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Rotary Table Accessories And Tips

By Expert Author: Joanna Smith

I own a Phase II 8" horizontal/vertical rotary table that I purchased from Kap Pullen's Getmachinetools.com store. He has them at a good price, BTW, and he's a darned nice fellow to deal with as well as being a frequent HSM contributor. Anyway, its a nice little table, but I hadn't done a whole lot with it for quite a while after purchasing it. As is so often the case, one day, a project landed on my doorstep and I was glad to have it.

Accessories

Before I could get started, however, I had to make some accessories for it. Basically, I needed some stuffing box to fit the table, as well as a little fixture that makes it easy to hold a plate up off the table through a hole in the center so you can machine it. The latter, what I call a "plate machining fixture", was inspired by something similar I saw the Widgitmaster of CNCZone fame using to make Dremel clamps for his mini-router:
The Plate Maching Fixture and 3 Homemade T-Nuts.T-Nuts are easy to make: square a block to the proper dimensions, mill the side reliefs, drill, and tap. These are much smaller than the mill's Bridgeport standard T-slots, so I made them myself and I'm using 1/4-20 bolts with them. They're made of mild steel.

I turned the round spigot using the 4-jaw on the lathe. I'm making the fixture out of MIC-6 aluminum plate, which is pre-ground very flat on the sides. This is a 5 inch by 3 inch piece. I've clamped it to the rotab using my T-nuts and the regular mill clamps and step blocks. It is sitting on parallels to make sure I don't cut into the table.

You can also see how I've clamped the rotary table to the mill table using a big cast iron V-block I have. You can never have to many blocks with precision faces hanging around!

Here I have just finished milling the slots that tubing anchor will be used when clamping the Plate Milling Fixture to the table...

Fitting a Chuck to the Rotary Table

Having a 4-jaw chuck on your rotary table is mighty handy! Because it's a 4-jaw, you can dial in the workpiece by adjusting the jaws until it is perfectly concentric with the table's axis of rotation. The best way is to make an adapter plate that attaches to the back of the chuck in the same way that your lathe does so you can exchange lathe tooling with the rotab. Here is an example:

For the example, the chuck is threaded onto the adaptor plate, and then the holes in the adapter plate's flange are used to bolt down to T-nuts on the table.

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