OTHERMILL

A desktop CNC mill for everyone.

Overview Specifications Example Projects FAQ

FOR HOBBYISTS AND PROFESSIONALS

CNC (computer numerically controlled) mills cut 3D objects out of durable materials and are widely used in modern manufacturing. They enable rapid prototyping in workshops and improve the speed and efficiency of factory lines. Yet most mills are costly and difficult to use, keeping them out of reach for individuals and small businesses.

The Othermill changes the game. It brings CNC milling technology to a size and price that will fit in your home or office. Its revolutionary simplicity makes it possible for everyone – whether a novice or trained engineer – to create high-quality finished products.


ITERATE ON CUSTOM CIRCUITS

Circuit board designer? The Othermill was created with you in mind. The Othermill simplifies production by allowing you to cut circuit boards on your own time – no more waiting for shipments from the board house! Iterate on your designs faster, while still using the design tools you know and like: Eagle, Gerber, and PCBmodE. Custom board shapes in through-hole and surface-mount designs are now at your fingertips.


MATERIAL CHOICES

The Othermill is great for projects from custom engraving and printmaking to wood carving and circuit board fabrication. It works with a wide variety of materials like:

  • Single-sided FR-1 copper-clad printed circuit boards
  • Wood, such as birch, plywood, and maple
  • Plastics, such as HDPE, ABS, and PVC
  • Soft, non-ferrous metals like brass, copper and aluminum
  • Machining wax – perfect for prototyping designs

If you have trouble finding the right material for your project, check out our online store – all of the materials we sell are selected for the Othermill.


POWERFUL, EASY TO USE SOFTWARE

For too long, CNC mills have required deep, technical knowledge of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software. Otherplan, our free CAM software for Mac OS X, uses a revolutionary “what you see is what you make” approach. Otherplan is ideal for people new to CNC, while still giving under-the-hood access to advanced users. Otherplan allows Mac OS X users direct control of the Othermill and can export industry-standard G-code for use in other software and equipment.


SMALL FOOTPRINT, HIGH QUALITY

At 16 pounds and 10" x 10" x 12", the Othermill is small and light enough to carry with you – it even has handles. You can always grab it and take it on the bus, toss it in your trunk, or put it in your bike basket on your way to the shop or workspace. And the Othermill uses high-performance, high-reliability parts – ensuring a long, low-maintenance life with repeatable quality, day after day.

Our low-vibration, high speed spindle and precision screws allow you to reliably cut 10 mil trace and space on FR-1 PCB stock. Any tool with a 1/8" shank can be used with the Othermill, including all Dremel and Foredom Flex-Shaft accessories.


UNDER THE HOOD

When we designed the Othermill, we made a number of careful decisions about materials, construction, and components. We wanted to produce a machine that would be easy to use, but output high quality parts. The Othermill stands out in appearance, because it is made from high density polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE is chemical resistant and moisture proof, leading to a longer lasting machine.

All features and specifications are subject to change without notice.

CHOCOLATE MOLDS

When we realized that we could make molds using the mill, we went straight for chocolate. The positive for the molds was milled out of machining wax, and the molds themselves were made from silicone. Machining wax is a great material, and it machines like butter.

Once we had the molds, we just melted molding chocolate, which you can get from most cooking/pastry supply stores. You can find more complete instructions on our blog. A similar process can be used to mold almost anything: ice, silver, clay, whatever.

Designed and created by: Jake Read and Martine Neider

DIGITAL COMPASS

3D printers are amazing, and hardly a day goes by that we don't hear about a new use for them. Still, there are a lot of things 3D printers can't do, and that's where a mill comes in!

The real fun starts when you put your milled parts with your 3D printed parts. When you have the ability to combine any shaped enclosure with any shaped circuit board, you have a world of custom electronic gadgets at your fingertips. We can't wait to see what you'll make!

Designed and created by: Mike Estee

WEARABLES

We're huge fans of mixing technology and fashion here at Other Machine Co. The very first circuit we cut out on the Othermill was a tiny carrier board for haptic vibrating motors. Sewn into a GPS enabled jacket, it can tap the wearer on the shoulder as they walk around. With the freedom to make sewable boards, your designs can explore even more interesting directions!

A special thanks to our friends at Adafruit for their support. The breakout board design files for this FLORA-based jacket can be found here.

Designed and created by: Mike Estee

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is desktop manufacturing?

Desktop manufacturing is like industrial manufacturing, but on a smaller scale. Manufacturing is the art of making objects and parts and devices, and in the modern industrial world, this is accomplished with the assistance of computer numerical controlled (CNC) machines. Decreases in the cost of motor control and advances in computer software have led to the development of small CNC machines (desktop) that have the same capabilities as their larger, industrial manufacturing machine counterparts.

What are the benefits of desktop manufacturing?

