Finding Solutions

Sometimes you have to get creative when you’ve got a problem driving you crazy.  My tracking on the Grace frame and carriage has been driving me nuts.  If you’ve read the last few posts here, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Kathy M. on one of the yahoo groups posted that she put 1/4″ stainless steel rods in her track holders and that it was like butter ever since.

I told DH about it and he sent me to the local welding supply store.  I took an extra piece of the track holder with me so we could make sure the 1/4″ rod was the right size for what I have.  You have to keep in mind the size you are buying must also fit the wheels on the lower part of the carriage.

The 1/4″ size was the perfect size!  The guys at the store were so helpful.  They cut the two rods to the length I needed.  The rods had a light spray coating of green paint so I had to remove that first.  I guess they do that to color code all the different sizes of rods they carry.  I removed the paint with nail polish remover and then wiped the rods down really well.

When DH got home he helped me take out the “official” track and replace it with my new stainless steel rod track.

1/4" stainless steel welding rod sitting on top of groove in track holder.

Because the rod is round, part of the rod sits lower into the groove and that’s what holds the rod in place.  There is no need for adhesive or bolting it down on the ends. It just sits there patiently waiting for me to have fun quilting.  Here’s what it looks like with the carriage sitting on the stainless steel rods.

Machine carriage sitting on the stainless steel rod

They also suggested that I lubricate the rod with Lithium grease to reduce friction.  The grease came in a jar and I’ll just wipe the rods down with it but I’m not sure the rods even need it although it probably is a good idea.

Lithium Grease

We were both amazed at how smoothly the carriage glides across the rods.  It was immediately apparent that we need to re-level the frame as the carriage zoomed to one end of the frame if I took my hands off the handles.  I’m having to re-train my brain and hands to work with this new track system.  The carriage will move with the slightest touch so I have to use my fingers to hold the machine still when I’m starting a line of stitching or it will move from the spot where I want the needle to be.  I usually start with needle-up because my machine seems to like that better than starting with needle-down.

To say I’m thrilled with the results would be an under statement.  I’m not saying everyone should rush out and do the same thing I did because each person has to decide what to use with their system.  I’m just saying this is going to work for me and I am so thankful to Kathy for her suggestion.

DH went back to the welding store this morning to get 2 pieces cut for the upper part of the carriage but they were closed for the holiday weekend.  😦  I guess I can wait until Tuesday.

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9 Comments

  1. quiltapillow

     /  July 2, 2011

    I have a Ken Quilter and its all metal. I take a q-tip and put a very small amount of lub on it and just rub the rollers inside not the track itself and thus it eleminates the excess and does not get on my quilts. We were told by the manuf. designer himself that he used parts from a glass sliding door to make his quilting frames and if we needed parts to go to the hardware store. Happy quilting–Quiltapillow.

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  July 3, 2011

      Thanks for the tip about lubing the rollers only. That sounds like a good idea.

      Reply
  2. Vanessa Driskill

     /  July 3, 2011

    Sheryl in regards to the rods is that wood piece have a 1/4′ groove in it? My tracks are the original ones (1′ by 1/4″) so just putting a rod in there would not, some thing would have to be created to hod the rod.

    Reply
  3. Quilting Tizzy

     /  July 3, 2011

    Hi Vanessa. I sent a private message to you about what might work.

    Reply
  4. Jane

     /  July 6, 2011

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
    I have the original GMQ frame with the upgraded tracking system. I loved everything about frame quilting except how the carriage moved over the frame. I upgraded the carriage with only slightly better movement. I replaced the plastic track because it got little dents in it where the carriage would sit when I was not using it and then I would bump and jerk along when I next picked up quilting. I looked at sliding door tracks (as the wheels on the carriage are sliding door wheels) but did not want to risk destroying the frame trying to get it aligned and fastened down. The drop in rods are the perfect solution. We are off to Lowes to see if they have the right lengths. If not, I will seek out a machine shop.
    Thanks again! I am looking forward to using my machine with a much improved experience.

    Reply
  5. Quilting Tizzy

     /  July 6, 2011

    Hi Jane. I’m glad I could help.

    Lowe’s has the plated steel rods but they’re only about 6′ long. The stainless steel rods at the welding supply are pretty long.

    My frame is set up for Queen and there was some left over after they cut my pieces. Just give them a call and they can tell you what length they have.

    Reply
  6. quiltapillow

     /  September 15, 2011

    Grease——–sometimes you can use graphite fine ground powder. put it in ; roll around a bit ; the blow it out or vaccuum it out. Then use a dust cloth and go over it all. graphite works great in door locks for your car during the winter also but there you do not need to vaccum(?), it out. Hope this will help. My hubby is an Industrial Elect. Mech. Engineering Specialist.

    Reply
  7. Joy

     /  October 6, 2016

    I know this is an old thread but am hoping against hope that you can help me with a question. I bought the rods to replace the plastic tracks on my carriage. Problem is, I can’t get the end caps off to insert them. One of the screws holding the cap on was stripped out before I ever attempted it. I got the other end screw out, but I’m afraid to break the plastic end cap with holds the stop. Can you help? How did you get the end caps off?

    Reply
  8. Kerie Harris

     /  March 15, 2017

    I’m so glad to have found this post! I have a new/used Gracie Queen frame and Juki 2000 system, and the tracks are cracked. I’ll be visiting my local welding supply store for some rods ASAP! 🙂

    Reply

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