Presser Feet Unlimited

Well, not exactly unlimited, but to no point of return at least. They have been grinded away, smoothed, and altered, so there is no reason to look back now. As you may read in some of the other posts under the Brother Feet Category, the feet are now ready for sewing, and in fact are in use. There are still a few glitches with some of the feet that had their hinges crimped and now do not want to pivot as well, but all in all they are working the same as before. Some of the worries about having burs or sharp edges that would be abrasive to materials and thread have been alleviated. There has been no problem with the needle coming down on any area of the presser foot’s “sole”, not in the forward motion, or the reverse feed. The reverse feed was the most noticeable problem. There was room for error if something were not in proper sync because of a sudden thickness in material or maybe a rapid tug at the thread causing something to lock up and then have the reverse mechanism over compensate only to have the needle come crashing down at full force into the presser foot sole (just ahead of the hinge) and send the tip of the needle to who knows where (or possibly jar the needle-bar out of position). This kind of situation was unlikely in the forward motion because of the way the needle travels, but if you consider that the needle is coming up, moving forward, coming down, and moving back again, then it would only brush against the back of the presser foot slot – in the forward drive as it begins to come up again for another stitch. If we then reverse that, think where the needle is traveling backwards now in the up position and then coming down at the back of the foot before penetrating the fabric and completing the stitch, then moving towards the front of the machine and coming upwards for another cycle. This is hard to communicate clearly at times, hopefully there is time to make an animation or short video of this to help illustrate more precisely how a needle feed mechanism works. (Starting from the left.)

Thumbnail number 1 shows how much material has been extracted from the foot. The line is the best approximation of how wide and how long the foot’s slot used to be. By grinding the slot out in the direction of the arrows, it was possible to open it up enough to make proper room for the needle to pass.

Thumbnails 2 & 3 are good illustrations of how much extra room was needed around the needle. As you can see – the needle is now fairly well centered within the slot of the foot. This is also a good picture to see the elongated hole in the feed-dog, which is below the throat-plate. With the Dremel at hand working on the presser feet, it seemed reasonable to smooth out the edges of that elongated hole (essentially rounding the edges off). In this image it is still how it came from the factory, but with a little bit of work, the hole is much smoother around the edges now. There is a noticeable difference in the thread’s movement through the hole when sewing and pulling excess thread for trimming. Although this may not be necessary – it is a very good trick to help your machine sew more consistent stitches.

The header image is a left handed 1/16″ hemming foot. This one has been ground all the way down to the gate itself – this was necessary as the narrow slot does not allow much room for finesse in such a situation. However, these two feet (the right and left hand 1/16″ hemmers) were the easiest to be consistent with because the gate was the end point of what needed to be ground out so seeing where to stop was simplified. Ideally, the slot would not have been ground so far back towards the hinge of the foot, but sometimes human error takes over.

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