Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shade Tree Knitting Machine Mechanics

A very common problem with Brother and Knitking knitting machines is as they age, the fairisle button becomes glued to the thread lace button by old oil and grease. My favorite machine has been suffering from this malady, and with no knitting machine service people in the area, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I thought maybe someone else might benefit from this information, so I am breaking my blogging silence.

Now one thing that does work on this problem every time I am aware of is to remove the carriage from the machine and warm up the center bottom of the carriage with a hairdryer for about a minute, then retry the buttons. Repeat a couple of times if needed.

I have used the hairdryer, with success, on this particular carriage. The problem is that the gunk rehardened and the button restuck, so more drastic measures were called for. My Bulky machine had the very same problem, and I used the hairdryer on it. After nine months the buttons are still working properly, so the hairdryer is the first thing I would recommend.

If you want to try this, you are on your own, I just want to make that perfectly clear. I am not going to accept any responsibility for your results.

Things can definitely go wrong, and if you are not 100 percent confident, then you best leave this for the experts. We still have a handful of folks in the Machine Knitting Repair business, and I suggest you send your carriage to them if you are not mechanically minded.

I have NO Knitting Machine Mechanics training. I have been thinking about doing this for literally months and have studied everything I could find on the subject, including the 930 Service Manual and the one website I found with photos of something very similar on a different machine.

So, if you are still with me, here is how I unstuck my fairisle button:

I used a flat head and Phillips screw driver, a container to hold the screws and parts, a container for some mineral spirits also known as paint thinner, a bristle brush, some news paper, some paper towels, Q-tips and Formula 409 cleaner.

  1. I removed the carriage and the presser plate. Then I unscrewed the handle. My machine has a motor drive, so the handle is attached by a bracket. For most machines the handle is held on by long screws.

  2. I turned the tension dial to past zero to help line everything up later. I made sure the Hold button was all the way at the left. The release button should be at the left naturally.

  3. Carefully, with the flat blade screwdriver I pried up around the center white disk. This disk is held on with delicate plastic feet, and I was very careful with it. If a foot breaks, it will not stay in place and I would be guessing about my tension. I also know a lot of this old plastic is very fragile.

  4. Next I removed the screw in the center of the tension dial and lift the dial and the small center disc straight off.

  5. I turned the carriage over and removed the two screws that connect the cover to the business part of the carriage. On every carriage I have examined these screws are gold colored, but that may not be true always. There are lots of screws here and removing the wrong one would mean a trip to the repair person, so I was extremely careful.

  6. Next I poured a little mineral spirits into a small container (I was in a well ventilated area), and applied it to the center area and edges of the carriage. I worked with all the buttons. I let it sit for a few minutes, then wiped off the excess and repeated. I kept working with it, and soon the farisle button button was unstuck! Then using the Q-Tips, I carefully wiped off the gunky areas of the carriage. I did not want to knock anything loose!

  7. So, all that remained was to reassemble the carriage cover and knobs and switches. There are a couple of tricky bits here. First thing I did was to wipe off the interior of the cover with the Formula 409 and a paper towel, just to get all the sticky residue that I could

  8. Next, the hold button and the release lever go back into place on top of the carriage. Then place the cover over the carriage insides and reattach with the golden screws.
    I checked all the levers and buttons to see if they were working, and found out the intarsia feature would not engage, so I had to take the golden screws back out and try again. The next time everything worked. I have a photo here so you can see the placement of the levers.

  9. Next I replaced the tension disc. Since I turned the dial as far as it would go before I started, I knew the position was correct.

  10. The small disc that goes under the screw was a little tricky to get back on. The "bump" goes up, and The notch goes at the bottom. The notch will line up with the red line on the center plastic disk when it is snapped carefully back on. I was careful to line up the notch first then gently snap in the disk. I was still worried about those fragile feet!

  11. All that remained was to reattach the handle and I was done with this repair!

I hope that my experience helps someone else. It was not too hard to do, and since we Brother/Knitking People are now on our own, we have to help one another when the repairs are fairly simple.


Juliespins said...

Hey Liz - Great information, I have this button getting stiff; mineral spirits will clean just about anything! Thanks for this article, very useful info. - Julie

Unknown said...

Thank you thank you thank you. we had a carriage with a problem and thanks to your post we were able to take it safely apart and fix it, saving much time and money.. so useful and helpful, your information is much appreciated!

Unknown said...

Thank you thank you thank you. thanks to your post and information we were able to repair a broken carriage, safely taking it apart, cleaning it and putting it back together.

Much appreciated!