Which VN is right for me.
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  1. #1
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    Default Which VN is right for me.

    At work we have a 22LU that was gathering dust. I put the machine back into service and have really enjoyed it, particularly for removing lots of stock quickly and the way all the power feeds are integrated and operated. I've enjoyed it so much that now I want one.
    Thing is, they seem to be a little thin on the ground, at least if one is on a budget.
    I do see a #16 and a #24 for sale though.

    In my personal shop I currently have a couple mid-sized CNC mills and one manual mill, one of those little Index #40 mills so popular on battleships back in the day and I have an M-head I was thinking of installing on it so I could have a fast quill.

    So, on the one hand I don't need a VN particularly and floor space is always a thing so the smaller one is attractive as a way to scratch the itch. On the other hand, if the 24 will do everything the 16 will do plus more but just take a little more space, it might be worth it.

    One more detail is that I can borrow accessories from work if I want to play and the 22 is *very* well equipped.
    So I guess if the 24 will take 22 accessories and 16 won't, that would be a factor.

    Or do I just wait for a 22 to come available? Actually, since the other guys at work are afraid of anything that isn't a Bridgeport or Haas, when I retire they are likely to just sell the VN, so perhaps I should just wait...

    Anyway, comments and comparisons from folks who have used both the 16 and 22 or 22 and 24 are welcome.

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    16 has power feed only on X axis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstEliminator View Post
    16 has power feed only on X axis.
    As does the VN12 But still pretty beefy I can remove a .125 pass without to much trouble.

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    Since you are looking, keep your eyes peeled for a 1R3 or 2R3 or 2R5. These are all the next and last generation of the old VN designs. All feature much bigger working envelopes, standard NMTB tapers, more massive construction, more power, and better laid out features like box overarms. The 1R3 is similar to the 12 and 16, with only a power table, 3hp motor. The 2R3 and 5 have a 3 way knee like the 22L, the 2R3 being a 3hp machine and the 5 being 5hp. 1R3 is NMTB40, 2R3 and 5 are NMTB 50. Ultimate is a 1R3Q or 2R3Q models with a quill and power feed head. They take one smaller NMTB size in the spindle, 30 and 40,

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    Good to know about the 12 and 16 only having X power. I think without a quill I'd want X and Z. I could attach a servo, but decided to scrounge for a 22.
    It took a little time and digging, but I did wind up finding a 22LU just a couple hours from me. It had a lot of miles on it and some weird barnacles but looks generally sound.
    3250Lbs according to the load cell I hung on my crane's hook while lifting. It took several lifts and a really ungraceful mound of chain to get the balance of the machine right to lift it into the truck bed, but made it. The head worked and the powerfeeds on all three axis mostly work with the caveat the the knee up makes a not-great noise and won't lift very far. I'm hoping it's just the accumulated grime on the machine since it hasn't been used in some while. There is a braze repair below the X travel direction selector. so it would be nice to find someone parting a machine at some point. I almost didn't go look at the machine because I was worried about what the homemade abomination of a power feed was on the right side of the table meant but luckily the table feed worked fine. Might have been something done before the braze repair? Anyway, it came from the United Can Company and has an asset tag attesting to that. The previous owner retied from there.

    I happen to have a Bridgeport M head sitting around I had been thinking of fitting to my little Index 40h, but I might make it a sub-head on the VN for when I'd like a rapid quill and fast spindle.

    I got the machine home and started cleaning and removing barnacles. Makes me want to keep cleaning and paint, but am sort of buried in other projects. Anyway, pics:
    vn-rigging.jpgvn-hook.jpgvan-norman.jpgimg_20200222_215855.jpgimg_20200222_215844.jpg

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    Here's mine with an M Head attached if you were curious...

    P.S. Don't judge the plywood on the front of that arm. I needed a quick and dirty way to hold it up for some hole drilling to install rails in the arm.


    Sent from my S61 using Tapatalk

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    I wish my 22 were that clean.
    Thanks, I was going to post and ask how people had mounted their M heads. Yours looks pretty high. Is this for clearance of the rapid quill handle or some other clearance issue, because it puts the head at a good working height for you, or just to make for a larger work envelope? Also, how do you like having the M-head on your VN22?

