This post provides an overview of how to design and prototype printed circuit boards on a desktop CNC mill. Most students do not have access to a CNC mill in their electrical engineering or electronics classes. In most classes, students make circuits using breadboards, which allows them to make connections by plugging wires and components into a grid. This method is great for very simple circuits, but it quickly becomes messy as circuits increase in complexity, to the point where it becomes very difficult to troubleshoot.
In many Engineering Mechanics and Materials classes, “dog bone” tensile test specimens are required at some point, as part of determining the yield strength and ultimate tensile strength of various materials. For each of these materials, the test specimens are often milled one at a time in the university’s machine shop by a certified lab technician, until there are enough for the entire class. What if there were an easier way that didn’t require a machine shop or certifications, and could even be used as a teaching tool?
It’s impossible to tell the Other Machine Co. story without talking about our roots in education. The predecessor to today’s Othermill was developed as a part of a research and development program to “reinvent shop class for the 21st century.” And though the machine itself has changed and become fine-tuned over the years, our commitment to our original mission has stayed the same.
Our own Danielle Applestone appeared this week on CNET’s CES panel on New Directions in 3D Printing. It’s a great conversation with interesting projections for the milling and 3D printing communities.
As residents of San Francisco we are intimately connected to the topography of the city. More than any other city I’ve lived in the geography of the hills designate, separate and embody all of the different neighborhoods. To honor our city, Jake made this video of the Othermill creating a topographic map of San Francisco.
This week, we had a young visitor hanging out around OtherFab. My son is 8 and was on spring break. He loves it here and begged me to come to work. I said he could come for half of the time, not really being sure how to juggle the workday with watching a kid. Fortunately, he is into building things (so are we!), so I figured that I could use him as a beta tester for some of our software and hardware tools.
The E in E-Stop stands for emergency.
When everything is going right, you don’t need any buttons. When something goes wrong, you only need one button.
We’re working hard to make it obsolete, but sometimes its nice to know it’s there.
If you’re on this site, maybe you’ve used one of these newfangled computer controlled machines: a waterjet, laser cutter, vertical milling center, or 3D printer. Maybe you haven’t but you’re curious to see what all the fuss is about. Why should you care? Why are they exciting? There are a lot of folks who will tell you that they’ll change the world, see here and here. I’ll tell you that these tools can help you accelerate, extend, and enhance your hobby and craft projects. Even better they allow small businesses to compete with large manufacturers in terms of speed, efficiency, and accuracy.