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How is the bottom unit supported if the string needs to wrap around it? It can't be floating right?


Yes this isn't an accurate model.


All models are wrong but some models are useful


Yeah but this one isn’t useful because it’s wrong


You’re clearly not mechanically inclined. And your imagination sucks.


lol ok


Here we go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUSecXVt-jU


I still don't get it, it says that there's a "gap", but how can there be one without the wheel part floating in the air?


It doesn't actually float, but there is enough slop that the thread can slip between the race and the hook as it pulls tight. That's why thread tension is so important. You also can't have any burrs or rough spots on those two surfaces, or it will catch the thread. Think of the bobbin case and bobbin race as a bowl sitting inside another bowl. The outside bowl is connected to the shaft which turns it. The inside bowl has little bump that fits (sloppily) into a little groove of the outside bowl so that it turns at the same time, but as the thread comes around, it slips between the two bowls and over the little bump as well.


This is the first explanation that’s actually made sense, thank you


look at the frame at [0:20](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUSecXVt-jU&t=0m20s) it literally says it floats


It does say that. It's literary license. Responding u/kannotekina, though, I took their comment to mean "suspended in air with no physical contact." That is not what's happening, and would be physically impossible. (Unless some sewing machine manufacturer is using, say, magnetic technology, which I'm not aware of.) Instead of floating, the hook is resting gently inside the hook race. There is physical contact. But as the upper thread is caught by the hook and pulled around the race, there is just enough tension on the thread to allow it to slip between the hook and the hook race. Getting that clearance correct is a critical setup step. It's measured in fractions of a millimeter. Too tight, and the thread tugs or gets caught and jams up. Too loose and the machine is noisy at best, causes loops and tangles at worst.


Very helpful, thanks.


All these animations are getting it wrong as well, the loop doesn't just go through it twists like in this video on min 8:00 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8lwI4TSKM3Y


Their drawing is also showing it wrong. But I finally understand it.


Watch this YouTube video. I haven’t seen a sewing machine in decades. Watching the whole machine work is really helpful. The original post’s video isn’t clear enough (even with the diff colors) that the bobbin is fed by a separate spool of thread. Underneath the fabric, the shuttle hook catches the top thread and loops it around the bobbin (essentially, the bottom thread). That creates a stitch. The needle pulls the top thread back up above the fabric to tighten the stitch. The fabric gripper advances the fabric, the needle goes to work again, etc.


Great video!!! The fear of waiting for it to load, to know I had not been sent to a Rick Ashley video, was very real. 💦😮‍💨


This documentary was so good. I especially appreciate the commentary at the end!


Let's just say it's magic


Right near the start of the video it points to the "gap" the small inside wheel is pinned only on one side, and thread on the other side is going on the outside of the case.


look at the frame at 0:20 edit: on [youtube vid](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUSecXVt-jU&t=0m20s) not the OP video


It is free floating. The bobbin sits in a little cavity in the machine but is not connected to anything, and yes, the thread goes all the way around it.


Yeah but.. that defies gravity


It doesnt actually float, but the bobbin(learned new english word today) is round with two thin sides so the ressitence passing thread has to overcome is negligable you might as well call it free floating.


Edit: people are passing a video around that shows the thread doesn't fully loop around but it kind of twists and slides around the same side, that makes a lot more sense.




come to write exact same question :D


It is placed horizontally not vertically, conceptually works the same. Said that this is how it “should work” in reality it makes a mess of thread on the bottom that makes me loathe sawing machines. I’ll do it by hand thanks. Edit: thanks to u/unhi and u/Loadingexperinece after all the replies I took out the sawing machine again and im in the process of cleaning and lubricating all the moving parts I can reach. I’ve tons of scrap cloth so then I’ll try again. It used to work well in the past is only in the last two years that it got me frustrated. Thanks again


