Othermill Linoleum Stamp
This is a quick project journal entry to document creating a linoleum stamp on the Othermill Pro. I have been trying to figure out workflow and some project examples to share with teachers on the use of desktop CNC machines in the classroom. One of the advantages of CNC machines is that they can utilize a wider range of materials than a 3D printer or laser cutter. This is not meant as a tutorial but more as a quick reference of what I’ve tried as I know other educators with desktop CNC machines that are also just starting out.
Material: I’m using 2″x3″ linoleum blocks from Inventables (https://www.inventables.com/technologies/linoleum) bought during a Black Friday sale. I cut the blocks in half on a bandsaw creating blocks approximately 52mm in x, 38mm in y and 22.5mm in z as measured using a pair of digital calipers. Per stamp cost is around $0.50.
Bit: I’m using an 80 degree engraving bit from Othermachine (https://othermachine.co/store/cutting-tools/engraving-bit/) which is recommended for general purpose engraving. I probably could have saved time using a combination of the engraving bit and a larger end mill but the bit was already in place so I just went with what I had to skip doing a tool change.
Fixturing: I use Intertape 591 Double Sided Flatback Paper Tape that I bought in bulk years back for CNC work.
Image Processing: I found a .jpeg image of a tree via a search. I downloaded the image and imported into Adobe Illustrator and used the image trace feature to create a vector outline. I saved this image as an .svg. (If I didn’t have access to Illustrator, I would have used the website http://image.online-convert.com/convert-to-svg ) This is a simple image with a single outline. The first image I tried had nested outlines. The Otherplan software does not recognize the interior lines so I switched to an easier image to start. Have to figure out how to do more complicated SVG files. Maybe Fusion 360 or MeshCam?
Setting Up OtherPlan: I entered the size of the material and then opened the tree.svg file. I selected the 80 degree engraving tool and deleted the other tools listed. I changed the Engraving Depth to 1 mm. I unselected Cutout. I went into Advanced and changed Invert setting to Yes, everywhere.
Milling: I homed the machine and checked my setup. I put in my ear protection and then clicked Mill All Visible. I ensured that everything was cutting correctly and the machine milled for approximately 45 minutes.
Finishing: I opened the machine and vacuumed out the dust. The stamp popped off easily. I cleaned up a few areas on the edges with a hobby knife.
Stamping: I used a Ranger Ink archival stamp pad and inked the stamp and then applied to plain white copy paper. The coverage of the stamp wasn’t total and I would like to try a few different type of ink pads. (My 7 year old used markers to decorate the tree. My daugter wants to use these as gift tags. We would use card stock.)
Finishing: I made a stamp on plain paper and glued this to the back of the stamp. I would probably want to round off the corners using a band saw or maybe a sander.
I plan on showing this to the art teachers in my school to see if this might work with their printmaking lessons.
P.S. I did this project during family crafting time on the weekend. I don’t have time during the work week to experiment with new making technique so took advantage of family holiday decorating to work with the CNC.
Have some tips or links to cool CNC projects? Leave a comment or contact me on Twitter @DesignMakeTeach