Quilts I've Made

Quilts I've Made

Saturday, July 2, 2016

DIY Rolling Quilt Frame

This frame is an improvement on the free motion quilting frame. I decided to use another pipe for the batting and place both the batting and backing pipes below the frame. Furniture grade pvc or wooden dowels are better than Charlotte pipe for this project, but I wanted to see if it was feasible before upgrading. This frame is not adaptable with Charlotte pipe because it isn't rigid enough. Pieces will come apart if you try to connect them with couplers. It can be narrowed or widened to fit your throat space. However, 18" is the minimum depth to prevent the quilt from dragging on the machine. The legs can be adapted to the height of your sewing machine + 2" to prevent drag. You can sit or stand while using it.

(6) 48" lengths 1" I.D. Charlotte pipe
(4) 18" lengths 1" I.D. Charlotte pipe
(10) 2" lengths 1" I.D. Charlotte pipe
(2) 22" lengths 1" I.D. Charlotte pipe (front legs)
(2) 24" lengths 1" I.D. Charlotte pipe (back legs)
(2) 1" Couplers
(4) 1" 3-way 90 degree outlets
(4) 1" 4-way tees
(8) 1" 2-way tees
(4) 1" End caps
(10) 1" Plugs
(10 3/8" dia. 3" L. Carriage bolts
(24) 3/8" dia. Hex nuts
(10) 3/8" dia. Wing nuts
(44) 3/8" dia. Washers
(6) 1 x 4" PVC Clamps or (3) 1" x 4' from flexpvc.com
(4) 2" Locking casters
PVC glue
Drill
3/8" drill bit
Ratchet and 3/8" deep socket
Dremel with reinforced cut off wheel or hacksaw
Tape measure
Sharpie
Painter's tape

Hold the end caps steady on a hard surface and drill a 3/8" hole for the casters. It's best to use a drill press or a lathe for this, if you have one. Drill holes through the center of the plugs, tees, and outlets as well. Using a dremel, cut smaller pieces from one of the 24" pipes. The easiest way to keep your cuts straight is to wrap painter's tape around the pipe just above the mark. Double check pieces cut by a lumber yard. Most of mine were up to a 1/2" too long and one was 1/4" too short. 

Slip a washer onto each carriage bolt and slip a carriage bolt through each plug. Slip another washer onto each bolt. Screw on a hex nut and tighten. Swirl a bit of glue inside all of the 48" pipes and slide in the plugs. Let the glue cure.

Assembly
Slide two outlets onto a 48" pipe, making sure the bolt comes out the other end. Slide a washer onto the bolt and screw on a wing nut.
Slip the two 18" lengths of pipe into the 3-way outlets. Pay no attention to the 12" on the graphic.
Slip another 48" pipe into the other 3-way outlet, making sure the bolt comes out the other end. Slide a washer onto the bolt and screw on a wing nut. Slide the 3-way outlet onto the 18" pipe. Pay no attention to the 12" on the graphic. This makes the top of the frame.
Slide tees onto the 22" pipe. Pay no attention to the 20" on the graphic. Slip a 48" pipe into the tees, making sure the bolt comes out the other end. Slide a washer onto the bolt and screw on a wing nut.
Slip 2" lengths of pipe into the tees.
Slide tees onto the 2" pipe. Slip a 48" pipe into the tees, making sure the bolt comes out the other end. Slide a washer onto the bolt and screw on a wing nut. Slide the 2" lengths of pipe into the tees. This completes the front of the frame.
Slide a caster into the hole of an end cap. Slide a washer onto the bolt. Screw on the hex nut and tighten with the ratchet. Repeat with the other three casters.
Slide 2" pipes into the end caps. Slide 4-way tees onto the 2" pipes. Slide 22" pipes into the tees. Pay no attention to the 20" on the graphic. This is the front of the frame.
The back legs need a coupler added to the 24" pipe and a 2" length of pipe added to the coupler. Slide 18" pipes into the tees connecting the front and back legs. Pay no attention to the 12" on the graphic. Slide 48" pipes into the 4-way outlets front and back, making sure the bolt comes out the other end. Slide a washer onto the bolt and screw on a wing nut.
Slide the legs into the 3-way outlets. 
The frame is finished. Attach clamps.
The backing is rolled onto the bottom pipe. The batting is rolled onto the middle pipe. The top is rolled onto the first pipe. The finished quilting is rolled onto the back pipe. The pipes don't move. The layers wrap easily around the pipes with the clamps. This is a major improvement on the original frame.

Assessment

It works better than the free motion frame and it functions best on a smooth floor. It's still best suited for narrow continuous line quilting. The narrow throat space on my machine is the problem.

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