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Old 12/21/10, 02:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: E WA
Posts: 149
Using foot treadle to power machines

We have an old treadle sewing machine base. I'm wondering if the treadle could be used to power any household machines or tools when there's no electricity... kind of like people pedal bicycles to generate power. Anyone have any idea?
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Old 12/21/10, 05:37 AM
hotzcatz's Avatar  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 2,855
I have one set up with a very small lathe. I use it for turning clock parts when I repair clocks. I suppose I could also use the lathe to turn pen blanks or other small items but I haven't tried that yet.

Another sewing machine base was set up with a grinding wheel on it, but it was hard to turn if I wanted to do much grinding at all. It would be better with a buffing wheel or polishing wheel instead of a heavy grinding wheel. I'm going to reuse that one and try using it to power a flyer from a spinning wheel so I'll be able to make yarn but I haven't done it yet.

Some of my other treadles are still attached to the sewing machines where they do good work. Many of the old treadle machines are still working great and sew a lovely seam. Generally the old machines had attachments for adjusting the fabric and the stitches remained pretty standard. Making ruffles, rolled hems, putting lace onto a fabric edge, etc. The new sewing machines do all sorts of wondrous stitches but don't change or shape the fabric any at all.

Generally, for the treadle operated things, it won't power stuff that needs much force. It's good for speed (RPM) but not torque. You might also be able to power a jack shaft and then use that to operate different items.
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Old 12/21/10, 10:18 AM
Cabin Fever's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
Posts: 14,577
I saw a guy at a craft show with a treadle jigsaw making different items. It was really cool. I didn't buy anything from him even tho I watched him for about 30 minutes.
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