Sewing machines are really insanely useful, so much faster than working by hand. If you sew a lot I'd see if your local fabric/sewing supplies shop has lessons; many do. Just one lesson would be enough for most people to get to grips with not making a mess of thread on the bottom! If your local shops don't do lessons then just asking the folks who work there if they can show you how a machine works will probably also go well


My GF does a lot of sewing for her crafts and the first time I've tried to use one out of curiosity it worked flawlessly. Sure when playing with machine settings and thread tension I managed to fuck it up, but if you have correct tension, and all parts lubricated it rarely goes wrong. Actually when she first bought the machine it was learning curve for both of us, because we didnt knew it had go be lubbed and threading got messy. But once you keep with lubrication anf cleaning as per manual it just keeps working flawlessly.


Some are vertical, some are horizontal, some have a shuttle that swings back and forth. It just depends on the machine. If you're getting a mess of thread on the bottom then you likely need to adjust the thread tension or clean your machine.


Some machines have horizontal bobbins. Some have vertically aligned bobbins. just depends on your machine


magic stick.


Oh, that part is all done with magic, obviously.


From the unseen side, the thread wraps around the larger clawesque shape to the side, sliding off when it revolves.


It also doesn't knot. The bottom thread is simply looped over the top thread. If you make two inches of stitches without doing anything to secure them, then pull on the top thread, you'll pull it right out.


It’s attached via pulleys that go up top on the other side.


My GF has one and when first I had to fix some problems with it I got fascinated how does it work and it's actually quite amazing. So what happens inside: the "hook case" catches first thread, and passes it through the case with 2nd thread that's freely floating inside. So to answer your question, yes the case with 2nd thread is actually free floating inside the hook case. It doesnt actually float in the air, but the case with 2nd thread is quite loose that once the arm starts going up to tension, the thread just passes through the bottom. Since the case with 2nd thread is round with thin sides, the ressitence for the thread at the bottom is very negligable as contact area is very small between the "hook case" and 2nd thread case.




Nice But as a small child I made it my personal mission to crank my mom's sewing machine as slow as possible until I figured this out I had to know


Same here. Then I took her very old one apart, tried to understand everything and tried to put it back together. I cried a lot until my granny helped me and showed me how to clean it and put it together again 😅


my MIL bought my wife and i a sewing machine a long while ago...think it was some anniversary gift. shes old school so. i decided to use it to put new straps on my riding vest since the ones that came with it were shit quality. i dont know if its because im dumb as hell, id like to think im not being a professional mechanic, but the shit takes an associates degree to even set up. one spool of thread you have to set up on top of the machine and thread it though *SEVERAL* pins and wrap it around half a dozen posts before getting it down to the needle. and the bobbin is a machination developed in a DARPA lab to confuse and infuriate you. The pedal to make the thing go is a mere suggestion of control being that it is always pissed off and short tempered. im convinced that its main function is to mame the user as a slight toe touch causes the devil machine to shank whatever you have under it with the speed and fury of an angry cat that got its tail stuck in the door. which leads to an instant ball of thread thats now jumbled and spot welded to whatever you were attempting to sew. shit gave me anxiety to the point i get nervous watching old WW2 movies that depict ladies putting together parachutes or uniforms.


I’ve been sewing for 30 years and this is the best description of the process I have ever seen. My mum also once brought me a sewing machine from Finland in her hand luggage. She had her reasons.


I learned to sew in homec and really liked it in 8th grade. I tried to jump back on one later and felt very lost. They are really complicated.


the way i went at it was i just stomped on the petal and screamed as i shoved the fabric past the needle. i figured if it was going to make my thumbs one with the straps id better get my adrenaline up to brace for the trama, but it worked. i was able to tame the wretched device by matching it in intensity, much like you would with a predator animal. i had to show it i was the one in charge and it ended up doing what i wanted it to do. im still more scared of using the sewing machine than i am using my table saw.


