New toy: Horizonal/Vertical rotary table

My machining hobby keeps being expensive. E.g. I’m thinking about learning rotary broaching, and the absolute cheapest rotary broaches I find are $50 for just the cutting bit. Those are the ones for hobbists. A single cutting bit can easily be over $200.

I’ve been wanting to cut some outside radii on the manual mill, and that’s a right pain. I finally decided that most of my use cases so far are not high precision, so instead of trying to talk myself into spending $700 shipped for a reasonably good horizontal/vertical rotary table, I went cheap. So cheap that I won’t cry if in five years I want to replace it with a better one. Really cheap. My expectations were appropriately low.

I don’t know how they sell this thing — shipped expeditiously — for $220. it shipped Monday, arrived today. It has about 20’ of backlash, and while I didn’t spend a lot of time measuring it, I did a quick sweep with a tenths indicator and it was within about a thou across the whole table — under .03mm. That’s pretty close to the limit of what I can repeatedly control quill travel on the mill anyway.

My main complaint is that the index wheel locks with a set screw but has no friction spring in it. I can put the handwheel and index wheel on the lathe and cut a slot, and then put a bit of spring steel in to make a friction spring, if I want.

The T-slots take the same T-nuts as my mill table, so I can use my existing hold-downs.

I haven’t tested runout on the MT3 in the middle, but I mostly don’t even care, since really for vertical use I have a dividing head that I’m more likely to use. The only actual use I currently have in mind for it is horizontal; vertical might someday come in handy if I need to fix something odd-shaped to it.

I’m unreasonable happy about this.


Stefan Gotteswinter showed me how to tear it down. I mean, not personally but:

The worm and gear were clean and well greased. The inside was clean of grit. The bore of the eccentric was a bit dirty but it’s cast iron. I made sure it was well oiled and put it all together.

The oiler port for the worm crank can’t keep its bearing in place, so I’m going to follow Stefan’s process for replacing it by drilling it to a tap size and tapping it M5, even if I first replace it with cheap oilers. But that’s really my only complaint so far.

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The index is oddly placed, which Mark Presling points out in this video where he shows that he also ran into this problem and made a new index pointer:



One tip I’ve received about buying cheap machine tools is to completely break them down, remove the original grease, and give it a good once over with files. One thing they do to cut costs is to ship tools without properly filing and with grinding grit left inside.


Yeah, I completely broke it down to clean. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean this one was. And I didn’t find places where I needed to touch it up with a file, either.

I was less lucky with the New toy: Tilting milling table which took some finishing work.


You won the lottery! Tools just feel better when they’re an unexpected bargain.