    Your pictures did make me realize I hadn't planned my (almost-finished) M-head adapter for the Index-40 carefully and it wasn't going to work out, so...thanks? I can mostly save it but as drawn the belt cover will barely rub.

    No judgment at all on the plywood, It's cheap, quick, and environmentally low-impact. I use it often for one-time machining that will be done dry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teletech View Post
    I wish my 22 were that clean.
    Thanks, I was going to post and ask how people had mounted their M heads. Yours looks pretty high. Is this for clearance of the rapid quill handle or some other clearance issue, because it puts the head at a good working height for you, or just to make for a larger work envelope? Also, how do you like having the M-head on your VN22?

    Your pictures did make me realize I hadn't planned my (almost-finished) M-head adapter for the Index-40 carefully and it wasn't going to work out, so...thanks? I can mostly save it but as drawn the belt cover will barely rub.

    No judgment at all on the plywood, It's cheap, quick, and environmentally low-impact. I use it often for one-time machining that will be done dry.
    The head was mounted higher to allow for clearance issues. I wanted enough room to run drill chucks and collets without having to run out of room. The thing about my 22L is that the main spindle runs centerline with the table top. With the table that high, it allows for the M Head to be out of the way without having to remove it for general spindle use. I should have added 1" more, but the metal I had generally worked and allowed it to only new that high. You'll also notice, I built a splitter into my main motor to allow the M Head to be petted from the main power. This allows me to run both the feed motor and my choice of Bridgey head or Main Spindle. I noticed that some guys who mounted then on there said it ran out of room rather quickly when they added things like drill chucks and vices. Overall, I am pleased with how the setup works.

    Sent from my S61 using Tapatalk

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    Oh and I am more than happy with the little Bridgey head. I still wish it were a J Head for the speeds I sometimes run, but overall, I wouldn't change it at all. It provides me with an intermediate drill press that my camelback and mill can't handle. It is small enough that tramming is rather easy with using my palm bump method and it isn't too too heavy that it would go flying down around if it wanted to.

    Here's a picture of it up out of the way while doing some horizontal work.

    Sent from my S61 using Tapatalk

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    Great information, thanks very much! I don't know that I'd need the height under the spindle for the little stuff I'd do with mine but I can see now how having it higher reduces the need for removal which is a big plus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael.kitko View Post
    Oh and I am more than happy with the little Bridgey head. I still wish it were a J Head for the speeds I sometimes run, but overall, I wouldn't change it at all. It provides me with an intermediate drill press that my camelback and mill can't handle. It is small enough that tramming is rather easy with using my palm bump method and it isn't too too heavy that it would go flying down around if it wanted to.

    Here's a picture of it up out of the way while doing some horizontal work.

    Sent from my S61 using Tapatalk
    Hi,
    How much deflection do you get with the bport head hanging out far from the ram?

    it looks like you can tram the bport head left to right via the overarm... can you tram
    front and back, or is the setup rigid enough that it isn't necessary?

    -Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandenberger View Post
    Hi,
    How much deflection do you get with the bport head hanging out far from the ram?

    it looks like you can tram the bport head left to right via the overarm... can you tram
    front and back, or is the setup rigid enough that it isn't necessary?

    -Phil
    Phil, I don't use it that far out. I just pulled it out to get it out of the way of those lugs on the side of the DeWalt Radial Arm Saw arm. They cleared the overarm support, but wouldn't clear the adapter. I just didn't want to remove the head, so that was the next easiest option.

    As far as the parallelism to the table. I mounted the head to the table and fly cut the adapter parallel to the table. This allows me to have it 100% parallel. When I checked tram before drilling my holes for the rails I installed in that arm, I was only off .0005 from front to back and that may have been due to torque differences from the bolts on the adapter that bolts the head to the adapter. Side to side took a second to get in, but it's not too difficult with the size of that head.

