We are so glad you’re reading this. Why? Because fixturing your material to the bed is one of the most important parts of using the Othermill, and it unlocks a whole world of good stuff. It also saves you from a world of bad stuff. Fixturing, also known as workholding, is the means of securely attaching your material to the machining bed.
Good fixturing is the difference between quickly and cleanly milling a design versus having a ton of chatter or causing your material to dislodge from the bed and go flying somewhere. Good fixturing allows you to use more aggressive feeds and speeds to achieve faster milling times, a nicer surface finish, and longer tool life. Good fixturing allows you to produce the same part multiple times with very little setup time. It’s the foundation (somewhat literally) of good machining.
How should I fixture my material?
There are many ways to fixture your material, but they depend on what material you’re using, the type of job you’re doing, and your level of machining experience.
For example, double-sided Scotch tape is great for circuit boards. It’s cheap, easy for anyone to use, and does a good job of securing the light, thin, relatively soft circuit boards to the bed. However, it’s not great for harder materials like metal because the machine has to use more force to push the tool into the material, and the tape isn’t strong enough to withstand it.
Bolting your material to the T-slots in the machining bed provides exceptionally strong fixturing for almost any material but is more difficult to use for beginners and takes longer to set up.
If you’re planning to mill the same thing over and over, a custom fixture may be the way to go.
We encourage you to explore and find the ideal methods for your projects.
Examples of Fixturing Methods
Custom Fixtures A simple custom fixture consisting of a piece of wood with a hole in it for the red Delrin piece.
A more sophisticated fixture made from HDPE. It includes a hole for the material to fit into, plus a locking mechanism to secure it.