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Kenmore Model 158 Sewing Machine: LED Strip Lights

Given a few hanks of the 3528 double-density LED strip lights shown at the top of this picture:

Various LED strip lights

Various LED strip lights

And the solid models for the mounts:

Strip Light Mount - build layout

Strip Light Mount – build layout

Then fast-forwarding through the tedious parts:

  • An hour of 3D printing
  • Cut & stick LEDs to the mounts
  • Peel “waterproof” coating to reveal contact pads
  • Solder pretty cable with silver plating on the braid (it’s probably mil-spec Teflon dielectric RG-174 coaxial cable) to the LEDs
  • Conjure a coax power connector and wall wart
  • Apply foam squares to mounts
  • Affix to sewing machine

The front LEDs have a jaunty angle along the bottom of the plastic panel:

Kenmore Model 158 Sewing Machine - LED Lights - front

Kenmore Model 158 Sewing Machine – LED Lights – front

You can see why I want cool-white LEDs, rather than these warm-white ones, to match the daylight from the window to the right. The wash of orange light from the incandescent bulb inside the end bell has got to go, too.

The rear LEDs over the arm may be slightly too close to the opening:

Kenmore Model 158 Sewing Machine - LED Lights - rear

Kenmore Model 158 Sewing Machine – LED Lights – rear

The single-segment strip on the side provides a bit more light for the needle across the opening:

Kenmore Model 158 Sewing Machine - LED Lights - rear detail

Kenmore Model 158 Sewing Machine – LED Lights – rear detail

Now, I’ll grant you that the strips of of black Gorilla Tape aren’t particularly attractive, but the intent here is to find out whether the LEDs produce enough light, don’t snag the quilt, and generally meet requirements.

We shall see…

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  1. #1 by david on 2014-03-05 - 11:21

    Is that a sewing surface made out of foam-faced polyisocyanurate foam? Seems like a very odd choice!

  2. #2 by david on 2014-03-05 - 11:21

    Foil-faced. Damn it.

    • #3 by Ed on 2014-03-05 - 12:00

      Got it in two… [grin]

      She recently moved The Quilting Room from the basement, where that foam board joined the machine’s surface to a large table. It worked pretty well, but definitely isn’t durable enough. What you can’t see is a large desk joining up to the board, so there’s a much bigger surface that isn’t a craptastic foam board.

      The plan: slice the backsplash off a 10 foot generic countertop, chop it in half, and splice the pieces back-to-back into a nice 4×5 foot quilting table, then sink the machine into the right-front corner. Put freestanding cabinets underneath, add power & lighting, then get back out of the way.

      • #4 by Red County Pete on 2014-03-06 - 10:34

        Interesting approach for the table. I did one for a potter’s wheel and other projects with MDF and a 4′ x 8′ chunk of formica. I had enough to do a double sided piece for that table, with enough left over for a couple of other projects. IIRC, the industrial-grade formica was about $50. I used some lighter stuff in my shop workroom. Water-based contact cement makes it a non-horrible job, and I used my plunge router to do the laminate trimming job. Took a bit of fiddling, but it works.

        Julie’s main sewing machine is a 30 year old Elna. She looked at the current generation, thought they were junk, and we bought a Brother through Costco for backup and utility sewing. Evidently, Elna got bought and seriously cheapified. Not that it’s reflected in the asking price. [sigh] I should have kept my ’54 Singer clone, but it got donated when we moved.

  3. #5 by Mick on 2014-03-05 - 12:28

    my Kenmore is very similar…mine is in a carry case and I think the stitch knob is different. …but from the same era, for sure. I like the lights that you’ve added.

    • #6 by Ed on 2014-03-05 - 12:45

      This one has a greenish carry case , too, but it’s spent the last several years spliced into that basement table. We’re tricking it out with lights and suchlike, because Mary likes how it works and doesn’t want a fancy new machine with a lifetime that might reach five years; she relays horror stories from her quilting compadres.

      • #7 by madbodger on 2014-03-05 - 21:23

        My main machine is probably half a century old and still going strong. I’m quite happy with it, and plan to hang on to it.

        • #8 by Ed on 2014-03-05 - 21:42

          There’s a lot to be said for solid steel parts and a design that doesn’t depend on Windows drivers…

  4. #9 by Hrap on 2014-03-05 - 16:57

    Looks like the results are worth the cosmetic changes. Nice work!

    • #10 by Ed on 2014-03-05 - 20:13

      They’re not the ugliest things I’ve ever made, that’s for sure!

      The next iteration will be double-width in transparent PLA, in the hope that makes them both brighter and less visible.

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