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Which Rotary Table To Use - Stepper Motor

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Colin Heseltine09/04/2020 20:55:37
402 forum posts
103 photos

I am in process of Assembling a rotary table indexer based on the Steve Ward Division Controller. I have all the electronic control box built and cabled up to the Nema23 stepper motor and this all works brilliantly.

I now have to fit the stepper to a rotary table. I have a choice of a new Vertex HV4 which I bought a number of years ago ready for this project or I have a Homge 6" rotary table. I am currently stripping and cleaning the Homge which has had very little use. I am trying to decide which one to add the stepper to.

Do I go for the never used 4" Vertex or the slightly larger Homge.

Any thoughts.


Chris Evans 609/04/2020 21:16:29
1631 forum posts

Colin, given the size of your mill the bigger rotary has to be the one. The very thought of trying to clamp work on a 4" table puts me off.

Colin Heseltine09/04/2020 21:37:10
402 forum posts
103 photos


To be honest I was thinking that. I was really wondering if anyone had a good reason to use the small device. I have got a big 12" rotary table but I think I would need a somewhat larger stepper motor and driver setup for that.

Hope you are keeping well in Kings Bromley. I guess you haven't got bored yet.


Chris Evans 610/04/2020 09:24:43
1631 forum posts

Hi Colin,

I will be interested in your rotary table project when completed, I have a 10" Vertex rotary that I have toyed with converting plus the huge 14" job for the bigger jobs.

I am not sure if I would ever get round to the conversion though, management is trying to keep me out of the workshop after I suffered a stroke. Wife's just don't understand how relaxing it can be.


Les T10/04/2020 09:47:16
11 forum posts

Hi Colin,

To some extent, it depends on what you envisage doing with your Ward indexer rotary table.If you

are going to be using it mounted horizontally for e.g. drilling holes on a pitch circle or machining arcs then I agree with Chris, go for the larger one. If you want to use it in a vertical sense for example to cut gears then you need to ensure you have enough operating room under the cutter.

One small consideration is the worm wheel ratio that determines resolution. The larger tables tend to have 90:1 ratio while smaller ones have less resolution e.g. 72:1 or 60:1. However, in practice, it won't make a lot of difference.

I have motorised my Myford badged HV6 rotary table and use it in the vertical position under the KX3 CNC mill. It works very well but the biggest problem is getting the table from the mill stand cupboard to the mill table! It is a very heavy unit which led me to put a stepper on 4" ArcEurotrade (no connection) rotary table as it is so much easier to manhandle. Another advantage is the body is ground on all faces of the body which makes tramming it in the vertical position much easier.

You have made an excellent choice building the Ward indexer (no connection), it is a superb design that works flawlessly.


Colin Heseltine10/04/2020 10:13:49
402 forum posts
103 photos


Thanks for your thoughts on this. Headroom is not a problem as the mill is a Gates PBM2000 (3HP Bridgeport clone). When I first bought the small Vertex HV4, and it must be at least 6 years ago, I was going to build an Arduino based stepper controller. I bought all the bits but never found the time to get into workshop. I had a smaller mill then (Chester Super Lux) and though the HV4 woud be a good fit size wise. The Homge 6" can be usd either vertically or horizontally..


No problem, when it is completed you can come and have a look or I can bring it round to yours (obviously post lockdown).

Question to you both (or anyone else)?

What is normal lubrication. When dismantled the Homge 6" table it was spotless just the grease on the gears had set hard. It has spennt some time in Ultrasonic cleaner and will be ready to reassemble later on today. I would assume something like a lithium grease on the gears and roller bearings. There is a small zit type oiler on the side wich feeds the contact faces between the base and the rotating table. I assume this is just something like Vactra2 slideway (VG68) oil.


Mike Poole10/04/2020 10:23:51
2548 forum posts
60 photos

You could do both, it might be annoying if you have to change too many parameters in order to swap though. Another stepper motor would not add greatly to the overall cost of the project. Ideally use an identical motor to your existing one and you may only need to change the table ratio if they are different.


Dave Halford10/04/2020 11:37:09
706 forum posts
6 photos

I've seen photos of some rather light weight worm gears on tables (not cheap ones) wrecked by milling arcs so I would choose based on strength.

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