Hopefully, this is the right forum to ask this. If not, I apologize and ask that it be moved to the proper section. Instead of a rotary indexer, I'd like to build a linear indexer possibly using a rotary indexer
I've got two small vertical machining centers with 14" x 10" travels. I make a part that is 28" long by machining one half, then moving my fixture 14" to machine the other half. This accomplished by putting a base fixture on the table and locating a part fixture on the base using 1/4" dowel pins that pass through both base and part fixtures. The work piece is attached to the part fixture.
I'd like to have a linear stage/slide that could be mounted to the table that could be programmed to move a preset distance using the M codes normally used to actuate a rotary indexer, then resume machining the other half of the part.
My main question is how rigid would such an arrangement be? The part has no close tolerance, only aesthetics matter. Most features can be +/-.010", the material is 1/4" thick 6061, and the largest tool used is a 1/4" end mill. Would some sort of clamping be required like the larger rotary indexers? What size linear rails/bearings would be recommended?
A few more ideas.
What I'm trying to do is extend the X axis travel of my mill for the purpose of reducing the time spent manually moving the part. This proposed slide/indexer does not have to be "live", merely position, then resume machining using the "normal" X axis.
I am thinking I could buy a programmable rotary indexer and remove the rotary table. Then attach the motor to a ball screw on the linear stage/indexer. I realize the display on the programmer is going to be in degrees and the conversion to linear motion will have to be determined.
The programming would be stand alone like the Haas, Sherline, Yuasa, etc. I would be able to manually jog the slide for setup purposes, set a "zero", then program the desired index moves from that zero.