To keep your machine performing its best for years to come, follow these general maintenance tips.
- Invest in a small air compressor (available at WalMart, Ace Hardware, etc. for about $90). It takes only a few minutes to turn it on and get enough pressure to blow the lint out of everything, including your bobbin case! If one isn’t available to you, canned air is okay in a pinch. However, canned air can have a moisture-based propellant. Do not shake the can when spraying it into your machine. That can cause the moisture to enter your hook assembly.
- The wicks on the top of the machine and the single one on the side don’t need oil if they are wet to the touch. Over-oiling the wicks can cause the excess oil to puddle around the hopping foot and needle bar shafts, where it could eventually drip down on your quilt. (Note: It’s always a good idea to move the machine off the quilt when you are done for the day, and slightly relax the fabric by loosening your rollers to prevent stretching.) Download pdf instructions to learn how to properly oil your machine.
- You should thoroughly clean and oil your hook assembly every day. Most quilters will do this before loading each quilt to prevent getting oil on the fabric. While you should clean out the lint in the hook area and in the bobbin case after every bobbin, you generally will be able to complete an average-size quilt before needing to”deep clean and oil” the hook area. However, if you are doing extensive quilting on a project, or if the hook area starts to get noisy and rattles, take the time to clean and oil the hook thoroughly.
- Wipe dirt and lint from your table top and rails. The aluminum rails make your table very sturdy while remaining lightweight as well. To maintain them properly, wipe the rail surfaces where your wheels run with a soft, lint-free cloth. To remove natural oxidation build-up from the aluminum, wipe the rails with rubbing alcohol. If your wheels are Ralmark wheels (they will be brown or black in color and will resemble sturdy, pressed particle board) also wipe the inside curve of each wheel with a soft, lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol. If your wheels are M & M wheels, use a soft cloth only; do NOT use rubbing alcohol.
- Spend some time allowing your machine to have a “warm up” period before you begin quilting, especially if you live in a colder climate. Move the machine off the fabric, and remove the top and bobbin thread to prevent snarls. Turn the machine on in manual sewing mode, with the sewing motor set to a “medium” speed. Let the machine run for 10 minutes or so to warm up the electronics and mechanical parts. Sometimes after warm-up, quilters will notice that the “needle/up down” function seems to overcycle, causing the machine to take more than one stitch after you’ve depressed the button or have stopped sewing. If this occurs, it’s an easy adjustment. To adjust the “needle up/down” on machines built in 2007 and earlier, download these instructions. For machines built in 2008 and later, download these instructions.
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