Cagey

Ice Station Zebra George Moves South

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Prior to Christmas, I scheduled a date to test sew a used George in early January.  Poor planning or should I say scheduling on my part had me traveling to Detroit (Ice Station Zebra at -9 degrees) to meet Miss Donna, and demo her barely used 2010 George.  After trying it out, and seeing how clean it was I purchased it on the spot.  I liked the fact that it had the old oversized table.  Luckily for me, Miss Donna had recently bought a computer monitor, so she had a box that was a perfect fit for George.  All that was needed was a little cutting and shaving of the styrofoam to get it to securely hold George.

 

Flying out of Detroit with my new toy under 3 inches of falling snow, I learned why quilting is so popular up north.  Nobody wants to go outside in that kind of weather.  Luckily the deep south was a relatively warm 67 degrees upon returning home.  The snow did holdup pick up of George's table by the shipper.  With luck the weather will improve and it will be picked up next week, and shipped down south to me a few days later.

 

Saturday I unpacked George and oiled it up, as I do not think it had been seen even a single bobbin of thread run through it since its purchase and the wicks were fairly dry.  After oiling and blowing off the dust with an air compressor, I ran it without a needle to exercise the equipment.  It only ran for about 15 seconds before the needle bar froze up, and would not move.  With the foot peddle released, the motor continued to hum.  I turned off the machine.  Reading the owners manual, I thumbed the fly wheel with the power on until the yellow light came on and the motor stopped.  The needle up/down button would only make the motor start and continuously hum until I turned the fly wheel to either the up or down position.  No matter how far I depressed the foot peddle, the motor would only hum and the needle bar remained frozen.  

 

Spinning the fly wheel, both the needle bar and the bobbin holder would rotate.  With the motor cover removed, I noticed the motor did not move when the fly wheel was manually rotated.  Do any of you know if this is normal?

 

I tried increasing the needle up/down set screw as the manual stated that at some settings the needle bar would not move, and that got George barely moving.  With maybe 20 to 30 revolutions per minute of the needle bar at least moved.  I let George run like this for a few minutes.  If I depressed the foot peddle down too far, the needle bar would freeze up and the motor would hum until I manually moved the fly wheel to the needle up or down position.  It sounded to me like George's "transmission" was slipping with the motor humming but the needle bar frozen.  

 

After getting the needle bar to run a very reduced speed, I still could not get the run at any semblance of quilting speed.  With the needle bar frozen because the foot peddle was depressed too far, I turned the fly wheel with the "transmission" slipping but the motor at full power.  After a time or two of doing this, George's "transmission" finally caught, and the needle bar was running at full speed/power.  I reset the needle up/down set screw to the previously set position.

 

I ran George for the about 10 minutes a full throttle.  It sounded like the hopping foot was contacting the needle plate, so I slide a quilt sandwich between the two parts.  I let it run like this until the motor cover and gear box grew warm.  The only issue I had was the motor cover vibrates loudly at certain speeds.  I want to fix this, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  

 

Now George appears to operate fine.  When I let up on the foot peddle the needle slows and stops in the up/down as set by the needle button.  it starts and stops on command with the foot peddle, and the machine will run at any speed.  Rotating the max speed knob slows and speeds the machine depending on the number selected.  Do any of you know what causes/caused the "transmission" to freeze up/slip?  

 

Using the needle up down button, the needle moves and stop within 1 second as suggested in the manual.  Hopefully, I did not bugger up my new toy by forcing it to start working again.   I hope it was just a case of things being slightly frozen from lack of use.  I did e-mail APQS Amy to see what I need to do go ensure long term trouble fee operations, or if I caused any permanent damage to my George.  I hope to hear from her next week.  Though I will gladly accept any information or suggestions from the forum crowd at this time.  I want to run George,  and work in all the new oil to get it ready for quilting.  

 

I am looking forward to my table arriving soon, so I can quilt with George and try out the rulers and templates I purchased during the end of year sales.  I want to thank all of you that have posted here on the forum, that educated me and finalized my decision to purchase a George.  I look forward to learning to quilt with George and you on the forum.

 

One more question.  Do most of you use the bobbin winder from provided by APQS (mine had never been unboxed), or do you use another after market bobbin winder?

 

Thank you for your comments in advance, and have a wonderful day.

 

Cagey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

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I'm not a mechanic, but I'm thinking that you just got him loosened up after sitting for so long.  It will be interesting to hear what Amy has to tell you.

 

I use the APQS bobbin winder.  I wouldn't even worry about looking for another option.  It is loud and at first it will be stiff when you try to move the bobbin in position to get it started but that too will loosen up.  I like mine.

