One Extension Table Fits All Your Machines…And More!
|March 21, 2005||in Product Reviews|
A review of
As the name implies, the 3 in 1 PET is three products in one. It is a Portable Extension Table (or PET), a storage tray, and a light box.
The PET is an 18″ square heavy plastic box with a clear plastic lid. It comes with screw-on legs that turn the box into a little table.
The side of the box has two plastic slides that accept the edges of two plastic bed extensions. Screw in the legs, slide in the bed extensions, and you’ve turned the box into a sewing machine extension table.
But wait! There’s more…
Inside the box is a large accessory tray that holds supplies and accessories. Now your sewing machine extension table is also a handy storage unit.
But wait! There’s more…
The accessory tray lifts out, leaving you with an empty box. Drop in a light source (that doesn’t generate a lot of heat!) and you have a light box for tracing patterns, viewing slides, and so on.
The 3 in 1 PET has all the usefulness of three separate products, but it has advantages over having three separate products. The first advantage is the price. For $119, you save money over buying three separate products.
Another advantage is that it doesn’t take up any more room than a regular extension table for your sewing machine. The sewing supplies kept in the accessory tray are at your fingertips without being scattered all over your workspace. The light box is handy instead of being stuck in the back of a closet under your fabric.
The Extension Table
There are many things I like about the 3 in 1 PET as a sewing machine extension table. First and foremost is that I only need one extension table for all my sewing machines. It’s hard enough to find space for four sewing machines, but even harder to find space for four extension tables. Buying one 3 in 1 PET that adjusts to fit all my machines is much cheaper than buying several extension tables.
The 3 in 1 PET is adjustable for any sewing machine bed width. It doesn’t have to be used on a free-arm machine, making it useful on all types of machines, including my Janome 6500. The size of the box is roughly 18 inches square but with the bed width extensions in place, the work surface is 23-1/2 inches long.
If you have a Pfaff, a Janome Jem Gold, or a Bernina with a curved front, you can buy an optional front extension that will fit those particular machines for as little as $12.
The legs are adjustable for the different heights of most machine beds. But if you need longer legs to reach your machine bed height, you can buy the parts you need at the local hardware store. Take one of the original legs with you, so you can match the diameter for a perfect fit..
Easy To Set Up And Configure
The legs are very easy to install. I’ve installed legs into acrylic tables, and that can take some hand strength. Not so with the 3 in 1 PET – the legs screw in so easily that I can set up and take down the entire 3 in 1 PET in less time than I can screw in one leg in an acrylic table. This makes it good for quilters with arthritis or other hand problems.
Since the 3 in 1 PET legs screw into the bottom of the box, there are no bumps on the surface of the table (which is the lid of the box). That is very nice, since I’ve run into situations where the bumps that hide the screw-on legs on one of my acrylic tables get in the way.
I also appreciate how flexibly you can configure the 3 in 1 PET’s extension table. For example, I have to keep the Singer XL-6000 set quite close to the front edge of my desk so that the knee lifter will clear the horizontal drawers under the desktop. It has to be so close that the front legs of a regular extension table wouldn’t be on the desktop.
Using the 3 in 1 PET, I just slid the box back a bit on the bed extensions. This put the box far enough back that all its legs were on the desk, but the sewing machine was far enough forward that I could use the knee lifter.
The Accessory Tray
The accessory tray has five compartments to help organize your notions. There are three small compartments that store thread spools, a medium compartment that would easily handle small scissors, and an extra large compartment for storing a book with the pattern you are making or other large items.
And when the accessory tray is removed from the box, the extra large compartment easily holds an average size cat. In fact Zoe, my average size cat, really seems to like that spot.
I use so many different threads when machine quilting that I like to keep all of those for the current project in the accessory tray to keep them close at hand. I also keep my handwork supplies in the tray so I can carry it downstairs to work when I watch the Red Sox games.
The largest section of the accessory tray measures 10″ by 15-1/2″ inches, so it can hold the finished blocks for your current project (if you remove the cat first). Unfortunately, blocks larger than 10″ square won’t lie perfectly flat in the extra large compartment.
The Light Box
The 3 in 1 PET light box fills a gap in my studio accessories. The 1/4″ clear acrylic top of the box is very sturdy, so you can press down when drawing on the light box. The lighted surface area measures 13-1/4″ square, so you can easily trace a 12-inch applique block pattern without having to move the design or the fabric.
The important thing to remember is that the light source must not generate much heat. You can supply a cool light source yourself, or there is an optional fluorescent lamp for the 3 in 1 PET that sells for $32.50.
I purchased two small, battery-powered Moonlight utility lights from Home Depot. Each light needs 4 AA batteries, making the total investment around $15. Using my cheap lights I could see a drawing on heavy sketchpad paper well enough to transfer the design. However, I recommend getting the optional light accessory if you will use the light box regularly.
I think the 3 in 1 PET is well made, using good quality materials. And from a cost, storage, and usefulness point of view, it is a much better investment than buying three (or more) products separately.
Where To Buy: 3 in 1 PET
The 3 in 1 Pet Web site.