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  • Rotary Table Recommendations

    Does anyone have recommendations for a rotary table?

    I've been thinking of getting a rotary table for use on my bridgeport, but haven't fully formed an idea about what I really want. Based on what I've seen, I'm starting to think that I probably want to end up with 2, first a smaller one that would either do horizontal and vertical mounting or adjustable angle, probably in the 6-10" range (small enough that I can easily move), and then a larger one like a big, used bridgeport one for larger work.

    Well, I got one as a gift for my birthday a couple of days ago (a PhaseII), and after getting a good look at it close up I realized that I'm probably going to end up returning this one and going with something else. The biggest thing is slot sizes... it has an indexing piece for use up on end that looks like it is intended for one slot size, and the slots on the table face are a smaller size, both smaller than the standard slots/holddowns that I have for the bridgeport. Seems like it would be a hassle mount it down to the table securely and then I'd need another set of hold down hardware just for use with the table.

    Looking around the internet at these things most don't list t-slot sizes, and of the ones that do, a lot of them have odd, smaller t-slots. Is there a reason for this that I'm missing? I'm also not really seeing anything about what to look for, what to avoid and why? Are any of them significantly better quality or to be avoided in general?

  • #2
    Those indexing Pieces are only a Start

    You can remove them, and if Oversize, Cut them down to fit your Table Slot.

    That is what a Milling Machine is for.....

    If too small, and a quick semi accurate job is needed, just push Key against Side of Slot and Clamp down...

    I have multiple Mills, and don't bother with custom fitted Keys. If it needs to be Dead Accurate, the Dial Indicator comes out anyway... for ensuring everything is aligned...

    T Slot's can't be Trusted....Disgusted, Don't you Mill as Hard as you Play
    Last edited by Bguns; 01-05-2009, 06:50 AM.

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    • #3
      I think 3/8" clamping is pretty typical until you move up to the big R Ts. You don't see the dirt cheap hold down kits in 3/8" as compared to the "Bridgeport" 1/2" kits either, but could roll your own.

      My 10" Troyke takes 3/8"-there's enough meat in the table to stand 1/2" but thats just the way it is.

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      • #4
        If you don't want to make or buy another set, you can get by with square nuts and bolts from the hardware, that's what I do as I don't use it enough to warrant the expense or effort.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Silverback
          Does anyone have recommendations for a rotary table?

          I've been thinking of getting a rotary table for use on my bridgeport, but haven't fully formed an idea about what I really want. Based on what I've seen, I'm starting to think that I probably want to end up with 2, first a smaller one that would either do horizontal and vertical mounting or adjustable angle, probably in the 6-10" range (small enough that I can easily move), and then a larger one like a big, used bridgeport one for larger work.

          Well, I got one as a gift for my birthday a couple of days ago (a PhaseII), and after getting a good look at it close up I realized that I'm probably going to end up returning this one and going with something else. The biggest thing is slot sizes... it has an indexing piece for use up on end that looks like it is intended for one slot size, and the slots on the table face are a smaller size, both smaller than the standard slots/holddowns that I have for the bridgeport. Seems like it would be a hassle mount it down to the table securely and then I'd need another set of hold down hardware just for use with the table.

          Looking around the internet at these things most don't list t-slot sizes, and of the ones that do, a lot of them have odd, smaller t-slots. Is there a reason for this that I'm missing? I'm also not really seeing anything about what to look for, what to avoid and why? Are any of them significantly better quality or to be avoided in general?
          Hows your weight lifting ability?
          A good quality 10" RT weighs quite abit think 120Lbs + (50Kg+) and they can be an awkward slippery lift...especially from floor level - consider lifting gear.

          Different slot sizes - yes thats a problem. My smallest slot size is the mill and the largest is the RT (a 250mm Fritz werner with 14mm slots) which shows you can get large slots on RTs but I still have 3 different slot sizes.

          Thats alot of investment if you go for off the shelf clamping.

          I decided to standardise on one stud size and make all my own t-nuts clamps etc. I calculated that I could use 8mm studding (all thread 8mm is cheaper here than 3/8") and still have the required clamping force with non hardened studding to reach a sliding friction of well over 1KN (200lbf) with 2 studs. Note each stud is slotted at the end for a screw driver.

