Singer 331K105

Old 06-28-2020, 07:37 AM
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Default Singer 331K105

I mostly work on textiles, webbing, vinyl and light leather. Primarily, I work in vinyl and leather for my motorcycle and car projects (ie: motorcycle seats, etc) and textiles are usually things like covers, tops, etc for Off road toys.

I don't do anything like belts, harnesses, chaps or the like. It's all "lighter" stuff. I also usually end up doing clothing repairs and the like for my missus (she can't sew a stitch). It's all personal stuff, and maybe the occasional small things for friends and family. Lately, sewing masks has been something I seem to be doing a fair bit for friends and family. I've always used domestic machines, but the older ones. Things like a Singer 319W, etc. I've got a couple old threads around here on my machines. Mostly 50'-60's machines. I like the chunky look and the feel of an all metal machine.

But being domestic machines they have their obvious limitations. I usually do the waxed paper trick if I have to pass leather or vinyl under the flat presser feet of these machines, but that's never ideal and you end up with lots of little pieces of waxed paper stuck in your material/stitches. I never really wanted to invest more into them than getting them looking decent and working right, so no roller feet, etc.

I've been vetching for years for a walking foot machine, but they're nearly impossible to find here, I've seen a total of two up for sale in the last two years. One was a Pfaff, but the seller never responded to my inquiries and the other was a knock off of what looked like the smallest of the Sailright's (like a domestic sized machine). I've been watching ebay forever, but you're talking in the 2000-3000 range to get anything worth buying plus shipping, duties, taxes, etc. I could swallow that price, but I just can't bring myself to spend that kind of money on something I might use a couple times a year (IE: when not doing a project of some sort).

A couple days ago, a singer 331k105 showed up on facebook marketplace and it was only 10 mins away. Here's the add pic:



It's all there, it's just a little....ahem.....neglected. I ended up paying 300 CAD or it. Not too bad for a machine that's complete and needs to be timed.

It's not really a "commercial" model, nor is it a "domestic" model. It seems kind of halfway between both worlds. I guess that's why they put "professional" on it: more than domestic, less than commercial, it needed it's own category....lol! I actually kind of like it that way, as I can still do domestic tasks on it yet have enough "punch" for entry level/light leather work.

Straight stitch, no reverse. Not that big of a deal.

Has a manual with it, but I don't think it's the original one. There was actually a bill of sale/warranty card in the drawer and it said it was sold in 1966 in Baden-Baden, Germany. Not too surprising it ended up in Canada, there's a major airbase up the road from here (I'm retired Air force). Lots of people were repatriated when we pulled out of Germany in the 80's-ish and they brought all their "stuff" home with them. Finding German stuff around here is actually pretty common. The manual is for all 331k's, with a publication date of 1975. There was a parts list too, but it's for a 331k5. Still, lots of good info there and the original owner card was kind of neat to see (I was born in 65, which may very well be the birth year of this old rig).

The lady that had it (prof seamstress) said she had it "tuned up" last year, but it was now out of timing. In a nutshell, the hook doesn't seem to be picking up the thread. She says she was sewing, broke a needle on some fabric and it's been out of time since. That doesn't worry me, I plan to pull it apart down to the nuts and bolts and restore it.

Information on it is pretty sparse on the web, I'm guessing because it's not common, like domestic (or more mainstream) machines. I'm aware that it is intended as a tailor/seamstress machine. It's got a walking foot, but it's not the compound feed. It's the hopping/vibrating/kick/hobble foot. Basically, the dogs pull back the outer foot and then it springs back when the feed dogs drop and the center foot/needle hold the material in place as the outer foot springs forward. So it's got it's limitations, but it will do what I need it to do: fabrics, light leather and vinyl work.

Parts are a little hard to come by it seems, again, probably a result of it not being a very common model. It appears (from what I have read) that it has a lot in common with machines like the 331k5 and I've read a couple posts that indicate it's basically a 31 series in a different body. The kick foot 31's seem to be serials like 31-47. Anyone know if parts from those machines will fit my 331k105? Or other machines that may have the same parts?

When I got it home, I started pulling it down. They were smokers and man it shows. Took about an hour with cleaners and a toothbrush just to get most of the baked on tar loose. And that was just the exterior. I ran a little Neverdull over the brass bits and they start to clean up nicely. that's a good sign for later when I actually clean/polish/buff them back to "new-like". The body is decent, but I'm probably going to have to strip it down to bare metal to deal with some light rusting and what not. Probably go with the same "robin's egg blue" color. The names (Ie:Singer,Professional, etc) I'll photograph and have replicated in vinyl stick on lettering. Would be nice to save the original painted letters, but if I strip it down that's not an option. I plan on dropping all the bits and whatnot into the ultrasonic, which will take care of the 50+ years of crud baked into this thing everywhere.

