Jan 10, 2009 at 11:32 am #1233143
I have a PFAFF 330 made in 1953. I am new to sewing and the machine is new to me. I was practicing with it,learned quite a bit. It was working fine,and then started breaking needles. The needle hits the bobbin housing. I adjusted two knobs while practicing,the zig-zag and the stitch length. Could that be causing the problem ? I will say the stitch length nob is kinda weird,feels a bit funky. Any help would be greatly appeciated. Thanks.Jan 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm #1469172
Sounds like it is out of timing.Jan 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm #1469175
I am guessing that is something I can not fix on my own. Need to have a pro fix it?Jan 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm #1469177
Ken T.BPL Member
Double check that you have the needle inserted properly. Are you using a new needle?Jan 10, 2009 at 1:29 pm #1469187
> Sounds like it is out of timing.
Even if it is, the needle should not hit the bobbin housing. Something is seriously out of position.
CheersJan 10, 2009 at 1:41 pm #1469190
On top of the suggestions by the others, are you 100% sure that you are using the correct needle and that it is placed as deep as it needs to be? The grooved side of the needle goes to the side with the thread.
I'm not familiar with the old 330 but it is very possible that it uses a different sized needle than the standard singers you'll find at the store.
Normally if timing is out and you are breaking needles, the hook rotates into the needle and breaks it. If it is extending and hitting the bobbin housing then the needle is too long, the arm that plunges the needle has become loose and is extending way too far or something along those lines that a professional will have to repair.
To give you a baseline for your decisions timing is usually $80 – $120 from most commercial repair shops and is not likely something that a hobbyist can repair.
If the rod that plunges the needle has slipped, timing will need reset as well as the rod repaired.
If it's just the needle, you'll be out a few bucks to get the right needles.
In case you or someone else is interested I've got a stockpile of excess sewing machines around here right now if anyone needs a commercial duty singer, most are CG 550's or 590's. They are the same size as home machines, but generally heavier duty parts. A few need the timing repaired, but most were retired once we got industrial quality machines ($5,000+ each).Jan 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm #1469203
Joe, I'd like a good machine- but I can buy a lot of gear for $5000. If one that's working and in good shape is available I'd take it off your hands.Jan 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm #1469205
I am sure the needle is correct. The hook does catch the needle. The needle also hits the housing. It was working fine and then all of a sudden it wend strange on me. I was zig-zagging for awhile and did run back over the stitching a few times where the machine had to work harder. I wonder if I knocked something out of whack? I just got off the phone with a PFAFF repairman. He seems to think it is timing. Told me it would be at least 100 bucks to fix. I will take another look to see if it something obvious. Not sure if it worth putting the money into it.
Thanks again.Jan 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm #1469206
I'll start pilfering around my machines and find which ones would work out of the box. I should have around 7 or 8 that need a tune up and should work fine. I'll look them over and figure out what would be reasonable but they should be fairly cheap.
Most of the 550's and 590's were only lightly used but once I got an industrial machines I found they could do the same work 4 times as fast, granted no home user would ever need that capacity.Jan 10, 2009 at 2:25 pm #1469210
Joe, could I be first on the list of the machines when they become available? (At a reasonable price)Jan 10, 2009 at 11:02 pm #1469327
Tad: Sure, but I don't think there'll be a shortage. I'll start a seperate thread in the gear swap area in a day or two. It'll take a bit before I can get photos and test them all out and fix whatever if anything needs fixed.Jan 10, 2009 at 11:07 pm #1469329
Mike: What are your specific sewing needs? What type of fabric and thread were you working with when it quit? Thick stuff such as denim or canvas or really thick threads are a common culprit and certain machines simply have a limitation on how thick of material they can work with without risking the timing getting thrown off.
With that info we might be able to steer you to a machine that fits your needs or help determine if the PFAFF would be a good investment for you to stick with.
Photos of what is going on might let us psuedo diagnose it for you to help you figure out possible causes. Any parts that effect the timing that are out of whack will require resetting the timing, but if it's a simple rod slippage that just needs adjusted you may only have that as a one time cost and otherwise have a good machine.Jan 11, 2009 at 8:03 am #1469369
Your post got me thinking,I think I know what happened now. I was patching a GG G4(thin material),with heavy polyester thread. Straight stitching went fine,I then tried some zig-zag. I am new to sewing,so learning as I go. My zig-zag was not pretty. The stitching was overlapping and getting very THICK and bunched. I remember the machine was really thumping . I bet something did slip or got knocked out of wack. The machine was fine before. It is plenty heavy-duty enough for my needs. As an experiment I sewed 4 pieces of 1" webbing together with know problems. I know what you mean about thread . When the PFAFF died I dusted off my wife's old singer(very light duty),it would not work with the heavy poly thread,I switched to light poly and it works fine.
Thanks for the help.Jan 11, 2009 at 9:30 am #1469386
It sounds like when the thread bunched up it started pushing or pulling the needle to one side and it was probably hitting the needle throat plate (the hole it drops through) when it started making the thumping noise.
Check your throat plate for a burr or indention and you might find evidence there. You'll want to sand or file those smooth if you can.
