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Mitre Mite VN-4

Jim Miller

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I know a framer who has an AMP-Mitre Mite model VN-4, 80 mm, 3-position, computerized/automatic underpinner. The serial number indicates 1997 manufacture, but it has been collecting dust for several years.

There are a couple of pneumatic parts laying loose on the machine, and some loose air lines dangling from the underside. I'm inquiring to Fletcher-AMP's Chicago service location about sending this machine back to be refurbished, and wouldn't be surprised if the cost is $2,000 or more plus shipping both ways. I'm told that if the automatic features are removed and the machine is used only manually, the cost would be less, but either way, I'm wondering whether this machine is worth it.

There are several used underpinners on the market, in apparent good condition, which would serve the purposes of this frame shop, and most of them probably would cost less than refurbishing this one.

Any suggestions?
 

JFeig

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If the framer is a small shop and it works in manual , don't fix it. If it is only a pneumatic problem; possibly a local person with pneumatic experience can fix it. Most pneumatic controls and valves, connections and o-rings are generic in nature.
 

Rick Granick

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Jun 30, 1999
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I agree. A lot of the machinery used in small and medium manufacturing is very similar to ours, but much is even more complicated. There must be several companies in town that service those kinds of businesses who could probably figure it out.
:cool: Rick

P.S. One of my favorite places is Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. They have an exhibit that is an automated manufacturing setup that makes a custom-engraved top, packages it, and dispenses it, to the delight of the kid (or adult) watching the process unfold. Many of the machines in this setup remind me of bigger versions of the workings of our v-nailers and CMCs.
https://www.msichicago.org/explore/whats-here/exhibits/toymaker-3000-an-adventure-in-automation/
 

neilframer

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Jim, I sent you a message about the VN4 that I am selling.
This machine was only used to vnail after gluing and joining in a vise so there is no glue on it and it is very clean.
The VN4 machines are all pneumatic with 2 or 3 positions that can be set (mine has 3) but they are not computerized.
IMG_6726.JPG
 
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Jim Miller

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Thanks, Neil. We may be able to talk further after my discussion with the business owner.
 

Jim Miller

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Amp has responded with estimates of cost to refurbish the machine, based on the photographs that were sent in. The owner of the machine wants to go ahead, but needs to decide whether the automatic features would be worth the extra cost in the rebuild.

Here's a new question:
If he has the VN-4 refurbished as a manual machine instead of automatic, how would it function with the three fastener sizes? That is, if the operator wants to insert two or three different V-nail sizes in the same corner, can the multiple sizes be inserted under one clamping of the machine? Or, would the operator have to release the clamps and change something in the setup?
 

JFeig

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I would that the punch (the square square rod that pushes the nail into the wood - AKA pluger) and die(the "V" block that the punch rides in) are the same for all models of AMP machines. My experience with the basic manual machine is that the die length is set for a single length of nail. My machine came with 3 dies (12mm, 10mm, and 7mm) that match the nail sizes.
 

romanf

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Sep 21, 2017
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Amp has responded with estimates of cost to refurbish the machine, based on the photographs that were sent in. The owner of the machine wants to go ahead, but needs to decide whether the automatic features would be worth the extra cost in the rebuild.

Here's a new question:
If he has the VN-4 refurbished as a manual machine instead of automatic, how would it function with the three fastener sizes? That is, if the operator wants to insert two or three different V-nail sizes in the same corner, can the multiple sizes be inserted under one clamping of the machine? Or, would the operator have to release the clamps and change something in the setup?
The vn4 only inserts the same size nails in the three positions, not different sizes in each. If you use the machine in manual mode, you would have to move the nails into each position manually. The fence is fixed and does not move like in other underpinners.

The nail head moves into each of the three positions x,y, and z. In all other underpinners the nail head is in a fixed position and the frame is moved. It would not make sense to make this unit into a manual one, as you would be spending all the time moving the nail head into the required position.
 
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neilframer

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Amp has responded with estimates of cost to refurbish the machine, based on the photographs that were sent in. The owner of the machine wants to go ahead, but needs to decide whether the automatic features would be worth the extra cost in the rebuild.
I would not suggest deleting the automatic features.
You would basically be turning a VN4 into a VN2 which you could probably buy cheaper.

The vn4 only inserts the same size nails in the three positions, not different sizes in each. If you use the machine in manual mode, you would have to move the nails into each position manually. The fence is fixed and does not move like in other underpinners.

The nail head moves into each of the three positions x,y, and z. In all other underpinners the nail head is in a fixed position and the frame is moved. It would not make sense to make this unit into a manual one, as you would be spending all the time moving the nail head into the required position.
This is correct.;)
You cannot easily shoot different sized vnails in the same corner.
You would have to stop, move the frame out of the machine and change the vnail block for each size of vnail and without the auto features, you would be moving the nail head manually.
In my opinion, the machine would be difficult to use and time consuming.
You can stack the same sized vnails if you want without going thru the trouble of changing heads.
 

IFGL

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Is this the multi channel version Jim?

Forget I spoke, I just read Neil's post, I have been looking for a multi channel one, they do not come up often second hand and I can't justify the new price.
 
Donmar Creations

Jim Miller

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Thanks for the information! I will pass it on.
 

David Waldmann

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The vn4 only inserts the same size nails in the three positions, not different sizes in each. If you use the machine in manual mode, you would have to move the nails into each position manually. The fence is fixed and does not move like in other underpinners.

The nail head moves into each of the three positions x,y, and z. In all other underpinners the nail head is in a fixed position and the frame is moved. It would not make sense to make this unit into a manual one, as you would be spending all the time moving the nail head into the required position.
I realize it's not germane to the OP, but just in case someone comes across this thread searching for something else, there is at least one other underpinner that works in the same manner - the Inmes IM-4P at least (and probably other models they sell). While there are only two stops for precise placement, you can insert as many nails as you want in any location between those two stops.
 

Paul Cascio

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Oct 5, 2006
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I believe the machine that Jim was referring to is a VN4E, which is programmable. It can be identified by the control/program box extending off of the side of the machine. Presumably, the box, and automation it provides, can be removed, leaving you with a VN4, which is a very nice machine in its own right. The 4E's capabilities are mostly for manufacturers who might join hundred of frames with the same moulding, and benefit from the few seconds it would save with each frame. Custom framers who are doing onesies and twosies would probably not get any benefit from the programmable aspect of a 4E.

My one reservation about buying a used 4E is that it is more likely to have high mileage from use in a production environment.
 
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