Adapting a Standard Size Treadle to a 3/4 Size Machine

(and Possibly Others...)

Many times we have had post threads about the concept of a universal table, or converting treadles to use other than the machine they were built for. We've come up with some pretty elaborate concepts, many of which worked, but were too much trouble to actually bother with. I just had a sudden urge to treadle on my VS#3 3/4 size hand crank. It dawned on me that the base was small enough that it might fit inside of the cutout on my regular work treadle. I tried it and it did in fact drop through the opening. OK... next project was to study the underside of the machine. Couldn't have been much better designed for my purpose... plenty of "lip" on each edge. All I had to do was make a plate larger than the opening on the treadle top, cut an appropriate hole in the plate that was smaller than the outside base dimension of the new machine and then position it so that the treadle belt could access the hand wheel groove. The only "problem" I ran into was that the VS#3 did not have the usual hinge pins we are used to. It had regular cabinet hinges, which had been riveted to the machine base. I had to make cutouts to allow for these before the machine would sit level. Here is a photo set showing how the whole project went:


Here is the underside of the VS#3. You can see that there is a flat area about 1/2" wide on the to and bottom edge,then a cast in lip. There is also some flat on either end. This means that the machine should be happy sitting in an appropriate size hole. Not the hinges at the bottom. I couldn''t remove these as they were riveted or spot welded on.


Here is the opening in the top of my regular work treadle... fits standard size Singers. The belt slot is extra deep toward the back because the top was originally for a motorized power stand. I fitted it to an industrial Singer treadle base. For this project, I made no modifications to the table top, other than to remove the hinge pins, which didn't fit quite flush and would have interfered with the levelness of the plate I planned to make.


Here is the "conversion plate" I cut to accept the VS#3. Note the cuts to accomodate the hinges I couldn't remove from the machine. This "plate" is made of 1/8" plywood and measures 12" X 18". It is meant to be a pattern for something more substantial. The cutout rectangle is 5 3/4" x 11 3/4". The cutout is 4 1/4" from the edge of the plate, which is flush with the edge of the table. Obviously, that will vary depending on the treadle you are working with. I rounded/smoothed the edges of the plate so they wouldn't catch fabric.


Here is the Painted Roses VS#3 sitting in/on its adapter plate. It is heavy enough that it should sit there and treadle. If not, I can easily install a hold-down finger the same as is used on hand cranks and with portable machines. The belt groove lines up to allow the use of the treadle, though naturally I will have to resize the belt.


Here's another view...


and here is a view with the hand crank removed. Here you can see that the weight of the machine has flexed the 1/8" wooden plate. I plan to hustle down to the plastic factory and get a nice piece of 1/4" opaque black or white lucite and make a permanent plate out of that.



There you have about as simple an approach to machine/treadle adaptation as I have been able to come up with. I haven't tried it, but I suspect that this adapter plate would work with 28's, 128's, and all of the 99 family. Just for kicks I grabbed my 3/4 National hand crank. I would fit into the hole, but needed to have a narrower rectangle, and a couple of small half-curves cut or ground. I could see where if you had a spare treadle around, you could just cut the opening to about 1" or so larger all around, and over to the right so that the whole opening encompassed the belt slot. (Picture putting a treadle head into a modern Singer table without the metal hinged plate at the side.) The you could get yourself a bunch of plastic or laminate of some kind and make a plate like this for whatever size/model machine you happened to want to use at the time. Most machines should be heavy enough not to walk on you, but it would be easy enough to put a simple slant head screw in each corner of the plate and a retention finger on the machine base if you ran into a problem.

I hope this opens some ideas for some of you who have heads you haven't been able to use... it's a pretty simple approach. I'll add a couple of photos when I do the final plastic plate.

Captain Dick


Final Installation

It turned out the plastic factory was closed on Saturday, and, being impatient, I headed for Lowe's and got a large white cutting board. It's thicker than it needed to be, but worked fine. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished set up. Note especially the second picture, in which I used an old bobbin winder as an idler pulley so that I didn't have to cut the belt!


Here's the white cutting board, which measured 14" x 20", a bit bigger than my pattern, all cut and in place. Now It was immediately apparent that I was going to have to shorten the belt quite a bit, and it is perfect for my 201's, which normally live here. What to do? I decided that an adjustable idler pulley was the answer. See next picture...


Note the angles of the treadle belt... all wrong. I have fastened the axle and pulley (sans tire) from a bobbin winder to the side of the belt opening. It is screwed down tight with a big sheeet metal screw. There is a fair amount of angle adjustment so the pressure can be varied. I am going to add a metal plate with several screw holes, so that ultimately I will be able to adjust one belt for many machines. I saw pictures of setups like this for OSMG workbenches in an old book a number of years ago. The machine treadles like a champ!


Once I get into production sewing, I may find that the machine is not as stable as I would like. If so, I will add a couple of flathead screws on the corners of the white plate material and a clamping finger from a portable case to the corner of the machine bed. However, basically, this operation has been a success.... both the patient and the doctor lived!