It's Danielle from Other Machine Co. This Instructable is for a wooden holiday ornament that I made for my new Grandmother in-law, Polly. I love the feel of wood and the beauty of inlaid patterns, so I wanted to see how our machine would measure up. This is my first project in wood using our machine, the Othermill, and I've included all the files that you will need. I made the cut patterns using Vcarve, which I will not describe in detail here. If you don't have an Othermill, but want to see what the files look like, you can open them using our free software, Otherplan, or any other G-code visualizer.
Step 1: Gather Tools and Files
Inlays are most dramatic when you use dark and light pieces of wood. I chose a dark piece for the base, and a light colored piece for the inlay. The letter "P" is for "Polly," but you could also make a "P" ornament for any number of other names starting with "P." You could also just go around cutting "P"'s into everything.
You will need:
1. One 3" x 3" x 0.675" block of dark colored wood.
2. Two 3" x 3" x 0.102" pieces of light colored wood. One of these will be the sacrificial layer below the piece of wood you are cutting.
3. One 1/32" two-flute, flat endmill. This is used to cut the "P" pocket, and the "P" inlaid piece.
4. One 1/8" two-flute, ball endmill. This one is used to cut the outline of the circle into the thicker piece of wood. For this reason, this endmill needs to have a cutting surface that is longer than the thickness of the wood (0.675").
5. Double sided tape
6. An Othermill (or other desktop milling machine)
7. Three files: "Pocket P" cuts the pocket that the "P" inlay will fit in. "bigcircle" cuts out the circle for the ornament. and "P Outline" cuts the P that will fit down into the pocket. The filenames for these three files remind me of the endmill size, pass depth, feed rate, and etc.
Step 2: Putting Wood into the Othermill
This step will walk you through setting up the machine once you have already turned it on and downloaded Otherplan, the Othermill's software. If you've never used your Othermill before, you might want to check out our Getting Started instructions. You can also watch the attached video: "Plugging in and Homing."
To begin, we put the wood into the Othermill:
First you will want to cover one side of one of your 3" x 3" x 0.102" pieces of wood with double sided tape and affix it to the cutting area of the Othermill. Make sure that the front left corner of this piece of wood is lined up with the front left corner of the cutting area of the Othermill. This will be your sacrificial layer and protect the cutting area.
Next, you will want to cover one surface of your 3" x 3" x 0.675" piece of wood with double sided tape and affix it to the top of the sacrificial layer.
Step 3: Setting up the Material in Otherplan
Once your pieces of wood are attached, it is time to set up the Othermill and the cut files within the software (Otherplan). The goals of this step are to: tell the Othermill where it is, tell the Othermill about your material (what size, type), select your cutting tool, allow the Othermill to determine the location of the tip of your cutting tool, and load your files.
Okay, here goes:
1. Home the machine - this lets the Othermill coordinate with Otherplan and determine where the cutting area and spindle head are located in space.
2. Click the "Setup Material" button. A window will appear, and you can enter in the size of your wood pieces. Add the thickness of sacrificial layer to the thickness of the piece of wood you intend to cut. In this case, the total thickness is 0.776". Choose "Birch Plywood" as the option for material type. After you have entered in the size and type of material, click "Continue."
3. You will be prompted to change the material origin, or "where is your material?", but we have located our piece in the front left side of the Othermill cutting area, so our origin is 0,0,0.
Now you're all set with your material, and it's time to change the tool.
Step 4: Changing the Tool for the First Cut
If you've never changed out your tool, I recommend you watch the following video: Othermill, Inserting a tool and tightening the collet.
The first tool you will use is the 1/32" flat endmill, because you will be cutting the Pocket for the "P" inlay first.
1. In Otherplan, on the right hand side of the screen, there is a dialog that says "Tool". Click the "Change" button in that dialog. If you have a tool to remove, you will be prompted to remove the tool that is already in the machine. Remove it if it is not a 1/32" flat endmill and then click the "Continue" button.
2. In the window that appears at the bottom of Otherplan, select the 1/32" flat endmill.
3. You will then be prompted to make sure that the tip of your endmill is above the bottom of the z-carriage. The z-carriage is what moves the cutting tool side to side. Once you have verified this, click continue.
4. The Othermill will then move the cutting tool over an unoccupied space on the aluminum cutting area of the Othermill. This is so that the Othermill can automatically measure the location of the tip of the tool. When you make sure that the tip of the cutting tool is able to come in contact with the aluminum surface of the cutting area of the Othermill, then you can click the "Locate" button.
5. Don't be scared! The machine will gingerly touch the tip of the endmill to the aluminum cutting area and will not damage the tip.
Step 5: Import Two Files
Click the "Import" button and load two files. The first file will be the Pocket "P" that will hold the "P" that is cut from a lighter colored wood. This file is "Pocket P". The next file is the "bigoutline" file. This file will cut out your wooden circle. You should see a virtual image of the files.
Step 6: Select the right tool for each cut
On the right in Otherplan, you will see a place to select the tool you would like to use for each cut. "Pocket P" will be cut with the 1/32" flat endmill, and "bigcircle" will be cut with the 1/8" ball endmill.
Step 7: Cut the P
When your tools have been selected, you can then click the "Cut" button below the "Pocket P" file. It will pop up a window that asks if you are ready, and you can confirm that you are ready and start cutting!
Once this file is complete, do not remove the wood from the Othermill. You still need to cut out the wood circle.
Step 8: Cut the Circle
You will need to change the endmill for this step. Remove the 1/32" flat endmill, and replace it with the 1/8" ball endmill. Since this is a longer tool, you will need to let it extend well below the bottom of the z-carriage, but before you locate the tool, you will need to then raise the z-height using the jogging buttons in Otherplan until the tip is above the bottom of the z-carriage. Then you can follow the same tool locating procedure as you followed with the 1/32" tool.
Once your tool is located and re-homed, click "Cut T1" in the "bigcircle" file panel. The machine should begin cutting your circle.
Step 9: Set up the thin piece of wood for the inlay P
After your circle is cut, remove it from the machine by clicking "Unload Material" in the "Move By" panel, and gently prying the circle off the bed.
You will then need to cover one side of the second 3" x 3" x 0.102" piece of wood with double sided tape and then attach it to the top of the sacrificial layer, making sure that both pieces of wood are lined up with the front lefthand corner of the Othermill cutting surface.
Then you can "Set up Material". Be sure to set the thickness of the material to be the total thickness of the sacrificial layer and the piece of wood you wish to cut.
Then set the origin to 0, 0, 0, and you're ready to import your file.
Step 10: Import File and Select the tool for the P outline
You will be importing "P Outline" and changing your tool to be the 1/32" flat endmill again. Once you have imported the file and gone through the "Locate" procedure for your tool, you are ready to cut. When this little "P" is finished cutting, all you need to do is press it into the P-shaped pocket.
Step 11: Press Fit the Inlay
For this, we used a rubber mallet to press fit the light-colored "P" into the pocket. Nothing fancy, just line up the edges of the "P" as best you can and then give it a little tap. I've attached a movie of this press-fitting process.
BONUS: You can round it a bit with a little fine grit sandpaper and use a nice oil to bring out the color of the darker wood. I used Linseed oil.
Thank you for reading through our Instructable, and let us know if you have any questions.