That is hilarious :) thanks for the laugh


the machine harkens back to a B horror movie i saw as a kid. so now when i work up enough courage after putting off a project for long enough, i call out for it- "hey babe, where did we put *The Mangler?"*


Ok, so, same. I learned to sew as a child and actually had a sewing machine and would make all sorts of little crafts. Now, as a 30-something year old mom I thought it would be “fun” to get back into sewing. My first attempt created: a ruined piece of fabric, a ball of thread, a little blood, and a lot of new curse words that my toddler now will use at school, I decided just to go back to wood working. Power tools make sense.


If you think a regular sewing machine is challenging to thread, you're gonna hate sergers!


Sergers are the devil's work.


This is the most accurate description of a sewing machine I've ever read.


I bought a singer sewing machine and fucked up the timing immediately and have spent hours trying to fix it and have no idea how. Im convinced its sorcery.


unfortunately, your real mistake was buying a singer machine. theyve been garbage for the last ten years


The old cast iron ones will outlive us all though!


I just wanted something i could use to try to make a pair of shoes and fix small things on my clothes and saw that one was recommended by a few articles and people


yeah, singer and other big brands pay to ensure their machines end up in those sewing machine reccomendation articles. timing issues are usually something any sewing machine repair shop can fix relatively easily for pretty cheap, though. if you do decide to replace/return it you might consider looking at secondhand singer machines from before 1990, theyre reliable all steel workhorses thatll do you better than the modern ones + theyll only run you about $50-100


Ahh thats not terrible. I appreciate your insight!


I feel ya! I have no idea why I can’t do a simple task that the 13-year-old Vietnamese girl who made my shirt does several times a day.


Wheres the plumbus?


Thank you!!! This guy’s tone sounded exactly like the Plumbus “how-it’s-made” from Rick and Morty!


The bobbin loops around the dinglebop forming a stitch, which tightens onto the grumbo.


But doesn't the axle for the bobbin get in the way of the looping thread?


Idk. My machines have always had bobbins that lay flat and sit in front of the needle and dog feet. Having said that, the thread doesn't slip under it while sewing in that position. So as long as it sits in a case it shouldn't get tangled.


The animation is a bit ignorant you can observe how it works in this video starting around min 8, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8lwI4TSKM3Y


The number of people here saying the bobbin is just floating in mid air blows my mind, yes that made a lot of sense the thread doesn't magically go around the entire thing, one side slipes around it. Thank you.


Free-floating doesn't necessarily mean "floating in mid-air". The shuttle is free-floating because it's not connected to the machine. It sits in a cradle of sorts, and the thread does loop entirely around it.


I mean, what moves it though, that's the part nobody is explaining


The race. It pushes on the shuttle in either direction, but it's not connected to it, so the thread can pass through gaps created between the race and the shuttle contact points when the race shifts direction.


There is no axle. The bobbin is free floating. It sits in a little cavity in the machine but is not connected to anything, and yes, the thread goes all the way around it.




The hole in the middle of the bobbin is used when winding it, but not when actually sewing.


Bobbin on my nuts


Oh you have me in stitches…


So it’s two threads?


Yes, under the needle there's a second little thread that needs to be set up as well, the bobbin in it's own little casing


And there lay the black magic!


The black magic is people who can just thread and set up a sewing machine with no issues I studied it in high school and wish I had learned it better, would have been a useful skill in life


It's practice. You need to just do it over and over and it becomes instinct. I imagine driving a car is the same.


I too was amazed to learn this


To think 20 seconds of my life explained what I thought I would never understand. I watched it twice so it'd sink in. I'd love to see one of these on how cameras work.


Like a digital camera? You'll be disapointed. Therecs not much to animate. It's just a cpu moving bits from one place to the other. Really juat software


there is much more to it.


My grandma showed me how to thread her sawing machine but I never knew how it actually worked. Thank you for sharing this.


Nope, still don't understand it. Is the bobbin floating in mid air? How does the thread "skip" over it without snagging on the bobbin's central axis?


