CNC and Machining, Engineering

Can you mill floor?

It depends on what you mean by floor. The floor at one’s home is made of a variety of things: tiles, concrete, granite, marble, limestone, wood,  cork etc. Most of these can actually be milled to create beautiful pieces of artwork. Some of them can also be milled to make useful things.

Take linoleum, for instance. It is made from substances. These generally include solidified linseed oil, solid pine resin, ground cork, finely pulverized wood, and limestone, usually on a  canvas backing. An excellent use of these is to make stamps.

I simply created an SVG file, imported it in Autodesk Fusion 360, and made a CAM gcode file for the OtherMill.

Well, milling is fun. However, milling linoleum is a special case. The dust created from the milling is very much like powder. So it is very difficult to clean the OtherMill after the milling process is complete. This is also the first time I used more than one bit to mill the material, as some of the parts needed a finer milling tool.

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Of course, this stamp is for display purpose only. The actual stamps will always be mirrored so that the text can be read once a paper is stamped.

3D Objects, CNC and Machining, Creative

A maze of ABS

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a widely available thermoplastic. You can usually find them in legos.

While continuing my test of materials on OtherMill, this time, I decided to try ABS. The material is pretty soft, and can be milled easily. Unfortunately I could not find a block of ABS, so I printed one on a Mojo (much to the dismay of many).

I created a design for a Maze on Adobe illustrator, exported it into a DXF file, and extruded it into a 3D model, and made a GCODE file out of it.

Fixturing an object on the OtherMill can become tedious of the surfaces are not flat. Since my block of ABS was printed, it was quite flat and, only using double sided tape and a bracket with some fastners did the trick. The entire milling process took about 29 minutes (OtherPlan has a tendency to lie when it displays the milling time, because it said about 42 minutes).

I only have the video of how the milling ended (because a 30 minutes long video is what we want but not what we need)

Clearly, the machine can be very messy. But that’s why it needs to be closed while using.

Above is the final ABS maze. Below are images of the finished product.


CNC and Machining, Creative

More Clear Acrylic – Same things made using two kinds of machines

Got another chance to mill clear acrylic into a few  key chains. This time they are less bluer, but thinner than the previous ones (about 3.175 mm or 0.125 in thick). Milling gives away really clear surfaces rather than burnt ones.

On Laser cutters, the texts are engraved by, again,  burning the surface. The flat end mill can make the surface look more transparent than laser engraving. It is true that milling will make a transparent acrylic surface into translucent. But the finish is cleaner than the laser cut surface.

These images shows that it is not possible to deeply engrave acrylic using a laser cutter, but a CNC machine can do the job just fine! The key-chain on the top is made using the CNC macine, and the other two using the laser cutter.

3D Objects, CNC and Machining, Creative, Engineering

Jansen Linkage

Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to use a laser cutter to cut acrylic rather than using a small desktop CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machine to tediously mill it to a desired shape?

Well, the answer is not obvious to sometime who doesn’t care about having unfinished edges.

The difference becomes more obvious when using transparent acrylic. Using a laser cutter, melts the acrylic, leading to the “cut” sides to look more or less like melted plastic, and opaque. Using a CNC machine, on the other hand, gives it a smooth and nearly transparent (usually it’s translucent). Check the image below and you can see the finish.


I decided to make a Jansen linkage model using clear acrylic, a piece of cardboard and some 3D printed parts.

I used Autodesk Fusion 360 to design the shapes and linkages, and also create a gcode file thought is CAM component. Finally, I used an OtherMill to mill them using a 1/16 inch flat end mill. The results were spectacular. The milled surfaces were smoother than any any piece of acrylic cut using a laser cutter.

The brown cardboard was etched and cut using a laser cutter. And the silver pins were 3D printed on an Ultimaker, using an STL file created using SolidWorks. The image of the final prototype is below:


It doesn’t make sense to have a fixed Jansen Linkage model. The whole purpose of having it is to make it look like it is walking. Connecting two or more of these models can make it look like it is walking with more legs.

Here, check it out in the video:


CNC and Machining, Engineering

CNC Milling – Machining Wax

The first time I saw a piece of machining wax, because I did not know any better, I thought it was ABS!

This design was made on Autodesk Fusion 360. A g-code file had to be created in order to read the file in otherplan. Otherplan is the software that operates OtherMill Pro. One of the important considerations while creating a g-code file is to make sure that the feed rates, ramps and other constraints are optimally set (such as the kind of tool that is being used).

An easy way of creating g-code files is through the use of dxf files (which are a kind of vector files). They can easily be created using adobe illustrator or autocad. Regardless, once a dxf file is converted into a g-code file, the otherplan can read it. The milling can take from a few minutes to a much longer time. The tool size, tool path, and the spindle RPM are the ones that determine the time.

This design was made because the machining wax I had used was almost purple. And since I work at the NYU MakerSpace, I felt that it was appropriate to mill the logo.