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Thread: Vintage Japanese industrial table upgrade

  1. #1
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    Vintage Japanese industrial table upgrade

    Hello all. I am just wrapping up a fun vintage sewing machine project and figured I would share it. The machine is a 1950s ish Montgomery Ward 7-Jewel Automatic Zigzag (made by Happy). It was a machine that my mom got from my grandma so she could pilfer the desk it came with. My mother was going to get rid of it after many years of sitting in the closet(possibly via trash), so I got it from her. After a deep clean and some new wiring, I got it working pretty well. Fast forward a few years... my wife and I decided to do some sewing projects so I decided to dig up the old machine. We still needed a table or desk for it and after much searching and disappointment, I decided to build my own. And since I was already going to the trouble of making the table, I decided to sauce things up a bit and do some upgrades.

    For the top of the table I went with 2 layers of 3/4" baltic birch plywood laminated together. The pieces were cut out using a CNC router and I added provisions for the servo motor, belt, hinges, alignment dowels, drip tray, and tool well.

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    The frame is made up of 2"x2" and 2"x3" 0.120" wall tubing as well as some 1"x2" 0.095" wall tubing. I had recently purchased an industrial machine with a K-leg table and decided that this one needed more beef. The "industrial" table is pretty flimsy, but this one is rock solid. It is much better even though it is a T-leg design.

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    The drip tray is made from 1/8" 5052 aluminum sheet. It was also cut using the CNC router and bent using a sheet metal brake and bench vise. Grooves along the bend lines were cut with the router for easier bends and better radii.

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    The foot pedal was made the same as the drip tray. I used precision shafts and Oilite bushings to keep it smooth and quiet.

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    Here is the setup nearly complete. I chose an Enduro Advantage 110v servo motor. It peaks out at around 3/4 hp and goes from 100-4500 rpm. The drive pulley is nearly identical to the driven pulley on the machine, so there is almost a direct correlation between motor rpm and stitching speed in stitches per minute. Since the machine is an oscillating hook type it starts shaking pretty violently above 1000 rpm. I have the max set at 700 and the pedal travel scales accordingly. I may put a smaller pulley on the motor so I can reduce the minimum stitch speed for ultimate control. The original 1.5 amp motor was fully functional but inherently limited. Pedal travel with that type of motor will change the current through the motor and stitching speed can vary wildly depending on load. The servo motor is such a nice upgrade even though I will never use its full output. It is also whisper quiet, which I like a lot.

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  2. #2
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    The rest of the pictures are the completed product. I added a rubber bumper for the machine to rest on when tilted back for oiling. I also lined the tool well with felt. It will probably just hold my thread nippers, but it can be used to hold extra needles and bobbins etc.

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    I hope you all enjoy this. Let me know if you have any questions.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Onetomatoplant's Avatar
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    That’s beautiful! Lovely craftsmanship.
    I love the smell of Best Press in the morning!

  4. #4
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    Whew, never mind the question on your other post. Well done. Be gentle on your clutch, your machine is strong but was never made for such torque. YOur workmanship is fantastic.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onetomatoplant View Post
    That’s beautiful! Lovely craftsmanship.
    Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by leonf View Post
    Whew, never mind the question on your other post. Well done. Be gentle on your clutch, your machine is strong but was never made for such torque. YOur workmanship is fantastic.
    Thanks. Luckily there is no clutch, but yes, there's lots of torque available. I am banking on the needle being the weak link in case of a mechanical failure. Also, I think the belt would slip before any other part fails. Regardless, I will find out.. most likely the hard way.

  6. #6
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    ​Wow, awesome workmanship!

  7. #7
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    beautifully done
    Nancy in western NY
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    Well done!

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    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    This is one post I've got to show to my husband!

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    Thanks everyone! I am glad you guys like the project.

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    Super Member greaterexp's Avatar
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    Wow! That's amazing!

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    Thank you for the “in process” photos. I liked being able to follow from the first to the finished product. :-). Looks beautiful.

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    Senior Member diamondee's Avatar
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    Fabulous! Great job, very creative.
    ​We can't help everyone, But everyone can help someone.

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    Great job. Thanks for the pics.

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    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    Can you come to my hse and build me a table

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    Great job, love the craftsmanship !

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    I've read this several times, and I'm still stumped. Why would you put that much time, effort and money into that machine? I had it's big sister, the MW 21 Jewel, so I am familiar with it. They are a pretty color, that's for sure, which is why I bought mine. Too many machines is why I sold it.

    You did an outstanding job on everything. The metal and woodwork are spectacular.

    I'm just curious.

    bkay

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    Thank again for all the compliments!

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    Super Member OurWorkbench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacSkyver View Post
    Thank again for all the compliments!
    They are well deserved.

    I have a question about how the hinge pins work and why you decided to do them the way you did.

    Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.
    Janey & John

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkay View Post
    I've read this several times, and I'm still stumped. Why would you put that much time, effort and money into that machine? I had it's big sister, the MW 21 Jewel, so I am familiar with it. They are a pretty color, that's for sure, which is why I bought mine. Too many machines is why I sold it.

    You did an outstanding job on everything. The metal and woodwork are spectacular.

    I'm just curious.

    bkay
    There are several reasons why I would do the project. First off, it was super fun figuring everything out. The machine has sentimental value as it was my first sewing machine and has been in my family for many years. Also, the table should be fairly universal, so I could replace this machine with many other machines if I so choose.

    From a cost standpoint, it wasn't super expensive. I needed a table anyways and buying a decent one would be a couple hundred dollars by itself. I could potentially find a good used vintage one on Craigslist, but I tried that and didn't find anything good/reasonably priced. For this table, the plywood for the top cost me around $40 and I had the steel and aluminum laying around. The hardware from McMaster was around $100. The servo motor from Amazon was $105.

    So basically for around $250 and a little time, I ended up with a super robust ergonomic setup I built with my own two hands that will last for generations whilst having fun in the process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OurWorkbench View Post

    I have a question about how the hinge pins work and why you decided to do them the way you did.

    Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.

    When I got the sewing machine, it was in an old New Home carrying case. It had hinges which worked fine, so I used them. Here is a picture I found online that looks identical to the ones I used:

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    If you look at my earlier picture of the drip tray, you can see how these fit inside the cutout.

  23. #23
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    Awesome job and great workmanship!
    Some people know how to put a blessing into any situation!

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