Understanding the Rotary Table and Its Uses

There are different aspects of metalworking that makes it fascinating, and thanks to advancements in technology, it has become way easier to achieve precision, stability, and accuracy when designing systems, and thus increase the chances of being productive when dealing with these systems. The market is filled with different types of precision tools and devices, to aid productivity. One of the tools that have proven to be a very reliable device for use in different industries and for different purposes is the rotary table.

A rotary table basically makes reference to a precision device that is used to position metal properly. The rotary table has a way of giving the operator diverse options that include the ability to be able to drill and cut metal, with exact intervals around an axis that is fixed, and this axis could either be horizontal or vertical. At some point, the rotary tables are fashioned in such a way that they create the possibility for using index plates while indexing. It will also interest you to know that it is also possible to have dividing plates fitted to the rotary tables and thus enhance the positioning system.

The Build

A lot of the rotary tables in the market are built based on standards, which is why they have a standard ratio between the worm and the table, and these standards also take sizes and dimensions into consideration. In order to get a system that is solid, the base is made to be really solid, as with all other components of the positioning device. In addition to its solidity, it comes with other intricate parts that are needed to facilitate precision, accuracy, and stability when using them.

As stated earlier, the construction of the tables are according to standard specifications; the standard ratios between the worm and the table are 40:1, 72:1, 90:1. There are cases where the ratio can be any figure that can divide through 360 degrees perfectly. It is imperative that ratios are used when dealing with indexing plates.


The rotary table was created to bring ease to metalworking, especially when precision is needed. The rotary table is versatile by design, and thus, it comes with various functions for different purposes. Here are some technical uses of the rotary table:

  • It is perfect for drilling equidistant holes while working on what is referred to as a circular flange
  • The rotary table has the ability to drive spanner flats while working on bolts
  • It can be used to cut round pieces
  • The table can be used for milling helixes
  • It is perfect for creating holes with large diameters, through the process of milling via a toolpath that is circular, especially on milling machines that are small, and may not possess the power to handle twist drills that are large (>0.500”/>13 mm)
  • If set up properly, the table can be used for cutting complex curves.
  • Perfect for cutting straight lines, regardless of the angle.
  • Effective for cutting arcs.
  • A compound table can be added to the rotary table, in order for the operator to change the position of the center of rotation to any part of the material being cut; hence it makes it possible for the arc to get cut on any part of the material.
  • The rotary table is also perfect for cutting circular pieces.

Furthermore, if we change the operations to a stepper motor, especially via a CNC milling equipment, and a tailstock, the rotary table which is versatile, will allow for the making of various other parts on the mill, which would originally have required the use of a lathe.


There are numerous applications for the rotary table, and it is not an industry-specific tool because it can be used in any industry, even in the film making industry. We cannot overemphasize how important rotary tables have become and is a good tool for people looking to get precision, accuracy, and stability while performing metalworking tasks. There are different types in the market, depending on the application and industry; hence, it is imperative to look them up, before deciding what you want.

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