What’s a rotary table?

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A rotary table is a metalworking device used for precise positioning of workpieces, with manual or numerical control. It can be used with indexing plates and is often mounted horizontally or vertically to facilitate concentric cutting operations. It is versatile and used for various machining and milling procedures.

A rotary table is a disc-shaped metalworking device used to achieve precise positioning of the workpiece. It allows a metalworker to cut or drill a workpiece at precise intervals around a vertically or horizontally fixed axis. A rotary table can be both manual and numerically controlled. Some types of rotary tables are designed to be used with indexing plates or indexing plates for specialized operations. A rotary table used in conjunction with one of these locating plates is typically referred to as a dividing head or indexer.

The rotary table fixture usually has a solid base that can be attached to a separate fixture or table using clamps. This device is essentially a rotating disc which holds the piece still during cutting or drilling operations. The puck portion of a rotary table can be rotated freely for indexing procedures or rotated by an attached control arm known as a worm wheel. Tables used in high precision operations are typically turned by a duplex type worm wheel to compensate for backlash. Rotary tables used in automated metalworking processes are transformed by computer numerical control machinery.

Rotary tables are often used in a flat position with the axis of the table oriented vertically. They are sometimes mounted with the axis oriented horizontally so that a tailstock can be used to support the free end of the workpiece. When this device is connected to a secondary table, the workpiece can be centered on the axis of the rotary table which is then centered on the axis of the cutting tool. In this configuration, the axes of the rotary table, secondary table and cutting tool are coaxial to facilitate concentric cutting operations. This setup also allows you to offset the secondary table to drill evenly spaced holes in a part.

It is also a necessary component for many different types of machining and milling procedures. This versatile device can be used to perform specialized tasks such as machining flat keys on bolts and holes in flanges. In some other configurations, a rotary table can also be used to cut complex curves, arcs, and round parts with protruding tangs. Rotary tables are sometimes used to produce a large diameter hole in a workpiece by cutting in a narrow circular path. This device can also be used in place of a lathe when driven by a stepper motor coupled with a computer numerical control milling machine and tailstock.

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