Universal Dividing Head

What is a universal dividing head?

A universal dividing head, also known as a universal indexing head, or a universal spiral head, is a set of device that is versatile for being applied on the milling machines, drill presses, or boring machines. The universal dividing head assists for the indexing of the workpieces, in order to allow the cutting tools to cut through them at certain angles with appropriate alignment.

As the above paragraph has mentioned, the universal dividing head is actually a set of device, which consists not only the head that is the main operating component of this device, but also the tailstock that is constructed as the shape of a dovetail, and helps the alignment of larger workpieces or heavier loads when the compatible machine is in operation.

The design of a dividing head, or another common name, the indexing head, can be derived from the design as the rotary table that can be seen on a lathe. The rotary table on the lathe is used to hold the workpieces, and rotate when the lathe is operated, in order to allow for different angles of cuts. 

While the workpieces on the rotary part of the dividing head, which is the direct dividing plate, is directly attached to the spindle on the head and allows for the perpendicular cutting direction instead. In other words, the dividing plate in combination with the spindle on the head, works with similar function as the rotary table on a lathe.

The principle of the operation for the dividing head relies on the worm mechanism inside the construction. As the handle on the side of the head is turned, the worm mechanism is driven in order to facilitate the rotating motion of the spindle. Based on the flexibility of the spindle and the dividing head, these devices can be further differentiated into the plain dividing heads, the semi-universal dividing heads, and the universal dividing heads.

How does a universal dividing head form?

A universal dividing head consists of the base plate, the swivel block, the worm mechanism, the spindle, the direct dividing plate, the interchangeable dividing plate, and the additional tailstock.

 Base plate
The base plate, as the name implies, is at the base of the device, which supports the components on above, including the swivel block, spindle, direct dividing plate, and the interchangeable dividing plates.

● Swivel block
The swivel block on the universal dividing head is what makes this device universal, since it can not only be tilted, but also rotate with the turning of the auxiliary input at the back of it, which allows for more angles of cuts on the workpieces that the direct dividing plate holds on the front of it.

● Worm mechanism
The worm mechanism makes the transmission of the motion. With the worm gears that are equipped on the head, the spindle and the direct dividing plate rotate once the operator turns the handle as well as the interchangeable dividing plate.

● Spindle
The spindle is the rotary device that penetrates through the head laterally on the center of the direct dividing plate. It is directly attached to the workpieces in conjunction with the collect or chuck, which drives the rotary motion of the workpieces accordingly.

● Direct dividing plate
The direct dividing plate serves as the rotary table on a lathe, which turns the workpieces as the spindle on the center rotates. In addition, when the swivel block tilts or rotates at the back, the direct dividing plate would be driven together.

● Interchangeable dividing plates
The interchangeable dividing plates are used when there is the requirement to change the angle of the direct dividing plate, with the pin engages and locks the holes on the plate as the position is determined by the handle.

● Tailstock
The tailstock is an additional component that would not be used every time the universal dividing head is operated. When it is used, the larger and longer workpieces can be held in place on the other opposite site of the head with the assistance of the tailstock.

What are the differences between different types of dividing head?

There are three types of the dividing heads that can be seen on the market, but have different features that make the manufacturers choose one other than another, including the plain dividing heads, the semi-universal dividing heads, and the universal dividing heads.

The aim of adopting either one of these three types of dividing heads is point to the same one, which is to provide more angles of cuts on the workpieces.

● Available cutting angle
This parameter determines the main difference between the three types. The plain type is just a spindle that is allowed for rotating the workpieces on it. The semi-universal type provides tilted spindle for more angles of cuts. As for the universal dividing head, it offers more angles because the head can not only tilt but also rotate during operation.

● Auxiliary equipment
For allowing the head to be rotated, there is an auxiliary input at the back of the universal dividing head that can be turned, which is what the other types don’t have.

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