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- Published: Thursday, 06 July 2023 10:01
- Written by Super User
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Van Norman No. 1/2 Milling Machine
Since not many folks recognize this machine, I thought a web page would be of some use. Yes, it's a 1/2, not a 12. Here's what I know so far...
On the left side of the base there is a small panel that can be removed that gives access to the inside of the base. Don't know why, unless it's for removing the chips that accumulate inside. On the panel is the following:
Duplex Milling Machine
Van Norman Machine Tool Co
PAT Nov 3 1896
Above the panel and the on/off switch is a dealer nameplate. It has:
Belting - Transmission
387 Charles St. Providence 4 R.I.
There's a different business at that address now - Providence Personal Training. With the zone address ( Providence 4 R.I. ) the nameplate dates between 1943 and 1963. I've found one reference to Leach Machinery so far, it appears to have been dissolved in March of 1982. The reference was the summary of a court case - funny things that you can find on the web.
The serial number is apparently 5049. Several of the parts have this number stamped on them including the base between the column ways, near the top. Other parts include the (horizontal) spindle/arbor support arm, a shaft collar, and a gear. A couple of other gears have just 49 stamped on them.
On the right side of the ram is a small number plate with "L566" embossed on it. Don't know what it signifies.
It's not a large machine, someone once stated that it was about 5/8ths of a Bridgeport.
|Table length (clamping)||27 1/4 inches|
|Table width (clamping)||6 3/4 inches|
|Table height||32 to 48 1/2 inches|
|X axis travel||about 20 inches|
|Y axis travel||6 1/4 inches|
|Ram travel (Y axis)||8 3/4 inches|
|Tool centerline height
|47 3/4 inches|
The maximum table height of 48 1/2 inches may be of little use as the bottom of the ram is at 45 inches.
The 1/2 uses the C style collets. This style is probably more commonly known as the 5V collet. At least that's what the 25th edition of Machinery's Handbook calls them. The Van Norman accessory catalog (the link is further on down) lists the round sizes as 1/64 inches to 5/8 inches, by 1/64 inches. Per the Machinery's Handbook, the maximum sizes are:
There is a nice drawing with dimensions for the 5V collet on John Kasunich's Van Norman site.
Other tooling included adapters to B&S and Morse tapers, shell end mill abors and (horizontal) cutter arbors.
My machine is driven with a 1725 rpm replacement motor. There are two pulleys that the motor could drive, but I've always used the larger one. If I've measured the pulleys and done the math correctly the three spindle speeds are 63, 134, and 270 rpm.
Currently a short list...
- Some of the screws are 1/4 - 24 TPI (UNS).
- Most of the collets that came with the machine had bad threads. The threads looked like ocean waves, having been pulled that much. I've made a new draw bar and bought a set of end mill holders from .
- There is a drive for moving the table, but a belt is broken, so I've never tried it.
would be nice... I have a later attachments and accessories catalog. It appears to have been published in the late 30's or early 40's as the company was formed in 1888 and the catalog states on the first page "For 50 years, Van Norman has steadily developed the flexibility and efficency of tool room equipment". The No. 1/2 is mentioned as being an older machine.
Here are a couple flyers for the 1/2. The first one Ken Cope provided. Not sure where I got the second one.
I'd like to find a user's manual, lubrication and maintenance info, etc.
- John Kasunich's Van Norman Milling Machine Homepage
- Mike Callahan's metalworking page at the Southern Museum of Flight
- Yahoo! Van Norman group
Wants and Desires
Things I'd like to find -
- The age of the machine. It was probably built before World War II and obviously after 1896. John Kasunich has checked the 10th and 11th editions of the Machine Tool Serial Numbers and came up empty. He thinks it might be the 49th or 50th No. 1/2 built as Van Norman seems to have started serial numbers with 5000. Ken Cope told me that the Model 1/2 was introduced sometime after 1912 and was superceeded by the Model 10 by 1927.
- Any literature that covers the care and feeding of the mill. An period accessory catalog would be neat too.