Once you start acquiring more then just a couple of endmills for your Othermill, you'll find that the cute little magnetic holders on the top of the mill are not enough storage for all your bits.
But hey, you've got an awesome CNC mill at your fingertips! Why not make yourself a bit holder?
This bit rack has space for storing twelve 1/8" bits for your Othermill, and it takes less than an hour to make!
Step 1: Tools, Materials, and Files
If you've just received your Othermill, the included accessories box should have everything you need for this project, except for a soldering iron!
- Computer with Otherplan installed
- Flat end mills, 1/64" and 1/16"
- Soldering iron and solder
- Bits lots of them, to fill your rack with
- De-burring tool or engraving bit
- FR-1 board, single-sided, 4"x5"
- Tape, double-sided
Step 2: Use the File or Make Your Own
We made the bit rack using EAGLE, a software package that lets you design your own circuits and then create board layouts for them. However, since EAGLE files import very nicely into Otherplan, you can also use EAGLE as a generalized vector-drawing tool!
The board file we made didn't actually include any circuit components at all. We took advantage of the fact that we could draw outlines, holes, and slots with the program, and then we used these components to make pieces that fit together to create the bit rack.
If you want to customize your bit rack, use EAGLE to edit the .brd file and then import it to Otherplan. Check out our tutorial on making circuit designs with EAGLE if you want to learn more.
Step 3: Set Up Otherplan and Import Your File
- Turn on BitBreaker Mode (Otherplan menu > Preferences > check the box for BitBreaker Mode).
- In Otherplan, click "Import Files" and select the BitRackV1.brd file that you downloaded.
- You'll see a rendered version of the file appear on the machining bed in Otherplan, and the file name should appear in the Plans panel on the right side of the screen, with some options and buttons below.
- Click the "Setup Material" button and choose "Single Sided FR-1." "Standard" should be pre-selected from the size pull-down menu, but if not, select it now.
- Click Continue on "Set Material Properties." Leave all the default values as they are, and click "Done."
- On the right side of the screen, under BitRackV1.brd, there are options for selecting the Traces, Holes, and Outline. Select a 1/64" flat end mill and a 1/16" flat end mill, and leave the Traces, Holes, and Outline buttons turned on.
- Click the Advanced button, and chance the Trace Clearance to 0.016", which will tell Otherplan to remove the minimum amount of copper from the board, which will reduce the milling time.
Next you'll need to insert and locate a tool. If you aren't sure how, check out our Inserting and Locating a Tool guide. If you're new to Otherplan and want more information about it, head to our site.
Step 4: Position Your Board and Cut Out Your Rack
- Click the "Loading" button in the main Otherplan window. This will bring the bed of the mill forward.
- Cover the non-copper side of a single-sided FR-1 with one layer of double-sided tape.
- Stick the board down to the bed of the mill so that the bottom left corner of the board just hangs over the edges of the bottom left corner of the aluminum bed.
- Click on the "Home" button to retract the bed to the home position.
It's a good idea to stay close by your mill while it's cutting. Never leave a working mill unattended. Grab whatever you need to get cozy with your Othermill while it mills.
- When you've loaded the material and have the correct bit inserted into the mill, go ahead and click "Start Cutting."
Step 5: Clean the Parts
When the cutting is done, remove the parts from the bed and clean up the edges with a Scotch-Brite pad. We used a de-burring tool to clean up the holes, but an engraving bit will work too. We also used the engraving bit to clean and chamfer the slots by pressing and sliding the sharp taper through the slots.
Step 6: Assemble
Pick up the bottom piece and one of the sides, and slide the tab on the bottom piece through the slot in the side piece. Repeat for the other side. Then fit the top piece onto the sides.
Solder the 4 copper-to-copper edges where the slots and tabs come together; this holds the rack together.
Use some double-sided tape or super glue to stick the solid rectangular piece to the bottom. This prevents the bits from falling all the way through the rack.