View Full Version : HF rotary table

04-07-2010, 04:46 PM
Anyone here have a Harbor Freight 6" or 8" rotary table? I have been looking at the Phase II 6" table at Enco but for about the same price the HF 6" has dividing plates with it, which would be better for the money? I am thinking the Phase II would be better quality but would the dividing plates make the HF unit a better buy or is the quality really bad? I really won't be using it for anything heavy anyway.

Bill Pace
04-07-2010, 05:08 PM
While I dont have a HF table, I have read several posts regarding it, and it got really bad reviews.

I do have a Phasell table and it is a really nice tool -- and again, I have read many posts regarding it, and it gets glowing reviews ---

04-07-2010, 05:11 PM
I have a vertex 8 inch rotary table that I bought new. It is built really well. I ordered the index plates with it but have never had them on the table. I direct index most of my work, which you can do with out the plates. I'm sure they are nice to have but depending on the type of work you do they may not be necessary at all. You may want to buy just the Phase II rotary table and use it for a while and if you decide later you need the index plates you could always buy them then.

04-07-2010, 05:25 PM
Not to hijack the thread but what about the Grizzly tables? I only have a 4 inch version from Grizzly and it is fine quality wise.

04-07-2010, 06:25 PM

I have a Phase II 6" H/V RT with plates and tail stock. The table is finished nicely and turns very smoothly. I mounted the plates about a week ago to cut a gear between centers. Indexing seems to work just fine.

I have a 3" harbor freight RT which seems kind of cheesy, but what can you expect for $79.00.

I would go with the Phase II, I think you will be happy with it.


oddball racing
04-07-2010, 07:31 PM
I have the 8" model. I bought it because I knew I would rarely or at least only occassionally use it.

Yes it will do the job, yes it was cheap and NO I had not expected it to be of high or even mid level quality given where it came from.

However, comparing it to the dividing head set from Enco (as in the cheap on that goes on sale all the time) that I purchased near the same time, I would say it is a piece complete of crap. (the RT)

When rotating the handle I could definitely feel a tight spot, so I took it apart to "loosen" things up a bit and what I found inside was not appealling. I appears that Mr. greaser on the assy line must've been told that the grease cost $4000 an ounce and any extra he used would come out of his $11 dollar a week salary. As for the "bent shaft", when I tweaked it straight on the vee blocks and re-istalled it, there was now so much slop in the bores that I think it was bent on pupose to tighten things up.

Mine was not made in China but India. If I bought one again, I'd opt for the Vertex myself. Don't go by the actual dollar amount but compare the actual percentage difference between the two and I think you will find the much better quality tool really only costs a small percentage over the end cost of the far inferior quality.

04-07-2010, 08:59 PM
I think the answer to my question seems to be that the HF table would make a better boat anchor than a machining tool! What you guys had to say got me to thinking so I did some net searching since I posted this and I can't find anyone who had anything good to say about the HF unit. I guess I will go with the Phase II since it is on sale and shipping is free, thanks guys I almost made a mistake!

04-07-2010, 09:37 PM
One last thing to add to this thread.

I also have the Phase II 8" unit, and it worked great right up until the middle of a critical project when I broke a sector arm through my own carelessness. I called Phase II and was able to immediately get new sector arms at a very reasonable price.

Kudos to Phase II. Try getting parts from India!!!


04-07-2010, 10:33 PM
Owner of a Vertex 8", I'm quite pleased.

Some the Bargain basement types have such faint numerals that they are almost impossible to read.

04-07-2010, 10:51 PM
I recently bought the Grizzly 6" with plates. So far I'm happy as hell with it. The finish is nothing to talk about around the camp fire but it is smooth, clamps tight, the worm disengages easily, and the dividing hardware is well made. Dunno yet how accurate the plates are but they include enough to get a lot of work done.

04-07-2010, 11:05 PM
I bought the phase II 8", its exceptionaly heavy and awsomely built, has nice clamping features. seems to turn very smoothly with very minimal backlash.
Unfortualy I havent actualy used it yet... But I bet it will come in very handy when I get around to making things like arced slots for angle adjustments.

This is why I thought a moderately expensive one like phase II would be needed even if I did'nt use it much: If I wish to mill *while* turning the rotary table, its gotta be sturdy without engageing the clamps.

04-07-2010, 11:06 PM
OK, the Phase II from Enco is on the way! :)

I did take the advice about Grizzly and checked them out and I have to say it was very tempting but in the end the sale price on the Phase II ($189) and free shipping won out.

Moons, I also considered the 8" and the darn thing was also on sale for only $15 dollars more which was a VERY good deal considering there is normally a difference of $66 in the regular price but it is just physically too big for what I need it for.

04-08-2010, 12:12 AM
I have had the 8 inch, HF rotary table for a few years. I am happy with it. It turns smooth and is tight. I have it on my milling machine most of the time. It does everything I expect it to do.
I have not used the dividing plate.

04-08-2010, 05:49 PM
I have a HF 8" rotary table and it works fine. I have made many gears and LOTS of splined driveshafts for jetskis. Do a search for rotary tables and you'll find a wealth of info. I even have a link to a pic cutting a gear. The HF table has a 72:1 worm which isnt standard. I have a nice xcell chart listing all divisions available with that table. If anybody wants a copy message me and I'll email it to you free.

Weston Bye
04-08-2010, 08:46 PM
Having just acquired a Bridgeport, I am now looking into a rotary table for it. I can get by with my Sherline 4" RT but want to get one more the scale of the Bridgeport. Have been looking at catalogs, but will make my decision at or after NAMES, see what I can come up with there - no shipping charges. I will be following this thread with intrest.

04-09-2010, 12:41 AM
I have the HF RT and have found the only bad thing about it was the shipping material. I also have a Bridgeport 12" (I think) RT but much prefer the HF unit due to the fact it takes a cherry picker to place the BP unit on the table.
No real complaints about this table.


People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people!!!