Monday, June 4, 2012

Not-Quite Cavalry Baggage

On Friday I nattered about plans for the weekend, which involved getting ready for the SCA event next weekend, in terms of getting things into inventory, satchels, and a cover for the big red bin.

Didn't happen. I did get the housecleaning done that I also nattered about, including picking up the worst of the mess in the dining room. But then Friday night/Saturday morning Ron distracted me with making a bag that would hold an iPad, inspired by the cavalry equipment plans I was looking at a month ago and nattered about here and here (May 8th "More Horsey Things and May 9th "Picture Links" posts).

Saturday morning and early afternoon I alternated between housecleaning and coming up with a bag design. Ron had it mostly figured out, but he left some of the final dimensions up to me, and then I started messing about with other parts he thought he'd decided on.

Once we had something we both liked, I started cutting out pieces. The bag has two sections, so it has a front, divider, and back piece, with gussets between. The back extends up and has a top stiffener piece with slots for either hanging belt loops or to attach a shoulder strap to. And there's a flap that covers everything. The plan was to machine-sew everything.

Of course, you can guess by my phrasing that the plan did not survive contact with the enemy. Ron got the stiffener and flap sewed to the back, and was starting to sew the two gussets to the divider when things went to heck in a handbasket. As best we can deduce, the needle in the sewing machine bent, hit the metal throat plate, and broke. This isn't the first time we've broken a needle on the big sewing machine, but it always gets your attention.

Ron replaced the needle, re-threaded, and discovered that something was Not Right in the timing. This has happened before, and when we bought the machine we were shown the fix - wedge a screwdriver in the right spot, hand-crank it through a cycle, it goes "pop" and you're ready to go.

So not.

Ron took the housings off the main parts of the machine. There's a timing belt, but he can't see how he could have thrown it off. Nothing obviously broken.

Oh shit.

This is not a sewing machine that you can carry out to the car and drop off at the local fabric store for service. It's an industrial model. Table, motor, and head together weigh a couple/few hundred pounds. It hasn't moved since we moved into the house.

Ron kicked himself, and I pointed out that he shouldn't, he didn't do anything with the machine I haven't done.

I consulted Google, and found a place downtown that services industrial machines, has same-day service, and is open weekends, although it was after hours at that point, and we'd be busy Sunday with Robin's graduation. I called them yesterday morning, but they won't come out to Palatine. They did say that if it was just timing, we'd only have to bring the head in. Which saves some weight, and would fit in the truck if it came to that.

Back to Saturday night, we decided to carry on with hand-sewing, which continued Sunday morning and after graduation Sunday evening. And I got it done. I did the three big seams between the gussets and front/center/back, and some of the smaller fiddly sewing bits, Ron made the belt hangers, shoulder strap, and some of the other small fiddly sewing bits. Pictures at the end.

This morning I called the place where we'd bought the big sewing machine, which is in Ohio. I was hoping for suggestions on where to get service, but instead I got instructions on how to re-set the timing. Yay! There's also the question if we have the needle in wrong (it has a groove in one side), which Ron will try first since it's a simple possible fix.

When I was on-line Saturday evening I ended up on the Durkopp-Adler America web site. I didn't write down the phone number for support, so I Googled again today, and ended up on the main corporate web page, which has a "support" section, where I found out that you can download the user's manual (which we had), plus a service manual, and parts lists. At that point I already had the instructions to re-set the timing, but I was going to call and see if I could buy a service manual. Yay for on-line literature! Now we have copies of the manuals (grabbed the user's manual PDF while I was getting the other stuff) with pictures that make things clearer.

So, here's pictures of the bag. Click to embiggen.

Top view, gussets squished flattish, with belt loops attached, shoulder strap is off to the side.

Side view, squished flattish.  

At full capacity, with two iPads in the front section, and a fleece blanket in the larger section.

Side view stuffed. If you compare to the side view above, you can see that the flap is longer than the body when empty, but is a bit short at full capacity. We debated to make the flap even with the bottom at one extreme or the other, and in the end decided on something in-between.

Looking at the front with the flap flipped up, stuffed. Ron was originally thinking of making the front piece and divider the same size, I suggested making the front a bit shorter, and putting the curves in the top edges. I even went into CAD and drew the curves so that they'd echo each other neatly (preen preen).

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