          The T nuts are made from 1" x 1/2" hot rolled and are coded for size by the finishes so I can easily recognise the size. The bottom threads of the t-nuts are closed with a centre punch.
          All of the clamps are made out of the same 1" x 1/2". The engineers jacks are out 1" CRS bar and 3/4" UNF set screws

          You can see all of this below

          Last edited by derekm; 01-05-2009, 09:19 AM. Reason: changes RT size to 250mm

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          • #6
            Rotary table selection has many choices. Size of work anticipated and the mill it will be used on are first. RT's increase in weight quickly as size increases, and as age of user increases. I have gone from 8" to 12" and back to 8" and I am happy with an 8" H/V table. I would avoid using the larger tables simply because they were too heavy to drag out for a job that could be done otherwise. The 8" gets more use than any of the larger ones for this reason.

            It is simple to make a sub-table or add extensions to increase the size of a RT. The largest thing I have machined on the 8"RT is a 19" diameter motorcycle wheel. The added time to fixture an occasional large part is a minor inconvenience to me compared to lugging a 100+ pound fixture around when needed.

            There is no real standardization of T-nuts or slots, particularly with accessories. Most mill tables will accept one of the common sizes, but RT's and such will be determined by the manufacturer. Some might come with T-nuts, but for the most part, the user will need to make his own.
            Jim H.

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            • #7
              Places like Reid www.reidtool.com sell a wide variety of T-nut sizes, if you don't want to make your own. Purely by fortuitous circumstance, the rotary table I bought uses the same size T-nuts as my mill, but that's probably uncommon.

              I think Bison sells a pretty nice 8" rotary table. Mine is 9", and for me at least it's about at the ragged edge of what I want to try to lift.
              ----------
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              • #8
                I recently got a 10" Yuasa for about $900 brand new drop shipped from the factory via my local tool supply. It worked well for the project I needed it for and is sure to work well for the next one too.

                HGR industrial surplus in Ohio had a couple of 10's and 12's in stock a few days ago. A few looked good and for the right price.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by derekm
                  Hows your weight lifting ability?
                  A good quality 10" RT weighs quite abit think 120Lbs + (50Kg+) and they can be an awkward slippery lift...especially from floor level - consider lifting gear.
                  Heh, I'm 6'4" and pushing 300#, I used to be able to squat and deadlift over 600# for multiple reps, even with a messed up back (doesn't seem to limit the amount I can pick up, just makes it unpleasant. I moved a 700# engine and carried a 200# transmission across a friend's shop over the weekend).


                  So yea, just about anything reasonable sized I could lift if there is a decent way to hold onto it, but being realistic, I'm setting the limit around 100# for something awkward that I might use regularly, where enough over that will be enough hassle that I won't want to mess with it if I can figure something else out. That should make most 8" in the safe range and most 10" ones borderline.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JCHannum
                    I would avoid using the larger tables simply because they were too heavy to drag out for a job that could be done otherwise. The 8" gets more use than any of the larger ones for this reason.
                    that was my thinking when I said that I could see ending up owning a smaller one and a larger one, and end up using the smaller most of the time.

                    It is simple to make a sub-table or add extensions to increase the size of a RT. The largest thing I have machined on the 8"RT is a 19" diameter motorcycle wheel. The added time to fixture an occasional large part is a minor inconvenience to me compared to lugging a 100+ pound fixture around when needed.
                    Huh, I would really like to see pictures or a better description of what you did (assorted automotive parts, wheels, rotors, flywheels, flexplates, crank triggers... are just the kinds of things I was thinking of using it for).

                    I was kind of thinking about that but I dismissed it thinking that:
                    - the oversize piece/extension would be hard to center/position parts accurately unless it was fairly hefty and precision ground.
                    - any extension/overhang would get in the way of operating the table
                    - a smaller table just won't have the mass to hold a larger piece steady.

                    Your response gives me the idea that these concerns are at least not as big a deal as I was thinking they will be...

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                    • #11
                      If your not happy about the quality return it. Yuausa makes a really nice table, ask Doug how he got such a good price, usually those tables retail for ~$1700.

