Based in Segeltorp, to the south-west of Stockholm, Mattson & Zetterlund was a small machine tool company little known outside their native Sweden. In 1987 the firm was sold to Nife-Jungner of Oskarshamn (specialists in tool-grinding machines) who kept up production for around ten years before selling out in turn to Industrimaskiner AB in Stockholm. First produced in the early 1960s the VF600 must have met with some approval for sales continued until 2007 - though with some service and parts still available (year 2010) from Lars G Johnsson.
In typical northern European tradition, the "M & Z" Type VF-600 milling machine was a very high-quality product (all geometrical tolerances where held to better than 5 microns) with considerable attention to detail and with a suberb cosmetic finish. Heavily built (it weighed 1100 lbs/515 kg) and enjoying a comprehensive specification, in layout it resembled a jig borer of the Linley, Downham, Vernon and SIP 1-H type the table sat on the base and did not elevate) -but with the great advantage that it was usefully larger and fitted with a head that could, by using a handwheel working through worm-and-wheel gearing, be tilted 45° each side of vertical. To aid stiffness, the foot and column were formed in one piece, with the casting up to 30 mm thick in places where extra strength was needed. Carried on a wide saddle, the enormously deep and stiff 227/8" x 87/8" ( 580 mm x 225 mm) table had 13" (330 mm) of longitudinal travel and 8 1/2" (215 mm) across. Three T-slots were provided with, to aid accuracy in setting up, the central one machined for accurate alignment relative to the longitudinal travel, the sides being true to within 0.002/3 mm. Both the front face of the table and the left-hand face of the saddle had a T-slot in which to mount adjustable stops together with - handily provided as part of the standard equipment - trays with built-in rulers to carry dial indicators and length rods for toolroom work. Where the table feed screws ran through the end-of-table support plates, ball bearings were employed to reduce friction and improve feel - whilst the bronze feed nuts could be adjusted to eliminate backlash. Given a slightly tapered-face, the micrometer dials were crisply engraved and finished in a non-glare, satin-chrome. Gibs strips might be better described as gib blocks: these being set proud on their lower face and adjusted by through bolts. Available as option, and driven by its own electric motor, was a quiet-running six-speed table-feed gearbox - this unit being, presumably, sourced from a third-part manufacturer as an identical unit was used on two other Swedish machines, Modig and Arboga. Looking rather vulnerable - it was flange mounted at the right-hand end of the table - the box provided feed rates of 15, 29, 50, 77, 143 and 252 mm (approximately 9/16" to 9.5") per minute with stops fitted that could disengage the drive at pre-set points in either direction of travel. Happily, handwheels were fitted at both ends of the table, as anyone paying Swedish prices in the 1950s might have expected.
Mounted on V-edged slideways, the entire head assembly, with its flange-mounted 3/4 h.p. motor, could be elevated through 125/8" (320 mm) with the spindle nose (extended to the end of the quill travel) able to be brought down to contact the table - or moved to open up a gap of 153/4" (400 mm). So heavy was the head that the makers counterbalanced it with a large, wire-suspended weight held within the column. However, for easy moving of the head the weight provided was inadequate and owners have been known to add extra mass to it. The throat - the clearance between the inner face of the column and the spindle centre line - was 9" (230 mm). Of hardened (nitrided) steel, the spindle had ground splines, ran in an adjustable, 2-row cylindrical roller bearing at the bottom and, at the top, two ball bearings, one of the deep groove radial type and the other, to designed to take end thrust, a single axial type (the low-speed spindle gearing was supported in its own single and double-row ball races).
With a travel of 90 mm (3.54"), the spindle and quill assembly could be moved by a quick-action rack-and-pinion feed for drilling, though worm-and-wheel gearing for a fine feed or under power - the latter being driven by a built-in gearbox with a quick-release clutch (activated by two adjustable stops) that also provided overload protection. Possibly fitted only to later machines, and able to be used only when the slower spindle-speed range was selected, the two power feed rates were set at 0.05 and 0.10 mm (0.002" and 0.004") per revolution. Machined flat, the left hand face of the head was equipped with two T-slots, each fitted with it's own micrometer adjustable stop so allowing the operator to set two depth of quill feed for each job. For export markets the choice of spindle nose must have restricted model's popularity: originally equipped with a W25 type, the makers then settled on the Swedish and American standard 1 1/4" - a taper reported o be identical to the better known 30 INT.
Drive came from a motor flange mounted vertically at the back of the head via a V-belt that ran forwards over multi-step cone pulleys - although the system retained the same layout, changes were made when manufacture passed into the hands of Nife-Jungner. At first three motors were listed - 960, 1400 or 2800 r.p.m. - that, in conjunction with a 5 : 1 ratio, speed-reducing lathe-like backgear assembly and a 4-step V-belt drive, gave speeds that ranged from a slowest of 70 r.p.m. (backgear with a 960 r.p.m. motor) to a highest of 4560 r.p.m. (open drive with 2800 r.p.m. motor). However, the most sensible choice for general work would have been the 1450 r.p.m. unit - when the eight speeds available ran from 100 through 145, 250, 390, 525, 770, 1325 to 2065 r.p.m. Later models were fitted with 5-step pulleys with two motors offered - 960 r.p.m. and 1400 r.p.m. - with each providing ten speeds, the slower giving a range that spanned, through the reduction gearing 55, 85, 140, 240 and 330 r.p.m. and in direct belt drive 265, 430, 700, 1250 and 1750 r.p.m. in direct, open drive. Equipped with the higher-speed motor the two ranges became, respectively: 80, 130, 210, 370 and 500 r.p.m. and 400, 650, 1050, 1850 and 2500 r.p.m.
Supplied complete on a heavy stand (with knee cut-out on early models) the VF-600 had factory-fitted, built-in electrical switch gear, the switches for spindle, table and coolant motors being mounted on a facia panel.
It is believed that around 1300 to 1400 examples were produced in total and, if you have one, the writer would be pleased to hear from you..
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