One way to setup your rotary table

Several people have asked how to center the spindle over the center of the rotary table. Here's one of the methods that I use.

Rough Position

I made a 3/8" piece of brass and put a 60 degree point on it. I had to sand it slightly to get it to fit in the endmill holders. I find it to be quite useful for various setup operations. Bigger...

Visual Position

The firist thing I do is to perform a visual position. Your eye is pretty good and judging when the two circles are centered. I find I'm normally within 0.010" Sometimes I'll also put the chuck adapter and put another endmill holder on. There are a couple of photos over here. Bigger...

Indicate

To get a really accurate placement, the next thing to do is indicate in the rotary table. Here you can see my rather old Starett Last Word indicator. I put it in a collett and preload it a bit. In the photo it looks like the tip of the indicator is hanging in space, but it is actually touchng the back of the hole in the rotary table. I then run the table through 360 degrees of rotation watching for the maximum deflection on the indicator. If there's more than a thou or so of deflection, then there's probably some debris on the insidie of the hole which needs to be removed. I'll then rotate the spindle 90 degrees to the left and 90 degrees to the right. The true center will be half way between the two readings.

I like to make sure that when I do the final adjusting for centering that I'm on the same side of the backlash as I'll be using when I'm cutting. So if the cutter moves from the center to the right side, then I want the cutter moving in the same direction when I'm doing the center adjustment. If I'm on the wrong side of the backlash, then I'll over compensate and start over now coming from the correct side. Bigger...

Lineup Jig

The next step is typically to locate a jig or workpiece on the rotary table. I start off with the initial rough line up. Bigger...

Indicate Jig

For this portion of the lineup, I'm interested in centering the jig or workpiece ove the center of the rotary table. To do this, I rotate the rotary table and adjust the work piece until I get consistent runout all the way around. Bigger...


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Copyright 2006 by Dave Hylands