As a general rule, if a sewing machine starts making difference noises it's best to stop or slow down to figure out what is going on.Jan 11, 2009 at 9:37 am #1469387
You probably know most of the below but I'll just throw it out there for anyone else who might have the same problems.
Regarding using heavy threads in machines not really built for it, the first trick is to loosen the lower bobbin a LOT and you usually have to tighten the top tension a lot to get the stitch balanced. Get some thread lube and lubricate the bobbin thread as well. Not all machines can do it at all but some off the shelf ones can accomodate TH69 bonded nylon with the proper tensions and just not going full speed.
When doing zig zags (or you get a small tangle) it's important to realize that stitching the fabric makes it very stiff. When you reverse back over zig zag stitches your needle often hits that hard spot and flexes and will displace sideways and often hit the throat plate or the shock of hitting the hard spot alone can cause parts to scoot along their adjustment rods or whatever in the timing, thus throwing the timing off. Basically, if you get a tangle or are making bar tacks (tight zig zags and then back back over it to double it) go very slow and listen for problems. Few home level machines do this well. I should know, I've burnt up at least a dozen making bartacks.
While not likely the culprit, make sure you are using the right needle size for the thread you are using as well, not just the machines size / format. If the thread just barely squeezes through the needle you are likely to get problems so you need to go up a hole size. There are tons of charts online to help pick the right needle size for your thread. Bigger needles punch bigger holes in thin fabrics, but they can support smoother sewing with thicker threads.
TH69 Bonded nylon is commonly used in outdoor products where tensile strenth is necessary. You can find it in thinner thread which is more friendly to home sewing machines and still retain some of the benefits. Either way, it's hard to get outside of a full pound cone, but it is realiable, strong and holds up to abrasion and uv well. Expect a cone to put you back around $20 bucks. Cotton will just rot in most outdoor applications. Polyester is ok but is more likely to have the color bleach in uv as well as it is usually weaker than nylon and it often frays easier.
If your machine cannot handle thicker threads and you have to resort the hand stitching on thinks like backpack straps or repairing gear that carries a tensile load you can buy just a single pre-wound bobbin of the thicker thread to work with. My company sells individual bobbins as repair equipment for slacklines but they are the exact same thread bobbins that Adventure Medical sells in their survival kits and I'm sure you can find them elsewhere too.Jan 11, 2009 at 9:49 am #1469389
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Those old Pfaff's are great. Just needs adjustment, likley
timing and you can do it yourself. Just need a manual with
photos. The hook should be passing through the curve of the
needle about a papers width away when the hook comes around
and the needle is down. Adjust the top first not the bobbin.
Those machines are commonly sent overseas and a large table
and motor added for commercial work. Also common on
sailing ships with a hand crank added.
They take common household needles with a flat on one side.Jan 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm #1469424
I have searched all over the web,I can not find instructions on how to time it. I have it torn down to where I can see every single component. Lots of pieces and parts in there. Thought I found the problem a few times,cleaned things up but NO luck.
Damn,this is frustrating. I am a hands-on type guy,I like to know what makes thing tick.
I would hate to think a sewing machine can kick my butt.
Thanks againJan 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm #1469434
Without going back thru all the posts……….the needle isn't in backwards, is it?Jan 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm #1469440
Joe,needle is fine. I have been playing with this thing all day. . I am starting to think I am defeated. Probably put it in storage until I can take it to a shop(200 mile trip). Bummer! Thanks to all for the help.Jan 11, 2009 at 4:23 pm #1469457
Had to ask. I know the repairman that sold me my Pfaff said it would hit if you put it in wrong.Jan 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm #1469469
Mike, you are not alone- I bought a Bernina for my wife about 15 years ago- it was suppose to be a great machine- the tension was never right no matter what type of thread or how much adjusting I did.
Nobody said there was a problem until after the warranty was over. I had it in the repair shop several times (at about $150 each time) they said each time it was fixed, then we would put it away, later (after the service warranty was over) we would try and sew something and it was again messing up the stitching on the bottom! I could have bought a new machine for what I paid the service guys (I tried different shops even).
A few year ago I wanted to sew a new tarp and didn't want the frustration of the expensive Bernina so I found a $25 cheap Kenmore on craigslist that was probably $100 new and it worked better the the Bernina- I sewed a straight stick correctly. My problem is it can't sew anything thicker the tarp material. I need to do some pack repair and neither machine is up to the task.
Its totally frustrating having an expensive machine that will not sew a quality stitch!Jan 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm #1469470
Hi Tad, and everyone
If you want to sew packs and so on, go buy a second-hand old black Singer – with an outboard motor and a round belt drive. They WORK.
Curiously, this Singer model, only slightly updated but often still with a pedal drive, is still being manufactured and exported by the crateload to Africa and other countries.
CheersJan 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm #1469477
Of course, there are several different sorts of needles on the market, and only one sort will fit the Pfaff. It might not be the most common and readily available sort.
Silly question, but could you have bought the wrong sort of needle?
Otherwise, close-up photos of the needle and shuttle are needed.
CheersJan 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm #1469479
Roger, do you mean one like this?Jan 11, 2009 at 7:40 pm #1469496
Roger,I am sure it is the right needle. A 5 pack,all worked fine until … I wish it was something as simple as that.
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