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Machine Maintenance - Checklist


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1. Check the oiling wicks each day by rubbing a finger over each one. If your finger is oily, leave that wick alone. If your finger is dry, add one or two drops of oil to that wick. Check the four on top as well as the one on the side of the machine.

2. Wipe the table and rails with a soft cloth to remove lint and oxidation on the aluminum rails (don't forget the carriage rails). Waxing is no longer necessary.

3. When changing each bobbin, remove any lint build up from the bobbin case and the hook area. You can use a paint brush, canned or compressed air, and a soft rag. When cleaning the hook, occasionally rotate the fly wheel by hand until the hook is situated in a different position, and use the air to blow out the hook area. Since the needle positioner always positions the hook in the same place, it's difficult to get the lint out from between the bobbin basket and the hook's "raceway" without changing the hook's position.

Keep an eye on the "tension finger" on the bobbin case itself. Lint can build up under that finger and change your tension mid-quilt, especially if the bobbin thread is cotton or another linty thread. To remove any lint, very carefully slide a thin pin parallel to the bobbin case under the tension finger. Start at the side of the tension finger closest to the adjusting screw, and slide the pin gently toward the hole where the bobbin thread exits the case.

4. Between every project, thoroughly clean out the hook area with the following steps:

Remove the bobbin case, and remove the top thread past any moving parts (the take up lever)

Blow and/or brush out the hook area to remove loose lint build up

Carefully position a rag under the machine and across the rails on the front edge of the carriage to catch debris during the cleaning process. Be sure NO PART of the rag is near the hook area (trust me--getting the sleeve of an old T shirt caught in the hook is NOT a pleasant scenario; been there, done that, tore up the T shirt and messed up the timing!)

Set the machine's "motor speed" to about 5-6 (medium speed) using the right handle's red/green buttons. Turn the machine on using the blue button on the right handle (you'll be in "manual mode"). While the hook is spinning, spray a 1-2 second burst of WD-40 into the hook. Allow the machine to run for 10-15 seconds. This "WD-40 bath" will help remove the lint between moving parts; however, it is not what oils the hook; that's next.

Stop the machine, and turn off the power for safety. Wipe out any residual WD-40 from the sides of the bobbin area, inside the hook and around and over the hook.

Now it's time to oil the hook. Look inside the hook area and reach up and rotate the hand wheel while watching the hook. You'll notice the silver part moving, and a darker brown part remaining stationary. Put a drop of oil between the silver part and the stationary part.

Turn the power to the machine back on, and run the machine again, keeping the rag under the hook area to catch oil (but out of the way.) Let the machine run again for 10-15 seconds to distribute the oil.

You're almost done! Turn off the power again and wipe out any residual oil in, under, around and on the sides of the hook area. Remove the rag from under the machine.

Power up the machine, and turn on BOTH of your channel locks. (If you don't have a Millennium, you can use the manual channel lock on the machine's axle to hold the machine in position "front to back". Use two of your side clamps or extra pony clamps to hold the carriage in place on the aluminum rails by putting a clamp on the outside of the wheels.)

Re-thread your machine. Now layer some scrap fabric and batting together and stitch on this sandwich, moving the fabric around under the needle to pick up any remaining oil or residue that might be on the hook and could pass to the thread.

That's it! Check your manual (if your machine is less than a year old) for a section on recommended maintenance. It will also help with some tips for routine inpections beyond the normal cleaning.

Let us know if you need more info. Happy Quilting!


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