The ShopBot Rotary Indexer

So much more than a lathe.

The ShopBot Rotary Indexer allows you to cut full 3-dimensional objects on your ShopBot. Like a lathe, it provides a 4th rotary axis for turning a part, but in addition, provides precise “indexed” control over rotation. With an indexer, you can create:

  • Lathe work
  • Spindles, newel posts, table legs
  • 3D sculptures

A rotary indexer can be purchased with new tools or retro-fitted to older tools.

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Introduction to Rotary Indexer

A Rotary Axis File replaces one of the linear axes (X or Y) with degrees of rotation.

Rotary Indexer is parallel to the X axis

Linear travel in the X axis 
The Y movement (linear) is replaced
with B axis rotation
(Cylinder "wraps" along the Y axis)

Code will read:
M5,X Value,,Z Value,,B Value

Rotary Indexer is parallel to the Y axis

The X movement (linear) is replaced
with B axis rotation
(Cylinder "wraps" along the X axis)
Linear travel in the Y axis

Code will read:
M5,Y Value,,Z Value,,B Value


Examples of work created with an indexer:


3” Indexer (maximum turning diameter of 3.6 inches)

6” Indexer (maximum turning diameter of 9.8 inches*)

12” Indexer (maximum turning diameter of 19.6 inches*)

Standalone Indexer

Need a tool specifically built for indexing? The ShopBot Standalone Indexer might be right for you. Here’s a ShopBot blog post where you can learn more about it.

* The turning diameter on blank sizes may be limited depending on how the indexer is mounted. See the page for each sized indexer for mounting details.


A rotary indexer can be purchased with new tools or added on to existing tools. There are a variety of mounting options depending on the tool and the size indexer. Give us a call at 919.680.4800 to find out what’s best for you.


All ShopBot tools ship with VCarve Pro and Fusion 360, both of which allow you to design and turn 3D objects on the rotary indexer. Depending on your needs, you may wish to purchase additional software. Click here to learn more about indexing software.


Each new ShopBot tool comes bundled with two powerful software programs to create CNC projects.

ShopBot Blog