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Thread: Singer 500A "Rocketeer" - Deal?

  1. #1
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    Singer 500A "Rocketeer" - Deal?

    Hey friends, I would appreciate your opinion on a Singer 500A that is for sale in my area. I'm just obsessed with the kitschy look of the machine, and I've been absolutely Stung by the vintage sewing machine bug. My vintage collection thus far is a Singer 99 (this is a family heirloom - Grandma, Mom, now I sew on it), Singer 66-15 (trying to get the tension correct....was told it sewed fabulously, but I have lots of top thread looping underneath fabric), Singer 66-18, Singer 401, and Bernina 830 Record. I also have modern machines (Brother, Janome, Bernina serger), however I gravitate to the vintage machines for most sewing. Anyway....a Singer 500A is for sale in a very worn cabinet with only 1 additional presser foot (no other accessories, although my 401 accessories should work, right?) for $90. Seller said it definitely works, but I don't think he really knows much about sewing machines. I will go take a look at it....but if it sews on a trial, is $90 too much with no accessories and a lousy cabinet (which I really don't use anyway...I have a sewing "table" for my machines)?

    Thanks so much for your opinion. I get a little "star struck" with certain models and lose sensibility. You understand, I'm sure.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 04-14-2019 at 05:06 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  2. #2
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    I payed around $80 for my 201 in a small table. I have never regretted it. It needed cleaning and a few replacement parts, and has turned out to be my favorite. For my first two machines I didn't mind paying for them at all, but I hesistate more now, unless it's something I have had my eyes on for some time. It's well withing what's normal for an intact working machine in a cabinet, even with a a few parts missing and cabinet in need of attetion. You could always let someone looking for a machine in a cabinet have it, and wait for a 500 in a case in stead.

    Your 66 should be relatively easy to sort out, but I know tension can be a major fuzz at times. The early type tension with a simple nut is perfectly fine. Clean the top tension unit and make sure the spring on the bobbin case is clean and that nothing is stuck behind there too. Adjust the bobbin tension with a drop test (bag of rice or beans) and fine tune top tension from there. If the adjustment screw on the bobbin ccase release lever has been messed with it might need to be sorted out.

  3. #3
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    If it's in good shape and is all there (no missing parts) and it sews well, I'd definitely pay that for it. Mine was a gift but I'm sure my husband paid a lot more than that for it without a cabinet.

    I just love the way the Rocketeer looks. That's why I wanted it, but it sews great, too. I did all the piecing for my king sized quilt on it. It did great.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  4. #4
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    I paid $45 for a 503A in cabinet and the machine worked beautifully. I paid $10 or so for a set of cams on eBay and another few $ for a walking foot and some extra bobbins. Now my nephew's wife is using it and loves it.

  5. #5
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    Thank you for the feedback, everyone. I'm going to try out the sewing capabilities this week - and if it sews okay, will probably purchase and look for accessories online. Mickey2, thanks so much for the information on tension. I really need to dig into it this week and get out some tools. I've been scared to take things apart, but I believe that's the only way the issue will be fixed. Will search posts here and check out videos to get specifics - I SO appreciate your insight. Also, related topic - is it important to keep the cabinet the sewing machine comes in? I honestly don't have enough space in my sewing room to keep every machine in it's cabinet. I prefer to sit my machines on a table.

  6. #6
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I think that's up to you. For me, it wouldn't be important at all. I'm like you and like to just have large tables and set my machines on them. I have a Sew Ezi table for FMQ and a trapezoidal table for my Singers that I bought just because I really liked it although it's sort of squashed into the sewing room. But it just looks so cool.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  7. #7
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    if you don't want the cabinet, leave it there. Why bring home big stuff you don't want

  8. #8
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
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    I've left cabinets with private sellers and at thrifts. Sometimes the thrifts sell them for $10.00 and make another sale.

    Yes, not a bad price. But dickering is often expected. wink.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

  9. #9
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    The 500 series is almost identical to the 400 series. The only differences I've found are the appearance (50's modern look) and the placement of the bobbin winder. If you enjoy our 401, you'll also like the 500.

    The 500 face plate is prone to breaking, so be sure you open it and double check that it's still firmly attached. They are not replaceable as far as I know.

    bkay

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone! I'm glad I'm not alone with not keeping/needing the cabinets. If I had a special wing on my house for sewing, maybe I'd consider keeping them. Ugh....new issue, and probably not appropriate to add onto this thread, but what the heck. I now have an opportunity to buy a White Magna-Matic Zig Zag for $50. Looks nice, but I have NO White machines and I doubt any of my Singer accessories would fit. I cannot find much (if any) information online about this particular White model (#673). I really need to get over trying to rescue Every vintage sewing machine I come across, right?! Between rescuing forgotten barn cats and now vintage sewing machines - my rehabilitation efforts are taking up all of my free time!
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 04-15-2019 at 11:08 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  11. #11
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
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    Name:  attic stairs crop 2 b.jpg
Views: 168
Size:  266.7 KBThis is when you start to realize you have a collection. And you think about adding a building.

    The White is newer than I can discuss.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

  12. #12
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    I just paid $30.00 for a sewing stool to go with the 15-91 I have. (My sister said my parents got rid of the stool years before.) If the machine tests out, the $90 seems reasonable to me, the San Diego area. I just saw $300.00 on one. Personally I would take the cabinet too but I prefer sewing on a machine in a cabinet over a machine on a table. I have the extended tables for my Janome, but got the table it sets in with the machine and much prefer it. My little Europro came with an extended table, and it's better than nothing, my Husqvarna Designer came with an extended table but I bought the Sew Ezi to set the machine into.
    Let us know what happens.

  13. #13
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
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    Like this Quilting candy? hehe


    Name:  HUSqvarna table b.JPG
Views: 160
Size:  48.5 KB
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

  14. #14
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    leonf - I feel much better after seeing your collection! Those machines are beautiful, and I completely understand why you need all of them. And might need a few more. :-) And QuiltingCandy, I think if I started sewing with an extended cabinet, I would be hooked. I can't imagine having Room for my projects and not scrunching them up or twisting as I sew. I am starting to explore quilting, so I anticipate the extra room will be needed.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 04-15-2019 at 05:41 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  15. #15
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
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    yea... "needed a few more" like 100+ yep. they breed and take over a house. But then, didn't Singer have like 28 children????
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

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