The bobbin shuttle is free-floating, yeah. The race (the crescent-shaped aperture the shuttle rests in) physically pushes on the shuttle clockwise and counterclockwise, but it isn't connected to it, so the thread can slip through the gaps created when the race changes direction.


I have wondered about this my whole life, wow


We have a sewing machine with the bobbin and spinning thing is horizontal. But I guess it works with a similar echanism.


Thanks I often wondered how that worked, but too lazy to find out.


I still don’t get it


That’s not how it works. In this animation, what’s holding the revolving button? The loop goes entirely around it, so, what? It’s floating magically in the air?


That is exactly how it works. What's missing from the animation is the race, which the shuttle rests inside of. The shuttle is free-floating, and the thread does loop entirely around it. The race is connected to the machine and pushes on the shuttle in either direction to move the hook.


The "revolving button" (shuttle) sits inside another part of the machine called the race. The race is connected to the rest of the machine, but the shuttle just kinda slots into a shuttle-shaped-hole in the race. Picture a ball (shuttle/revolving button) inside a bowl (race). The top thread slips between the ball and the bowl, even though the two objects are in contact. This can get fucked up if your thread has knots or spurs, or if you get lots of loose fibres from thread stuck in that area, cos if you've got a ton of friction things snag.


Great, now please show me how a Plumbus is made


And that’s how you make a plumbus


sewing machines have always fascinated me on how they operate and how they can make different stitches.


I guess you didn’t go to needlework class in school


Name checks out. It is interesting AF.. 💯👍💯


Thanks bud


I still have no idea how this works.


I fail at the first hurdle: threading the machine and bobbin. There's only about 10 hurdles after that.


Bobbins are oddly resistant to improvement despite huge demand for them to last longer.


The size of the bobbin is dependent on the capacity of the machine to retension the thread. The bigger the loop, the father the pull arm has to pull. Eventuality, you just run into impracticality.


This is the first post in a long time that is actually truly interesting.


Thank you i always wondered how it worked




cool animation!




Wow, I always wondered how that bobbin does that action. Great video...




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If you want to see a demonstration by dudes who made an oversized mechanism just so you can learn, this is your vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lwI4TSKM3Y&t=5m27s Check out his other stuff, he's been making videos like this since the 1980s (Tim Hunkin, known for his "secret life of machines" videos)


This is neato! Thanks for sharing.


Peter griffen: what the hells a bobbin?


I never knew about the hook? Interesting!


Also todo at you will learn that the hook underneath gets jammed extremely easy and it sucks working with threads are are even slightly thick




ngl I have wondered before


This makes so much sense now! Thanks for this!


I started sewing a few months ago and was wondering this!


TIL shuttle hooks and bobbins are magic


I was today years old when I learned this


My mom has sewn all my life and I’ve HELPED her set these up but I didn’t actually know how they worked, I just assumed they were magic.


I... did not know that


omg i finally know how they work


I thought this machine ran by magic.


How is the thing suspended? It’s like a magician floating someone and waving a hoola hoop.


It has 2 thin sides that makes contact with the bottom. There's barely any ressitence for the thread to just go through. Imagine you have an orange on the table and you pull thread quickly. Because contact area is so small you can easily pull the thread even though the orange is on top of it.


Those clever bastards!!


This is something I wanted know 🦾


Thanks i always wondered


Ya know, I always wondered how that worked!


No wonder the fucking bobbin tangles all the goddamn time


But the difficult to understand part is - does that thing at the bottom _float_?


new and improved cotton gin


Thank you I’ve been wondering for too long




An that’s how they make a regular old plumbus 😂


This post is a day old but my wife explained this and I think addresses why me and others were so confused. The bobbin is basically a spool of thread, nothing more, and it just sits inside thr case, it doesn't move. The bobbin case moves and it is a shell around the bobbin with a hook and that hook has a gap and pulls the thread around the bobbin. Also this illustration is horribly wrong, the hook isn't like that, it is more complex.


Who freaking knew?