DawnCavanaugh

Timing your APQS Machine

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I have posted this topic in the "Maintenance Tips" section under the APQS Quilting Forum "Videos" so that you can easily locate it going forward.

Your APQS Machine doesn't just "go out of time". A needle jam, needle break, or simply a worn out hook are the main causes that require re-timing. Skipped stitches in the manual sewing mode are the symptoms indicating that a machine's timing may be off. (If the machine is skipping only in regulated mode, then the problem is not timing but is most likely the encoder wheel adjustment.)

These helpful videos will guide you in determining if timing your machine is required. As always, call us with any questions at 800.426.7233 or send an email to service@apqs.com. We're here to help!


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APQS Customer Service & Education Director

1-800-426-7233

dawn@apqs.com

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Dawn I am still having issues and there really is no rhyme or reason to them... I'm running Bottom Line on top maxi loc in the bobbin.. a combo I've run more times than I can count and the top thread is SORT of shredding but not always. I've adjusted both tensions every way from here to eternity and it will do great then go to hell in the same bobbin... I'll have railroad tracks on the back occasionally, then not.. but the BIGGIE is that the top thread will start to not make stitches but there will be needle holes then stop stitching all together (I have loosened my top tension/rethreaded so no winding/buffed everything) ... Then I have "moment "(like 1/2 inch) of top thread bubbling/shredding then going back and stitching perfectly for EVER... until the next time... BUT.. and this is what brings me to my question... it is ALWAYS going from right to left (from the front of the machine).. I had one section of 1/4 horizontal lines that when I finally caught what it was doing I found that every OTHER line had bubbles in the same spot (the left 1/2 of the line going left) but the other lines were perfect...

 

You know I have replaced and sanded everything I can reach, the only thing I have not done is re-time... I have not broken any needles but I have done more than a 100 quilts in Rainbows or Bottom line alone... would THAT wear out my hook and make me have to re-time? Or do I just need a new hook do you think? I have used those threads exclusively for the 5 yrs I've had the machine and had NO problems... not even one... I just change thread colors and go, I seldom even checked my tension it was always perfect... Until it all fell apart a few months ago... Timing is the only thing I have not done, or sand any parts that can only be reached by removing the hook....

 

I am feeling very helpless and dumbfounded... I can't get my machine to behave or respond to any of my normal remedies.


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APQS Freedom SR

Hopeton, Oklahoma

http://community.webshots.com/user/tracyeq

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Tracye,

 

It may indeed be necessary to retime the machine. At least I would start there.You've got a directional tension issue that can be exacerbated by wear in the hook or misalignment. (the misalignment doesn't have to happen from a needle break; the hook point does wear down over time.) We have seen customers wear through hooks in as short a time as 6 months. Also check for hook shaft collar play (I take that back...start with checking for play, and then do the timing.). If you don't see improvement from those two steps, then it's time to replace the hook. Give us a call...we'll help!

Hook Shaft Collar adjustment .pdf


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APQS Customer Service & Education Director

1-800-426-7233

dawn@apqs.com

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Thank you Dawn! I just wanted to ask before I did the "drastic" thing...(I'm askeered of timing) ...Amy did have me check for hook play back when this started. I think I've had multiple issues at once...burrs in my take up lever and u tension spring thingy. Burrs/rough spots in the thumb of my mitten.... and when I replaced/buffed all these out i was fine MOST of the time, but still had this occasional issue which has become obnoxious on the last 2 quilts using Bottom Line... And I would be GLAD to switch threads if there were something else as fine I could use on quilts that need thin threads so as to go over embroidery/applique and not detract/show (I'm gonna start using the magnifico/fantastico soon)... I'll be digging into my hook/timing later today then...EEK, I don't know WHY that intimidates me so! The video is awesome... What an great resource! The last time I had to time was on a different brand machine almost 8 yrs ago and we just had some diagrams from a quilting book that was not specific to any machine...So I'm well armed now...still don't wanna do it though... :P


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APQS Freedom SR

Hopeton, Oklahoma

http://community.webshots.com/user/tracyeq

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Tracye, don't put it off, you will be glad when you have checked the timing on your machine. I was having the same problems you describe. I had a slight amount of hook shaft collar play ( very easy to fix, see Dawn's PDF file). That still did not correct my problems, so I "bit the bullet," watched the timing video and printed off the timing instructions. Piece of cake. Easy to do, a little time consuming, and you do have to contortion your body around and under the machine, but so worth it. I'm back to quilting being a joy that I look forward to every day! APQS instructions are the best.....easy to follow and accompanied by good pictures. Love my machine again! Thanks APQS, thanks Dawn!!!


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APQS Freedom, 2010

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Thanks Lois!

 

I did it... Turns out my needle bar was too high as well... My cousin who is handy with tools came over and helped me and that made is SO much easier.. I kept having the hook move when I was testing it's location and the needle would get pinched in between she metal pieces...But we got it done and it's stitching beautifully, EVEN if I tweak the tension one way or the other... WHEW!!!!!

 

I really think I experinced the "perfect storm" of issues all at once...

