VDF Lathes Home Page VDF E & V Lathes
"Vereinigte Drehbank Fabriken" (VDF) was a Post-WW2 organisation designed to assist the engineering and sales effort of a group of German machine-tool manufacturers including "Heidenreich & Harbeck, Hamburg", "Boehringer" and "Wohlenberg, Hannover". The organisation created a worldwide marketing operation with their office located in Frankfurt/Main - the exported lathes appearing to have been sold using either the maker's alone, or with just a VDF label - or, sometimes, with both a maker's and a VDF badge.
The first move of the "Association" was to create a unified design of very high-quality lathe, designed Einheitsdrehbank, that was built in three sizes:
E3 by Heidenreich & Harbeck, Hamburg
E5 by Gebrüder Wohlenberg, Göppingen
E7 by H. Wohlenberg, Hannover
Once in production, the "E" lathes were followed by the V Series, these having 20 mm added to the bottom of the E headstock casting followed by an increase of 60 mm to make the Type E3H.
Many machines enjoyed what might be called a flexible specification, being built to a customer's specific requirements - one example being the basic versions intended for repetitive work on parts of limited size. These models were usually bereft of a tailstock and fitted with headstocks and feed gearboxes that had just four rates of speed and feed respectively - though the makers did offer to change this set-up if required. While strong, accurate lathes, they are obviously not as capable as the regular versions and are quite unsuited to general workshop tasks; in reality, few survive for, once worn out, they would have been scrapped. Many models were also offered with a choice of a plain bronze or roller front bearing, the former sometimes favoured by toolrooms where accuracy was considered more important than very high speeds. However, the only drawback to an older lathe fitted with plain bearings is the expense and difficulty of finding and then replacing them - a roller-bearing model is, in comparison, very much easier to keep running as bearings should be available off the shelf.
The text and illustrations on this and the following five pages were first published during the early 1960s. Some VDF lathes are illustrated and described here
Other interesting factory tours are those for the German companies Koepfer, Maho, Schiess (100 years), Index and the English Dean, Smith & Grace and Archdale - together with other material from Fellows 50th Anniversary, Moore Jig Borers the first 50 years, the American Monarch Company, Pfauter Gear Hobbers 60th Anniversary, TOS Machine Tools History and with some inside views of lathe makers Herbert, Wadkin, Colchester and Lang..