The Impact Of The Rotary Table On The Modern World

The rotary table is an important piece of equipment used in the machining of metal components.  However, unless you work in specific areas of manufacture or have an interest in hobby machining, it is likely that you know very little or perhaps nothing about the rotary table.  And yet the invention has played a huge role in shaping the world in which we live today.

Rotary table overview

The purpose of the rotary table is to clamp metal objects in place whilst they are being formed into the required dimensions by shaping tools.  In their most basic form they can be found in the design and technology department of most schools, where they will be operated manually in conjunction with a drill press.

Due to the limited capabilities of drill presses and the fact they only move on one axis, such a setup can only be used to drill holes.  However, when a rotary table is used with a more advanced machining device, such as a lathe or milling machine, the complexity of components that can be made is greatly increased thanks to 3 axes positioning.

In such instances the rotary table is controlled by a computer, using pre-programmed co-ordinates.  Some rotary tables, such as the example seen above, also have 4th and 5th axes capabilities, which allows them to tilt; enabling the machining of items with even greater complexity.

What they are used to produce

The rotary table is used in all manner of manufacturing, from gun barrels to surgical instruments.  However, it is perhaps in the manufacture of vehicles that the rotary table has had the biggest impact.  The ability to manufacture metal parts with extreme precision has meant that safety has been greatly improved, with cars, trains boats and planes all benefitting.

As a result of improved safety levels, manufacturers have been able to make bigger and faster vehicles without putting the lives of passengers at risk.  In addition, rotary tables have greatly increased the speed with which items can be produced, which is vital to meet ever increasing supply demands.  Manufacturing costs are also greatly reduced, helping to keep price of vehicles and travel at affordable levels.

Shrinking the world

Quicker and cheaper travel has gone a long way to making the world a smaller place, which has impacted greatly on business, travel and many other areas.  Without the invention of the rotary table; the world in which we live today would be a very different place, with vehicles and travel only available to the wealthy and fewer global corporations.

Thanks to Michael, one of the many external authors of, for submitting this guest article.

2 thoughts on “The Impact Of The Rotary Table On The Modern World”

  1. I just want to add that there are different versions of Rotary table and the most updated one is the 4th and 5th Axis Rotary tables. 4th Axis Rotary tables reduce the amount of time to shape an object while 5th Rotary tables have the same purpose but it’s only necessary for the manufacture of complex parts.

  2. I don’t have any idea about rotary table before. I really appreciate this brilliant information. at least now I am close to some technology that I don’t usually see in my life.


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