jimerickson

Long arm needles

25 posts in this topic

For years I've puzzled over sewing machine needles and the vast range of nomenclature to identify them.  It started more than ten years ago, with my wife's Babylock serger, and has been a puzzle for me ever since.  Little by little I'm beginning to unravel this mystery.  Heidi's post of a week or so about Schmetz needles got me going again.

 

I have used Groz-Beckert 134 MR GEBEDUR FFG/SES needles almost exclusively, with an occasional Singer 1955 MR needle thrown in.  They've served me well, but I'm always interested in trying new things with the hope I might find something that I like better.  With that in mind, I just ordered some needles made by Schmetz, and Organ that I think will work in my machine (this is where the mystery comes in)  It is difficult to know exactly what needle works in my machine from the package nomenclature.

 

Here are the package ID's of the needles I use, and the ones I ordered:

 

Singer                  Groz-Beckert  Schmetz*           Schmetz              Organ

1955-01-MR4.0   134 MR           CANU:20:05 1   CANU:20:05 17    135x5

Set/R                   1955MR          134R                 134R SERV 7      DPx5

134    135x5        134 SAN 11     135x5                135x5 SERV7     135x7

797     DPx5        DPx 5 MR        SY 1955             DPx5  SERV 7    134R - 1955

                                                   DPx5

 

The Schmetz needle with the * is the one Heidi is using.  The other is the one listed as the long arm needle on the web site link that was referenced by someone else in that thread.

 

Now I do know what some of the designations mean.  For instance the MR stands for a needle configuration intended for multi-directional sewing.  The 1955 represents a style of needle I think, and is probably duplicated by the R, and Set/R designation.  The DPx5 I think means the same as the 135x5 and the 134 which I believe is the length of the needle, and the position of the eye.  The CANU 20 I think represents the thickness of the needle shank.  I know that the SAN 11 is important, but I don't know exactly what it means.  Perhaps, how large the scarf is.

 

The MR (multi range) needle provides a particular blade configuration and shank that is stiffer than others to proved needle deflection resistance.  The SERV 7 design provides the same sort of benefit as the MR, but in a bit different way.  Both have a larger and deeper thread groove in the front of the needle.

 

Interestingly, the size needle recommended by Superior Threads, deals not with what you're sewing, but rather what thread (mostly size) that you're using.  I notice that they recommended using an 18 or 19 size needle for King Tut, and a 19 or 21 size for Lava.  Perhaps folks who use these threads (I don't), and have problems, have so, because they are trying to use too small a needle.  The size of the groove in the front of the needle being the issue, not the needle eye size, needle diameter, or the fabric being sewed. 

 

I plan to experiment with the three new to me needles on the list, and find out if, and how well, they work.  I'll up date this thread with my impressions and thoughts on each.  Jim

 

BTW, I'm not quite sure about the nomenclature on the second Schmetz, and I'll check it, and make any appropriate corrections when the packs of needles arrive.  Also, anyone who know exactly what any of the designation codes mean, feel free to share your knowledge.

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The FFG you have been using  means they are Titanium.


Lyn Crump   Hand Guided 2013 Millenium Blissed and Gliding    APQS Sales Rep SE Qld Australia   www.busyquilting.com.au   On Facebook and Instagram as BusyQuilting


Attitude is everything - So pick a good one!

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Lyn:  I think the FFG/SES actually identifies the point configuration of the needle, not the plating.  I believe that the GEBEDUR designation identifies the titanium coating.  The FFG or SES identifies a modified ball point.  Sharper than a regular ball point, but not as sharp as an R point, which is what we often call a "sharp" point.

 

Thanks for the SAN code.  Now if we can only identify what application each number code means.  Jim

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Thanks for the SAN code.  Now if we can only identify what application each number code means.  Jim

  Here is a couple of them.  I believe san 11 is the needle developed for our application, larger eye and strengthen for multi directional sewing.  https://www.groz-beckert.com/cms/en/products_services/sewing/smn_produktprogramm/san_sewing/

 

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with |Intellistitch & IQ

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I received my new needles this week.  Two Schmetz variations, and one Organ.  I've tried the two Schmetz, but not the Organ.

 

Let me start by saying that on my machine the needles were not interchangeable.  They fit and sewed fine, but made more noise than the Groz-Beckert they replaced.  After sewing a bit with each different Schmetz, I decided to check my timing because I guessed the additional noise was from the hook striking the needle.  Sure enough when I checked the hook was hitting the needle.  Not enough to mark the needle, but definitely deflecting it a bit.

