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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
    Super 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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    My DH is also a car person, former auto body and mechanic. He still maintains our vehicles. He says every vehicle that can move should be operated at least an hour a week and get the fluids circulating. Also never let the vehicle get bottom dry low on gas because sediment especially from old tanks will ruin the engine. he has said that is the way to keep good maintenance on any machine. Sewing machine's included. We only recently found out his grandfather worked in a textile factory and helped maintain sewing machines.

  12. #12
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Well ... judging by some of the vintage machines I've worked on, those motors have lasted a very long time. I think my oldest motorized machine is from the 30's and while the external wires needed to be replaced, the motor still ran. Bear in mind these motors are external unlike the motors on our modern machines.

    I have not had the guts to take any of my modern machines apart to even look at the motor. I have no idea if they are the same size, voltage ... etc. I'll tinker all day with the old gal's, but my modern machines go to the machine doctor.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

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  13. #13
    Super Member applique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch's mom View Post
    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.

    This is exactly what my mechanic told me 40 years ago! I was going through secondhand machines every month or so. The hook broke, the race way gave way or the motor burned up. Finally he suggested I buy an industrial machine. I did burn out the first motor and he had to put in a new bigger one, but that was the last time I had it serviced. I do it myself since the motor is attached to the table and they charge mileage etc. for a visit.
    Debbie
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  14. #14
    Member barney's Avatar
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    I have a15 yr old 5050 model Singer that I keep threaded in dark thread and use only occasionally. I have noticed it being quite warm to the touch does that mean the motor is burning up? My computerized brother never feels warm. I do not know if it has always run warm and I just did not notice or if its burning up.

  15. #15
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    well, after about 50 years of use, first sewing clothes and then quilts, I burned out the motor on my mom's Kenmore. Brushes went and then the wires that hold the brushes got into where they shouldn't and the motor now needs to be replaced.

    DH has the right idea, he has a treadle. He does most of the piecing.

  16. #16
    Junior Member coffeegirl's Avatar
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    I have often thought that the new machines should come with an indicator showing how many hours have been logged on the machine. When advice is given regarding maintenance, typically they say something like "you should have service or oil or needle change or whatever every so many hours of sewing." Honestly, how in the world would you know when that is? I certainly don't keep track of the time the machine is actually running. I come from a family of sailors and our boat engine had an indicator of the number or hours/minutes the engine has run. It was very helpful when it came to servicing.

  17. #17
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    to coffeegirl:
    Viking computerized machines do have a counter that lets you know how many hours you have used it. I bought a used Designer I in 2004 and sewed over 700 hours with it the first year. Still running just fine.
    Last edited by peacebypiece; 09-13-2013 at 05:42 AM. Reason: spelling

  18. #18
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The newer no oil machines are the ones that have to be run regularly. The silicone is embedded in the moving parts and will lock up if not used for a long period of time. The older machines, a good oil dousing and the parts are good to go.
    Got fabric?

  19. #19
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    My first machine, I had for over 30 years. I maintained it myself, cleaned it regularly and kept it covered when not in use.
    I now have 3 Janome machines (MC 10000, 6600P & a 5024) as well as an overlocker which is almost 30 years old.
    I used to have my machines serviced every year but my machine mechanic has told me I only need to have them serviced every two years as I keep them so clean. He has said on more than one occasion that my machines are the cleanest he has ever seen.

  20. #20
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    Some of the older machines have grease holes in the motor, which means they need maintenance now and then. The newer ones are supposed to be lubricated so that you don't need to oil them. I think that is questionable if you use them for long periods such as for quilting for long stretches of time. Maybe a sewing machine specialist can shed some light on this subject.

  21. #21
    Super Member roserips's Avatar
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    I have a 1222e Pfaff and purchased it in 1979 I have sewn on it not only quilting but costumes, family clothes, mending, alterations, took in custom work etc. Put at least 40 hours a week on that machine sometimes more. It has died last year. But 33 years of reliable dependable service and I mean I have worked that machine and the motor never gave out.

  22. #22
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roserips View Post
    I have a 1222e Pfaff and purchased it in 1979 I have sewn on it not only quilting but costumes, family clothes, mending, alterations, took in custom work etc. Put at least 40 hours a week on that machine sometimes more. It has died last year. But 33 years of reliable dependable service and I mean I have worked that machine and the motor never gave out.
    What caused it to die?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reb View Post
    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.
    I have a Bernina 440QE and there is a lever towards the left side of the front of the machine that adjust the speed. Hope your does too as that would help.

  24. #24
    Reb
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    Quote Originally Posted by stinker View Post
    I have a Bernina 440QE and there is a lever towards the left side of the front of the machine that adjust the speed. Hope your does too as that would help.
    Interesting. I've tried and tried to get that to control my maximum speed. I spoke with my dealer, when I actually took it in, because I was sure there was something wrong with it not with me - of course LOL. She said that in both BSR modes that slide has nothing to do with your speed. It is all in the speed of the movement of your hands. Yet other 440QE owners have told me the same thing about the speed control, that I should control it with the slide.

  25. #25
    Super Member notmorecraft's Avatar
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    I have a Janome MC4000 which was one of the first computerised machines Janome made, I have had it for 20 years and for the first 10 years used it to run a wedding dress business. It sews like a dream, I have sewn continously on it for up to 10 hours at a time (large order wedding and bridesmaid dresses), sewn organza leather and I now have started quilting. The only reason I would like a new machine is that a) I want one and b) I would like a machine with a bigger throat space for quilting.

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