Bantam Tools Blog

Tips and Tricks to Get More Out of Your Desktop CNC Mill

Posted by Shelley Villano on Apr 8, 2016 12:31:53 PM

Whether you are new to CNC milling or have been using a desktop CNC mill for some time, there’s always a way to make your workflow more reliable or efficient. Here are three simple and easy tricks you can use to simplify your workflow and make higher quality parts faster.

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Topics: How-To, CAM, Tips & Tricks, CNC, CAD

Introducing the Bit Fan, a New Othermill Accessory You Can Make

Posted by Owen Smithyman on Jan 27, 2016 8:42:15 PM

We just developed a really cool new accessory for the Othermill that makes your tools last longer and gives your milled parts a nicer surface finish. It also enables you to to see your workpiece more clearly. Win win! We call our new friend the Bit Fan. And the best part is that you can mill your own Bit Fan in 7 minutes!

Update: based on a suggestion from user Peter Luong, we made an STL version of the Bit Fan. If you don't have HDPE but you do have a 3D printer, you can print the Bit Fan!

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Topics: How-To, Machining, Machining Wax, Things We Like, Tips & Tricks, CNC

How to Make PCBs On a Desktop CNC Mill

Posted by Owen Smithyman on Jan 22, 2016 10:30:00 AM

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.

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Topics: How-To, CAM, Circuit Boards, Workflow, CNC, CAD, Electronics, Electrical Engineering

Convert STL to STEP

Posted by Owen Smithyman on Jan 20, 2016 11:59:36 AM

This guide shows you the basics of converting an STL file to a STEP file. STL files are a 3D mesh format mostly used by 3D printers, but in the world of engineering CAD and CAM, most software requires solid models. The most universal solid model format is STEP (.stp, .step). Ideally you'd begin with a solid model and avoid STLs entirely, but maybe you found the perfect object on Thingiverse or you used a 3D scanner, and there’s no reasonable way to begin with a solid model. Or maybe you're already doing solid modeling, but you need to incorporate an STL model into it. This guide shows you a file conversion process that has worked well for me.

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Topics: How-To, Tutorials, Tips & Tricks, Fusion 360, CAD

Video: Use FlatCAM to Convert Gerber Files to G-Code

Posted by Owen Smithyman on Oct 16, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Prototyping circuit boards is an important part of product development. Ordering prototypes from a PCB manufacturer is either very slow or very expensive (and still kind of slow). To speed up the process, many people etch boards themselves, which is much faster than ordering them but requires toxic chemicals.

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Topics: How-To, Gerbers, CAM, Tutorials, Windows, Circuit Boards, Videos

Make Your Mill More Precise with Circles, Squares, and Diamonds

Posted by Owen Smithyman on Sep 16, 2015 9:40:00 PM

It’s hard to manufacture stuff repeatably. Unlike the software universe, where you can make exact copies, the physical universe isn’t uniform and nothing is created exactly the same way twice. Everything manufactured from physical materials falls on a spectrum, and it’s up to you to decide what part of the spectrum you’re willing to accept.

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Topics: How-To, Precision, CAM, Tutorials, Videos, Othermill, CAD, Metal

Video: Set Up Otherplan to Mill SVG Files on the Othermill

Posted by Goli Mohammadi on Jul 9, 2015 2:41:00 PM

What’s an .svg file? Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) is a common image file format. Unlike raster image files (like .jpg, .gif, and .png) that store images in grids of colored pixels, .svg files store image information as lines and shapes. As such, they can be scaled to any size and still look perfectly sharp, unlike a .jpg, which may look fuzzy and pixelated when scaled up.

More importantly, because .svg files store shapes instead of pixels, Otherplan can turn the shapes into toolpaths, which you can then cut on the Othermill.

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Topics: How-To, SVG Files, Tutorials, Videos, Stamps, Otherplan

Video: Setting Up Otherplan to Mill Circuit Boards on the Othermill

Posted by Goli Mohammadi on Jun 29, 2015 11:13:00 PM
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Topics: How-To, Tutorials, Circuit Boards, Videos, Othermill, Otherplan, Electronics

Collin's Lab: Capacitive Synth PCB Milling with the Othermill

Posted by Goli Mohammadi on Mar 24, 2015 1:45:00 PM

Adafruit’s Collin Cunningham is like the teacher you always wish you had in school. In his top-notch video series, Collin’s Lab, he makes topics like RFID, MIDI, and solar accessible to anyone with interest. We were thrilled that in his latest video, Collin walks us through using an Othemill to mill the PCB for our simple (but awesome!) capacitive synthesizer project. He jams out on the final product, proclaiming that it’s “pleasingly glitchable, capacitively touchable.” Collin approves.

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Topics: How-To, Circuit Boards, Videos, Adafruit