Index Table - Dividing Head



Click to enlarge pictures.

For the engraving of the vernier and hand wheel I used a simple tool. A simple device that made dividings with a gear of my lathe. On one side of an arbor I hound a gear which serves as an index disk. On the other side, attached the dial ring of the hand wheel.

To engrave the handwheel, you need a gear with 60 teeth.

To mill the scale lines, I used a milling tool from DREMEL.

The figures I have made with a set of numerical punches. To tap the digits to the right place I have made a simple support. The picture beside is just an example. In this picture the ring is engraved for the table of my metal shaper I'm building. When the dial ring is engraved and punched it is time to engrave the table. The side of the table is engraved every 1 degree. The turntable is mounted on the milling table with the side up. With the hand wheel the table is rotated by one degree and engraved. Be patient and careful, an error is made quickly.


Before you hit the digits on the dial ring and the table, it is advisable to ensure the accuracy of the punches. I have the experienced this is not always perfect. The numbers are not right in the middle of the punches. You can easily check it with a test setup as shown in the picture. Keep the punches at the back plate and tap a character on the bottom plate. If all the numbers are in line everything is OK. If not, then you must slightly ground the punches in order to put the figure closer to the back plate. The picture below shows how I had ground my punches.

If everything is all engraved, figures and lines must filled with black paint. It is no problem if there is paint on the ring next to the lines of the hand wheel or on the tabletop. Let everything dry for 1 to 2 hours (depending on the type of paint). If the paint has dried a bit, rub away the excess paint with a smooth cloth (A piece of bed sheet or shirt). Rub always perpendicular to the direction of the lines, otherwise rub the paint out of the engraving. Now let the paint dry completely.

The unit is now fully ready for use. Good luck.

With a few accessories like a crank handle, sector and dividing plates, it is easy, with four bolts, to convert the indextable into a full dividing head.

Engraved index table and index plate

Some examples for using
the index table.