Welcome to the Othermill
We can’t wait to see what you’ll make!
This guide explains how to set up and and start using the Othermill. It’s a simple process: unpack, insert the collet, install Otherplan, and make your first project!
A complete getting started guide is included with the Othermill and available as a downloadable PDF.
Unpacking & Setup
Open the Othermill box and remove the Accessory Kit, power supply, and cables from the top tray. Remove the top tray and top layer of packing foam from the box. Remove the Othermill from its antistatic bag.
Remove the three cardboard covers from the rails inside the Othermill. Save these covers and replace them when transporting the machine.
Remove the collet and the two wrenches from the Accessory Kit.
Remove the collet nut from the bottom of the tool holder. To do this, use the smaller wrench on the flat part of the tool holder to secure it in place while loosening the nut with the larger wrench.
Insert the collet into the collet nut. It might be a little wiggly; putting it on the tool holder will pop it into place. You might also notice the inside of the collet has an offset. This is part of the collet’s design and totally normal.
With the collet in place, thread the collet nut back onto the tool holder by hand.
Tighten by two or three turns, holding the tool holder in place with the small wrench if necessary. Do not fully tighten the nut without a tool inserted.
Here’s more detail on inserting the collet:
Place your wrenches on top of the Othermill. There are magnetic pockets on the top of the Othermill to keep the wrenches handy while you’re working.
Connect the power supply to the power jack on the back of the Othermill with the built-in cable. Connect the power cable to the power supply and plug it into a grounded electrical outlet. Then plug in the USB cable to the USB jack on the back of the Othermill, and connect the other end to your computer.
Important: The power cable has a locking connector. To remove the cable, always pull by the connector. Do not pull by the cable.
The Otherplan Public Beta is also available for Windows and Mac OS X.
Once the download completes, install the file according to your operating system’s instructions.
With the safety windows in place, turn on the Othermill by twisting the red Emergency Stop button clockwise and pushing the power button on the back of the machine. The interior lights will turn on and the Othermill will beep.
If the firmware on your Othermill needs to be updated, Otherplan will guide you through the process.
When prompted, home (calibrate) the Othermill by clicking the Start Homing button.
If you’re starting your mill for the first time, Otherplan will also have you locate the spoilboard. The Locate Spoilboard dialog box will automatically pop up and give you prompts to help the machine locate the spoilboard correctly.
Now you’re ready to mill!
If you’ve used a CNC mill before, feel free to skip to the next section. Whenever you use the Othermill, you will need a design file, milling material, and a milling tool.
Design file: The Othermill needs to know what to cut! Once you’ve created a design, import it into Otherplan to scale and orient it the way you want.
Otherplan for OS X imports SVG, BRD, Gerbers, and G-Code. For more information about file types, read the File Support guide.
The Otherplan Public Beta runs G-code only; however other file types will be supported in future releases.
If you’re just getting started, the Othermill comes with our fun Hello World kit that includes a design file. You can find it in the Accessory Kit that came with your Othermill.
Milling material: The Othermill cuts most anything softer than steel, and you’ll need a piece of material to cut. People often call this object the material, stock, or workpiece, but all it really means is “the thing you’re cutting.”
For more information on materials supported by the Othermill, read our Materials guide.
Before you start cutting, you’ll need to attach your material to the Othermill’s machining bed. This is called fixturing. We’ve included a roll of double-sided tape, which works great with flat, thin material like circuit boards, thin metal, or plastic pieces.
If the tape isn’t enough, a bead of hot glue around the edges of larger or rougher materials — like wood, plastic, and machining wax — works great.
The machining bed is also equipped with tiny T-slots that can be used for fixturing.
Milling tool: We’ve included 1/32″ and 1/64″ flat end mills to get you started, but you can use any cutting tool with a 1/8″ shank.
Remember, the smaller the tool, the more fragile it will be and the slower you’ll need to cut. Big tools are great for roughing passes and clearing out lots of material.
If you need help selecting an appropriate tool or material, refer to our Tools & Materials page.
Once you’ve imported a design file and loaded a tool and piece of material, you’re ready to mill!
Our Hello World kit guides you through using the Othermill for the first time. You’ll need a soldering iron and solder to complete the project, but everything else is included in the box.
Read the instructions and get the required files here.
Circuit board not to your liking? Take a look at some other beginner project ideas here.