Here at the DragonPoodle Research and Development Department (aka the dining room) we are always striving to find new and unusual ways to fail at machine restoration--so that you don't have to. You're welcome.
Research investigators for this project were me and FIF* Barbara, shown in the photos. And I'm not giving up on my favorite joke (FIF) but I'm going to start posting the explanation at the bottom of the post.
Seemed to me that with some FIMO clay, a pasta machine, and a sharp knife, we ought to be able to reproduce Singer flat cams. I dreamed this up a couple of years ago, but ideas need to marinate to maturity. Or whatever.
FIMO clay is a modeling clay that hardens when baked at a low temperature in the oven. I have a bunch of it left over from a binge of making tiny people for a Christmas village when my girls were in middle school. They are in middle age now. Been quite a few years. And, just in case you have some 15 year old FIMO sitting around: if it is still in the package it is unchanged. If it was in a baggie it is pretty hard and crumbly, but work it with your fingers and it will be just fine. Eventually.
The clay is rigid and stiff when you take it out of the package. Break off a small piece and work it around in your hands and fingers until it is flexible. Do more small pieces until you have a hunk of it. But really, don't bother, because (SPOILER ALERT) this is going to make a really lousy cam.
The pasta machine has settings for thickness. #1, the thickest, turns out to be just the same as a Singer flat cam. Run the clay through the pasta machine to get a strip of uniform thickness. Lay the strip on a cutting board. We used parchment paper underneath to make it easier to remove and move around.
Put a flat cam on top of it. Used a knife to cut it out. And the secret here is that you have to be good at doing this. I got better with each try. At first I couldn't find my exacto knife and we used small box cutters (shown in photo). Found the exacto later and it helped.
I reproduced a zigzag cam, and Barbara reproduced #24. We transferred them to parchment on a baking sheet and popped them in the toaster over for the required time. Please notice that I am following my usual cagey practice of NOT giving out specific directions for specific products. You really do need to read the directions on the packaging. Which may have changed in the last 15 years.
I wasn't going for perfection, or even much accuracy on the first trial. I just wanted to see if this was going to be possible at all.
It was immediately obvious that this was not going to be a sturdy cam. It was a really cute cam, purple with sparkles. And it had hardened, but it was still a bit flexible. Seemed too fragile to hold up to sustained high speed sewing. Like you would do if you were doing long lines of decorative stitching. One of my favorite things.
The center hole had to be sanded out a bit to make it just large enough to fit snugly on the machine.
The first attempt was successful only in that it did function as a cam to move the needle back and forth. I wasn't unhappy with it as a first draft.
Attempt No. 2 was even better, and I have even saved that one. In a pinch it would produce a perfectly acceptable utility zigzag stitch.
To store my flat cams I use a thingy originally designed to hang on the wall to showcase your commemorative golf balls. Commemorative golf balls strikes me as pretty hilarious. Golf itself seems pretty funny to me. However this is a good size for cams and I can see at a glance if I have enough extras to share.
Attempt No. 3 looked even better than No. 2, but it cracked as I slid it into place. I hadn't sanded the hole large enough. Tried it anyway and it flew apart as the sewing began.
Thus ends the experiment with FIMO for flat cams. It was fun. Never bothering to do it again though. Unless...just had a thought...
Is plain FIMO sturdier than sparkly FIMO? I've already put all that stuff away or I would just try another one. Do you know?
Have you ever tried FIMO for making flat cams? How did it go?
Have you ever tried another way of making flat cams? How did you do it? How did it turn out? Tell us in the comments below!
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*FIF, Formerly Imaginary Friend. I refer to people I know online as my imaginary friends. When I meet them in person they become Formerly Imaginary Friends.