Aligning the turntable pit

About the only machine tool I own is a little drill press.  I bought it for $50 at a garage sale over a decade ago, and it has paid for itself many times over.  Unfortunately, because my tools are not going to automatically align parts, I spend a lot of time figuring out how to trick myself into getting things square or in-line.

The whole idea of using the lazy susan base for the turntable comes from the notion that it is easier to align large things than small things.  If I were going to try to use a vertical axle, I would therefore want quite a long one – at least until its position wasn’t going to change anymore.

With the lazy susan, I needed to get the middle of the lazy susan aligned with the middle of the pit (round as it is!).  To do this, I soldered a length of 1/16″ rod through a hole in the center of the turntable base.


This passes through a similar hole that I made through the middle of the pit.


Unfortunately, the lazy susan base is proud where I need it to sit against the bottom of the benchwork. So, I routed out a channel for the base to run in. I could have shimmed up the base with yet another layer, but every layer you add increases the inaccuracy of the assembly. I’m not too concerned about strength: ultimately the lazy suzan will be screwed through into the 3/4″ plywood top.

I also trimmed back the giant piece of 1/4″ plywood that was part of the base so I can fit it into the emerging jigsaw puzzle beneath the layout.



3 thoughts on “Aligning the turntable pit

  1. Thank you for the update.

    I’m so fascinated with the idea of using a lazy susan as the base for a turntable and really enjoy following along the development of the project. I think this is really interesting stuff.

    A drill press is one tool my humble shop lacks. I have a table saw as well as a router table but never got around to buying a drill press. So far, it’s just me weilding my trusty old Black and Decker drill and praying the hole I drill is close enough to the angle I was hoping for. It’s a comedy of best intentions I’ll be entertaining again soon as I work on the pivot for my own layout’s sector plate.



    1. I’m going to stop feeling sorry for my lack of machine tools now, Chris!
      Incidentally on a sector plate, I would think you could accommodate quite a bit of running clearance in the pivot, as long as the business end is held steady. Good luck; I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes.

      1. Perhaps in terms of machine tools we can just take comfort in how adept we are at using our respective limited shops?

        I completely agree that the fulcrum for the sector plate can be quite free (sloppy?) in terms of its fit. I like fixing this location during an operating session but I’d like to consider options to make the bridge removable so that it could be replaced with others in a sort of cassette system approach. To make replacing cassettes a little extra room to find that pivot will be very useful and well appreciated.



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