 

What would make my needle bar move, btw? Hitting a ruler? Cause I have done that more times than I can count.... :P


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APQS Freedom SR

Hopeton, Oklahoma

http://community.webshots.com/user/tracyeq

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Well, thank you for this but if mine ever goes out of time I guess I will just have to throw it away.  I am sure I couldn't fix it myself.


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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Even though all these maintenance issues are SCARY to tackle I still truly appreciate that APQS is willing and patient enough to help us fix them at home and not just automatically require that we send our machines to them or (shiver) have some other sewing shop look at it.  They are a great company and I don't hesitate to tell anyone who asks about longarms to go check them out. 


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Serendipity: The discovery of something wonderful quite by accident while looking for something quite different.

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Yea Tracye, you did it! So happy for you that you stuck with it until you got the problem isolated and solved! You should be very proud of yourself!! Now you can enjoy quilting again!!


<p>Vickie Oliver Beachside Quilter APQS Rep SW FL 2013 New Gen Millennium, Quilt Path

239-209-0990. Beachsidequilter.com

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Can I hijack this a little bit and ask a question regarding timing symptoms?  

 

I have an issue where sometimes it's almost as if the bottom thread goes up through the eye of the needle and I get a huge skip and sort of a thread jam.  WHAT is causing this???  I do seem to have some skipped stitching when doing long wavy lines going to the left and I'm thinking that the timing is just a hair off.  The machine is 14 years old and I don't think it's ever been re-timed.  I know the last owner at least never timed it.


Valerie Smith

Pumpkin Patch Quilter

http://www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

http://www.pumpkinpatchquilter.etsy.com

Pantograph Co-Designer for Urban Elementz

https://www.urbanelementz.com/shop/category/quilting-designs-by-designer/valerie-smith/

 

**As of March 2015 I will be Quilting on a 2000 APQS Certified Used Millennium!**

Quilting from January 2013 to February 2015 on a non-stitch regulated 1999 Ultimate 1

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Valerie,

 

From the symptoms you describe you're right to suspect something going on in the bobbin area. You actually could have a few issues contributing to the problem, especially if the machine has never had the hook replaced. Hook assemblies do simply wear out, and if this is the original, it's got a lot of miles on it!

 

Here's the checklist for you to work through:

 

1. Check for burrs on the hook assembly. These will cause the thread catching and traveling back up through the eye. The burr or scratch on the hook catches the top thread and carries it more than once around the assembly, or causes it to shred (but not break), where the hook pierces the loop instead of grabbing the entire thing to form a stitch. Watch the Timing Video to learn about where to look for burrs and how to polish them out. I've also attached a document that will help you with that. Hook Maintenance Instructions.pdf

 

2. Check for something called "hook shaft collar play". There's a drive shaft that runs through the entire lower throat of your machine, through the gearbox. The hook is attached to the end of that shaft (thus the name "hook shaft"). Behind the hook assembly you'll see a dark-colored ring around the shaft called a "collar". It holds the shaft in place inside the machine and through the gearbox. Directly behind the collar (toward the back vertical "wall" in the hook area) you'll see a gold colored ring. That's actually a bushing that travels into the gearbox. Eventually the hook collar rubs against that brass bushing enough to wear down some of the surface metal. Subsequently, that creates a little gap between the hook shaft collar and the bushing, which means that the shaft itself can float slightly forward and backward due to the gap. Hook Shaft Collar adjust.pdf

 

If the hook can move just a little "in and out" then it affects the relationship between the hook point and the back of your needle (thus changing your stitch quality). I've attached another document to help you locate the collar and learn how to adjust it if needed.

 

3. Definitely check the timing of the machine. Skipped stitches (in manual mode) are a clear symptom of a timing issue. Due to the age of the machine, it could simply be that the hook has reached the end of its useful life...the hook tip might be worn, the bobbin basket may be wobbly, etc. You can first attempt to retime the machine to the current hook, but if it doesn't improve, then consider buying a new hook and then retime the machine to that. (They are $84.95). TIMING INSTRUCTIONS-April 2010.pdf

 

If someone who has a stitch regulated machine is reading this, I want to briefly touch on the symptom of skipped stitches. If your machine skips stitches only in regulated mode, but not in manual mode, then we must focus on an electrical solution (such as encoder wheel adjustment). If it skips in BOTH regulated and in manual mode, then it's a mechanical issue and we must look at timing. :)


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APQS Customer Service & Education Director

1-800-426-7233

dawn@apqs.com

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Dawn thank you thank you thank you!!!  


