Converting a Back-clamping Singer 66 to use Side-clamping Feet

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Why would we do this?
Well, although the 66 back-clampers are fine for most types of regular sewing, and have a small advantage of visibility, you cannot get a walking or free-motion foot for one of these, and other modern feet like zip and piping types are extremely hard to find..

On the other hand, it's a few minutes work to convert one, and the kit is £10 plus postage from us

You need:
Hammer, screwdriver, oil, steel wool, rag, and a conversion kit, which has a replacement bar, foot, and thumbscrew
Note - a bar from a 27k or a 15k will act as a donor, or one from a side-clamping 66, of course..
A little pot to put pieces in is a good idea, too

If you are providing your own bar, start by removing it from the donor machine and cleaning well with the steel wool and some oil

This is the 66 back-clamping foot - I suspect it was originally a ploy to make sure you bought things from Singer only, as side-clamp feet predate these by many years and are, of course, still used on most domestic machines today. As the original machines came with a goodly set of feet, and few others were available as add-ons, I don't quite understand this. However...

Remove the face plate by undoing the thumbscrew. Take the opportunity to clean out the space

Remove the foot, the thumbscrew, and the sleeve part, which is held on with a small screw at the side, also the thread cutter and the needle

Remove the presser-foot adjuster knob and the spring underneath it by completely unwinding the knob. Don't lose these...

Undo this screw only and remove the bar. You may need to tap the bar gently with the hammer (be nice, please, cast metal can be brittle) to get it to start moving.. A little oil and twisting the bar may do the trick if it is stuck. Take the bar out through the top

Make sure your screwdriver is a good fit to save scarring the screw-head. Remove the screw entirely and clean and oil the threads before you replace it (this is good practice on any repair, and makes re-assembly easier)

I am told that real engineers do not use mole-grips.. They are jolly useful.. Removing the old bar

Ready to replace, note how the insides are nice and clean. While it's easy to reach, oil all the moving parts in here, too.

Slide the new bar in from the top, having oiled it all along the length. Make sure the screw-hole on the bottom, and the cut-away for the foot face the left end of the machine.
Replace the screw holding the bar, but do not tighten it all the way just yet.
Put the spring and knob back in and wind down until you have some tension on the spring.

When it's almost right, put the foot onto the bar and tighten the foot thumbscrew
You now need to adjust the height - with the presser bar lifter DOWN, and the machine rotated so that the feed dogs are also down, the foot should just meet the needle plate without too much tension.

Make sure also that the bar is set so that the foot is parallel to the bed of the machine, or your sewing will go round in circles. The easy way is to align a ruler with the edge of the foot and eyeball the result

When you are happy with all this, finish tightening the screw that holds the bar

Replace the face plate, needle, (and thread cutter if desired) and test - I suggest you stitch without thread on two layers of cloth held very lightly, to check the alignment. Turn the knob at the top of the presser bar for fine adjustment...

My address is:-
Helen Howes
Helen Howes Sewing Machines
4, The Raveningham Centre, Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norfolk, NR14 6NU. United Kingdom
01508 548137
From outside the UK dial:- 0044 1508 548137
I'm open 11 till 5 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays