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.

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