Valerie Smith

Pumpkin Patch Quilter

http://www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

http://www.pumpkinpatchquilter.etsy.com

Pantograph Co-Designer for Urban Elementz

https://www.urbanelementz.com/shop/category/quilting-designs-by-designer/valerie-smith/

 

**As of March 2015 I will be Quilting on a 2000 APQS Certified Used Millennium!**

Quilting from January 2013 to February 2015 on a non-stitch regulated 1999 Ultimate 1

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 I really should have come here to start. I had heard a bit of unfamiliar noise and was worried about timing, of which I too, was fearful of. I called our local APQS service rep to have him come out and do a timing for me and hoping then I would not be too scared in the future. He re-packed grease (as it was clean and didn't really need changing he said) into my millie and didn't hear what noise I was talking about. After a bit he was convinced he also heard something which he then said maybe it could be my timing and he would just have a look. He seemed to have a bugger of a time getting it just right. He changed my pigtails for me which maybe I should have just sanded it down a bit with steel wool.  He tightened a couple of bolts on my table  so my machine would move easier.  There was never any mention of a hook shaft collar. Then he was off. (only 2.5 hrs) I think we did a fair bit of jabbering to take up so much time. I have quilted a quilt(64" x 77")  and just over half of another quilt (58" x 75") .So not large ones and my machine stopped dead. Needle will only go half way down and then back up, thread cutter won't, work my needle up down doesn't even make a noise as if to pretend to work.  My hook assembly ( just the shaft holding it) turns loosely but only aprox 1/2 a revolution. What on earth happened to my millie? I'm perplexed, anxious, and worried. I hope it is nothing serious. I of course cannot phone the guy back as it is Sunday. Does anybody know what this could be?

 

Desparately seeking answers,

Connie

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Connie, I wish I could tell you what is happening with your machine, but the symptoms have got me stumped! Send an email to service@apqs.com and let them know what's happening. They should be able to help you.


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Barbara Mayfield
APQS Sales Representative & Educator
AND Quilt Path owner!!!

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best." ~Henry van Dyke

APQS Northwest

1315 NW Mall Street, Suite 4

Issaquah, WA  98027

 

(425) 243-3502

info@apqsnw.com

www.apqsnw.com

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Help, please. 

I had to install a gasket for my Lucey gearbox, which meant removing the hook assembly and re-timing. At last, I thought I was successful.

However, after sewing for some time, the machine hit metal. I changed the needle and tried again. The same thing happened a bit later. I now have scratches on the mitten part of the hook assembly. The needle isn’ Hitting anything when I rotate the wheel. I’ve left a message for Angie, but hate to wait until Monday. Customer Quilt coming...

So, can anyone answer, please?

1. Why would my machine work for quite a while before a problem occurred? I had been giving it a real workout with no issues and good stitches. 

2. Do I have to start the timing process again? If so, will it hurt the machine to file down the shaft again, etc.?

3. How do I know it’s timed correctly? My confidence is now shot, having co,pleated the steps the first time.

My Lucey is only 2 years old and I don’t want to shorten her life.

Thanks for any suggestions 

 

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Is there any in and out play on the shaft, there shouldn’t be any?  I assume you had the hook shaft collar off as well.  You only have to touch the file on the shaft if  there is a high spot preventing you from putting the hook back on.

 

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie. Sold November 2017
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with |Intellistitch & IQ

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 I did have to take off the collar, yes. I don’t think I’d need to remove that, again. 

Shouldn’t there be pretty good gouges from securing the hook assembly?

There’s no play in the hook assembly

thanks

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You said it stitched well for a while before the needle hit the hook so my thought was maybe you had some in and out play.  So maybe it was needle flex when the collision happened which means the timing is real close.  I am thinking the hook probably has to come a hair clockwise to get a little more gap around the thumb. Watch the video again and have another go at the timing.  Before you make the screws tight rotate the flywheel by hand and look at the clearance at the thumb and then try setting the timing with the hook at the centre of the scarf instead of the lower quarter and check the clearance again. I think you will see quite a difference with such a slight adjustment.  Only file if you need to, the gouges don’t matter it is the high spot around the gouge that may make it tough to position the hook.  Personally I usually use a piece of 400 wet/dry sandpaper it works slower than a file.  The first time I had to time took about four tries till I got it right.  Should be part of your free lesson as just about everyone goes through this at least once.  

Let us know how you make out.

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie. Sold November 2017
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with |Intellistitch & IQ

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Hi!

I think you’re right and I’ll get some sandpaper. Are you saying that the needle “sweet spot” should be higher than what is on the video and written instructions?I don’t know that it makes much difference because either is so hard for me to see.

Four tries? How did you know there was a problem each time? Did you hit metal when there was needle flex or was there some other things indicator? Did you start from scratch each time? I just don’t understand why I could free motion for so long before a problem arose.

Thanks, so much, for your help.

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Most of my issue the first time I did timing was I had previously taken a sewing machine repair class from Ray White (http://www.whitesewingcenter.com/repairclass.php)  and we were taught to get the hook as close to the needle as possible without touching which I did but I got skipped stitches going left and up.  On the domestic machine the fabric feed will always push the needle towards the hook whereas the longarm being multidirectional sometimes you are pulling the needle away and the hook misses picking up the bobbin thread.  APQS says the hook should kiss the needle and this does stop the skipped stitches but who are you kissing your aunt or your lover.

Also on a domestic machine we were taught to use a timing tool or the marks if the machine has them to set the timing first and the needlebar height after.  Since APQS uses neither they eyeball the height first and set the timing off that, your sweet spot could be a little different if the machine was set up by someone else.  As I said I think you are probably very close to having it right.  Timing is the hardest thing you will do maintaining your machine.

 

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie. Sold November 2017
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with |Intellistitch & IQ

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