How a Rotary Table Works
A rotary table, sometimes called a screw auger, rotates in a circular orbit similar to a screw. Unlike a drill, it does not rotate vertically but rotates in a circular orbit with a center line. This type of table is basically a mechanical device that lets the user rotate a piece of metal without moving the piece in its linear direction. Rotary tables are used to move or position various shaped objects on a surface, such as wood, metal, fiberglass, etc. They are often used in welding, woodworking, fabricating, electronics, and plating industries.
A rotary table has many advantages over alternative drilling techniques and is particularly useful for cutting edge repairs in high-stress situations such as complex machine tooling, making hollow components, creating exact cuts in complex structures and for cutting materials to exact tolerances. Rotary tables can be precisely calibrated and precisely machined; their operation is usually smooth and quiet, with little chatter or mechanical noise. They are excellent for milling and tapping holes into soft or hard materials. They can also be used to apply compressive forces to surfaces in precise amounts to create grooves and laminates. Some rotary tables also allow for the rapid and repeated loading and unloading of components and supplies.
The major benefit of a rotary table or mill is their accuracy. Precision work allows for the production of exact tolerance levels in products. In general, this means less than one percent error from the actual dimensions used to produce the workpiece. This allows for accurate, consistent measurements and cuts. The two rotary axes on a rotary table are usually mounted on opposite sides of the workpiece, with the X axis positioned above the Y axis below the X axis.
The two forms of rotary tables include tilting and linear movement. Rotary tables with an upright stand that tilts can be mounted on workpieces while other models are rotary stands with casters at the bottom. For large workpieces, such as furniture or yacht sails, the two forms of the table are often used together. A rotary table with an upright stand is good for trimming and leveling workpieces on a workbench, while a rotary table with a rotating stand is better suited to rotating pieces that are not stable on a stand. These types of workpieces require more force to move them vertically or to move them horizontally, so using a stand may help the user to prevent their wheels from locking or binding.
Rotary tables have other useful features such as worm gear couplings that connect the two rotating shafts. Worm gear couplings provide mechanical advantage as they direct the movement of the shaft in a specific way. They can be mechanically adjusted so that they allow the user to control the amount of movement in a specific area. The most common worm gears are either Teflon coated or stainless steel. Teflon coated gears tend to move more quietly than stainless steel gears; however, they tend to be less durable than the former.
Some other popular types of milling machines include Sanders and presses. A sander resembles a belt sander that has a circular motion. It can function as both a sander and a drill press. Pressed Sanders is similar to a drum sander, and they can also function as a sander and a drill press. Some Sanders have rotating drums that allow the user to speed up or slow down the rotating motion.