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Van Norman machine...

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  • Van Norman machine...

    close to me-looks like a real old relic and would appear overpriced at $2000.00 but wadda I know? Opinions?? gotta add, its a model 36 built in 1954.

  • #2
    Thats a bit larger (in table size) than my 22L. Looks like 1959 was the last year for that model. I dont know what machines in your area are going for. I found mine with a decent bit of tooling for $500. But, if you look at the yahoo group, some have bought mills for $1,500+ and been happy.

    First some of the downers, the 5V collets used by VN (up till recently) were always hard to find. I have noticed that someone is making them and selling them on ebay for $175 a set.

    Also, if you want the shaper attachment, start looking now. Most of the original attachments are hard to find.

    The overarm supports are also hard to find. Needed for running a large arbor.

    There was never a nice quill feed similar to a bridgeport for this machine. There are drilling attachments that work well but again, they are rare.

    There is a chain on the feed drive motor that is a bit hard to find if it gets broke. There is some chatter about a kit someone has to change this over but I think it calls for a partial disassembly of the machine.

    Now, for the good points -

    Many of the machines speeds are a bit slow, built to cut steel and iron. It was designed for heavy cuts and just ripping material off of the work. Solid, rigid & hog that stuff off as quick as you can crank the handle. I have never stalled it and I have taken some heavy cuts.

    With the attachments, you can do all sorts of things. The shaper attachment is a nice addition. There is also a high speed milling attachment with a universal swivel on it to get into all sorts of different angles.

    The ram feature is nice to get either over or behind the table. Also, the overarm supports give a nice solid support for arbor cutters.

    So..... If this machine has all of the tooling (overarm supports, collets, low-lead gear with dividing head, drilling attachment etc) and is is in good working order, it might fit the bill and be a good buy.

    Then again, you might find a bridgeport in your area a bit cheaper, leaving money for tooling. Best to look around and get a feel for what is in the area, prices and match that up to your needs. If the VN fits the bill, then buy it.......

    Added some links

    Last edited by rockrat; 02-10-2008, 10:30 AM.
    Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.


    • #3
      A look a the Kasunich site Rock Rat referenced shows the VN 36 to be
      a monster at 5100#, probably no quill, as VN didn't add quills to machines
      until late and the 36 was intro'd in the late '30s discontinued in '54.
      So yours would be a late model. It is designed as a horizontal mill,
      so you need to study up on John's site, but the salient feature is the
      large round horizontal bar that slides in and out on the top of the
      machine with a casting on the end that holds the bearing on which
      the horizontal shafts are mounted. If this is absent... Other often
      missing parts are the feed drive sprockets/shafts and gear boxes or
      motors, the spindle collet lock shaft and minor stuff like handles for
      the table and knee, measuring rings on the handles, wrenches (esp the
      square ones for the ram and milling head/gear box). This has a
      50NST taper, so tooling holders may be a little easier to find than the
      50V other larger VN have. It is not particularly hard to mount a surplus
      Bridgeport type head on the end of the ram, back the head up and
      gain a quill that way. The price, as you suspect, is 1000 to 1500 higher
      than is realistic. The machine has mostly scrap value. It should be
      fully equipped to justify a $1000 price. Tooling it up, vise, scrounging
      50NST holders will add significantly to the cost. If you contemplate
      using it as a horizontal mill they should have some horizontal spindles,
      which I suspect for that machine are going to be 1.5" or larger in size
      as part of the deal. Shaft size may go down to 1" but I doubt any smaller.
      You may be able to adapt 50size commercial horizontal spindles but
      this would require side to side study.
      A stripped mill, sans the specialty parts mentioned, really is scrap.


      • #4
        Many, many thanks. I'm gonna pass on this one based on this good info!