View Full Version : rotary table size question

Alistair Hosie
05-06-2006, 04:48 PM
What size rotary table do you use.I have been advised to buy a four inch as I had previously thought of a six inch but a friend thinks a four inch would be big enough.I have a Fritz Werner mill about three quarter of the size of a bridgeport.so I would like to know how many of you guys have a four inch and how useful it is it looks awful small to me but my friend swears by his reckons he can do anything with it regards Alistair

05-06-2006, 05:07 PM
I have a 6 and 8 inch for my square column mill which has a 9 inch table and I have a 8 and 10 inch for my bridgeport which has a 14 inch table. If your table is close to 9 inches I would recommend a 6 or 8 inch rotary table. A 4 inch table seems too small unless you are talking about a sherline/taig setup. JRouche

05-06-2006, 05:11 PM
That's awfully small Alistair. I have an 8" and a 12" and would go as big as possible. The 8" is a reasonable size and weight for general use.

05-06-2006, 05:12 PM
For that size machine, a 6" table would be a better choice, 8" would not be out of the question and 10" would probably be overkill.

I have a Rockwell vertical mill with a 6" X 26" table, and an 8" is ideal in my opinion. I have had 10" and 6" tables, and settled on the 8".

While a subtable can be used for holding larger work on a small table, a 4" could be rather limited. You do have to be able to see the handwheel and dial assembly.

05-06-2006, 05:31 PM
As big as will reasonably fit on your milling machine table. As soon as one starts to worry about finding room for clamps, rotary tables get small reallly fast. I've got a 9", on a milling machine with a 7" x 30" table, and it's about right in proportion.

I can't imagine trying to get along with anything less, unless I were doing only "watchmaking" size work.

Alistair Hosie
05-06-2006, 05:44 PM
I think an eight or minimum six inch would be fine for my machine. I don't really think a four would be suitable for my mill my table is six or seven inches thanks guys so far.Alistair

05-06-2006, 06:21 PM
I have a Rockwell mill (6-1/2 x 24" table) and also recommend getting the biggest rotary table you can lift or afford. I settled on a 10" Palmgren (horizontal only), because it is low profile (4") and light weight (40 lb). You will absolutely run out of room on smaller RT's once you start adding clamps and hold downs.

I think a 4" RT would be about right on my small Unimat mill.


Peter N
05-06-2006, 06:35 PM
Hi Alistair

I think that an 8" rotary table is not a bad compromise size. It's lighter in weight that a 10" but allows you much more room for the work and the clamps (if you need them)than a 6".
Everyone seems to agree that you should always get the largest that you can, and whilst this makes sense they get damn big and heavy and difficult to lift on and off the table without a crane of some sort.

I've got a 10" Hilby, there is a picture of it below on my 6x26 mill, and its next to a 4" vice for comparison. I was lucky that this was given to me, if I was buying one I would have gone for an 8".
One problem with the Hilby that wasn't immediately apparant is that the overall diameter is *too* big for a 6x26 mill, and it won't centre up beneath the spindle as the coolant spillways on the cast base of this one foul on the back of the column with the table as far out in 'Y' as it will go.
Hope this helps.



Norman Atkinson
05-06-2006, 06:55 PM
Apart from the usual circumlocution- with Round Tables, the principle is to have an appropriate dividing head to fit the milling machine and another to fit the lathe. To add the batter on the haggis- or the Mars bars, one has one on the tool and cutter grinder.
So, me old Great Chieftain of the Pudding Club, yer pays your money and you teks yer choice.

or yer don't need to have one. They talk about a heap of spherical objects.
My dividing head was done with a pair of compasses- and the thingy gets more and more accurate with each successive division plate. Arithmetic, ye ken?

Keep the Auld Saltire aloft, eh?

Alistair Hosie
05-06-2006, 07:02 PM
will do Norm my dear friend I hope you are keeping well kindest regards your pal big Al:D

05-06-2006, 08:13 PM
Hi Alistair,

The standard Bridgeport rotary is 12" diameter. So an 8" to 9" table would seem reasonable for your Werner mill.

