The Othermill can cut a wide variety of materials. Some work great all the time, some work great if you know what you’re doing, and some don’t work at all. Here are some guidelines.
Materials that work great:
- FR-1 circuit boards
- Machining wax
- Soft and medium-hard wood (such as birch plywood)
- Machinable foam
- Soft plastics (for engraving)
- Brass (for engraving)
- Aluminum (for engraving)
- Silver (for engraving)
Materials that work great if you know what you’re doing:
- Hard plastics, like Delrin and HDPE
- Hardwood (such as mahogany)
- Soft stone (such as soapstone)
- Leather (for engraving)
Do not mill in the Othermill:
- Steel, stainless or otherwise — will dull/melt the cutting tool.
- Iron — will dull/melt the cutting tool.
- Magnesium — chips can ignite and are difficult to extinguish.
- Titanium — will dull/melt the cutting tool.
- Fiberglass, including FR-4 circuit boards — makes unhealthy dust.
- Hard stone and precious gems — will dull/melt the cutting tool and create dangerous dust.
- Glass — will shatter, creating dangerous shrapnel.
- Silver chloride or other powdery materials — very crumbly, doesn’t hold its shape.
- Chocolate, cheese, or other food products — The Othermill is not food safe. Besides, these things are better eaten.
Material Tips and Tricks
- If you’re cutting hard materials, shallower cuts will improve the longevity of your cutting tool.
- If you’re cutting a small, deep hole, make sure that the flutes on your tool are at least as deep as the hole. Otherwise, material will fail to eject, gumming up the cutting tool. This can damage or break the tool.
- To improve milling times on jobs with large areas to clear, use a larger tool in addition to a smaller tool. For example, to mill a circuit board faster, use 1/16" and 1/64" tools. The 1/16" tool will clear large spaces quickly, and the 1/64" will only be used for details.