Finals: Exploiting the Othermill!

I’m going to make a 12″x15″, *non-interactive* map of NYC using wood and metals. I spent a day visualizing the map and creating SVG from it.

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I’m planning to make wooden tiles with embedded metal pieces. Wood is land and metal is water. Following factors had to be taken care of to avoid unpleasant surprises at next levels:

  1. Size of milling bit: The bit should be able to trace outlines of both the positive and negative shapes. The outlines had to be rounded a little.
  2. Size of the Othermill bed: This determined the size of individual tiles.
  3. Materials: I wanted to use aluminum and walnut, so I tested a simple friction fit:

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I’m really happy with the results: Both materials are sanded down to same surface and it feels elegant, smooth and rich. Unfortunately I couldn’t find walnut after hunting a few places across Manhattan and Brooklyn, and online delivery would have taken at least 5 days. So I’m going ahead with oak. I’ll stain it to add some contrast with metal.

Next I carefully made two sets of SVG files: One for oak and other for aluminum, taking into account the tolerance values and tile alignment. This project is taking more time than what I had thought earlier, but it’s extremely enjoyable and I’m learning new facets of the Othermill.


I also learned about a lot of new uses of dremel: there’s a cutting wheel that I use to cut off the pieces from metal slabs, when othermill leaves a thin aluminum film on the contours.

Dynamic Web Development: Mobile screens


I started with these visuals for a handwritten note + reminder app. Here’s what the app would do:

  1. Splash/ landing screen: Shows time. Tap on it and it slides up to reveal the next screen.
  2. Here user has a control panel on left, and an area on the right to scribble notes. The control panel has two choices: Timer (relative time notifications, like 2 hours from NOW) and Alarm (absolute time notifications, like at 2:30pm).
  3. Settings/ Configurations lead to logs & app settings, such as nature of notification, time format etc.
  4. On saved time, the scribbled note would pop up.

4 Axis Mill: Job #2

I tried 2-sided cutting on 4 axis mill this time, with a block of mahogany wood.





I didn’t have a round bit at time, so a spherical concave surface is cut into steps by the flat bit. I had to sand it manually later.

Once the roughing pass finished cutting the surface and notches, I stopped the operation as I realised that it’s just cutting tabs. Tabs were simple to take care of manually on the sander belt.



4 axis mill


I am enjoying 3D CAD/CAM as I’m learning more and more tools from this class. I used Vectorworks to create a helix. SRP Player and VPanel were then used to enter dimensions, material details and bit details. I got a piece of delrin from Ben, I used metal  lathe to clean it up by facing the two ends. Facing also marked the center of the surface, and I used a little nail to make a dimple so that it fits on the tail of the mill.


The machine has many possible operations to offer, so the interface is somewhat complex. I had to be careful while setting x,y and z origins.


220 minutes! I opened the fall 2016 registration page and took a good look at the next semester courses 🙂 Vacuuming was necessary at a few steps as there was a lot of material being removed. I used the small vacuum cleaner from 3D printers space.


The profile looked really beautiful as it was being machined. Because of the small size of job and bit (1/8 inch), the changes were not immediately visible after each pass. The final piece looks like this:

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I canceled the finishing pass before starting the job, and it still took over 3 hours for roughing. Roughing produced facets on the surface which look nice for this piece, but it will take more time to finish the surfaces for utilitarian parts that require precision.