Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

Cleaning machine rails

On a regular basis I try to do a routine cleaning of my machine.  I don’t always do it as often as I should.  I get busy and let it go until I feel guilty for letting my machine suffer.  Machines have a personality you know.  The accumulation of dust on these expensive machines is not good.   See the dust down inside the rails?
The wheels of my machine ride on the top of the upside down V shape and not down in the groves.  The rails (tracks) are made of aluminum.  The wheels accumulate a sort of dust that cannot be remove from fabric if it should get onto it.  I’ve not found anything so far that will remove black rail dust marks from fabric. 

I have a basic rail (track) cleaning kit. 
I use paste wax made for floors because I like it best.  I’ve heard of people using car polish and chrome polish.  I use the paint brush (rail broom) to sweep dust out of the groves.  I use the napkins for the polish because if I used a fabric cloth it would have to be thrown away.  I like keeping my fabric cloths for reuse.
When I polish the rails I do not put wax down in the groves.  It isn’t necessary and would be very difficult to polish to a shine.  The wheels only ride on the highest part of the V shape so that’s all I need to polish.
I start with a very thin coat of the wax rubbed lightly on the rails with a napkin.  I wait about 5 minutes for the aluminum to react to the wax and then buff it to a shine.  I repeat the same coating and buffing one more time.  This can of wax is about 20 years old and that’s all I’ve used out of it.  A thin layer goes a very long way.  The wax is very good at cleaning the accumulation of black rail dust.  Can you imagine what that black stuff would do to a customer quilt?
I use the knife to clean under the channel lock magnets.  I raise the machine very slightly with one hand and use the knife (covered with a napkin) running it under the magnet to remove the dust.  No polishing necessary there.
The other magnet is fixed to the machine carriage but I can run the napkin covered knife behind it easily.

The wheels of my machine are teflon and all that’s needed is to wipe them clean with a damp napkin.   After the rails (tracks) are cleaned and polished I have to be extremely careful about not moving too fast.  Those babies are slicker than duck poo on glass.  Duck poo is very oily. 

2 comments on “Cleaning machine rails

  1. Anonymous
    August 11, 2011

    Yes Ann, it would clean your rails and improve the movement. It would be a good idea to remove your machine from the carriage at least once a year to check your wheels for an accumulation of lint and threads around the wheels.

    If you ever feel as if you are fighting your machine in an odd spot it's most likely lint impacted around the spoke of a wheel.


  2. Anonymous
    August 10, 2011

    Do you think this would work to clean the poles on my Hinterberg frame? I'm not sure I can get into the V channels that allow for the back to front motion on the under side of the carriage, but it's worth a try. Thanks, Anita.

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This entry was posted on August 10, 2011 by in Machine maintenance.

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