Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tech Sunday - Daily Maintenance

Today I thought I would talk about what I do to my longarm before I start quilting for the day.  To start out I make sure I have all my tools and supplies ready.

The first thing I do when I walk into studio is turn on my air compressor.  Nothing says you need to wake up better then a really loud compressor.   I could just use canned air, but in the long run the compressor is cheaper and has better pressure.  Matt keeps telling me to remember to drain the air out of the tanks everyday.  He is insistent that I do this to prolong the life of the compressor and he says that it is safer.  I go with it because it makes him happy.
 
Then I make sure I have the following:
A can of WD-40
A rag to wipe my rails (It will get nasty so not a towel I care about.)
An rag that I don't mind getting oil on.    (Another towel I don't care about)
A micro fiber cloth to dust the frame and machine
Machine oil

All machine manufacturers have a way they suggest you clean your machine.  APQS has you use compressed air and WD-40.   I have had people tell me that I will run my machine using them, I tend to believe my machine manufacturer over them.  I think WD-40 got a bad rap because people don't understand what it does.  WD-40 is a solvent not an oil.  It is meant to break things down.  So if you just WD-40 your machine and don't wipe it out and oil the hook, you would be heading for a disaster.  I am not using it as a substitute for oil; I am using to break down the old machine oil in my hook so that I can replace it will nice fresh machine oil.

Once the compressor has air pressure.  I take the bobbin out of my hook and unthread the top thread so that it the it is just hanging out of the tension disk.  This means the top thread will just be sitting there but not moving.

Then turn the machine on, set the speed to somewhere between 9-11 and put it in manual mode.  This will cause the hook to start spinning.   This means that sharp hook is moving and can hurt you.  You should always pay extra attention when the machine is on and you are working in the bobbin area.  I use my compressor to blow out the bobbin area with the hook rotating. I have tried to do it without the hook rotating, but you get a lot more lint out with it running.  While a towel in my left hand well below the hook area, I spray the rotating hook with WD-40.  I really soak the hook.  Keep that towel away from the hook!  It only takes a second to get the whole towel wrapped into the hook and then you will be learning to retime your machine.   I usually hold mine 3-5 inches below the bottom of my machine.  I let it running for a couple minutes then stop the machine.  Once the hook is not rotating I use the towel to wipe off any excess WD-40. Once that is done I start the machine again and blow the hook area out again with the compressor.  Then stop the machine and wipe the area again.  Now I get the oil bottle and place a drop of oil on hook and turn the machine back on.  There are two places that I oil from and it really just depends on my mode.  You can either put the tip of your oiler on the little ledge at the bottom of your hook or you can put the tip into the indentation on the right side of the hook.  Either way works.  Then turn the machine on and let it run for a while.



While it is running I check the wicks a the top of the machine.  If my fingers come back shiny at all I do not oil the upper wicks.  I probably oil then every 2-3 weeks.  I have never oiled the wick on the left side of my machine head.  I check it every time I start up, but it has always had oil on it.  My machine is a 2008 so it is has not been oiled in 4 years.  Then I wipe my rails and if I am feeling like it dust the frame.

This whole procedure takes me between 5 and 10 minutes.  Please excuse the picture of my linty dirty bobbin area.  It will get cleaned tomorrow before I start quilting.  :)

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