    Sent from my S61 using Tapatalk

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    Score! As much as it might have been nice to have that extra space under the nose, check out what I just found:
    dsc_0150.jpg
    A factory made adapter from round rod (same dia as my V/N overarm) to am M-head. Interesting that it also has two mounting faces so one could attain pretty much any angle.
    Also interesting is the "m" to "j" adapter on one face. Since I have am M-head already and can just use the V/N for heavy work and powerfeed I don't see myself using that bit.
    No idea who made this but I'm sure glad to have found it. :-) My appreciation in even greater having made an adapter so I could mount am m-head to my Index milling machine, complete with circular T-slot, what a pain that was.

    So, how do folks like to mount DRO on the VN machines? I had a look today and there is just room to tuck a scale on the back of the table for X, the knee has a spot that looks good for Z, but Y looks like a mess. If one were to give up the powerfeed stops I can see a way but otherwise it looks like a real obstacle course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teletech View Post
    Score! As much as it might have been nice to have that extra space under the nose, check out what I just found:
    dsc_0150.jpg
    A factory made adapter from round rod (same dia as my V/N overarm) to am M-head. Interesting that it also has two mounting faces so one could attain pretty much any angle.
    Also interesting is the "m" to "j" adapter on one face. Since I have am M-head already and can just use the V/N for heavy work and powerfeed I don't see myself using that bit.
    No idea who made this but I'm sure glad to have found it. :-) My appreciation in even greater having made an adapter so I could mount am m-head to my Index milling machine, complete with circular T-slot, what a pain that was.

    So, how do folks like to mount DRO on the VN machines? I had a look today and there is just room to tuck a scale on the back of the table for X, the knee has a spot that looks good for Z, but Y looks like a mess. If one were to give up the powerfeed stops I can see a way but otherwise it looks like a real obstacle course.
    I was and have been looking for one of those adapters for mine. Just haven't found one yet.

    Sent from my S61 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael.kitko View Post
    I was and have been looking for one of those adapters for mine. Just haven't found one yet.

    Sent from my S61 using Tapatalk
    This looks like the same item I have:
    Bridgeport straight & 90 Compound Mounting Adapter M head, H Head, C Head G154 | eBay

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    I got the overarm cleared of rust and freed-up and mounted the head just to see what it looked like. It's a lot of milling machine for a tiny head but I'm pretty stoked to see it coming together. I haven't set the table on because I'm still wringing my hands about painting the machine.
    img_20200405_055223.jpg
    img_20200405_055205.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by teletech View Post
    I got the overarm cleared of rust and freed-up and mounted the head just to see what it looked like. It's a lot of milling machine for a tiny head but I'm pretty stoked to see it coming together. I haven't set the table on because I'm still wringing my hands about painting the machine.
    img_20200405_055223.jpg
    img_20200405_055205.jpg
    Nice. My 22LU says you should paint it.

    If you haven’t already I’d check the bijur meter units are flowing properly since you have the table off...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandenberger View Post
    Nice. My 22LU says you should paint it.

    If you haven’t already I’d check the bijur meter units are flowing properly since you have the table off...
    Does your 22LU have anything to say about color?
    I would love to have the PPG code number for the factory color which looks to have been a darker gray with a fair amount of blue in it. I'm also open to other more unique colors since I saw that dark burgundy 10EE someone did. The combination of prep for paint AND choosing a color has me stalled out.
    Is there a link for how to best check the metering units? Lacking such I'd just verify there was oil getting to both ways on both axis.
    I'm also interested in knowing more about lubrication in general: best oil for knee, head, and spindle bearings.
    I suspect mine might be of intermediate age since I lack the ball oiler shown for oiling the ram in the early manual I've seen but have two spindle-bearing zerks and the late manual I've read says the bevel and front bearing share a common oil supply. I don't have the sight glass in the cutterhead shown in the late manual.
    The manual is mute on several aspects of lubrication, including the orientation of the cutterhead when filling,
    I would also welcome information on where I should look to find the serial number.

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    Paint it a color you'll like looking at all the time. I think the factory color on most post-1930's VNs was an undistinguished muddy gray or unsaturated olive drab. If/when I tear mine down again and clean it up, I certainly don't intend to repaint the factory color.


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