HQ Sweet Sixteen table

30 04 2011

For future reference… and in case anyone else has the same problem!

I’ve just purchased my ‘Beast’ — a HandiQuilter (HQ) Sweet Sixteen sit-down quilting machine. It comes with several things, including a purpose-built table.

Now this machine is big — and heavy. So it’s important that the table is stable and that the fold-out legs are fully folded out and locked into place before you put the machine into it. Sounds easy, right? Not so much…

There’s one instruction in the instruction manual for the table, which tells you to open the collapsed legs and lock them into place. That’s it.

But there’s a problem. This is one tough table and it has an exceptionally tough metal framework for the legs (and rightly so — it has to hold a lot of weight and deal with a lot of vibration over its lifetime). My dealer warned me that the legs ‘could be a bit stiff’ to lock into place on the fixed frame, and, if they were hard to lock in, to try using a screwdriver to lever the metal bits apart a little so that the hole on the collapsible arm could slot over the dimple on the fixed bit.

So late yesterday afternoon I unpack the table and put it on its back. I open out the legs and try to snap them into place to lock them. Nope. After a few tries, I get a screwdriver and try that. Still no joy. All that’s happening is that little flakes of black paint from the metal are coming off. I ask my husband to help me (he’s much bigger and stronger than me). Between us all we get is frustration. I go out to the shed to get the BIG screwdrivers to see if we can get more leverage. After about 45 minutes trying to get these legs locked away, we give up and agree to try again this morning.

At 5 am this morning (I woke at 4 am and all sorts of ideas for this table were running around my head…), I email my friend who has one of these machines and tables, as well as Michelle, the HQ dealer I bought the machine from. I also post a request to the Yahoo! group for owners of this machine to see if anyone there can offer any ideas.

A couple of hours later my husband gets up. I’ve had a suggestion from the group to try WD-40. My dealer emails me about some of the problems she’s had and how she’s had to kick the legs into place on some of the tables (about 10 kicks before they locked in!). My friend calls me and tells me her husband is coming home from his mine site this morning and she offers his assistance (he’s put together and taken her table apart at least twice). So I call him and arrange for him to drop into our house on his way home (we’re about halfway on his 3-hour drive).

Meantime, my husband’s now properly awake. I mentioned to him that I thought a block of wood might help to pry these metal arms open a couple of millimetres, but I discovered that the design of the arms is such that that’s not going to work (it sounded good in my head at 4 am!). I also mentioned the WD-40 option, and that my friend’s husband would be dropping in a few hours. So off my husband goes to the shed. He comes back with CRC, a block of wood (4×2), and a rubber mallet!

Back we go into my sewing room, where he lightly sprays the area (the dimple on one arm and the corresponding hole on the other) with CRC. Then he places the wood at the bend where the two bits need to lock in and become straight. I hold on to the other end of the wood block and he gives it a decent thump with the rubber mallet. It moved! Two more hits and it was locked away. We did the other set of legs and it was done!

So for anyone else having the same problem with their HQ Sweet Sixteen table’s legs, save yourself some time and frustration and have to hand a block of wood, a rubber mallet, and some CRC (or WD-40) before you start. I’m not sure which of those three items was the critical one — I suspect it was a combination of all three.

Thank you to Michelle for her suggestions, to Bobbie for offering Brian to us (it was nice to see him!), and to the Yahoo! group for their suggestions.

Update: There’s a video on HandiQuilter’s Facebook page about locking the legs in place: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150165136526966. However, we did this and it still didn’t work for us…


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5 05 2011

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