Manual indexing head saves time

Posted on 12 May 2019 and read 259 times
Manual indexing head saves timeSuitable for production shops where manual mills may still be in operation, but equally well-suited to use on a vertical machining centre (VMC), a manually adjustable indexing head has been introduced by Salisbury-based 1st
Machine Tool Accessories (

The RotaVice can be rapidly set to position a component at a large variety of rotary angles in the horizontal plane for milling and drilling.

Produced in the UK, it is designed to be secured in a One-Lok work-holding device made by Chick in the USA, for which 1st MTA is the sole agent in the UK and Ireland.

Costly fixtures and the need to change machine set-ups can be avoided, saving money and time.

In smaller job shops using four-axis VMCs equipped with a full or indexing rotary table, where there may be only one or two people able to program the machine, their load can be lightened by having a lower-skilled operator set up a component manually for three-axis machining.

Everything about the RotaVice is fast. A One-Lok is first bolted onto a VMC table.

Next, positioning the movable jaw using the built-in ratchet mechanism requires only a few turns
of the handle to clamp the indexing head in a special RotaVice jaw (also made by 1st MTA), which replaces the standard One-Lok jaw.

The workpiece is finally secured in a horizontal orientation, using an array of work-holding options, which include a three-jaw chuck.

Adjusting the angle is carried out by turning a circular locating plate to the required angle and inserting a pin into the relevant hole; an array of these are pre-drilled into the plate at the most common angles (in the standard
configuration, 5, 10 and 45deg are available).

The standard plate can be changed for a specific plate to suit any job that involves the use of non-standard angles.
Another advantage of the RotaVice is that once the angle has been selected, it uses the clamping force of the One-Lok to secure the rotary angle.

This force is much higher than that offered by standard dividing heads and allows significantly heavier machining cuts to be taken while maintaining a high level of surface finish.

Altering the angle for a subsequent machining operation on the same component is similarly achieved without having to re-clamp.

Intermediate angles can be set using a rotary dial with a 1deg increment scale, while very fine adjustments down to ± 0.5deg can be made using the toggle lever mounted at the top of the unit.

Importantly, RotaVice has a large through-bore with a taper and an internal thread, both of which can be configured for use with chucks, mandrels, special fixtures and back-stops.

1st MTA says these are normally not associated with standard dividing head systems.

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