 

Initial observations:  The various needles differed in overall length from the longest (the Organ) at 1.526" to the shortest (Schmetz SERV 7) at 1.520".  The Groz-Beckert and Singer (same needle) were 1.522", and the other Schmetz measured 1.525".  All had a needle bar shank diameter of .078".  The Organ and the Schmetz SERV7 have stepped diameters on the needle body, while the other 3 where the same the length of the needle.  While looking at the needle suggested that the scarf depth on the Groz-Beckert was deeper than the other 3, and the reason I believed the hook was hitting the needle, I was unable to measure any difference.  Now I don't have extremely accurate measuring tools, so there might be a difference, but I couldn't find it (BTW the measurement I got was .010 for them all).  The length of the scarf did vary some.  the Groz-Beckert was the longest at .140", and the Organ was the shortest at .115".  

 

I've re-timed my machine so that the hook does not strike the Schmetz needle and have done some sewing with it.  (It is the SERV7 varriant, (20:05 17), not the one Heidi has been using (20:05 1))  I am favorably impressed.  It may be that the diagram of the needle groove-eye- point configuration I saw, has so impressed me that I have a self fulfilling expectation, but the needle seems to sew nicer.  I've noticed no skipped stitches, but then I rarely had them when using the G-B's.  The stitching I have done has not been terribly demanding, but I've noticed no more needle deflection with the Schmetz than my usual G-B.  The stitching noise level seems to be about the same.  All my experiments have involved size 18 / 4.0 size needles.

 

Since I re-timed my machine, I plan on using the Schmetz needle in the near future.  The timing adjustment should allow me to test the Organ needle as well.  I'll continue to share what I learn.  Jim    

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Wow Jim you went to town!  I heard that many that went with the Groz-Beckert needles had to retime from the Singer needles (I think the yellow packs were Singer).  I never made the switch to Groz so never retimed so maybe that is why I didn't have to deal with that.  My needle doesn't make any noise that is a good sign :-).  Keep us posted.  

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Just a bit more info on needle nomenclature.  Because there are multiple needle identification systems being used around the world, a needle pack will probably have more than one ID on the pack.  This makes it even more confusing when you buy needles.  For instance lets take our usual long arm needles.  The following are 4 sets of ID nomenclature not including the actual needle size:

 

134                       1955-01                   135 x 5                DPx 5

MR                         MR                          MR                      MR

FFG                       SET                         SES                    R

SAN 11

 

The first line is the needle system.  The second is the type needle, the third the needle point, and the fourth is any special application, which I think is only used by GroZ-Beckert.  To complicate things even further, many machines will accept and function properly with needles made for different systems.  For instance, the 134 and 135 x 5 are different systems yet our machines will function with needles from either system.

 

I think the multiple identifications, and in fact all the different systems goes back to the early days of sewing machine manufacture.  Each sewing machine manufacturer made needles for their machines.  Each used their own set on identification codes.  When there were dedicated needle manufacturers, new machine manufacturers would use existing needles if possible, using the needle nomenclature used by the original needle maker.  In 1942 needle sizes (size, not system) were standardized and the needle manufacturers replaced 40 or so different designations in use at the time.  Two descriptions were agreed upon:  Singer's familiar 06 thru 27, and the metric set of 50 thru 130.  These identifications refer to the diameter of the needle above the scarf, but not at any reinforced part of the blade.  At some point after that I think Singer invented the MR series of needles intended for automated sewing and established a new size designation set.  The MR system identifies the diameter of the needle in 100th mm - 2.5 - 6.5.  

 

I believe the Schmetz SERV7 needle is their design for automated sewing, and I have a feeling they will discontinue the MR type needles they have made in the past.  As for my experience with the Schmetz SERV7 needle I've been trying:  I'm almost finished with a queen size quilt that I've custom quilted.  I'm am pleased with the needle's performance.  Again realize this is all subjective, but I've experienced no skipped stitches (actually that's objective), the directional change in tension seems diminished, and there seems to be less needle deflection (flex).  Overall stitch quality seems to be improved as well.

