Welcome to Factory Friday! Like many complex machines, the Othermill is a truly global product. It takes hard work from multiple companies spread across the globe. Some parts are made in East Asia, some parts are made on the West Coast, and some parts are made downstairs.
Eventually, they all make it into our building for final assembly. Because the Othermill is such a complex machine there are a lot of assembly steps, somewhere over 150 in fact. To keep assembly time down and quality up, we have to design a lot of custom tooling, fixturing, and test jigs.
The Othermill frame is held together with special plastic screws. Each one has to be tightened to the same torque level. Each of the pilot holes needs to be drilled perfectly perpindicular before the screws go in. Since there are a lot of screws this could be a time-consuming and error-prone process.
To keep everything aligned correctly, we built ourselves a custom tool that makes this process a snap. On the left is a high-speed air drill, “Godrilla,” and on the right is probably the most expensive screwdriver not designed for space. We call him “Ebenezer Screwge.” It’s a torque driver with an automatic clutch that keeps us from over-tightening screws.
Both of these tools are attached to a pair of counterbalanced floating arms that let the operator rapidly reposition the tools without having to lift them.
Perhaps the most interesting feature is the googly eyes, an important part of any tool. Until next time, happy milling!