Erlbacher Machine Questions

Questions about purchasing Erlbacher machines.

Do I want the 1:1 ratio or the Reduced Ratio crank handle?
This is the most common question we get. The Speedster has a 1:1 crank ratio, meaning that when you crank the handle one time, you get one row of knitting.   Don’t be too concerned about counting though, all of our machines come with a counter! The Reduced Ratio crank is modeled after the one on an antique Gearhart knitting machine. Now, Mr. Gearhart and our dad, Peewee, knew what a gear reduction does for a person. In short, it makes the work easier. That’s what gears do….they transmit power. A small gear to a big gear transmits more power than a same size gear to a same size gear. Think of bicycle riding. You are on a flat surface and you are pedaling big sprocket to big sprocket. Everything, is going great, until you get to a hill that you have to pedal up. With big sprocket to big sprocket all of a sudden the work becomes very hard. So….you switch gears to little sprocket to big sprocket and suddenly the work is easy again. Now, back to the knitting room. The 1:1 ratio crank is great if you want to knit a 72 stitch pattern…being either KKPP or KPKPKP. But, when you start knitting more than 72 stitches, like if you were using all 72 cylinder needles and all 72 ribber needles, then you will be working hard to crank them on a 1:1 ratio crank.  This is when the Reduced Ratio crank comes in handy.  The 1:1 crank uses more of a full arm motion, all the way up through the shoulder.   The reduced ratio crank uses more of a forearm motion from the elbow down.  It’s not the strength required but more the constant repetitive motion you should think about. Now, if you want the best of both worlds, you can order an extra crank for $175.  So if you are reading this and are still confused, then get the one that appeals to you more.  90% of the time, it won’t make a difference which crank handle you use. They always say that you like the one best that you started out with.
Which machine package do I need?
There are five Erlbacher Knitting Machine packages:  Basic, Basic PLUS, Deluxe, Super Deluxe and Bumblebee.  All packages include either a machine, in your choice of colors, and your choice of a 1:1 ratio crank or a Reduced Ratio crank handle. The Basic package has one cylinder of your choice, with no ribber.  The Basic PLUS is the same as the Basic package, with a ribber dial and assembly. The Deluxe package includes two cylinders and one ribber dial and assembly. The Super Deluxe package adds a second ribber dial to the Deluxe package. These packages include a set of three stem weights, needles, buckle, double-ended pick, screwdriver, wrench, set-up bonnet, oil, crescent tool, extra cylinder spring, row counter, a set of 3 heel forks with weights and wood shipping box. The Deluxe and Super Deluxe packages include ribber needles.

The Bumblebee is a larger machine for hats, scarves, diabetic socks, baby cocoons, blankets, leg warmers, etc. The Bumblebee package includes a 1 cylinder and a 1 ribber dial, needles (ribber and cylinder), a set of 3 stem weights, counter, extended buckle and crescent, double end pick, wrench and allen wrench, screwdriver, and an extra cylinder spring. Shipped in a custom designed wooden box.   Indicate in notes your cylinder/ribber size preference.   Sizes available:  60, 72, 90  This machine takes the same cylinder/ribber needles as the Speedster and Reduced Ratio machines.
What is the difference between the Deluxe Machine package and the Super Deluxe Machine package?

The difference is that the Super Deluxe package has 2 cylinders and 2 ribber dials. There is one ribber arm and tappet plate. With the advent of the hybrid ribber system, there is no need for multiple ribber assemblies. Once the hybrid is timed, then it is timed for all cylinder and ribber combinations.

What cylinders should I get?

The number of needles in the cylinder is equal to the number of stitches you would cast on if you were to knit a pair of socks by hand. So, imagine casting on 60 stitches with a lace weight yarn, now imagine casting on 60 stitches with a sport weight yarn…you would have two different size socks, wouldn’t you?   Our machines are designed primarily for sock weight yarns.  If you are interested in using a heavier than sock weight yarn, the smaller slot cylinders (48, 54 & sometimes 60) would be a better choice.   The 96 and 100 slot cylinders are best used with lace weight yarns.

The most requested cylinder size is the 72 with the 64 and 60 following not far behind.

One combination we sell a great deal of is the 72/54 cylinder with the 72 ribber dial. There are several reasons why people buy this combination.

  1. You can use the 72 ribber dial with both cylinders, it makes a 1×1 rib on the 72 and you can make a 2×1 rib on the 54. (please be aware that some people don’t care for the lacy looking top edge of the 2×1)
  2. You can get a large range of sock sizes with this combination. The 72 makes beautiful knitting with sock weight yarn, and the 54 can easily knit sport weight yarn as well as sock weight yarn for a smaller size sock.

The 72 ribber can also be used with the 60 cylinder for 1×4 and 1×5 ribbing.

The 64/48 with a 64 ribber dial and the 80/60 with a 80 ribber dial will give you the same advantages of being able to use the ribber dial with both cylinders.

The 60 and 64 are used for most ladies sizes with the 72 is most common for men, though longer or wider feet or calves may need an 80 cylinder.


Do I want an “equal slot ribber”?

It depends.  Same slot ribber dials allow you to do all functions of a half slot ribber and additional options such as 2×2 ribbing.  Some people prefer them for their flexibility and the ability to do half pitch ribbing. Others find them harder to use (because there are more slots, and can be harder to line up), and prefer half slot ribbers. In the end, it comes down to a combination of personal preference, and what you want to do with your machine.

How do I select a custom color for my machine?

You can choose a custom color by selecting the “Custom” option under color on your machine package. Then, go to https://www.prismaticpowders.com/shop/powder-coating-colors to select your color.

On the Prismatic site, look for colors that DO NOT mention  a “top coat” or “clear coat” in the description. These paints are too thick and the machines won’t function. Acceptable colors will typically say something like “this color is a polyester metallic powder coat.” An example that we could NOT do in the purple section, would be Illusion Purple, which mentions “base coat and top coat”. An example of a couple that WOULD work would be Galaxy Wave or Galaxy Purple, which do not mention a top coat. For a small shipping cost, you can order swatches from Prismatic Powders to help you choose a color.

Once you have selected your paint color, add the color name in the comments at checkout. If you have any questions, just give us a call and we will be glad to help you out.

General CSM Questions

Miscellaneous questions about CSMs in general.

Can I buy parts for my antique Gearhart machine?

Some parts will are available, however we are not sure how we are going to address the issue of cylinder fit. Obviously, an older cylinder could become slightly “out of round” over many years of storage / use and would not fit a new machined cylinder base. Some of the smaller parts, such as weights, needles, etc. will interchange with the original.

What is an “equal slot ribber”?

The standard ribber dial on an antique CSM has 1/2 as many slots as the cylinder. For example, the 72 slot cylinder used a 36 slot dial. These are called “half slot ribbers”. By contrast, an “equal slot ribber” has the same number of slots as the cylinder it is designed for has needles. In other words, a 72 slot cylinder would have a 72 slot “equal slot ribber.” The equal slot ribber allows for more variations in ribbing, along with the possibility of half pitch ribbing, which would allow you to knit a tube with twice as many stitches as slots in your cylinder, by alternating ribber stitches and cylinder stitches as well as 2×2 ribbing.