Goal: Make Jewelry using the Othermill





Round 1:

Two different cuts


Tension fitting inside polygons:

Drilling holes:


  • Drilling holes
  • Choosing wrong glue for the acrylic
  • Broken bits
  • Did it wrong even though I didn’t know…ooops.


Round 2:

Breaking hella bits:


Choosing new design:

Different cuts: 

Three hours later… 



  • breaking bits
  • learning how to change material ://
  • othermill error messages 

Lathe Mallett

This week was the most difficult for me and although I liked the lathe last week and thought of it as relaxing, I felt the opposite after Thursday. I began the week on Friday by testing out the lathe again for practice on walnut wood. The piece was a different size but same material…

In about 20 minutes I was able to go from the square to a cylinder. 


I decided that for my mallet I wanted to do a glue up! I had no idea how much extra time it was going to take to go from completely glued in squares to a cylinder. I decided to chop off the excess and got a piece that looked kind of like this below. The biggest challenge was the wood was so dense it was incredibly difficult to rotate the wood unless I mounted it down with the chuck I had to screw in as opposed to hammer in. 

After about an hour and a half it turned into a cylinder like this: 

Another hour and it looked like this: 

At some point when the piece of wood was similar in size to the chuck, it split in half! I realized throughout this entire process that I should have used way more glue when gluing it up. 

After it split I re-glued it and spun until it was a cylinder, then measured out the holes. I drilled the hole into the piece and put it back on the lathe to shape it, then it split again! 

When I re-glued it, it was a little off so I had to drill the hole agin. The 90 degree holes were also off because of the re-glue 🙁 so I had to re-drill them.  

When I finished shaping the cylinder to a circle, I shaped it to be a little smaller tapering off with slight engravings on the sides. It took about 5 hours in total to get the mallet head done and like 10 minutes to do the holder. I finished by sanding it off. My favorite part is the wood grain on the edges which look darker. 

Lathe Part 1

I was apprehensive going into this week apprehensive because I’m really clumsy and usually don’t like to be this close to heavy machinery, but I think it will be manageable. The thing that surprised me the most about using the lathe was the amount of subtraction / waste there is to get something to be circular. 

Also, it’s surprising to me how hairy and not smooth my dowel was. I ordered really nice Walnut wood for next week’s project so hopefully that works better and there’s less hairiness. I was able to smooth it out a lot by sanding it down but some cracks, especially in the tighter cracks stayed. I also am confused as to how people make identical pieces. I guess it’s just a lot of practice and muscle memory.

For this week I practiced just using the different tools and tried making parts that act like a subtle but symmetrical curve. 

Jointery + Midterm (In Process!)

Joinery and Box

So for the past three weeks (one week I was gone getting wisdom teeth out!) I’ve been working on a box practice. After discussing and research, I decided the best way to create the joint and box would be four pieces, each with two pockets on each side that fit together, also each with a small section that  goes down so that the bottom could be pocketed into the top part as well.  These are initial drawings and measurements: 


After a few trials to understand how the bottom part could fit, I decided it would be much easier for the parts to just be straight rectangles instead of rectangles with little chunks coming out of the bottom, and to fasten the bottom using pegs. Here are more sketches: 


The hardest part of this whole project is that I CHOSE THE WRONG WOOD! This wood is one inch pine and is far too thick to get a precise measurement, although my project requires super precise measurements! Round one was a failure because I put too large of a piece on the CNC and the difference in space from the spoil board to the “Z”- zero was soo different from the corners to the middle. 

Before I nailed it in:


After I nailed it in (still lopsided)



After this failed to cut out my pieces all the way twice, I eventually learned  to use a much smaller piece of wood and make sure to add more cut-through on the contour cut to be safe. However, there is still a bend in the wood which makes the cuts really unprecise! 

This means that twice, the problem arose that it would be cutting fine…


and then it needed to cut the last part of the contour cut, and ended up lighting the wood on fire. 


What the warped super thick wood means is the measurements that should be parallel to each other are not accurate: 


I decided to amend this by re-zeroing the Z-axis mid project in order to compensate for the weird warps.

To was able to come up with a joint that fit together right, but there were other aspects of the pieces I had made that did not match the design, mainly the very light pocket for a top to slide in.


early joint fitting in right 

But with the fourth try, I ended up zero-ing the Z too low, and then my bit broke.  🙂 

That was paired with the burning wood again 


So then I learned that I really needed to have the bit poking out a bit further from the socket.  After about six trials, I finally got four pieces that fit into each other with accuracy! the bottom as well as the top are still to come. 


I have sanded down most of the pieces, and when I have all six I plan on adding tung oil and then waxing. 


CNC Routing 1

The most difficult part for me this week was modifying my Vector drawing from VectorWorks to the Master CAM. Jim helped me out figuring out how to list the order of the processes so that it makes the pocket first and then cuts. 

Once I exported the file, I went to workspace and mounted material on spoil board.



Insert file:


Zero material (I think I may have fucked up this part because at the end the bit didn’t go all the way through. Since in the CAM I put in “-.05” for how much it should go through, I think I maybe should have put the bit closer to the wood? 

   Chips are bigger than I thought! I had to vacuum some of them up. 


The left part of the design was cut through but the right had a little of material. I had to punch it out a little.

Othermill: Wooden Lion

This week turned out to be so much more complex than I thought. I spent a lot of time creating a design I really liked only to realize later that my bit was much to small and I would need to create another design. This is that design! I’m going to get 1/32 bits so that I can do this later!


The second iteration is a design from Noun Project which I modified into two layers— the left is the engraved and the right side would be the line which cuts all the way through.


I measured my slab and started engraving and it took shorter than I thought.

(the fact that the eyes were done in such different ways made me question how the othermill decides what to engrave / cut first?)

So then once my piece was engraved I programmed the othermill to cut through to make the outside shape. Three times the piece came off the bed. I tried different ways of cleaning the bed, sanding the wood,  layering and pressing down with tape for several minutes but it came off several times. I think I need to get stronger tape. 



I tried several ways of cutting through the wood and ended up going through the wood with the ban saw. Because of the way it was cut it came out a little asymmetrical.    

After applying tung oil and wax!  



Othermill #1

Today I tested out the Othermill with a piece of acrylic! My goal was to make a circle that is embedded but I made the mistake of not putting both Illustrator files in the same Bantam file. This was the first go:



My three main questions were about the order of operations when it comes to the illustrator files, and what is the difference in the settings of Bantam between 1/8 Acrylic and 1/8? I’m also wondering about the streak going across the embed where the bit leaves?

I redid it with the embed and the cut out. This is the final product:


Router and Circle Jig

This week I practiced using the router by helping Sam cut his project! He was making two circles in order to make a lamp. The weirdest part was realizing that when it ended it jumped a little bit and there was a small bump. I guess for the future to avoid this it would be important to check to see exactly where the circle ends and anticipate it, stopping right before it jumps. Here are some photos of that:


I then had an idea to make three rings that connect to one another through intersections like the Olympics rings.



On scrap wood, I first measured out the three centers of the three different circles. I then engraved the outer hoop and the inner hoop.

I made a mistake and completely cut out the middle hoops before the outer ones, ended up with three identical smaller circles and an engraved wood that looks like a fidget spinner!