We truly are in the era of desktop manufacturing. A couple of companies offer desktop subtractive machines, but a new entrant to this market offers an even smaller, lower cost machine that also delivers a nice accuracy. This entrant is the Other Machine Company. It is introducing its versatile desktop milling machine, the Othermill next month. Targeted at those who need a machine to make their own circuit boards, this small, computer controlled, 3-axis mill has a cut volume of 6″ x 5″ x 1.4″.
It was specifically designed for use at home or in a small workspace. The driver behind the development of this machine should be familiar to many who want to make your own inventions—the desire to either make your circuit board prototypes faster or to make custom designs. Applications include wearable circuits, custom guitar effects pedals, quadcopter electronics, and other items. Even though the Othermill is optimized for cutting circuit boards, it can also cut metal, wood, wax, and plastic. It can also be used for engraving and milling 3D shapes for jewelry or toy making.
“We want to enable the high tech crafter,” said Dr. Danielle Applestone, CEO of Other Machine Company in an interview with Make Parts Fast. “People who make things, who want to do high precision and small batches, and who want the same kind of quality that you get from larger machines.”
Applestone crafted a custom program for the Othermill, called Othercam, that is designed with a ‘what you see is what you make’ mindset. But it also supports industry standard G-Code. Any CAM processor that outputs G-Code in arcs/mm will work with the desktop mill.
“There is a gap in the desktop market,” continued Applestone, “so what we want to do is make it affordable and be smart about the type of software we use to operate the machine. So we have gone back to basics. Our users are most likely designers who have a product that they want to make, whether it’s a piece of jewelry, or a custom anything. We focused on what the software experience should be like for that person. I feel that is really what we are offering, a new experience for high precision small batch manufacturing.”
The software does use G codes, but the user never sees them, unless they are a power user and want to do so. But it is not really essential for the average user to know. The software calculates all of the path plans, and speeds and feeds for you, so that you can just start making your part.
“The first group of people who gravitated toward us were those who wanted to build printed circuit boards, because for them precision is paramount,” noted Applestone. “These users want parts to be exact, prototyping to be repeatable. They want to handle custom, odd shapes. So our first niche market is for milling printed circuit boards. Jewelry designers and those who use dental mills have also shown an interest in the Othermill.”
A few key details:
It fits all 1/8″ shank bits, including all Dremel and Foredom Flex Shaft accessories.
Materials include wood, such as birch plywood and maple; plastic, such as HDPE and PVC; metal, such as brass and aluminum; and machining wax PCB stock FR-1
Frame size is 10 x 10 x 12 in., 25.4 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm.
Printed circuit board cut speed is 250 mm/min.
It is powered by a 12 Vdc Haydon Kerk brushless motor.
File input can be Eagle BRD, SVG, and G code.
The PC control can be a Windows, MAC, or Linux systems.
The cost is less than $2000.00