Need Vitamix Reality Check...

I’ve always been happy with my Waring Professional bar blender–it’s always done everyting I’ve asked of it. But today at a grange rummage sale, I found a minty fresh Vitamix 3600 Super, Mod. 47954, circa 1969. FIFTEEN DOLLARS! It came with a 64oz stainless spigoted container and the “Action Dome” top. It runs in forward and reverse, apparently in 4 speeds. It’s huge, rated 2900W and 2hp.

Here’s my first question: Is there anything the new ones can do at $500+ that this model can’t (other than fit under my counter)?

Second, are there any attachments or accessories for this unit that you recommend?

Third, is the recipe book a good way to learn how to use it beyond basic blending?

Mahalo,
Kaleo

WOW! That’s a steal! I can’t comment on whether a new model Vitamix will be an upgrade from the 1969 version, but I can state that a new model Vitamix is a big upgrade from the Waring Pro blender. I have the Waring but decided to ask for a Vitamix for Christmas this year, and the Waring has been sitting in a closet ever since.

Hi Kaleo,

That’s a nice vintage Vitamix model. I used to have a 4200 (I think) which was all metal with a spigot, just like the 3600. This was in the late 1980s. Back then they didn’t come out with new models very often.

To answer your questions:

  1. There’s nothing significant that the newer Vitamix models can do compared with the older vintage models. However, there are differences which may be important to you. The newer ones are more powerful for starters. That 2900 Watts is a stalled rating (which I can confess I’m not exactly sure what that means). The normal rating is 850 Watts. The difference is 25 amps compared to 7 amps. Since the 3600 is a consumer blender, I doubt it would draw 2900 Watts through a 15 or 20 amp 110 V household breaker. The newer models are anywhere between 1180 Watts and 1800 Watts (the practical limit of a household kitchen circuit). You may or may not be able to crush ice with the 3600.
    Another consideration is that some of those older models with metal containers have seams or indentations around the inside bottom which may make them a little harder to clean.
    Also, of course the older models are not programmable, like the newest offerings. This may not be important to you.
    Finally, as the container is metal (and therefore opaque) you won’t be able to see the blending process without checking it from the top dome, which might not be the best angle to judge how things are going. As a positive, a metal container is less prone to breaking than glass or even polycarbonate.
    As a basic blender, the 3600 at $15.00 would be an incredible bargain, especially if you don’t plan to tax it. (the motor can get quite hot in those older units if you’re blending large batches). I also remember those older vintage models have really long cords, which can be handy.

  2. The only attachments I remember for the older metal Vitamix models are extra containers for dry blending. Also, if the one you saw at the rummage sale doesn’t come with a tamper, you should consider getting one. Depending on what you’re blending, a tamper is almost a necessity with Vitamix blenders.

  3. If the recipe book is separate from the manual, then it won’t be of much use. It’s just recipes…mostly fluff. The manual is what you want to learn how to use the machine. I can’t remember if they combined the manual with the recipe booklet in those older units or not. Regardless, there’s really not much to those older machines, no huge learning curve anyway. From what I gather, you’re a seasoned cook, so I’m sure you’ll get to know your way around the 3600 quickly.

1 Like

Wow, thanks!

Hi, Seitan:

After some investigation, I discovered that Vitamix once sold a carrot juice and cider press attachment for the 3600. Do you know anything about those?

Thanks,
Bill

Sorry, don’t know much about those attachments. I never had them.

I see someone is selling them on eBay if you’re interested:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Vita-Mix-Carrot-Juice-And-Cider-Press-W-Mailer-Box-/152208585676?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368

At a natural foods restaurant I worked at many years ago, we had an old Vitamix 3600 in the kitchen. We tried making carrot juice in it, but we found the Champion Juicer produced a nicer liquid. In my experience, the Champion Juicer, with its masticating blades, works best for juicing most kinds of vegetables.

I’m not even sure why Vitamix would sell an extra juicer attachment like that, since their whole marketing raison d’etre is about making ‘total juice’. That cider press seems intriguing though.

Thanks for the link, Seitan. I already have a Champion, so if it works better you saved me money!