Flexibility

You can make anything. You can design things that don't yet exist, and desktop manufacturing tools give you the ability to make them yourself. Like the desktop printing revolution of the early '90s, we are at the edge of a monumental shift towards technologies that used to be out of reach.

Customization

The DIY movement has inspired a generation of people to think outside of the big box store and to create their own products. People are now creating their own tools, toys, clothes, transportation, books, and digital music. Desktop manufacturing expands the wealth of opportunities that will we have for making our ideas real and making them personal and in a way that is repeatable with good quality.

Speed

Computer control of machines means that parts can be made much faster with much more repeatable results. Additionally, when you have the ability to make your own circuit boards, at home, without having to use a mail order service for prototypes, you can iterate much faster. Without week or month-long delays, you can afford to be more adventurous with designs and get to a working project more efficiently.

Cost

The value of prototyping big things at small scale not only saves you time in the long run, but also saves you money on shipping for mail-order parts. When you are ready for manufacturing large-scale things, it makes sense to work out of a machine shop, but the more you can do at home on your desktop, the more money you will save.

What is a mill?

A mill is a machine that uses a rotating tool to move across material and cut out pieces. It cuts very thin layers of material at a time. This allows it to create a detailed design.

What is the Othermill?

The Othermill is a small, computer controlled, 3-axis mill that is specifically designed for use at home or in a small workspace. Our objective is to build a mill that is small, clean and quiet enough for use at home, and precise enough for high level electrical and mechanical prototyping work. We want the Othermill to feel at home on your desk, in your workshop, or on your kitchen table.

What can I make?

With our mill, you can produce custom circuit boards quickly and cheaply: make all your projects light up, beep and move. Wearable circuits, custom guitar effects pedals, quadcopter electronics are all within reach without having to wait for boards to come back from the manufacturer. Over time, this machine pays for itself in not only time but money saved on mail order boards. Even though the Othermill is optimized for cutting circuit boards, it can also cut metal, wood, wax, and plastic. It is great for engraving and milling 3D shapes for jewelry or toy making.

How is the Othermill different from other mills?

The Othermill is smaller, higher precision, and cuts a wider variety of materials than any other small-scale mill on the market. Our machine and our software are also designed to integrate as seamlessly as possible.

What software do you need to run the Othermill?

The Othermill comes with a custom application called Otherplan that is designed with a 'what you see is what you make' mindset. We have experienced all sorts of difficult and frustrating CNC machine user interfaces in our time, and so we care about making our machines as easy to use as possible. However, our machine also supports industry standard G-Code. Any CAM processor that outputs G-Code in arcs/mm will work.

What kind of computer do I need to run the Othermill?

Otherplan runs on MacOS X Mountain Lion (10.8) or higher. However, you can run other CAM interface programs such as Synthetos tgFX, for more information see Synthetos on github.

Do you offer a warranty?

We offer a 90 day warranty. You will receive a working machine and if anything goes wrong, contact us through our support email address and we will help as best we can. Because the machine cuts metal and plastic, and is made out of metal and plastic, it is capable of destroying itself if told to do so. Our software will do its best help the operator avoid this, but sometimes mistakes happen. We will do our best to help keep you up and running.

How big can it cut?

The cut volume is 6" x 5" x 1.4".

What size bits does it take?

The Othermill fits all 1/8" shank bits, including all Dremel and Foredom Flex Shaft accessories.

How long does it take to make a thing?

Cutting time varies based upon the material and the complexity of the part you are cutting. We have cut out Arduino shields in around 20 minutes.

How precise is the Othermill?

0.001"/0.02mm

Does the Othermill have any consumables?

The precision carbide endmills will eventually become dull. We offer them for sale on our online store, and they can be found at good hardware stores, both on and offline.

What materials does the Othermill cut?

Many!
Wood, such as birch plywood and maple
Plastic, such as HDPE and PVC
Metal, such as brass and aluminum
Machining wax
PCB stock FR-1

How do I plug the machine into my computer?

With the supplied USB 2.0 cable.

How much maintenance does the Othermill need?

Light lubrication, and occasional cleaning. The spindle drive belt has a long life, but will eventually wear out and need replacing. Our lead screws are teflon coated, and should require minimal cleaning and maintenance.

What kind of power connection does it have?

110/220 VAC, with a supplied North American IEC power-cord.

Can I buy materials through your website?

Yes! Visit our online store.

Do I need any special equipment to run the Othermill?

You need a computer and a power outlet. No ventilation is needed, but a vacuum is handy for cleanup after a job.

Where can I buy the software?

Otherplan is available for free from our website.

What kind of computer do I need to run Otherplan?

A machine capable of running MacOSX Mountain Lion (10.8) or later. For other operating systems, there are open source CAM interfaces such as tgFX. To use these open source CAM interfaces an operator will require more machining experience and an understanding of material feeds and speeds.

Do I have to use Otherplan?

No. If you'd prefer, you can run other CAM programs using Synthetos tgFX. For more information see Synthetos on github.