05-06-2006, 10:41 PM
Hi Alistair,

I have a 6" Vertex horizontal/vertical rotary table. This is nicely finished and works well. I bought the optional tailstock and dividing kit separately later. While they work OK, the finish is not up to that on the table. The dividing kit is handy for cutting small gears, e.g lathe change gears - I recently made a 37/47 compound metric conversion gear and some other change gears for an old lathe using the dividing kit. I originally regretted not getting the 8" table, but have found the 6" to be adequate for what I do. Remember these things get heavier as they get older! I doubt that I could comfortably lift an 8" H/V table up onto the mill table now.


Alistair Hosie
05-07-2006, 02:47 PM
thanks Franco the weight is a problem I did have a sip genoveise optical table this was twelve inch a real beauty but hardly useable as it weighed as much as it looked and more:D anyway I think eight or even six would do me depends on the price Alistair

05-07-2006, 05:04 PM
Weight is a problem with the larger RT's. If you want a combination horizontal and vertical, they get heavier, and the cheaper brands are heavier yet. The US made 10" Palmgren RT is only about 40 lbs! This is lighter than much smaller RT's out there, and maybe 60 lbs or more lighter than other 10" RT's. Height is also an issue for smaller mills. This is a horizontal RT only (I have a dedicated indexer) which also keeps it low profile, but if I really have to I can mount it on a right angle plate. I don't know if Palmgren still makes this model, but who could afford it even if they did. I found mine on eBay for cheap.


Alistair Hosie
05-07-2006, 05:48 PM
Why do the have to be so heavy could the not be made of aluminium or combination with nylon etc??Alistair

05-07-2006, 11:16 PM
I have a 4" rotary table on a taig mill

05-07-2006, 11:18 PM
The 4" rotary table i use is from busybee and is hor and ver and isn't to heavy and like i said i use a taig mill

kap pullen
05-08-2006, 08:22 AM
I have an 8" table with a 10" aluminum subplate (1"thick) on it.

The plate has lots of 3/8" tapped holes and a reamed center hole
to simplify setups.

The tapped holes leave plenty of clamping options, and the hole allows for quick setups in pre drilled/bored parts using pins, or plugs.

Use of strap clamps will sometimes warp a rotary table causing at best, hard
turning, at worst, a set in the table.

A sub plate eliminates this condition.

That is the best of both worlds weight and size wise.

Kap Pullen

05-08-2006, 11:02 AM
I recently (actually last October) got a 2nd hand KBC VM-22 mill that came with a Vertex 6" RT. They would be about 3 years old and both were made in Taiwan. The mill has an 8"x30" table.

One thing I made for the RT was a stub arbor with a 1.5" - 8 thread on it. I used a blank MT2 arbor and shrunk fit a piece of 1144 on it. Then put the assembly in the lathe (in an MT3/2 adaptor) and hand turned the thread. I made the projection of the stub from the RT such that the table becomes the back register.

Now I can use the lathe's chucks as well as an 8" face plate, that I originally made for the lathe, on the RT. While the mill could probably handle an 8" RT, I agree with others that weight becomes an issue as we get older (and weaker!).

Good luck with your quest.



05-08-2006, 03:23 PM
"Why do the have to be so heavy could the not be made of aluminium or combination with nylon etc??Alistair"

Check out Evan's answer:

Alistair Hosie
05-08-2006, 05:00 PM
As usual beautiful work by evan see i thought aluminium sorry about english spelling :D was useful in some cases where weight is an issue.Alistair p.s well done Evan my friend if your ostening in. Al

05-08-2006, 05:11 PM
I haven't completed it yet. It will be attended to when the mill is finished.

05-11-2006, 10:14 PM
I was futzing about in the shop this afternoon & had the rotary table set up on my mill. It is a NEWS 8" H/V table on the Rockwell 6"x26" mill table. It gives a good idea of the size.


Paddy O'S
05-12-2006, 04:41 AM
I bought the Vertex 8" H/V table from Chronos in the UK. The table itself is OK and weighs about 60lbs. The dividing set I bought with it is not so well made, the sector arms look like they were finished by someone with a bench grinder with only coarse stones available ! I spent a lot of time cleaning them up. The spring clip that holds the dividing plates in position is useless, I replaced it with a 22mm E-clip. Also one of the table locks can't be used with the dividing mechanism fitted without shortening the lever.

Alistair Hosie
05-12-2006, 08:23 AM
Iam surprised at that the eight inch is not cheap and I was told vertex was very well finished I wonder whet the shoba is like although I will probably buy a named brand second hand in good condition regards Alistair