Adler · Bobbins

Bobbins for Adler 87 – 3D printed

My main and most used machine is a 1930 Adler 87. It uses proprietary bobbins and old style needles, both impossible to find today, but it sews so well that it’s worth while for me to address these issues.

I still have a lot of needles for it (70+), so there is no pressing urgency there, but I only have 6 original bobbins which is very meager and really not enough.

This machine is based on Wheeler & Wilson D9 and uses similar donut-shaped bobbins.

This looks like a D9 bobbin and bobbin case but it’s not – it is larger. The bobbin is 24mm in diametre and 9.28mm thick, but the donut shape means that flat-sided bobbins of, say, 9mm in diametre don’t fit at the edges. Smaller bobbins do fit but they jam very quickly – the thread gets caught on the bobbin and entangles.

I looked around the internet and found one or the other person offering new old stock bobbins for £50 each. The cheek of it!! No, thank you.

And then I thought: bobbins can be plastic. It means they can be reproduced on a 3D printer.

Behold 62 3D printed bobbins reproduced from the original by The 3D Print Shop (www.the3dprintshop.co.uk). This company not only produces 3D printed items, but more importantly they also do CAD design based on your original. Highly recommended! My personal thanks to Mark Bryant who handled my order. 👍

They could fit 20 bobbins in a batch, so I ordered 3 batches. The price per bobbin goes down dramatically with each extra batch, so in my order it worked out at about £2.25 a bobbin, and I now have enough to satisfy my most immediate needs. 😉

The reason I got 62 bobbins though was that they did a test run first just to make sure the bobbins worked properly. I was amazed both by the level of care and the quality of the product. 🤩 Mark said that first he reproduced the original bobbin exactly, but the printed bobbin came out visibly warped – the walls were too thin. Of course, the original is made of steel and you can get away with much thinner walls than on plastic. Mark then contacted me to see how the design could be modified to solve the issue. That’s easy enough – make the walls a bit thicker by adding materials on the inside. The bobbin takes a little less thread but still works perfectly.

You can see how well the bobbin fits into the bobbin case.

The bobbins are smooth and work beautifully. The only very minor point is that because they were made in a batch, there are tiny specks on the edges – you can see them in the photo. Easily filed off in about 5 seconds. 😁

Mark told me that they keep design files for past orders, which means that should anyone else want to order reproduction bobbins for Adler 87 or 187, the design is already done and tested. But think also of all these other machines based on the D9, for example Jones Spool, Singer W9, Mewa Freya, and D9 itself of course – their bobbins vary in size but are still of the same donut shape. I’m sure adapting an existing design will be easier than starting from scratch again.

Go go bobbins! 💃

12 thoughts on “Bobbins for Adler 87 – 3D printed

  1. 3D printed bobbins
    – Elena – you are a genius – why didn’t I think of that?
    I have several machines that take donut shape bobbins – all of them different sizes – and of course now unobtainable.
    I will get straight onto the 3D Print Shop and get myself sorted!
    Thanks,
    Paul Verney
    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hurray Elena!!!! “The world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going”.
    Brilliant idea! Thank you for sharing it with us, this opens new possibilities!!
    Cheers!!! ^-^

    Like

  3. My husband has a 3D printer – and he uses free software to design stuff for himself and for me. He made me what I call a “thread cradle” for keeping a spool of thread on my treadle machine when I shut it. It is U-shaped and has curved sides, and openings for velcro. When I close The Free No. 5 machine, it folds down into the table and the spool falls off. Now, I just put the thread into the cradle, which is suspended from the harp, and it closes nicely with the machine still threaded. I no longer have to cut the thread to close the machine.

    3-D printing is phenomenal. Some plastics are harder wearing than others, so do watch how your bobbins wear. Don’t put them in the washing machine! And keep them away from the blow torch.

    Clever girl to get them printed!

    Like

    1. Thanks! I don’t normally put my bobbins into the wash nor do I submit them to trials by fire, so I think we should be fine. 😉 But point taken about different types of plastic. They also come with different price tags, so as always you’ve got to find a balance. We’ll see how these bobbins fare, but anyhow they should last me long enough to allow to save up money for the better grade plastic next time, should that be necessary. 😊

      Like

  4. This is definitely a wonderful use of 3D printing. It looks like those were printed on a resin printer that can handle higher resolution than my filament printer.
    I’m interested in this because I have a 1958 Elna Supermatic 722010 and the “right” bobbins for that machine are almost unobtanium – I found one place in Missouri that sells them for $5.50 a piece. I’ve got an order in for some of those and am waiting for them to arrive. Some people claim the Elna 426000 bobbins work so I’ve bought some of those but haven’t tried them yet. They are noticeably less domed than the one original bobbin that came with the machine so who knows.
    But if I could print replacement bobbins that would be great.
    Luckily my other “vintage” machine (a 1961 Singer 500) takes easily-obtainable class 66 bobbins!

    Like

    1. Hi Manuel, I am sorry I don’t know which material they used. Perhaps you could contact them and ask? They do all sorts of things, going by their website. I normally stay away from machines that use “weird” bobbins or needles, but this Adler is so good, that I completely fell for it. 🙂

      Like

      1. No worries. I have used my 3D printer to create some sewing-related items, though. I’ve made embroidery hoops for my wife, storage boxes for bobbins, an adapter to fit “standard” low shank snap-on feet on a slant shank machine, and most fun – a pattern cam for the Singer 500! I even have the ability to create my own patterns at some point!

        Like

  5. Elena, I want to thank you so much for sharing your experience with 3D printed bobbins for your Adler 87, because I have certainly benefited from your doing so.
    I have a vintage Bell 301, a mint green sewing machine so rare that I have yet to come across another. It seems to be the American twin (in all ways but color and brand) to the Adler 187 and cousin to the Adler 87. If you would like see how similar my Bell 301 is to your Adler, you can view my posts about it (https://www.instagram.com/p/CCOpnoeJclC/ and https://www.instagram.com/p/CCOqDS2JFPN/ ). It came with only one bobbin, and for about a year I searched unsuccessfully for additional bobbins, as well as information on my machine.
    As you suggested, I reached out to Mark at the 3D Print Shop. He was extremely helpful and now I have a set of these bobbins that work perfectly with my Bell! I could not be more pleased, because I feel exactly the same way about my amazing Bell as you do about your Adler—it is The One!
    Thanks again,
    Janette

    Like

    1. Oh wow – it is indeed a twin of Adler 187! And in such amazing shape! Green suits her. 😍 I wonder if it is in fact a badged Adler – stranger things have happened!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.