By day, Bloomsburg, Penn.-based educator Tom Gill teaches physics and astronomy at Central Columbia High School. After school, he mentors two robotics teams: the Jaybots and the Jayborgs, the names a nod to their school mascot, the blue jay. A year ago, Tom added an Othermill the teams’ tool arsenal. He recalls, “I was inspired to get one because of the variety of tasks that it can perform and how it complements our other equipment, such as laser cutters and 3D printers. Another big factor was its small footprint and relative quiet operation, so it can be run during the school day next to the library.”
The Jaybots and Jayborgs, ranging in age from 14 to 18, have used the Othermill to make a variety of projects under the tutelage of Gill. For their robots, they’ve made custom connectors to join the 80/20 aluminum and to support their wheels and motors. Bonus points that the aluminum sheet they used was salvaged from last year’s robotics competition field. This past Christmas, they even made circuit board holiday ornaments for a tree that was then donated to a local family.
With the Othermill, Gill says, “Circuit boards are so much nicer. I used to use photoresist and etching solutions and then drilling. The Othermill does everything in one step. The parts we made for the robot are a huge improvement, as well, because the accuracy is much better than what we could achieve by hand (by drilling, for example) since multiple holes must line up exactly in order for the parts to fit properly.”
His favorite thing about the Othermill? “Its versatility. It does what the other machines I have can't.”
Now that the official FIRST robotics competition season is over, Gill plans to grow the teams’ knowledge of CNC milling and how to further use the Othermill. Gill is also interested in collaborating with other local Othermill users for training. If you’re an Othermill user in the Bloomsburg area, you can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can't wait to see what these bright young minds make next! And we also can't help but to share the team's amazing entry to the FIRST Parody Song Competition. Here's the Jaybots' "Gotta Get this Robot Done" parody of "Alexander Hamilton":