Wood

Store-Material-Plywood-Birch

What kind of wood can you use in the Othermill?

We’ve never met a type of wood we didn’t like. The type of wood you use for your project will depend on what the project is and what results you want to achieve. A few quick cuts through a piece of plywood for a jig is a lot different, machining-wise, than a carefully roughed and finished piece of fine walnut or purpleheart intended as a gift.

The hardness, direction of the grain, and optimal uses for a particular kind of wood should be considered when embarking on a new wood project. Asking for advice from brick-and-mortar exotic wood retailers is a great way to learn about wood; plus, they often have scrap bins with a variety of kinds of wood in smaller, inexpensive sizes that are great for experimenting.

What can I make with wood in the Othermill?

Your imagination is the limit! We’ve made building blocks, inlays, enclosures, work-holding jigs, and lots of other things. Wood is exciting in that there are many kinds to choose from, each with its own unique properties, grains, color, and suitable purposes.

Where can I get wood blocks for my mill?

We sell birch plywood in our store! It’s also fun to get wood scraps from lumberyards that deal in hard and exotic woods. You can find the right fit for your project and learn a ton about wood. Scraps and samples are also great because they’re usually already cut to a size that will fit in the Othermill.

Fixturing: How do I attach wood to the bed of my Othermill?

Wood with smoother surfaces can be attached with Nitto Permacel Double Coated Kraft Paper tape. Wood with a slightly rougher grain can be attached to the bed with a combination of either Nitto tape or our standard double-sided tape and hot glue around the edges of the material. Be sure to account for the thickness of the tape when setting up your material!

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can remove the spoilboard, drill holes in the material that align with the slots in the T-slot bed (see Dimensions and Diagrams), and then bolt it to the bed with low-profile M5 bolts. This provides extremely strong fixturing.

What endmill should I use when milling wood?

Wood can work well with all sizes of endmills; however, the size and type of endmill you use will depend on the kind of wood you’re using and the results you’d like for your project. Proper feed and speed settings can get you everything from a smooth, satiny finish on a final product to expertly made quick cuts for a jig or other piece that doesn’t need fine finishing.

What are some example projects?

A Tiny Walnut Coffee Pot CoffeePot-1

Wood Inlay WoodInlay

A Box-Jointed Pencil Cup AndyWilsonFingerjointBox Photo courtesy Andy Wilson

Note: The feeds and speeds below are optimized for the V2 Othermill. If you are using an Othermill Pro or Kickstarter Othermill, you may need to experiment to find optimal settings.

Recommended Feeds and Speeds

Note: These feeds and speeds are used by default in Otherplan under the option for “birch plywood” and are provided here as a reference. These setting work well for birch plywood; using other kinds of wood may yield different results. Please research your wood type and the particular piece you have in order to get the best result for your project.

Tool: 1/8" flat endmill
Feed rate: 23.622in/min (600 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.010" (0.25 mm)

Tool: 1/16" flat endmill
Feed rate: 23.622in/min (600 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.010" (0.25 mm)

Tool: 1/32" flat endmill
Feed rate: 23.622 in/min (600 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.010" (0.25 mm)

Tool: 1/64" flat endmill
Feed rate: 23.622 in/min (600 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.010" (0.25 mm)

Tool: Engraving bit
Feed rate: 39.37 in/min (1000 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max Pass Depth: 0.003" (0.08 mm) Keep in mind the engraving tool has a variable width, depending on your “engraving cut depth.” The deeper the cut, the wider the tool. The shallower the cut, the narrower the tool. If you’re using an engraving tool and the generated path isn’t cutting part of your .svg file, try reducing the engraving cut depth.

A word about advanced feeds and speeds for wood: All types of wood will cut differently. Some have tighter grains, some are more dense, some have differing tearout characteristics (tearout is where the cutter interacts with the grain of the wood in such a way as to rip the grain up instead of cutting it cleanly). The variables and ranges available for so many types of wood are beyond the scope of this guide. However, we have done tests on birch plywood and on a slightly denser hardwood, African mahogany.

Note: For the following settings, BitBreaker Mode must be enabled in order to change your feeds and speeds.

Birch Plywood

These settings for birch plywood are good for fast, rough cuts. Birch plywood is optimal for projects that don’t call for fine detail.

Tool: 1/8" flat endmill
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.050" (1.27 mm)

Tool: 1/16" flat endmill
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.020" (0.50 mm)

Tool: 1/32" flat endmill
Feed rate: 20 in/min (508 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.010" (0.25 mm)

Tool: 1/64" flat endmill
Feed rate: 10 in/min (254 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.006" (0.15 mm)

Tool: Engraving bit
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 10,000 RPM
Max Pass Depth: 0.006" (0.15 mm) Keep in mind the engraving tool has a variable width, depending on your “engraving cut depth.” The deeper the cut, the wider the tool. The shallower the cut, the narrower the tool. If you’re using an engraving tool and the generated path isn’t cutting part of your .svg file, try reducing the engraving cut depth.

Mahogany

Tool: 1/8" flat endmill
Feed rate: 20 in/min (508 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 10,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.050" (1.27 mm)

Tool: 1/16" flat endmill
Feed rate: 20 in/min (508 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 15,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.020" (0.50 mm)

Tool: 1/32" flat endmill
Feed rate: 20 in/min (508 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 15,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.010" (0.25 mm)

Tool: 1/64" flat endmill
Feed rate: 10 in/min (254 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 15,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.006" (0.15 mm)

Tool: Engraving bit
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 15 in/min (381 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 10,000 RPM
Max Pass Depth: 0.006" (0.15 mm) Keep in mind the engraving tool has a variable width, depending on your “engraving cut depth.” The deeper the cut, the wider the tool. The shallower the cut, the narrower the tool. If you’re using an engraving tool and the generated path isn’t cutting part of your .svg file, try reducing the engraving cut depth.