A rotary table is probably amongst the least likely items of workshop equipment to
be found in the average home workshop, due in part to its relatively high cost but
also its limited use. However, even though its uses are limited alternative methods
of carrying out these tasks are often far from satisfactory as invariably they call
for a lot of manual activity. Typically, when producing a curved slot, by drilling
a series of holes and finishing the slot by filing.
One way of limiting the cost and at the same time providing an interesting project
would have been at one time to make those seen in Photograph 1. However, unfortunately
, “College Engineering Supply” who supplied the castings no longer list them. They
are 150mm and 100mm tables and appear in many of the photographs that follow.
Photograph 2 shows a commercially available 150mm table and as can be seen is more
robust than the CES table of the same size. Many commercial tables do though have
the added advantage of being able to be fitted with dividing attachments, Photograph
3, though usually these are purchased separately. These will make some tasks easier
to carry out whilst also increasing the accuracy of the finished result, placing
holes on a PCD for example.
If you are also equipping your workshop with a comparable sized dividing head, not
necessarily carrying the same supplier's name, it is possible that the dividing plate
accessories will fit both the rotary table and the dividing head. A few minor modifications
may be necessary but even so it is worth checking before purchasing two sets of plates,
Also available with many commercial tables is a tailstock, seen in photograph 2.
This shows that the height of the centre above its base is adjustable. Just why
this is I am not sure but it certainly avoids the need for accuracy in matching its
centre height to the rotary tables centre height at the manufacturing stage. Another
advantage of this is that if you have a similar sized dividing head, one tailstock
will provide for both items.