I’m pretty savvy mechanically, but I’m not understanding this attachment. It looks like you may turn a wheel by hand after the machine stops. Do you understand how it works?

Alaha,
Kaleo

I thought it was two separate attachments, one for carrot juice and one for cider. But looking at it more closely, I see it’s actually just one press for either.

It looks like after you juice the carrots (or apples) in the Vitamix container, you then fit the bag over the top, then dump out the juice (the bag catches the pulp). Then put one of the perforated square plates down inside the bottom. Then place the bag with pulp on top of that. Then place the second square perforated plate on top of the bag. Then put the screw on, and turn the wheel to press.

Here are the official instructions from the manual:

Juicing

  1. Cut fruit into pieces as long as they are wide. Cut pieces so that they are roughly identical. For best results, fill the container full.

  2. Clamp on the action dome lid, making sure the funnel top is in place.

  3. Turn to speed setting 7 and 8, flip forward and reverse once or twice. While running on forward, start pushing the fruit down using the tamper through the action dome. The funnel top of the action dome will allow you to push just far enough without getting the tamper into the blades. Keep pushing down in the center to get the fruit chopped and circulating. Use the tamper to loosen pieces of fruit that may be lodged to the sides.

  4. Stop the machine and remove the action dome lid, then pull the nylon bag well over the top of the container like a stocking cap, and invert the Vita-Mix container over a pan or bowl, shaking and tapping sharply, to dump the contents into the bag.

  5. (Washing instructions)

To Extract Juice

  1. Unwind the screw device from the lid and wash all parts of the press in hot suds, rinsing thoroughly. Lubricate the screw with vegetable shortening, including the end. Drop one metal platform into the bottom of the container, hollow side down.

  2. Fit the bag full of pulp into the container, open part up. Shake the pulp down solidly into the bag, or push down with a spoon, and fold the top of the bag over tightly and smoothly.

  3. Place the second metal platform, hollow side up, on top of the folded top of the bag. Push down enough so that the lid with the screw device can be slid across and clamped on top of the container at right angles to the container handle. Fasten securely in place by matching the curled edges. For each usage, lubricate the stainless steel screw with vegetable oil or shortening at all points of friction, especially where it inserts into the round fitting on the platform.

  4. Start winding the screw device downward by spinning the wheel between your hands. Screw should insert into the round fitting on top of the inverted platform. As you work it downward, the press is pressing the juice out through the bag. You’ll find that you can drawing juice off through the spigot right away. By spinning the wheel between both hands you’ll be able to exert great pressure withe very little effort. When you have worked it down as far as possible, if you wish to allow it to sit a few minutes under pressure, even more juice can be extracted. You’ll find more juice in the bottom of the container below the level of the spigot. So be sure to remove container and with lid off, pour out as from a pitcher.

  5. Remove the juicing apparatus by reversing the procedure, winding the screw part upward until the top can be slid off the container, and inverted platform removed. Remove the pulp, wash out the bag, and all other parts. With a little practice–more, better and richer juice may be extracted with speed and efficiency.

[edit: for some reason the formatting in my post doesn’t match the the instructions. After ‘To Extract Juice’, the numbers should continue from 6 to 10]

also from: http://www.ehow.com/how_7570593_vitamix-press-instructions.html

But if you already have a Champion juicer, I’d stick with that.

If you really want to extract every last drop of juice from the pulp, then instead of the Vitamix press attachment, just scrape the pulp from the Champion juicer and re-press it through a chinois and/or a cheesecloth.

Hope this helps.

Wow, great sleuthing, Seitan, thanks!

It actually looks like more trouble than it’s worth. It merely turns the hopper into a press basket, and this kit is the “guts” of a very small press. I would probably bend or break something the first time I used it. I think I’ll stick with the Champion.

Mahalo Hou,
Kaleo

I don’t think you’d bend or break it (it’s metal). But yes, the press would just be the size of (inside) the container.

The aluminum parts look husky enough. If I read the instructions correctly, all the force is generated by pushing against the hopper’s thin SS rim. THAT’s what I’d probably trash.

Not worth it. I have the Champion and a real cider press.

Aloha,
Kaleo

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold