Rotary Table

What is a Rotary Table?

The rotary table is a circular work surface that can rotate during operation. It provides additional machining axes with the machine tool, allowing cuts on multiple sides of the workpiece at more available angles. Some models have the tilting function, which provides one more additional axis to the machine tool.

Rotary tables have slots on the surface for jaw installation. They may also use a magnetic mechanism to clamp magnetic conductive workpieces. The table consists of a circular work surface mounted on a base. Its movement is driven by a motor. Compared to the conventional work table (stationary), the rotary table has more flexibility in positioning workpieces.

Machining Axes

A typical machine tool usually comes with three axes, X, Y, and Z-axis. These axes refer to the directions (left-and-right, front-and-back, up-and-down) the tooling or the workpiece moves. Rotary tables can equip the tool with two extra axes, rotational, and tilting. The machine equipped with the extra axes is called the 3+1 (3+2) machine.

The rotational axis can be A, B, or C-axis (usually C on a vertical platform), depending on the orientation of the table. A-axis refers to the rotation on X-axis, B on Y-axis, and C on Z-axis. It is subject to the machine tool’s working mechanism. The tilting (swing) axis is granted by the swingarm or another rotational axis on the table base. It is also called a tilting table.


using a rotary table is hassle-free because the motions are under the control of the CNC system. That said, there are still takeaways to consider in order to preserve the best quality of its performance.


When setting up the rotary table, the alignment of the table is important. As mentioned above, the primary goal is to provide additional machining axes. The alignment of the table to the base has a major influence on the accuracy and precision of the process. You should carefully align the table and the base and test it with the program before running it.

Jaw Installation

The rotary table is dynamic in use. Its motions always pair with the cutting tool. The correct installation of jaws is vital for it exerts the clamping force on a workpiece. It ensures the stability of the workpiece and the smoothness of the process. If the jaws are not installed firmly and properly, it results in workpiece distortion under high compression. It may also lead to displacement during operation.


Almost all moving parts in a machine require proper and adequate lubrication. As the moving parts contact and collide with each other directly, the smoothness declines, and unwanted wear occurs. As a result, before and after using the machine tools that come with a rotary worktable, remember to apply lubrication on the contacting surfaces of the components.


The multi-axis machining capability reduces the production cycle time by eliminating the need for repositioning and transferring workpieces from one machine to another. In addition, performing machining processes on the same platform prevents the risk of deviation. In other words, the rotary table guarantees optimal precision and accuracy when machining a workpiece from multiple angles.

Rotary tables are widely applied for machine tools that are compatible with CNC systems, such as the machining centers. With this component, both simple and intricate procedures can be easily accomplished.

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