                      Take the money and watch ebay, saw a flawless HD Troyke go for $350 on ebay, compensate for the shipping though.

                      You should be able to arm curl a 10"............LOL Constructing a handle to go into the T slots helps.
                      Opportunity knocks once, temptation leans on the doorbell.....

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                      • #12
                        I've got a 12" Troyke V/H Rotab, a 6" Hartford Indexer, and an 8" horiz rotab. All take different t-nuts that are, in turn, different from my mill. I have accumulated t-nuts for all of them. Some salvaged from scrapper equipment, some made, and some purchased. In fact, I noticed that Enco has Teco t-nuts on sale right now cheaper than it's worth to make them. Add in some decent quality all thread and all is well. I even sometimes use the straps from my mill set on the rotabs, generally I can make do quite readily...
                        Russ
                        Master Floor Sweeper

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Silverback
                          The biggest thing is slot sizes... the slots on the table face are a smaller size, both smaller than the standard slots/holddowns that I have for the bridgeport. Seems like it would be a hassle mount it down to the table securely and then I'd need another set of hold down hardware just for use with the table.

                          Looking around the internet at these things most don't list t-slot sizes, and of the ones that do, a lot of them have odd, smaller t-slots.
                          I don't think any 8" rotab has 5/8" (Bridgeport) T-slots. My Yuasa has 12mm slots, and I think the Troyke's have 9/16" T-slots.

                          But just about every tool in my shop uses different T-slot sizes, sized according to the size of the table: my Millrite mill uses 9/16" T-slots (yes, bigger than Bridgeports), my Brown & Sharpe Tool and Cutter Grinder has 7/16" t-slots, my Chinese tilting angle table has 10mm t-slots (IIRC),...

                          The T-slot/clamp kits are pretty inexpensive though. This was my post from Cameron's thread about buying a new Yuasa rotab, which has 12mm T-slots:

                          http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...57&postcount=4

                          BTW Cameron, 12mm is an RCH away from 7/16". I use the TECO 7/16" T-slot and stud set in my Yuasa -- fits great:

                          http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNSRIT...MT4NO=54595447



                          Normally $78, got it on the bi-monthly 30% off sale for $55.
                          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lazlo
                            ...The T-slot/clamp kits are pretty inexpensive though.
                            ...
                            Normally $78, got it on the bi-monthly 30% off sale for $55....
                            I have better things to spend £150 on! (the price of 3 sets) that 50 pints even at outrageous pub prices in the SE of England, or half a case of good malt whisky or twice the combined price of the DH and RT.

                            In contrast the stock was about £30 and I had lots left over to make things with ... even if I add in the cost of the two side and face cutters and the 10mm ripper end mill, I havent spent £50

                            And three sets is just too much stuff in which to not find the correct bits you need.

                            Derek - An Englishman of Scots Ancestry.
                            Last edited by derekm; 01-05-2009, 04:32 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hardtail
                              If your not happy about the quality return it. Yuausa makes a really nice table, ask Doug how he got such a good price, usually those tables retail for ~$1700.
                              I’m not sure that I have an issue with quality… besides slop or stiffness in the action or runout on the table, I’m not sure what I’d be looking for anyway. It’s more a question of t-slot sizes and the total size of the rotary table right now and I don’t want to make a mistake and end up with something that I won’t be happy with the quality.

                              After a little input, I’m coming to the conclusion that my t-slot size issue is a lot less of an issue than I was making it out to be.

                              It seems like Yuausa is pretty much the standard and people seem to like Bison, but I’ll be honest, $1xxx isn’t going to fly here.
                              Take the money and watch ebay, saw a flawless HD Troyke go for $350 on ebay, compensate for the shipping though.
                              What is the deal with the Troyke tables? I’m seeing what looks like some good deals on some used ones, and they appear to be American made… are they good quality stuff?

                              What about the Palmgren ones? They tend to _look_ nice in the pictures (I know, I’d rather have a something that works great and looks like a turd), and do come with standard 5/8” T-slots. Same with t his one but they don’t list a brand:
                              http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?P...PARTPG=INLMK32

                              Finally, what about the Enco ones? The 8” in a package with tailstock and dividing plates is $442.74 right now… that seems like a killer deal if the quality is good.

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