cathyh

Changing the needle bar

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I have ordered a new needle bar with bushings. I have a 2008 Millie and the threads on my needle bar have finally given out. I have struggled with this forever, I suppose I have continually over-tightened the screw ( nightmares about the needle falling out, I guess! LOL)

Of course this happened after I finally got a quilt onto my machine, after not being able, for one reason or another, to find time to quilt. I am hoping to get a jump on replacement -- does anyone have instructions for removing/replacing the needle bar? Thanks in advance.

I miss this forum, whenever I jump on for a minute or two, I love seeing the work you all are showing -- fantastic and inspiring!! Thanks for that also!!!!


Cathy Hamilton - M&M'ed 2008 Millennium - Part-time Quilter, Full-time Lover of Quilts

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Cathy

I've got the file but I'm going to bed shortly. PM me your email and I'll send the attachment in the morning before you get up.

Nigel


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

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Cathy:  Do yourself a favor, and replace the needle clamping screw with a socket headed (Allen) screw.  Much easier to use, and less likely to cross thread than the ones with the screw driver slots.  Ray at Quilt Tech has them on his web site.  Give him a call and buy one.  Jim

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I think I would give Amy a call if you haven't already. (she is so helpful, I really like her) I had to retap my needle bar because I couldn't get the screw back in if it came out. It was easy to do and I haven't had any problems with mine since I did this. I hope you get your Millie up and running soon :).

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Thanks everyone for suggestions!  I am already speaking with Amy about this because I am also having a problem with a periodic racing motor. I decided to really clean down under after a particularly bad thread shredding event, and took the needle out, then could not get the screw to hold when I replaced the needle. I had already messed up hole on the left side, and now the right one was stripped. 

Marti, I have already tried re-tapping the bar, and that did not help. I am going home from work today and try again, though, just to make sure.  Did you use a 4/40 tap?

The good news is that as Nigel suggested, since I have absolutely no play in the needle bar, that I can detect anyway, I do not have to replace the bushings.  But apparently I can not get around having to remove the hook assembly so I will be re-timing for the first time - very nervous about that.

When this is done I am definitely going to try the socket screw, thanks for that suggestion, Jim. I have always had a problem with this screw. I do not consider myself strong, but I have even broken one in half while tightening!!

 

On a better note, I have a couple of quilts hanging in our local Eureka Ca show (not juried) and maybe I will finally figure out how to post pictures. I have a flickr account but just can't seem to get to it!


Cathy Hamilton - M&M'ed 2008 Millennium - Part-time Quilter, Full-time Lover of Quilts

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I called Amy and she told me what to get and we went to the hardware store and picked up what we needed.. I'll have to look but it seems like she had me retap it a little larger. I haven't had a problem with my needle bar screws since I retapped it. If you have to take the hook assembly out and retime your machine Amy has a great tutorial on retiming your machine. I had to buy a new hook assembley a couple weeks ago and I retimed  my machine. It is tricky but once you have everything hitting in just the right place it is really easy. Just go really slow when you are timing your machine and hold your tongue just right and everything should line up lol. Amy makes it look so easy. I had to tweek mine a few times before I got it just right. You can do it dear :)

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I got my parts today and went right up to install the needle bar.

Taking the old bar out was a piece of cake. I am not replacing the bushings because there is absolutely no play in the old bar. Well, the new bar did not just slide in! I had to tap with a mallet, I was very careful to go slowly and not tap too hard, but now after attaching the stud link the take up roller is exrtremely hard to move.

Basically the needle bar is not moving freely. Does this mean the bushings should be replaced after all?


Cathy Hamilton - M&M'ed 2008 Millennium - Part-time Quilter, Full-time Lover of Quilts

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Cathy

Did you put any oil on the bar before you installed it? If not try taking the left cover off and with the needle up put a drop of oil on the needle bar where it meets the upper bushing, then lower the needle bar and put a drop of oil on your finger and wipe it on the needle bar where it goes through the lower bushing. Then give it a try. I expect it may be a little tighter than the old bar until it gets run in a bit. Your old bar will be slightly polished where it passed through the bushings. If it is still very tight call Amy in the morning.

Nigel


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

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I did try to add a little oil. I have taken the bar out ( it came out not easily, rubber gloves helped, and did not have to use the mallet!) so I will oil it some and try again. Is it alright to tap it in?

I have an email in to Amy, but I know she has gone home (hopefully!!). Tomorrow is soon enough.

Thanks, Nigel!


Cathy Hamilton - M&M'ed 2008 Millennium - Part-time Quilter, Full-time Lover of Quilts

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Marti, thanks so much for re-timing encouragement!! I have read and re-read the instructions. I just wish my eyesight was better!! I really love working on this machine and hope I can get it done.


