Othermachine recently posted a Fall Othermill Project Roundup http://blog.othermachine.co/fall-othermill-project-roundup which curated social media photos related to the Othermill desktop CNC by Othermachine. The project roundup had photos from some of my favorite digital fabrication friends including Josh Burker (@joshburker), Tom Burtonwood (@tomburtonwood) and Noe Ruiz (@ecken). These photos highlight the value of documenting work via social media to inspire other designers. Several of my posts were included and it reminded me that I needed to post some of my experiences with the Othermill Pro here on my blog.
I reviewed the Othermill for Make magazine’s 2016 Ultimate Guide to Digital Fabrication (Vol. 48 December/January 2016). When my school won the US Department of Education’s CTE Makeover Challenge this summer, I approached Othermachine about partnering with us to bring the Othermill to our school makerspace. Danielle Applestone, Othermachine CEO, responded back and generously offered a free upgrade to the Othermill Pro and a bundle of tools, fixturing aids and materials worth in excess of $2,300.
I was busy setting up a makerspace and didn’t have time to do an unboxing post or video on the Othermill Pro but the packaging has a fantastic design and the setup process is simple to follow.
CNC mills are a subtractive process and use a spinning bit to remove material. One of the values of a desktop CNC mill is the range of materials that can be used. Circuit boards, wood, wax, delrin, polycarbonate, linoleum blocks, aluminum, foam and more can be milled with precision.
My initial wave of experimentation was trying different hardware and craft store materials.
I even cut a design out of 1/8″ aluminum from a design in an Adafruit project.
Bit breaking is part of the learning process but it can be expensive. I’ve tried a demo of G-Wizard speeds and feeds calculator to adjust my settings but need more time to figure it out.
Recently, I have been working with an art teacher to demo stamp making using the Othermill Pro to students that are hand carving linoleum block prints. I put up a blog post of the steps I took to make an Othermill Linoleum Stamp. Students in my school Maker Club also designed personal stamps last week.
The feature that most impressed me about the Othermill for classroom use is it’s portability. I recently took the Othermill Pro to the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) conference for my Digital Fabrication in the Classroom presentation and demo of our school mobile maker cart. The Othermill can be easily moved by students and fits neatly in a teacher hand cart. There are a number of desktop CNC mills that have entered the consumer market including models with larger cutting areas by Inventables, Carbide 3D and Shopbot but they aren’t nearly as portable as the Othermill.
If you have ideas for using CNC mills like the Othermill in the classroom, please post a comment or contact me on Twitter @DesignMakeTeach.