 

I'll eventually get around to testing the Organ needle I bought, but I didn't want to change needle types in the middle of the quilt.  I'll keep you all posted.  Jim

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A bit more info, and a couple of corrections to what I've told you so far.  First the corrections:  The 134R which I thinks is a Groz-Beckert designation, and the 135 x 5 which I think is Singer's, are the same system, not different.  Also the 100/mm measurement I attributed to the MR needle size set, actually belongs to the metric system.  So a 55 metric would be a needle that's approximately .55 mm in diameter. The MR sizes seem to be made  in about .25 mm increments, but I'm not absolutely sure.

 

Now, the new info.  I've measured the needles I bought again, and note that the two stepped needles are thicker in the large step than the MR needle.  This might validate the claim by their makers that they resist deflection much better than regular needles.  The G-B MR needle is .045 in diameter, while the Schmetz SERV 7 is .050 in the thick step, and the Organ is .048.  Another claim I'v run across is that these needles make a smaller hole than a similar sized MR needle.  That claim makes sense when you look at the respective needles closely.  The "hump" on the MR needle makes it bigger than the others.  What differences does this make, you might ask? Bearding!  The larger hole makes fiber migration easier with the MR needle.

 

Now both of these claims (less deflection, and less bearding) have been validated, subjectively anyway, by my test.  I'll keep you posted.  Jim 

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I measured 3 different size MR needle this morning, and think I know how they're sized.  The size number represents 10/1000 of an inch.  So, and 3.0 would be .030", a 3.5 would be .035", a 4.0 would be .040", and so on.  Interestingly enough, they don't measure the same side to side, and front to back.  The size measure is front to back.  The side to side measure is a bit greater.

 

Another mistake.  The 134 R designation belongs to Groz-Beckert, not Schmetz as I earlier speculated.  I've corrected that in my earlier post.  The CANU system belongs to Schmetz, and is used by them exclusively.  It means CAtalog NUmber.  It specifies the needle length, the first two digits I think, followed by a colon.  I don't know what the rest of the digits signify.  After the numbers there will be one or more capital letters, which identify the point.  If there is no letter, it signifies that the point is the standard round point, usually identified by other manufactures as an R point.  The pack of SERV 7 Schmetz needles I received has no such letter, so they apparently are R point needles.   Jim

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Now that I've completed the quilt I was working on and removed it from my frame, I've had the opportunity to try the Organ needle I recently bought.  Replacing the Schmetz needle I did the last quilt with, I was able to sew.  The stitch quality on a VERY small sample, was similar to that of the Schmetz it replaced.  I checked the timing and the needle to hook clearance was correct, but the vertical position of the hook in the scarf seemed a bit high.  My guess is that the fact that the Organ's scarf is significantly shorter than on the Groz-Beckert needle, makes timing a bit more critical.  If I were to use this needle all the time, I think I'd change my timing slightly.  As I said, it did sew, and sewed OK, so I could use it if I wanted.  I don't really intend on using this needle, so I won't be testing it any further.  Jim

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I said that I wasn't going to experiment with the Organ needles anymore.  Well, I had a couple of small jobs, and decided to try the Organs out again.  The only problem I had was that I broke the thread once.  Now this rarely happens with the YLI Longarm Professional thread I usually use.   It might have been due to a quilt sandwich that wasn't just right, or more likely because of timing.  You'll recall that I re-timed Zelda for the Schmetz needles, but not the Organs,  You'll also note that the scarf of the Organ needle is the smallest of the needles I've been testing.  It could be that the hooks meets the scarf a bit higher than it should, and that "lack of space" was responsible for the break, or maybe I was just sewing too fast, I'm not sure.  I slowed down and didn't break the thread again.  In fact, I sewed the second project with Glide thread, sewing relatively slowly, and had no problem with that thread either.  The Organ needle worked OK.

 

Now unless you have easy access to Organ needles and problems with buying either the Schmetz or Groz-Beckert  needles, there doesn't seem to a good reason to change.  In fact the smaller scarf might be a reason not to use them.  All the needles I tested seem to be priced pretty much the same when purchased in 100 needle packs (some where between $30-$40), so cost shouldn't be much of a consideration.  All the needles tested worked well.  No missed stitches when the timing was  set properly.  Because of the different shapes of the needles, the Schmetz and Organ needles poke a smaller hole in the fabric than the MR needles.  Supposedly, that allows you to use one size larger needle of the non-MR with the same fabric appearance.  So you could use an 18 instead of a 16 with the same look.  Larger needles are stiffer, so that could be a benefit of moving away from MR's.  On the other hand the MR's are probably more timing forgiving.  You decide.  I like the Schmetz SERV 7 enough to switch.  I bought 50 each of 16's and 18's, and will use the MR's I have on my Gammill.  Jim   

