited sewing I've found some that work better than others at various things. Each has it's purpose.

    Joe

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    pinkCastleDH,

    OK, I found MUV's comment about FMQ with long bobbin machines:

    Quote Originally Posted by MUV
    Kyia - don't even try FMQ on a long bobbin machine, you will break the needle. It's all to do with the way the stitch is formed underneath. Any movement of the material in any direction other than a straight line with the feed dogs gives a pull on the needle with the thread. The needle will be pulled to the side and come crashing down on the foot, and it will be goodbye needle.

    You will be fine with straight line quilting, but you will probably need to experiment a bit with different feet.
    This comment came from this thread:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...ml#post5492421

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    pinkCastleDH,

    OK, I found MUV's comment about FMQ with long bobbin machines:



    This comment came from this thread:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...ml#post5492421

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Joe

    Yup, there you go:>

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