First was a quick overview/check. Well, it's not feeding material. A quick look reveals the feed dogs are loose. Tighten that up and it now wants to just spin the material under the foot. I also notice that the "walking foot" doesn't "walk" all the way back to the point where the dogs drop. A little cleaning, positioning and work on presser pressure gets it moving.

A bit more adjusting and it "mostly" feeds now, it just has a slight tendency to pull the fabric to the right. I pull the foot off and flip it over. Ah, there it is: it's a piping foot and a large one. there's almost noting contacting the dogs. No flat presser in the box of bits, so I order one up. Sheesh, there goes 80 bucks! (exchange, shipping, etc) But I have no choice, I can only find it one place online. Well, 2 places, but one of those is ebay and it's the guy who is selling them on his own website.

Stitch length is a little short for leather. It is only spec'd for a max 4.5 mm stitch. Well, I'd like a longer stitch length than that, so i start digging around. I discover that if I remove the nice decorative plate around the stitch length lever, the lever drops down further. I try out a stitch on some paper and it measures out to 6.5 mm. Not bad, not bad at all, considering it started closer to 4 mm. I may try a little filing on the case to see if I can gain another .5 mm without messing up the machine timing. 7 mm would be a decent length for exposed stitches on leather.

Thread size might be an issue if I plan on doing car/auto upholstery. That will have to be a "try it and see" exercise.

It's got a clutch motor, which (as an amateur) is obviously not ideal for me. It runs like a tailoring machine right now. Meaning: it's g-d frighteningly fast as soon as you even graze the pedal! I'll play around with it a little bit (longer arm, pulleys, etc) since I already have it and it costs me nothing to mess with it, but I'm thinking I'm just going to end up ordering a servo motor. It's not even a singer motor (it's a 1/2 horse Consew motor) so I'm not broken up about removing something that belongs to the machine. The clutch motor will do for now, as I'm just going to be tearing it apart and need the motor to confirm function when I get it back together. It should be a fun learning experience messing around with the clutch motor, even if it eventually ends up on a shelf somewhere.....

I'll have to see how that "hopping foot" deals with some leather/vinyl. If it's not working out, I may switch to a roller foot and see how that goes. I'm sure I'll figure out no end of modifications and substitutions that will fit the ol' girl and make it juuuuust a little better for my uses.

Should be a fun little project and hopefully, it will fit my needs.


Any info, suggestions or links to info/manuals appreciated!



Last edited by great white; 06-28-2020 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 06-28-2020, 09:26 AM
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I'm guessing you have googled "331k105" This is what I got 331k105

I hope you got the correct needles for your machine. According to ISMACS model list, which doesn't list 331k105, but the other 331K machines takes a variety of needles. It also lists it as an industrial machine.

Another place that has some 331K parts lists but I didn't see one for 331k105 is https://web.archive.org/web/20190727.../IPpartCharts/

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Last edited by OurWorkbench; 06-28-2020 at 09:26 AM. Reason: add'l info
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by OurWorkbench View Post
I'm guessing you have googled "331k105" This is what I got 331k105

I hope you got the correct needles for your machine. According to ISMACS model list, which doesn't list 331k105, but the other 331K machines takes a variety of needles. It also lists it as an industrial machine.

Another place that has some 331K parts lists but I didn't see one for 331k105 is https://web.archive.org/web/20190727.../IPpartCharts/

Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.
Not affiliated with off-site link(s)
Yep, lists several "oddball" sizes for needles. I'm just going to re-time the needle bar for something more common, along the lines of 135x16.

did the same thing with my 319W, works a treat and needles are available anywhere!

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Old 06-28-2020, 06:15 PM
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Well, after a coupke hours of frigging with the clutch motor, I gave up and ordered a servo motor.

I tried messing with the clutch, longer clutch arms, resistance under the pedal, etc.

I could just about get it to slowly “thunk thunk”, but never reliably and I never knew when it was going to just grab and scream up to max rpm.

Its just too finicky and unreliable, especially if I plan to do upholstery leather.

oh well, at least I got to mess with it for a while. Maybe I can use that great big ac motor on a power tool somewhere....
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