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Thread: Needle bar on a clone. Can it be adjusted for regular needles?

  1. #1
    Member cwpersson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Sundre, Alberta, Canada

    Question Needle bar on a clone. Can it be adjusted for regular needles?

    I have recently picked up a Tecoway clone to a Singer 128 vibrating shuttle. My question is the needles that came with it are 1 and 3/4" long and of course very hard to find so would like to lower the needle bar to accompany the regular 1 and 1/2 inch long needles. Has anyone done this and should I attempt to do this. I think it should be possible as long as I get the timing right. To me it would make more sense to lower the bar than to try find the longer needles. I tried to just stick a needle in and pinch it in with the needle bar clamp but I couldn't get it low enough. Any thoughts on this greatly appreciated.
    A stitch in time saves nine.....

  2. #2
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Western Tidewater, VA
    In general, yes, you can reset the needle bar to accept a standard 15x1 needle. However, there are some quirks. Two that I've run into lately are a pinned needle bar and a closed bobbin case.

    Most needle bars are held in place by a set screw-these are easy to move. Some have a screw pin that goes all the way through the needle bar. Occasionally, these will also have a set screw and you can just use that and skip the pin altogether. Oh-and sometimes the hooks are pinned in place as well, making retiming them a colossal PITA. It makes sense to the original machine; if both the needle bar and the hook are pinned in place, you can't ever have timing issues. But it makes it anywhere from a challenge to impossible to change things later down the road.

    About bobbin cases. If the bobbin case has an open 'notch' where the needle comes down into the bobbin thread, make sure that you changing the upper geometry isn't going to interfere with the lower geometry. This can sometimes be corrected by cutting a notch in the bobbin case (I've seen this workaround for the Singer 319). My understanding is that this is mostly an issue when the original needle has a substantially longer bit between the eye and the point than a 15x1 does.

    I'm fairly sure there's something I'm forgetting about needles, but someone who knows more than I do will chime in, I'm sure. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  3. #3
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Millville, NJ

    By your description it sounds like you have a 20x1 needle, which is a 1-11/16" or 42.5 mm. A photo of your machine would verify. I've seen new 20x1 needles listed on the internet and might be worth looking into. Can't say I've ever retimed a shuttle machine other than cheating the needle but I would think it's more complicated than lowering the needlebar. Guess you don't know until you try.


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Illinois...near St. Louis
    I've got a Reversew that takes a Boye 14 needle (also approx. 1 3/4"). I could never get a standard 15x1 needle set lower to just the right length. So, I cut a tiny rectangle of magnetic vinyl the same width as the needle slot & exactly the difference in length between the needles. You know that flexible magnetic plastic that you can cut to make refrigerator magnets or that some companies print ads on...it's about 1/16" thick. Anyway, I slid it up the slot, all the way to the stop...stays there 'cause it's magnetic. And slid a 15x1 needle up to it. It works perfectly!

    Of course, I guess a lot depends on exactly where your needle screw grabs the needle. On mine, it still holds securely.

    The best part is that I haven't changed anything on the machine & it's easily removed when I've got the correct needle. It's worth a shot....
    Last edited by path49; 05-28-2012 at 06:22 PM.

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