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cabinet vibration

janlorraine | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I just bought a used cabinet. It formerly held a Bernina. I wanted to use it for a Pfaff. It is open across the front so that you can reach in to take out the bobbin case. I thought this would be better for me since it has always been a hassle for me to change the bobbin in this machine (7570). The problem is that when I am sewing fast, the entire cabinet shudders and shakes. Does anyone else have this problem? What can I do about this besides throw the cabinet away? I can’t find a manufacturer name, but it looks like all the Horn/Koala type melamine styles. It has a flip up panel in the back to increase the size of the surface and this rattles as well. It has black wheels that lock. I only spent $20 on it, so if I junk it I won’t feel too stupid. The shelf the sewing machine sits on does not go up and down, but has three settings for height adjustment. Thanks for any help.


  1. NovaSkills | | #1

    Any piece of furniture used as a support, like a table, will have some point of natural resonance--in plain English, any table will vibrate in response to a certain speed or type of movement from something sitting on it/connected to it. Every single sewing table or cabinet I have tried will do this at some particular machine speed or type of sewing. So, here are practical suggestions to try before you toss the table:

    1. Dampen the vibration input...place a doubled or tripled layer of that waffle-looking non-skid shelf liner stuff under your machine. This has the added plus of being a great way to prevent stuff from rolling off it, too. You can also stick the stuff under the legs of the table, if they don't have castors on them.

    2. Stiffen the table...Screw wooden bracing to the underside of the table, so that the surfaces and the joints do not flex. This changes the resonance point. Triangular corner braces can reinforce the joints, strips can go across the flat surfaces. You can only do so much of that, if you want to keep the adjustable height feature, but anything will help. Brace both crosswise and longwise, if you can.

    3. If it's possible, slightly adjust the position of your machine on the top surface. An inch one way or the other will also change the vibration input relative to the table.

    4. Limit your speed to ranges above or below the point of maximum wobble. Yeah, no fun, but it is how I cope with sewing on folding tables at seminars, etc. I try to put the machine as close to on top of the table legs as I can, preferring the end to the middle.

    5. Choose the height of the machine insert that works best for you and make that permanent so that you can then fully brace the table into rigidity.

    In case you are wondering, I sew on a 60" wide desk that was designed to be an office desk. I do use the waffle stuff under my machine. I use a plexiglas extension table to create a larger surface that is level with the throat plate, but I also sometimes deliberately remove it to take advantage of the shape of the machine bed to help ease certain seams. I have placed the legs of the extension table on the waffle stuff, too, which keeps it from sliding. I've never used a table with an insert that didn't vibrate at the speeds I like to sew, and I've tried most of them, so I don't own one. Also, I'm tall in the torso, so I have elevated my desk 2" to put the machine at the height I need, ergonomically. There are adjustable sewing surfaces, but they are very pricey. A little time with a saw and router worked just as well.

    Another long-winded answer.

    1. janlorraine | | #2

      Thanks for your reply. I'll have to think about all that. I wonder how people who pay so much for these sewing cabinets can stand all the shaking and rattling. For my Janome 6500 my husband converted an old treadle cabinet by putting in an adjustable shelf. The weight of the metal legs and treadle helps to hold everything steady when I use that machine and it is a fast stitcher. The bobbin configuration on the Pfaff would be a problem with that set up since I need some kind of access to the underside of the machine. This is not a problem with the Janome because it has a drop-in bobbin. I used to have the Pfaff on a very sturdy adjustable height computer table with metal legs. I used an acrylic "table" to provide a level sewing surface, but I always felt that it was a bit unsteady. But I never had a problem with shudder and shaking. Which is better, one or two? Thanks again.

  2. Teaf5 | | #3

    You might try removing the wheels before giving up; often, the shuddering is caused by the piece being unlevel or by the instability caused by the whole thing resting on the wheels (like me trying to walk in high heels). Other times, the horizontal surfaces are too wide or too thin to support the weight & motion of the machine, and a simple piece of plywood cut the same size and laid over the top will solve the problem. You can cut out the part where the adjustable shelf is, smooth the surfaces, and then glue or clamp it to the cabinet.Good luck!

  3. nursewing | | #4

    I have the Pfaff 7570, doyou love this machine or what? I have it on just a flat surface melanmine table I got for $40 & then I purchased the plastic table /extension that goes with the machine from my dealer. No vibration there.


  4. nursewing | | #5

    Just read your response a few messages ago about the bobbin. It is easy to reach as the plexiglass table is open in the front & only a few inches to reach the bobbin case on the 7570. I do it with ease all the time.  




  5. mimi | | #6

    Using the waffle type shelf liner will steady your machine so it does not creep, as suggested above.  I highly recommend it.  If your machine has drawers, make sure you line them to dampen vibrations and noise.

    As for your machine vibrating, try placing foam rubber dampers at all stress points.  These would include behind the drop in shelf, if you have one, and under the top where the legs meet the surface.  Definately put some under the flip up shelf, which is probably vibrating the most.  I have used upholstery foam for this successfully; the advantage is that you can pick up remnants cheaply and cut to your own specifications :)

    If you are trying to pinpoint your noise source try this:  take some washcloths and fold in fourths or eighths.  Test by placing them where you hear the most noise or feel the most vibrations (do your scissors jump off the table the minute you start sewing?  that would be a stress point!).  Replace with the upholstery foam once you have the vibrations sorted out.


    1. janlorraine | | #7

      Thanks for all your suggestions. I will try these things. Still, I am amazed that sewing furniture manufacturers get such high prices and still people have these problems. One would think that they would know that a sewing machine at high speed would cause vibration and shaking and they should make a cabinet that would prevent this. When I am sewing a straight stitch as fast as my machine will go, it actually seems as if the machine is bouncing up and down. I expect this is because the shelf the machine sits on is unstable and I need to reinforce it. If I hadn't paid only $20 for this item, I would be much angrier. As it is, I feel like I should have known better. Thanks again.

      1. mimi | | #8

        The popular wisdom is that you shouldn't sew so fast; every expert I have read has recommended that you slow down and take pins out as you sew to prevent damage to the machine.  While I do this now, in my younger days my husband used to call me "speed racer" because I drove the machine flat out!

        I have found that placing the machine on a larger surface distributes the surface vibration.  I have converted an old cast iron sewing machine base into a sewing table by placing a 5 foot by 2.5 foot piece of plywood on top and fastening it to the base.  The larger top also distributes fabric nicely so that there is no weight pulling the fabric out of shape.  My (new) Viking sits in the middle front, so there is room on the right for my notions and room on the left for the fabric I am working on.  The fabric typically bunches or pools behind the machine on the table and I do not have to worry about it dragging on the floor.  The cast iron base was a flea market find at $20.00 and the plywood was left over from my daughters loft bed at college.  I put a multi-drawer bin from the Big Box store under it for all my notions and manuals.  I have looked at the new multipurpose machine cabinets too and don't think they could take the punishment of regular use or work nearly as well as my "leftovers"!

        As for how well the new cabinets are (or aren't !) made, the manufacturer is marketing to the lowest common denominator.  If enough people complained, or refused to buy his product, he would change his design to meet the need.


  6. user-51823 | | #9

    vibration is bound to happen, but the violent shuddering and shaking is because there is looseness somewhere. check all hinges and joints in the table/cabinet everywhere and make sure they are tight. shim if necessary and replace any loose screws with slightly fatter ones to make sure they grip tightly. if it's possible to bolt or clamp the macine secuerly to the surface, do so.
    the padding mentioned above will help the symptoms, but not alleviate the cause.

    Edited 12/20/2006 3:40 pm ET by msm-s

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