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INDEXING HEADS (Dividing Head)




An indexing head (also called a dividing head) is a machining tool that allows a workpiece to be rotated, that is, easily and precisely rotated to any angle or circular division. Indexing heads are usually used on the tables of milling machines. The milling of spirals or helical cutting action requires the rotation of the workpiece in a known relation to the traversal of the cutter.

The tool is similar to a rotary table except that it is designed to be adjustable & fixed through at least 90°. Most adjustable designs allow the head to be tilted from 10° below horizontal to 90° vertical, at which point the head is parallel with the machine table.

The workpiece can be held with a collet in the indexing head, or between centers with the help of an accompanying tailstock (sometimes called a footstock), or commonly in a 3 jaw chuck.

Simple indexing consists of a series of preset holes in a backing plate, these divisions are provided for the most common angles (such as 90°, 45°, and 30°). The remaining divisions of a circle are provided by manually rotating the dividing arm using index plates. Tables or calculations are required to use this method.


Indexing Heads 02.jpgIndexing & dividing heads are ideally suited to machine gears, splines, multi keyways, drilling equally spaced holes, etc on spindles & shafts using a milling machine.









Miller’s Tooling Pty Ltd can also offer backplate adapters & Jaw chucks to suit indexing heads. 3 jaw chucks & 4 jaw chucks are avail with bolt holes thru the front face for easy mounting of the chuck. Indexing Heads 03.jpg Indexing Heads 04.jpg






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Indexing Heads 05.jpgBoth indexing plate sets (dividing plates) and tailstocks can be purchased individually; Vertex indexing plates are interchangeable with the Vertex rotary tables.








Click here for our “ROTARY TABLES“ page to view our comprehensive range of rotary tables.


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jaw_3_4_image017.gifThe development of CNC machine tools has helped to automate the mathematics involved in creating the tool path for a particular helix. CNC indexing heads and rotary tables are hard wired to the controller and become a 4th axis, just as with the other axis of the machine. However, regardless of the extent to which computer software eases the calculations, the fundamental principles of indexing are the same as those in manual control.