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Just another brief up-date.  I've completed several quilts using the same Schmetz SERV 7 size 18 needle I began my test with.  I feel it has performed well.  It has not deflected enough to hit Zelda's hook, so I have not damaged the point.  (something that happened with some frequency with the MR needles)  I did note 4 skipped stitches on my last quilt.  They happened when I was sewing a loop up and back toward the 11 o'clock position.  I think I was probably sewing too fast.  These are the only skipped stitches I observed so far.  I think bearding is also less of a problem with this needle.  Jim 

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Just another brief up-date.  I've completed several quilts using the same Schmetz SERV 7 size 18 needle I began my test with.  I feel it has performed well.  It has not deflected enough to hit Zelda's hook, so I have not damaged the point.  (something that happened with some frequency with the MR needles)  I did note 4 skipped stitches on my last quilt.  They happened when I was sewing a loop up and back toward the 11 o'clock position.  I think I was probably sewing too fast.  These are the only skipped stitches I observed so far.  I think bearding is also less of a problem with this needle.  Jim 

Jim I have found the same results with not hitting the hook, also happened to me a lot.  I thought I was the only one this happened to.  I did have it happen when I was stitching in the center of my start quilt but I had a lot of layers coming together.  I just had to go slower.

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I've done a bit more experimenting with the Schmetz SERV7, this time on my Gammill Classic.  I have confirmed that the scarf in the Schmetz needle is not as deep as on the Groz-Beckert MR needle.  Timed as the Gammill is, the hook appears to just touch the Schmetz needle.  With the MR needle I can slip a thickness on note paper between the hook and the needle scarf.  (I think the paper is about .003 inches thick.)  This is the reason I needed to change the hook adjustment on Zelda to eliminate striking the Schmetz needle.

 

I did some sewing with both the SERV7 and the MR needles, on a very challenging sandwich with heavy stabilizer to test needle deflection and skipped stitches.  Both needles did skip stitches occasionally, but the MR needle was worse than the SERV7.  Now the additional clearance of the MR needle may have played a role, but I'm ready to say Schmetz's claim of reduced skipped stitches with the SERV7 needles is valid.  The reduced deflection on the SERV7 needle appears to help sewing performance.  Thought some of you may be interested.  Jim

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I've been quilting a series of whole cloth charity quilts on my Gammill, and decided that such a quilt offered an excellent opportunity to compare stitch quality and tension variations of the MR and SERV7 needles.  Being whole cloth quilts there would be no piecing seams, or variations in patch fabric to mask actual results.  I did a random meander, so I sewed rather rapidly.

 

Now both needles performed well.  Both needles were 18/100.  I used Tex 40 YLI Longarm Professional as a top thread, Bottom Line as a bobbin thread, and polyester batting. All stitching was done from the front of the machine.  No skipped stitches, and no occasional loop on the back was noted with either needle.  (I've had an issue with the Gammill leaving an occasional single stitch loop on the  back recently, but increasing the tension on the thread take-up spring seems to have eliminated that problem)  I closely examined the stitch appearance both top and bottom, for both needles.  The directional tension changes was my focus.  While the difference was not great, I think the Schmetz SERV7 needle out performed the Groz-Beckert titanium coated MR san 11 needle.  The Schmetz needle produced more uniform stitches.  Going in bad directions (back and to the left) the Schmetz stitches were more balanced, making all the stitches look more uniform.  I emphasize again, there was not a great deal of difference.

 

While the difference was not great, in my opinion, it is enough to convince me that the Schmetz SERV7 needle gives me better performance.  I plan to switch and use the Schmetz needles in the future.  Jim

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On a bit of different thought,  In m,y domestics, including the OLD Singers,   :o

I use embroidery needles the most as they have a lovely large eye to thread,

and they do stitch very well!

 

:( I forgot the Ruby only uses a special needle.  Diff lenght than Schmetz and Singer

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I thought I'd update you all on my experience with my long arm needles.  Since I last reported, I've re-timed my Gammill to run the Schmetz SERV 7 needles.  I can recall breaking only one needle, and it was with the Gammill, and was on a very heavy seam.  Not the kind of deflection break one gets by moving the machine, but simply breaking because it couldn't penetrate the layers of fabric.  I never damage the needle point anymore, and seem to be able to use a needle endlessly without changing it.