 

 

Welcome to the George family (and good that you have the older cabinet.  I don't think I will ever get rid of mine!)


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Madelyn ,  congrats on  your APQS George purchase.. I doubt you will do anything but greatly  like it.

 

I have the Tturbo-Winder, and wouldn't consider the little one that sells for very little and isn't worth that much. 

 

Good luck, looking forward to picts of  your Q uilting will be great,  Post picts please?

 

Rita

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Cagey:  It sounds like the motor belt was slipping.  Did you check it?  I don't think there is a "transmission" on these machines.  There is a gear box that directs rotation to the hook shaft bar.  Power is supplied by the timing belt.  If the hook was rotating, the gear box was performing properly.  Since you could rotate the machine by hand, nothing was really frozen.  Just my thoughts.  Jim

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My George came with the Sidewinder.  It was never used, but I am sure it will work.  Though I am going to try out if I can use my Brother sewing machine to simply wind the L size bobbins.  If not, I will have to investigate getting a good bobbin winder, if I have issues with the sidewinder.

 

I had oiled everything that the manual recommends prior to issue popping up.  So having one oil spot causing the issue was not the problem.  The drive belts are toothed, so they will not slip on the pulley.  

 

I spoke with Amy, and she told me there was no transmission on George.  Though she did say that the motor should rotate when you spin the fly wheel.  As this was not occurring, it could have simply been that the machine was slightly frozen up from lack of use.  It also may have been that the locking nut where the two belts rotate together could be lose.  This would allow the motor shaft to spin inside the belt pulleys.  There are two set screws inside the pulley.  One of those screws needs to be tightened on the flat spot of the motor shaft.  I will have to check to see if that is the case.  

 

You must rotate the fly wheel to a position to a point you can access the screws.  DO NOT remove the belt as this will mess up the timing of the machine.  Amy expects that my timing is fine, and that now everything appears to be working now I should be fine.  She did tell me to install a new needle, and rotate the fly wheel by hand to ensure the timing is correct.  After a few turns if every thing looks good, start out slowly sewing with George.  

 

I thank you all for all your comments and suggestions.  Have a great day.

 

Cagey


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

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Brenda:

 

I believe the phenomenon is called Thermal Shock.  Poor George's aluminum arse just could not handle the rapid temperature change he experienced.  

 

He went from a life of relaxation sitting around trying to not freezing his chassis off, to being expected to get up and pumping out max turns.  It was just too much of shock on his system.   Luckily though after a few daily full power half hour training runs, he seems to have grown accustomed to the new work load and the 70s and 80s he is living in.  Once his table shows up, he will start the real work.

 

Cagey


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

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Great adjustable humor, Cagey.  You are going to have fun with George.

 

I was doing some SID on my George the last couple of nights and have come up with a speed description that finally works in my mind.  (I have done very little SID well previously)  I finally figured that I need to do SID thinking of the speeds of driving a car, SID works  best at about 30 mph like driving through small town city streets, backtracking goes down to about 15 mph and once in a while I can do a stretch at 45.  Feeling those speeds gave me nice consistant stitches and good timing progress.


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Madelyn:

 

I too like to SID.  I do it to stabilize the quilt primarily.  On some of the NCIU isolette quilts I have worked on, I SID the front blocks and then flipped the quilt over and FM quilted the back of the quilt as it was easier to see my stitch on the back, and I was simply doing different designs in each block.  Though this way does make you check your tension a little more, so both sides of the quilt looks nice.

 

Patsy:

 

I will have to try out the sidewinder.  It is probably like many things.  The cheaper and slower items works fine, but we all want the fancy faster wiz bang one to do the job.  

 

All:

 

You have all been so helpful so far with my George.  Can any of you tell me the actual name of the manufacturer of the old style George table?

 

I have to insure the table for shipping, and I wanted to see what the table sells for now in case it is destroyed in shipment.  One of the links I found discussing the tables did not show the actual George table I have but a slightly different setup.  

 

I thank all of you for your informative comments, and shared love of quilting.  Have a great day.

 

Cagey


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

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Madelyn:

 

Tracy Cabinets is who APQS recommends George dealers get their tables from now.  ABQS used to get have their George tables made locally, but that company no longer makes them.  As that is the case, I hope my table is not damaged during shipment.  If it is, I hope the insurance will cover a local cabinet maker either rebuilding mine or replacing it if needed.

 

On a side note, the new ABQS LED light is not able to be installed on older model Georges as the power supply is not compatible.  Any LED light improvements would have to be after market kits or something an owner puts together.  

 

Again, I want to thank all of you for your comments and input.

 

Cagey


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

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