Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bernina Industrial Investigation

I continue to be busy selling cabinet and desk model sewing machines and getting the garage clear for the coming cold and snow season but for every two steps forward I take one backwards. This week I sold the Viking 21 in the compact cabinet to a young family for their two daughters to sew with and later that same evening I had an industrial sewing machine delivered. WHAT? I need to empty the garage, not fill it back up! But this was a good deal and something I didn't even know I needed.

Bernina 217 industrial
While looking at sewing machines on Craigslist I spied a Bernina 217 industrial at what seems like a fair price so I start asking questions. In the meantime I also find one on Facebook Marketplace and ask for the model number and more photos. Come to find out, the Bernina 217 was not made for very long since their model 850 came along and was more popular but the 217 has something special. Some models have a "box" installed on the back for decorative stitches with cams. Of course, the cams are no longer available but I understand someone makes plastic substitutes, probably from a 3D printer, so there is hope. While involved in this little foray into industrials another one comes up at an even better price and this one comes with the cam box. I kid you not, so I go over to see what was up.

It wasn't working. That's not exactly true, it needed to be retimed so the owner and I had a nice talk and he was going to either fix it or send in to have it fixed. Since this was not an emergency I could wait for the repair. To make a long story short, he did not have the money for the repair and did need the money from the sale so we settled on an agreeable amount and he delivered the monster to me. That was certainly worth something since those machines are so heavy and the clutch motors are just as heavy. But here she is in my garage:
Bernina 217 in her temporary garage home: it's cold out there!

What happened? Oh, now I'm going to see if I can retime the machine and know I can also send it out if I find it is too complex for me. This one is different with the bobbin facing the back of the machine so it's a little trickier to work on. It came with one cam on the back, a great table, decent lamp (previous owner was a lighting guy), and a ton of cones of thread. There are a dozen bobbins and many packages of needles, too, although the numbering has me wondering if they are the correct ones. I tell myself if I can get this running again without sending it to another repair shop I will spring for a servo motor, about the same cost as the repair. Am I going to like this model? You just never know until you sew with it, but it has a decent reputation, can sew heavy to light weight fabrics, a wide zigzag stitch, reverse, and known for the best stitch quality as all of the other Bernina's. Yes, my hopes are high. Take a look at Ashley's review of the Bernina 217 and you might want one yourself!
Cam box on the back with one cam attached
a few days later:
I got it timed! The widest of zigzags still might be quite right but I got it to stitch and it did so beautifully. Then it started to break thread so I'm back trying to figure out what's going on. Even with a clutch motor it isn't very loud so I might have to think again about adding a servo motor.
Bernina 217
 a few more days later:
I've had a chance to sew on the Bernina 217 and find it's just a bit fussy about thread, that was all. It sews like a dream, sewing through 2 layers of cotton and then thick layers of toweling as I make up hand towel with handles. There was no hesitation at all, just smooth and straight. There was a knee lever for lifting the presser foot that I got adjusted and working again, too. I went ahead and ordered the servo motor and can't wait to see how nice it is to work with when it's very quiet. A little confession here: I measured the space in the sewing room and she's gonna fit! Some other things are going to have to go but that's okay: she's a keeper!

1 comment:

BarbaraShowell said...

I don’t blame you a bit!