The stitch quality has improved on both my machines.  I now have much less directional tension change than I did before.  The stitches when I sew a circle, are almost the same all around the circle.  I almost never encounter missed stitches anymore.

The Schmetz SERV 7 needles have performed so well that they are what I now use.  In fact I've given the sizable stock of Singer and Groz-Beckert MR needles I had to a friend, and don't intend on using them again.   Jim

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Jim;

Do you believe it is the needle/deeper scarf that is giving you the better stitch quality or the fact that you timed the machine for the specific needle?

I ask this, as I was wondering if a quilter decides they like needle X, then would it be a good idea to time/setup the machine for that specific needle to get the best stitch quality?

Thank you for the original post and the update.  Great information to keep for our records.

Cagey


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

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Hey Jim

i was just rereading this thread.  Do you have Intellistitch on both machines?  The reason I ask is the Millie will skip stitches all day long if the hook doesn't kiss the needle and you can run your machines with the slightest gap.  Maybe I will try retiming my U1 to have the gap and see if the stitch quality improves.  Currently the Millie is superior and I think my U1 degraded a little after the addition of the Intellistitch.  As we have discussed before neither system is way better than the other.

Cagey

If the needle systems are the same then the needles should be interchangeable but as Jim points out there can be differences.  I did get some yellow packet SNS needles from APQS years ago that caused me grief with skipped stitches until I adjusted the hook to kiss the needle.  The old needles I had been using in the identical packaging would kiss the needle but the new ones didn't.  So you may have to retime  even if you don't change manufacturers and the Schmetz may or may not be better with the APQS regulator, I guess someone will have to try them.

 

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with |Intellistitch & IQ

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Cagey:  I think the design of the shape of the eye/thread slot is what makes the Schmetz needle perform better.  According to Schmetz the shape produces a more open thread loop which makes it easier for the hook to catch it.  I think the stiffer needle shank also helps because the needle is more difficult to deflect.  You may or may not have to re-time.  On my Ult 2 it sewed fine, I just couldn't stand the noise made by the hook hitting the needle.

Nigel:  I have heard the story in the past of needles being miss marked, and some SAN 7 needles marked as SAN 11.  I think that is probably what happened to you.  Unless you looked very carefully at the scarf on both needles, and you're sure they were the same, I doubt that there would be enough manufacturing variation to cause the problem you experienced.

Both my machines have Intellistitch regulators on them.  I don't think the regulator would cause what you describe.  Now adjustment of the regulator, or initial timing of the machine might.  I've mentioned to you before that the issues you've had with your single stitch is a regulator (probably needle speed) adjustment issue.  Timing is a little more iffy for me because I converted from the L hook to the M hook, and with no one ever doing that before, it took a while to learn everything I about that change.  I don't know if I mentioned to you or not, but I think I chose the wrong hook for my conversion.  That choice introduced some issues that took me several years to sort out.  Long and short of it is that because of those issues, I'm not sure how exacting the hook position in the scarf is.  I always used the "bottom third" of the scarf as the hook position.  If I set the hook higher in the scarf, I'd hit and damage the needle when the needle deflected only slightly.  I finally realized that the hook (one like used in my Gammill) would be better if it's shape was a bit different (thus my belief that a different M hook would have been a better choice) and that was the problem.  A couple of moments on the grinder solved that.  Now I can set the hook anywhere in the scarf without the needle hitting it when slightly deflected.  I've found that setting the hook closer to the center of the scarf reduced some of the stitch quality problems I initially had.  Where is your Ult 1 set?

It sounds like you might benefit by using the Schmetz SERV 7 needle.  Simply swapping the MR needle you're currently using out for the Schmetz might do fine.  Heidi runs her Millie with Schmetz needles without resetting the timing.  I'd send you one to try, but they're inexpensive enough you could simply buy a 10 needle pack to test them.  I'm convinced they've improved my stitch quality, and I'm sold on using them.  Jim

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Funny thing is I had about a half dozen Schmetz needles given to me with the U1 but never used them and I'm not sure they are even in the house anymore.

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with |Intellistitch & IQ

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Nigel:  I think the SERV 7 needle is something that's relatively new.  If you look, you'll see that Schmetz made MR needles, but they aren't currently available.  I think that Schmetz has discontinued manufacture of the MR's since they developed the SERV 7, and that's why you can't buy them.  Jim

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