Cathy Hamilton - M&M'ed 2008 Millennium - Part-time Quilter, Full-time Lover of Quilts

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Cathy, if you have a 3"-4" magnifying glass you might try it. I find a magnifying glass, along with a good flashlight shining upward, helps me immensely with timing.


Heidi Patterson

APQS Blissed Millennium with Quilt Path

APQS Sales Rep - Educator - Authorized Service Rep

Boise, Idaho

208-861-5018 (cell)

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Success!!!

Amy let me know that needle bars and bushings come as a matched set, so I needed to replace the bushings as well as the needle bar. Since that meant waiting until I could get some help taking my machine off the table, I decided to try Marti's suggestion of re- tapping the hole on my old needle bar. I went to 6-32 and got some hex set screws in that size. Thanks for the suggestion Marti, and thanks to Jim also for suggesting the hex screw, much easier to tighten.

Timing was next - not sure why I was so worried! Well it was very hard to see, even with a magnifying glass, but apparently I saw well enough- sewing beautifully now, I hope it lasts!!

Thanks all, for the moral support!!


Cathy Hamilton - M&M'ed 2008 Millennium - Part-time Quilter, Full-time Lover of Quilts

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I'm happy to hear all is going well with your Millie :). I love my Millie and I don't let her intimidate me when something goes wrong. We have wonderful people to help us. I have Joyce and Terry Coburn thay live close to me thay are a great help and Amy is wonderful. This forum is a great help also. The people on here are very knowledgeable and more then willing to jump in and help any of us. A big thank you to each of you and to APQS and your staff for always helping us :).

 

Happy stitching,

Marti

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Forgive my ignorance, but can someone explain exactly how to 're-tap'. Where to get supplies (Canada), what size tap, and what size hex screw do I replace the flat head with? My left needle screwhole is stripped and I'm terrified of changing needles in case my right (and only) screw does the same thing!

Thanks, Anne

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Queenanne

 

 

 

 

Forgive my ignorance, but can someone explain exactly how to 're-tap'.

 

 

 

A tap is a device like a drill bit to either cut initial threads, clean up slightly damaged threads in a hole, or to cut new larger diameter threads in a stripped out hole.

 

A die is used to cut or clean up the threads of a screw.  Thus you buy a tap and die set to work with both the screw hole and the screw.

 

Here is YouTube link to see  a tap in action.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5QU_3qUigk

 

You can clean up your threads on your APQS by taking a new needle bar screw, and screwing it into the hole on the opposite side you normally use.  Gently turn the screw so it passes completely through the entire needle bar.  This should clean up those outside threads on the needle bar you normally have the screw in.  You can put a little oil on the screw to help pass through the needle bar.  Just to note, I say use a new needle bar screw for if you use an old screw with slightly damaged threads, you may mess up the screw hole threads.  

 

I would also suggest that when you change needles, that after loosening the needle bar screw you turn it just enough to allow the needle to be removed.  Then after inserting the new needle, instead of using a screwdriver to initially tighten the screw, use your fingers.   Once the screw cannot be tighten further with your fingers, then use the screw driver to secure the needle .  

 

I would hazard to guess that the needle bar screw hole is stripped out when someone almost completely unscrews the needle bar screw, and then with the screw not completely aligned in the hole uses a screwdriver to tighten it down.  The threads of the screw start cutting new threads or more correctly strip out the old threads of the needle bar.  The threads inside the needle bar are not that deep, nor are the threads on the screw all that tall, so they are both easily damaged.  I am not sure how the suggested hex screw removes these issues, except that the hex driver may hold the screw so that it is easier to properly aligned with the screw hole.  It seems to be the one common weakness of the APQS system.  Though an easy one to hopefully not endure.   

 

I hope this answers your question.  Take care, and have a wonderful day.

 

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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Marti, yes! Apqs support team is awesome! I live far far away from any APQS facility so I particularly appreciate the quick response of the support team, as well as this forum!

Zeke, I agree, the first thing I tried was re- tapping my needle bar with the 4-40 tap to fix the threads. I did not work. Unfortunately it had been ages since I used my nifty tap set - I wish I had seen that great video on using a tap, Cagey!!

I did go to my friend who works with metal and he showed me the forward, back out technique while tapping with 6-32.

And I did get a hex screw and I think it is better for me. I have always hated slotted screws! I never have the exact screwdriver to fit the screw, and I mess up the head after a few needle changes.

I am really happy with the bigger screw and the hex head.

Thanks again for all the help!


Cathy Hamilton - M&M'ed 2008 Millennium - Part-time Quilter, Full-time Lover of Quilts

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This Forum is the best! Quilters are some of the most helpful people! It doesn't matter if you have a quilt question or a machine question, someone usually has the answer. Love seeing all of the amazing quilting too!


Heidi Patterson

APQS Blissed Millennium with Quilt Path

APQS Sales Rep - Educator - Authorized Service Rep

Boise, Idaho

208-861-5018 (cell)

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