Passap Knitting Machines: Donation and Deep Clean

Last month, I received a phone call from Mary, one of the clever ladies who runs the InterKnit Machine Knitters Club. Someone was getting rid of some Passap Duomatic knitting machines, and would I like one? Heck, yeah! I replied, and could you also grab one for Pumping Station: One?

So, two days later Mary drops off two very heavy knitting machines, and several very heavy boxes of carriages, accessories, tension rods, and books. The machines are ancient, crusted with yellowed oil and blackened lint. Luckily, one of the books is "Be Your Own Passap Paramedic", which gave us a starting point to deep cleaning these machines.

The Duomatics (aka "Pinky") are very similar to the later Passap DM80's, which the book covers in-depth. A few things we learned from trial and error:

  • Don't forget to put the needle number strip back on when re-assembling. The book doesn't mention this (I'm guessing the strips don't come off for the DM80's).
  • Definitely prop the channels up vertically when soaking, otherwise the dust clumps don’t fall out on their own. I had them lying in a tray -- not the way to do it!
  • Change out the alcohol solution often. I was running low, and re-used it in soaking the parts. Result was, stuff didn’t get as clean as we’d like. We had to do a lot of scraping out with a dental tool and pieces of cardboard. So buy extra denatured alcohol before you start.
  • Also, when you’re wiping the excess oil off of cleaned parts, think of it as “blotting” rather than wiping . Wiped completely clean, the pushers were too dry in the channels.
  • The first time we re-assembled the machine, the needle butts on the end needles kept popping up when we ran the carriage over. (Pushing on the tips of the front bed needles caused butts to pop up very easily.) Eventually, Dan realized that the channels needed to be pounded into the plastic holders, to sit flat enough. He used a hammer on a small block of wood to pound them all flat in, and then it was no longer a problem. This might also be a sign that we need a new retention spring, though.

As we're doing the cleaning at PS1, this has become a group effort. Will and Erica have contributed much time and labor. Dan has really taken on the bulk of re-assembly-- turns out he's a great KM repairman!

Dan noticed early on that the two machines were not identical. I checked the serial numbers against this list posted on Ravelry (citing this vendor doc). One machine was from 1965-1970. And the other machine's number apparently pre-dates the 1961 models, and  has a slightly different design.

Newer model, before cleaning.

Re-assembled and clean!

This earlier design, we discovered, is much harder to take apart. There are no access holes for unscrewing the nuts behind the upper rail back bed (such a glaring design flaw, it boggles the mind). Additionally:
  • The upper rail is held on by the H clip screws.
  • You have to remove them totally before taking it off.
  • The upper rail is shaped slightly differently.
  • The channel plates are a slightly different design.
  • The needle channels are a different color, like aluminum, rather than the dark gray of the other pinky.

I'm documenting this older machine here because apparently there's little info available on these models.

The carriages of the two models are not compatible. However, the needles and pushers appear identical.

The images below are all of the older model.

Replacing the spring.
Images of the underside and beds of the older model. Note the order of hardware assembly-- round washer (on bottom, not visible), then large washer with retaining ring, lock washer (split ring), topped by nut.

Cleaning the rails out with aluminum foil and a popsicle stick- works well!

This nut (right end of front bed) was incredibly difficult to access-- removing it easily took as long as all the others combined. No access holes, and no easy way to get a tool back there. Will took it out initially, and that ended his work for the day. I think Dan used The Force to get it back on.

Older model's needle beds. (Sorry, wasn't able to get photos of the newer model needle beds before it was reassembled.) The grid on the backside is a different pattern from the newer, plus the beds have more screw holes.

Nuts in place, for replacing the needle gate.
5 responses
Pls am interested in lots of passap duomatic knitting machines and parts,pls contact me if u have them
Do you know why my row counter works one minute then it doesn't?
If you log in to Ravelry.com and visit their Passap forum, I bet someone could help you.
My mother has the 80 I think, she bought it brand new more than 40 years ago. She still uses it but some of the parts like the soft plastic black parts are crumble. Are you interested in sell them?
trying to add deco rail to pinkie, no success with 1 machine. i have purchased another, with a deco rail. pin removed to allow pushers to come out of blocking rail. i am lost for what to do.