How To Find the Perfect XY Axis Compound Table

Regardless of whether iron or milling work is your hobby or a profession, you are probably always looking for solutions that can help you become more efficient at what you do.

Engineers have come up with dozens of solutions to help you transform your workshop into a highly productive place where all the work is done fast and with great accuracy. Today we are going to talk about the XY axis compound table.

The XY axis compound table is often used with a drill press or pillar drill. It will allow you to perform precision work and enable you to move components across both axes. If you want to learn how to find a perfect XY axis compound table for your specific needs, you are in the right place. Here is what you need to know.

What is an XY Axis Compound Table?

An XY axis compound table is just another type of table you can commonly see on a mill. As the name suggests, it comes with an X and Y axis.

Both of these axes come with convenient controls to enable you to move the mounted object in any direction you would like and position it for the intended work. The objects mounted on the XY compound table can be moved from left to right, as well as backward to forward.

XY compound tables are suitable for both precision and non-precision purposes. This depends on the calibration of the wheels, which will allow you to precisely adjust the table travel. This table is most commonly used for non-precision purposes, such as drilling patterns of holes, and other similar jobs on wood.

The Benefits of XY Compound Table

Since you are working in a workshop, you are probably aware of how hard it is to fixate the piece you are about to work on to a surface. Even when you are using several clamps, the pressure of the clams and the uneven surface of the material will cause it to move and then you can’t drill because the piece is no longer in the proper position.

This is where the XY compound table comes in. Even if the object you are about to work on moves due to the clamping, or previous work done on it, you can simply move it across the X and Y axis and get it to the position required for the next work. This saves a lot of time and nerves and allows you to complete your work smoothly.

Choosing the Material

Some craftsmen prefer their tools to be made out of specific materials, so it’s important to note that XY compound tables can be made of different materials. Most commonly you will run into iron and aluminum ones. The material will determine the durability and thus the lifecycle of your XY compound table.

We suggest that you explore the options and choose the one made of the material that reflects your purposes. For instance, if you are doing heavy work and you usually mount heavy wood pieces or metalwork on your XY table, the iron one will work better. On the other hand, if you are doing light work, and are more focused on precision, the aluminum XY compound table will work just fine.

XY Compound Table For Precision Work

After choosing the material, your next worry should be the table’s precision. Fortunately, you can check this really easily. Dive into the specifications and look for the info on the wheel.  First of all, you have to make sure to choose a table with a wheel calibrated in units you are comfortable working with. There are both those calibrated in metric and imperial units.

If you are focused on real precision work, we suggest that you look for cross tables with wheels that have sub-divisions around them. This will enable you to control the table travel more precisely.


Cross tables come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t want to end up with one that can’t be mounted in your workshop. This is why it’s very important to measure the space where you want to install it and double check the product dimensions before ordering it online.

This information will help you choose the right XY axis compound table for your needs. These tables are generally durable and accurate, but it won’t hurt you to dig through the specs and make sure that you get the one that will serve you for many years.

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