How to Use a Rotary Table

A rotary blade is used to position and cut devices when being used in metal works shop or setting. A workman can use a rotary table to cut their work pieces in straight lines at exact intervals around a fixed axis. They are not as equipped for creating curved surfaces outside of drilling holes and boring through a component. They can sometimes also integrate with an index plate for indexing operations. This article will demonstrate how the rotary table should be properly maneuvered.

Things you will need

  • Rotary table
  • Tailstock for the rotary table
  • Index plates for the rotary blade
  • Milling machine equipped for handling the rotary blade
  • Test bar (make sure it is perfectly straight)
  • Dead blow hammer
  • Wrench with mounting hardware
  • Dial indicator with spindle mount


  1. Firstly take the rotary table and mount it onto the milling table. The rotary table can be configured into either a horizontal or vertical position depending on what type of work you are planning to perform.
  2. If in the vertical position align the table in a vertical position by mounting the dial indicator to the spindle and then measure the back of the rotary table while still moving the milling table along the y axis.
  3. Use the dead blow hammer and adjust the alignment of the rotary table until it becomes parallel to the y axis of the milling table. Then tighten the mounting hardware of the rotary blade.
  4. You can mount the tailstock to the milling table if needed. Align the center of the rotary blade with the center of the tailstock while it is in a vertical position. Then mount the tailstock in a rough position and mount the test bar between the rotary blade and the tailstock.
  5. As the bar moves along the x – direction, use the spindle-mounted dial indicated to measure the vertical and horizontal alignment and tighten the tailstock once it is aligned.
  6. Now use the manufacturers’ manual to install the index plate onto the rotary table if you need to. In this installation the regular turning handle on the rotary table is replaced by the index plates and handles. The index plate are used to provide the rotary table with more accuracy if a work piece needs to be repeatedly cut at fixed intervals along a circular arc.
  7. Once the work piece is mounted between the table and the tailstock or onto the rotary table you can now use the handle with or without the index plates to move the work piece. The rotary table should remain fixed and the milling table should move while the work piece is being cut straight along a curved arc. While if the cut is simply along a curved arc, the milling table should remain fix while the rotary table moves while the cutting takes place,

The Do’s and Don’ts

  • When handling the rotary table and milling machine always exercise extreme caution and follow the safety guidelines. These are normally printed in the user’s manual. If it is not used properly it can cause harm to the user.
  • Do not become too comfortable while using the rotary table, always be on alert. Being too complacent might cause you to make an error and possible hurt yourself.
  • It is recommended that you script out the cuts you intend to make on the work piece before you commence using the rotary table. This will give you the proper directions to know exactly what should be done before hand.

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