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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Crash and Burn...well not that bad...but.

So the other day I'm about 4" from the right edge, on the last row of the pattern when like the machine exploded. Well it felt and sounded like it anyway. The needle broke, bent, jammed into the quilt and brought everything to a stand still.

I got the broken "curved" piece out of the quilt, loosened the needle retaining screw and the top half of the needle fell out. Well at least that's what I thought. As it would turn out, after inserting a new needle, inspecting the "viewing" hole in the needle bar and seeing the needle properly seated I went back to quilting...for a second...the needle slammed into the needle base plate and jammed. Lightning Stitch went crazy and threw up a huge list of "Error Messages" with  one "checked."

I reset LS and reinspected the needle bar. It turned out that there was still a small piece of the "old" needle in the needle bar. And it wasn't falling out. It was jammed. I was able to finally, with the use of a small "awl" get the broken piece out. But sadly in my quest I damaged the threads on the needle bar and had to call Virginia Longarm and order another. As usual, Melissa came through like a champ. They did not have one in stock. She tracked one down through the Tech's and had it in the mail that afternoon. Slightly surprised it came the next day. All in all I was overjoyed...ABM was closed because of approaching "Harvey." Melissa to the rescue.Let's just say every dealer should have a Melissa.

I removed the old needle bar, replaced it with the new and was up and running in just a shade over an hour. If I were to guess it's a job that would probably take a 'Tech" about 20 minutes. But I'm working in uncharted territory here with 10 thumbs. A little slack please.

The broken needle...left...normal needle...right.

Once I got everything working normally again my investigative nature kicked in. What happened became a priority and how do I avoid it again and what lessons were learned.

What Happened.

The initial breakage, the top break, caused the lower portion of the needle to shift and strike the needle base plate, bending it and breaking in yet another location. When closely examined it was determined the initial break was where the needle came in contact with the needle retaining screw. Was it a faulty needle? Had I put too much torque when I installed the needle? Both? Who knows but when it broke it cause the needle to dislodge and the tip struck the needle base plate and break again and bend, dramatically.
In regards to the needle bar...little did I know. Yes I did damage the threads trying to pry the jammed piece of broken needle. So I naturally ordered another needle bar. What I didn't know was that the lower hole in the needle bar that receives the needle retaining screw is threaded all the way through. So even though I couldn't get the screw threaded properly to install a new needle, had I just rotated the needle bar 180 degrees I could have been back up an running in a much shorter period of time. It never occurred to me to see if the needle bar was threaded all the way through the bar.

Avoiding Again

Don't know if that is possible. I will be more aware of the amount of torque I put on the needle retaining screw...but not sure I can avoid a faulty needle if that were the case.

Lesson Learned

I now have a spare needle bar...which is like taking your umbrella. Now that I have a spare nothing will ever happen to the needle bar again. If I want to make sure it doesn't rain I just take an umbrella.

While I'm discussing problems...Here is one I've had with Panto Vision for some time. Let's just say I've had it long enough to call it part of the "routine" of longarming and no longer a problem. Sad to say. I've notified Virginia Longarm and forwarded the following video which can be found on You Tube. But I've never received any information from them or ABM as to a fix. I might be the only one which is why I'm sharing here. If someone else has encountered this and found a fix...please, let me know. If you copy the following and paste it into the You Tube "search" box you can view the video. Please be somewhat patient, the "lock up" occurs about two minutes into the video.

All for now...If this helps just one other user It was worth the time.

Quilt till you wilt...we do.