Sunday, February 12, 2017

Singer 306K reference for bobbin/standard needle modifications

If you are looking for the post where I am taking this machine apart, it's further back here.
My 306K has been waiting far too long for bringing back to life, maybe 2 years now.  I didn't know a sewing machine could be a UFO!

There are two small problems with the machine still: I snapped off the stitch length regulator lever, and it takes an obscure needle only used for these swing needle Singer models. The lever has turned out to be sightly scarcer than many vintage machine parts are.  I have a fair supply of the needles, but they only come in two sizes and only in sharp, no heavy duty or ball point or other specialty.

Standard 15x1 sewing needles used in domestic machines today (and most vintage, except for this small series of  "swing needle zig zag" machines) are about 2 mm longer than the 206x13 needles my 306 requires. If you try to use a standard needle for zig zag or specialty, it slams into the bobbin case and scratches it up and can put the timing off.

There are two very good options to modifying the machine to take the standard needles, and one bad one.  The bad one is to change the timing, which can end very unwell.  The second is to buy a different bobbin case, which may or not need some work with a dremel or some other tool to open the slot a little further.

This post describes how to modify the bobbin case for a  Singer 306k:  Andrew Caddle- bobbin case conversion.  This post by the same author suggests the Riccar 806 case can be used without any configuring:  Andrew Caddle-alternative-bobbin-case-available.  I am not inclined to go fiddle with a dremel, but I can find the Riccar bobbin case on ebay for less than $16 (free shipping!) so I'll probably go that route sometime soon.  Just not yet.  Andrew's posts are very well illustrated and explained, if you have or are considering a 206,306,319, or 320 go have a look.

Also, In Stitches Vintage Sewing posted the following in a facebook vintage machine group recently:

"What you need is a new bobbin case that fits the machine, has enough room to allow the swing of a standard needle, and in the case of the 306,319, and 320... a slot to match the extra guide pin in the hook assembly.
Sounds impossible ?
The modern replacement for all these machines is a Singer 20u bobbin case (part number 541678) and if you have a 206 you can pop it right in and start sewing.
In the case of the 3xx machines in this series, the 20u case has to be modified to add the guide slot it lacks... judicious use of a Dremel with a small cutter and diamond coated grinder yielded very nice results. After cutting, the slots were de-burred and polished and then tested in a 319k. (Last pictures).
The vibration of the rotary tool will probably loosen up the spring tension screw... that will need to be reset before you start sewing."

I wasn't sure I could give a working link to a closed group link or I would have. He also had great photos.  I particularly like the tip to check the spring tension screw on the bobbin case after you are finished!  Details!

As for my lever for my broken stitch length regulator, I let one slide by and I bought a second that didn't fit, although the seller said it came off a 306k.  Next payday, if still available, I will buy the entire assembly from another ebay seller and see if I can get that to work. $16, shipping included.  Not an expensive hobby, just one requiring patience.

It took me so long to find the above references, I wanted to file them away somewhere that my foggy brain could find them when I finally come around to needing them.  Perhaps they could help someone else find their way as well.  My 306 sews very lovely tiny tiny stitches without my being able to change the length, these machines are so worth rescue!