Embellisher Conversion - from a Broken Singer machine

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I made an Embellisher (needle-felting) machine from an old electric Singer which came to me much under-endowed in the Underneath-The-Needleplate Department
(Now please note: I have had a lot of enquiries about how to do this, and I have to state firmly that if you need precise instructions, you can't (and probably shouldn't) do this. There is some surprisingly ticklish mechanical engineering involved (and we cheated a bit and had help from my clockmaking neighbour), and the result is still a mite terrifying.. You have been warned!
So, if you don't have metalworking experience, you will be better off buying the real thing. Lots are languishing in cupboards, as people tend to be passionate or bored by these after a fortnight or so...)
I don't recommend the bolt-on attachments you see advertised, as the process is frightfully messy and creates lots of fluff, which will kill your regular machine. I might consider adding one to an otherwise unuseful machine.

The machine.. I get a lot of these "donated" for the charity I support. Most are only good for spares. The top part of this one ran like a champion when oiled, but the underneath was lacking parts, belt was broken, and it was interestingly covered in black gunge and little bits of fine metal swarf..
I experimented by cutting off the bent shank on a single needle-felting needle and putting it in the needle-clamp. It worked...

I bought a "spare" Embellisher head which takes 7 needles. This cost about £16 and I would not attempt to make one for that. (Note, I don't think these are still available) The needles fit in with allen screws and the whole thing is very nicely made in brass. All the Singer underparts were taken out and scrapped, and the needle-plate was replaced with the one which we made and which you can see here. The hole positions were marked by letting the head down very gently onto the blank needleplate with a piece of carbon paper in between. The Embellisher head was drilled out a little to fit the needle bar.
It's very crucial that there is no play in the needle bar as any twisting will make the needles explode..

Here you can see how the darning foot works - these are "big foot" darners which I stock and which are still made - they fit all low shank machines. I would not attempt to make one of these using a Slant Shank machine...

One more view of the needles. Embellishers work by repeatedly plunging a series of barbed needles through the fibres or fabrics under the foot, thus making them "felt" together without water. I have to confess that I haven't used this much - not that I'm unhappy with it, just haven't had the time. It seems to compare quite well with the proper article (which I have used) and was a whole lot cheaper. I think I may make one of these to go in a treadle sometime...
My address is:-
Helen Howes, 4, The Raveningham Centre, Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norfolk, NR14 6NU. United Kingdom
01508 548137
helen@raindropkites.co.uk
I'm open 11 till 5 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays