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Thread: Advice on dividing heads

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Raleigh, NC
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    258

    Default Advice on dividing heads

    Guys, perennial newbie here with another question. I'm going to be doing some work that looks like I'll be drilling or machining various parts of round stock. My layout skills are apparently lacking and I'm wondering if I shouldn't invest in a dividing head so that I can be much more precise in my placement on round stock. The smart money is on sharpening my pencil and getting better at layout, I got that. But it's a tool! And it's cool! I've never used one before. Is this a cool piece of kit to have but not necessary or is this something that you can't believe I don't already have?

    If it's something I should have, any thoughts to ordering one of the Enco import models? I'm figuring this is something I'll use on my mill mostly and my work probably won't be overly large.
    Dan from Raleigh, NC

    If it's stupid but it works, it's not stupid.
    _____________________
    "What is your host's purpose for the party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi." P.J. O'Rourke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    526

    Default

    A rotary table with a dividing plate attachment is more versatile. Add a 3 or 4 jaw chuck to the table and you can do about any kind of rotary work.

    See these threads: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=42400

    http://www.cnczone.com/forums/genera...ng_plates.html

    RWO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    East Central Fl.
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    289

    Default

    What he said...(RWO)...+3
    Add to that the capability of vertical AND horizontal mounting in at least a 6" diameter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Costa Mesa, Ca.
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    246

    Default

    I have a small indexer with a set of holed plates a small 3 jaw chuck, a eight inch with 3 jaws and a couple of indexing plates along with a 12" rotary table. I find the the small indexer is more versatile than the other two, however it is still small.
    "the ocean is the ultimate solution"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    258

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RWO
    A rotary table with a dividing plate attachment is more versatile. Add a 3 or 4 jaw chuck to the table and you can do about any kind of rotary work.

    See these threads: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=42400

    http://www.cnczone.com/forums/genera...ng_plates.html

    RWO
    Shoulda known there would be a good thread on here already. I'm reading away. Thanks!
    Dan from Raleigh, NC

    If it's stupid but it works, it's not stupid.
    _____________________
    "What is your host's purpose for the party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi." P.J. O'Rourke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    SE OZ
    Posts
    1,966

    Default Holes

    Using the the chuck jaws on a 6" rotary table can be a PITA if you are drilling large numbers of holes on small pitch circle diameters as the holes will or may over-lap the chuck jaws.

    It really depends on which set of jaws you are using and how many and what size holes you are drilling.

    Sometimes its easier to clamp the job to a plate or the table and just use the "drilling holes on a pitch circle" feature of a good DRO.

    Sometimes its worth the effort to make a drilling jig or fixture and do the drilling on the pedestal drill.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio
    Posts
    9,030

    Default

    While the dividing head and H/V rotary table share some similar applications, each has advantages over the other in some instances. What exactly do you have in mind to accomplish, and what basic equipment do you already have? If you have a milling machine, what is the size and type.

    Many of the most basic drilling and milling operations can be performed on much simpler devices such as collet blocks or a simple spin index.
    Jim H.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,377

    Default

    It's definitely something I can't believe you don't already have. But there again, it's something I don't believe I don't already have, either.

    I made a dividing set up, with worm, index plates etc. for my lathe. Jammed a 60 tooth gear on the other end of the spindle, and mounted a worm at the helix angle, with an arm that hits the index plates. Not a lot of work. Of course you can only machine your work if you get a toolpost mounted something - drill/grinder/mill etc.

    I do have a small rotary table that I have used a couple of times on the mill. I've never used it flat on its back yet - only in conjunction with a centre. Every time I use it, I spend at least half a day making new fixtures to hold the work. I think that would happen even if I had a cupboard full of collets and chucks, but maybe I'm wrong.

    So if your mill is big enough, I'd advise getting a universal that you can link in to the x-axis feed.

    And being able to index the lathe spindle for at least hex work is very convenient.
    Richard

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oldtiffie
    Using the the chuck jaws on a 6" rotary table can be a PITA if you are drilling large numbers of holes on small pitch circle diameters as the holes will or may over-lap the chuck jaws.

    It really depends on which set of jaws you are using and how many and what size holes you are drilling.

    Sometimes its easier to clamp the job to a plate or the table and just use the "drilling holes on a pitch circle" feature of a good DRO.

    Sometimes its worth the effort to make a drilling jig or fixture and do the drilling on the pedestal drill.
    All my stuff is one off. If I make two of something it's "a production run."

    All my gear is manual, no DROs, so I'm scribing lines, etc.

    JCHannum, I don't have some thing specific in mind. I just don't have a good way to locate and work on round stock repetitively or accurately, whether it be milling, drilling, whatever. I'm running a Bridgeport J manual mill.
    Dan from Raleigh, NC

    If it's stupid but it works, it's not stupid.
    _____________________
    "What is your host's purpose for the party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi." P.J. O'Rourke

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kansas City area
    Posts
    2,964

    Default Round Stock

    If you have 5C collets, the collet blocks and spin indexer mentioned above and a 5C collet chuck would be a great place to start. Many great mill and lathe accessories are 5C collet based. I use the spin indexer and collet blocks on the surface grinder a lot too.

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