Blinky LED Snowflake (Otherplan Classic)

Note: This tutorial uses Otherplan Classic, OMC’s legacy application for Mac OS X. A similar workflow is possible with the current version of Otherplan.

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Greetings from Other Machine Co.! My name is Diana, and I’m the retail manager for Other Machine Co. That means I find products and make cool kits for our store! In this beginner Othermill tutorial, you’ll learn to make your own snowflake ornament.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

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Tools

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Materials

Note: All the materials listed above are available together in our Blinky LED Snowflake Kit.

Files:

Step 2: Attach Your Material

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Affix your FR-1 circuit board blank to the Othermill’s bed using double-sided tape. If the aligning bracket is in place, remove it and make sure the bottom left corner of the FR-1 is flush with the edges of the bed. I like to leave some extra tape hanging over the edges for easy removal later on.

In Otherplan, click Setup Material. Choose the standard single-sided FR-1. Click Continue and Align to Bed Origin and then click Done.

Step 3: Set Up Your File and Mill

First, set up your file in Otherplan:

  • Download the zip file. The extension name may change, so look for it in your downloads and then open the folder, where you’ll see Snowflake.brd.
  • In Otherplan, click Import Files and select Snowflake.brd.
  • Select a 1/32” tool.

Click Start Cutting. If a 1/32” tool isn’t already inserted, you’ll be prompted to insert one prior to cutting. This design takes about 40 minutes to cut out.

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When it’s done milling, wipe or vacuum off the dust, then remove your board and the rest of the FR-1 from the machining bed. Peel off all the tape, remove the snowflake, and clean up the edges with a Scotch-Brite pad.

Step 4: Solder

Now it’s time to solder. Hooray! If you’re not familiar with soldering, Adafruit’s guide is a great place to start. I like to add my own personal touch by adding lots of expletives during the process, but it’s probably best to leave this out if you’re doing the project with your little ones.

  • Solder the LEDs first. Make sure the flat, or negative, lead is facing towards the outside edges of the snowflake.

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  • Solder the resistors.

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  • Solder the battery clip.

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  • Insert your battery into the clip.

Does your snowflake light up? Great! Does it not? Expletives! Check to make sure your LEDs and battery clip are in the correct orientation and that all of your solder welds are solid. If you’re a beginner like me, this might take you a few times, so learn from my mistakes and be extra careful!

Step 5: Make It Pretty

Once your snowflake is working, clip the ends of all of the LEDs and resistors as close to the FR-1 as possible. Insert the thread or baker’s twine through the thread hole and tie a knot. Voila! You’re done.

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If you make this project or something similar, show us your creation! Or if you have questions, contact us at support@othermachine.co. We’re here to help!