For some shops, adding a tilt rotary table to their 3-axis machining center is an economical solution to achieve 5-axis capabilities.
Some of the benefits of a tilting rotary table are:
- Tilt/rotary configuration permits complex 5 axis machining
- You can turn a 3 axis machine into a 5 axis machine for a
fraction of the cost of a new machine
- High rigidity allowing for heavy loads
- Can be setup as full 4th / 5th axis
There are some limitations to consider. Because the tilting-rotary tables are quite large, they monopolize most of the 3-axis machining center’s work envelope. The relatively small work surface means it should only be used for small parts (12 inches or less) and should not be used for heavy cutting operations. Additionally, you need to make sure the control of your 3-axis VMC is 5-axis capable.