Oil can. Oil can what? Remember that famous line from “The Wizard of Oz”? Just as it was for the Tin Man, lubrication is the No. 1 element to maintaining a smooth running embroidery machine. All embroidery machines come with recommended oiling and greasing locations along with how often to apply. Be sure to revisit your maintenance manual from time to time to make sure you have not forgotten any recommended lubrications.
Keep the rotary hook area, including underneath the needle plate, clean and clear of dust and lint. Compressed air and a brush are helpful for this area of the machine
The thread path should be checked regularly for burrs and dust. Here again, compressed air should get the job done. Set up a calendar, print or electronic, to keep you on track for routine monthly machine maintenance.
Not often thought of as machine maintenance, tension for the top and bobbin thread are essential to a smooth running machine. Tension gauges are great tools to have on hand. Every embroiderer should have one right at their fingertips.
Commercial embroidery machines are running up to 1,200 stitches per minute (SPM). That is very fast! Be sure to clean out (again, with compressed air) and replace your bobbin cases as needed. Keep at least one extra bobbin case on hand for each machine head. You do not want to be in the middle of a job only to find out the bobbin case has gone bad.
Needles should be changed on a preventative maintenance basis. If you are waiting for the needle to break, you’ve already missed the boat. Your embroidery is being compromised with a worn out needle. Consider using the baseball rule of three strikes and you’re out. If you have three unexplained thread breaks, change the needle! They cost approximately five cents a piece.