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Stitch inconsistencies with Morse Fotomatic IV 4300

Stitch inconsistencies with Morse Fotomatic IV 4300

Old 04-03-2016, 12:09 PM
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Default Stitch inconsistencies with Morse Fotomatic IV 4300

I recently bought an excellent condition Morse 4300 off Craigslist for $70. I couldn't find a free manual for it, but a manual for the 4400 exists for free online and I used that to help me locate all the lube points. After lubing and greasing it up, it runs great mechanically.

I am having issues with the quality of the stitch though. It seems that I cannot get the the stitch to look even for more than a few inches at the most. Basically, what happens is that for a few stitches, the stitch will be buried between the material as desired, then a stitch or two will pop through the top, after a few more stitches, the stitch will pop through the bottom. Furthermore, I'm seeing individual strands of the thread unraveling during sewing. I have attached a picture of what I'm talking about here. Stitch length is set to 6 stitches per inch (the longest possible) and these problems occur in both straight and zig zag stitch settings. One thing worth mentioning is that when I sew through a thick vinyl, I get perfect, consistent stitches.

I'm using Gutermann TERA 40 100% Polyester thread and Schmetz universal 100/16 needles and am sewing on 1000D nylon Cordura. I have used this combination in another machine and haven't had these issues. I have rethreaded the machine several times (I followed this video. I tried going through both guide holes and just one guide hole on separate occasions), wound multiple bobbins slowly and carefully, and adjusted the bobbin case with the "drop test" (even loosening and tightening from this setting and adjusted the top tension to match).

I'm at a loss. Is this a tension issue? A timing issue? Is the inconsistent tension issue related to the unraveling strands issue? Other than these issues, I really love this machine and am eager to get these problems fixed! Thank you!
Attached Thumbnails stitches.jpg  
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:42 PM
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Could be tension related, but I have had similar issues when the needle has taken a hit, or developed a burr for some reason. Sewing through hard nylon wears them out faster too. In other words, the needle tip might be catching the tread on its' way up. Have you tried a new needle? Run the tip of the needle over the tip of you finger nail or a nylon stocking and see if it catches. There could be a burr in the needle hole too. For top stitch thread you might need a large eye needle too, size 110 and 120 sometimes are anyway, at least jeans needles. Tera 40 is closer to top stitch or extra strength? Thread weight systems get me confused.

Last edited by Mickey2; 04-03-2016 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:40 PM
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My experience with this type of trouble mirrors Mickey2's... burr on needle, hook or needle plate catching the tread. Really doesn't take much of a burr to cause this kind of issue.
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Mickey2 View Post
Could be tension related, but I have had similar issues when the needle has taken a hit, or developed a burr for some reason. Sewing through hard nylon wears them out faster too. In other words, the needle tip might be catching the tread on its' way up. Have you tried a new needle? Run the tip of the needle over the tip of you finger nail or a nylon stocking and see if it catches. There could be a burr in the needle hole too. For top stitch thread you might need a large eye needle too, size 110 and 120 sometimes are anyway, at least jeans needles. Tera 40 is closer to top stitch or extra strength? Thread weight systems get me confused.
Tera 40 is equivalent to tex 75 and 69 sizes. I haven't felt and burrs on the needle, but I will try a new one when I get the chance. I will also try a 110 denim needle and report back what I find.

Originally Posted by Tom W View Post
My experience with this type of trouble mirrors Mickey2's... burr on needle, hook or needle plate catching the tread. Really doesn't take much of a burr to cause this kind of issue.
I too thought it had something to do with a burr on the hook as I had an issue with a past sewing machine where the hook was only catching half of the thread and tearing it, but that doesn't seem to be the issue here. Also, isn't it weird that it sews through the vinyl without these issues?

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 04-03-2016, 05:42 PM
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I had similar problems. Try threading without going through either of the guide holes, just run the thread over that guide and thread the rest as usual. That worked for me in the same machine.
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:18 PM
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So I tried a new needle and that didn't seem to help either issue (inconsistent tension and thread untwisting).

Originally Posted by MFord View Post
I had similar problems. Try threading without going through either of the guide holes, just run the thread over that guide and thread the rest as usual. That worked for me in the same machine.
MFord, I tried that, but it didn't help the issue. Not sure what to try next.
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:11 AM
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There is the gnarly (I don't quite understand the explanations) subject of placing the spool the correct way on the pin. So far I haven't come to a definitive conclusion on this but sometimes it's very much the case of therad twisting and tangling as comes of the spool. My solution has bee a transverse spool holder (clip on sort of thing), it has improved a bit since then. Yours seem sto be exactly the oposite, threads untwisting?
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:32 AM
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You thread may be too thick for that needle and needle plate.
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Old 04-05-2016, 12:15 PM
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I agree with Miriam. Some of the older home machines can handle this, but they weren't made for a steady diet of it. Why try to wear out a machine made for little girls dresses and kitchen curtains when there are plenty of machines out there meant for this type of work.

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Old 04-05-2016, 12:46 PM
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If you go to the sticky "sewing machine resource" thread on the last page you will see info comparing a domestic sewing machine with an industrial. I'm thinking you may be much happier with an industrial machine with a walking foot.
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