The World's Greatest Jumping Robot, Made Using the Othermill

Posted by Goli Mohammadi on Dec 7, 2016 9:22:00 AM

OMC community member Duncan Haldane has built the world’s greatest jumping robot. No, seriously. Haldane’s bot is named Salto (short for “saltatorial locomotion on terrain obstacles”), weighs 100 grams, is 26 centimeters tall when fully extended, and can jump to 1.007 meters. Impressive, to say the least.

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Topics: Othermill Projects, Molds, Robotics

Build a Portable, Low Cost, Open Source Air Particle Counter

Posted by Goli Mohammadi on Nov 29, 2016 9:22:00 AM

Here at OMC, we love seeing our community’s brilliance at work, particularly when it comes to fabricating solutions to everyday problems. We recently heard from Rundong (Kevin) Tian, a grad student at UC Berkeley who is involved with the powerful work produced at the Hybrid Ecologies Lab. Tian’s work has been previously mentioned in our case study on UC Berkeley’s CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society) and its Invention Lab, where Tian first began working with the Othermill.

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Refining 30º Engraving Bit Support in Otherplan 1.0

Posted by Ezra Spier on Nov 3, 2016 9:42:45 AM

In Otherplan 1.0, we’ve made some adjustments that cause the 30º Engraving Bit to mill a bit differently than it did in previous releases. Because this update will affect the precision and accuracy of milled PCBs, we wanted to share a little bit of background on why we’re making these changes, and how they might affect you.

During in-house testing, we’ve seen results with our 30º engraving bits that don’t quite match our expectations. In particular, we’ve noticed that on PCBs milled with the 30º engraving bit, the traces seem to be narrower than they should be, and the spacing between traces seem to be wider than they should be. This is especially noticeable on boards with small trace pitch. Because even one thousandth of an inch can affect the success or failure of a board, we searched for the cause.

After looking into a number of potential issues, we realized that the issue was actually in software. The tool definition – the part of Otherplan that describes the exact shape and size of the tool – is slightly incorrect for the 30º engraving bits that we offer in our store. Essentially, Otherplan thinks that the 30º engraving bit is thinner than it actually is, at the depth it’s milling. Even though milling with wider parts of the bit will usually result in functional prototypes, the prototypes will not be as accurate as the designer intended.

In order to address these issues, we’ve made a few changes in Otherplan 1.0:

An updated definition for the standard 30º engraving bit: We’ve changed the tool definition in Otherplan 1.0 to reflect the true dimensions of the 30º engraving bits we provide in our store. You will likely notice few changes, if any. But if you are milling boards with very fine traces, you may find that some of the traces will no longer be able to be milled with the bit. (See below for details on what to do in this situation.)

New high-precision 30º engraving bit in Otherplan and in the OMC Store: For folks who do need accurate traces down to 6 mil, we’ve begun stocking a new 30º engraving bit that is the right tool for the job. This new high-precision 30º engraving bit has a tip diameter of 0.003 in, compared to the standard bit with a 0.005 inch tip diameter.

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Topics: Software, Otherplan, New Products

Otherplan Hits 1.0! Now with SVG Support, Mill All Visible, and Custom Speeds and Feeds

Posted by Ezra Spier on Nov 3, 2016 9:42:38 AM

Yes, it’s true: Otherplan 1.0 is out!

In one of the biggest updates to Otherplan ever, Otherplan 1.0 has three new major features: support for .svg files, the ability to mill multiple plans, and custom speeds and feeds settings for your tool library. Details are below, but why wait? Download it now:

Download Now

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Topics: Software, Otherplan

How STEM Education Has Changed in the Last 30 Years: Tom Dubick and Charlotte Latin Fab Lab Pave the Way

Posted by Goli Mohammadi on Oct 24, 2016 12:36:16 PM

STEM education for youth has gained so much attention in recent years (and rightfully so), with everyone from the White House to local after-school clubs singing the praises of hands-on learning. This was definitely not the case in the late 80s, when educator Tom Dubick began teaching engineering at Charlotte Latin School in North Carolina.

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Topics: Stories, Education, STEM

Seattle Winter Storm Project

Posted by Goli Mohammadi on Oct 18, 2016 9:48:34 AM

We love hearing about all the neat, diverse projects our community members make with the Othermill. Some of the best ones are built to solve a problem, and we recently got the following note from Maria Eberhardt when the Pacific Northwest was facing some serious storms last week. She made a multi-voltage LED light in case they lost power.

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Otherplan 0.32: Custom Tools, Faster PCB Toolpaths, and More

Posted by Ezra Spier on Oct 6, 2016 9:28:42 AM

It’s Otherplan release time! Otherplan 0.32 is full of enhancements, including two of the most frequently-requested features of all time: support for custom milling tools and a new PCB toolpath algorithm that speeds up jobs significantly. As always, we’ve also included a few performance and usability improvements for good measure.

There’s a lot in this update; read on for the details or download the update now:

Download Now

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Topics: Software, Otherplan

Otherplan 0.31: Improved EAGLE File Support, Faster PCB Toolpath Generation, and More

Posted by Ezra Spier on Sep 8, 2016 9:19:24 AM

Otherplan 0.31 is ready! This release improves Otherplan’s EAGLE .brd file support, has faster toolpath generation for PCB files, and includes a handful of usability improvements. Download the update now and read on for the details.

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Topics: Software, Otherplan

Otherplan 0.30: Out of Beta, with Improved Preview Rotation and Performance Optimizations

Posted by Ezra Spier on Aug 9, 2016 1:12:17 PM

Yes, that’s right: it’s time for an Otherplan release!

Freshly out of beta, Otherplan 0.30 brings cursor-aware preview rotation, a number of performance optimizations, and a firmware update for the Othermill Pro. Read on for details or download now:

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Topics: Software, Announcements, Otherplan

Bringing Otherplan Out of Beta

Posted by Ezra Spier on Aug 1, 2016 9:27:49 AM

It’s been an exciting few months for the Otherplan Public Beta. Since its initial release last fall, we’ve released eight updates — each fixing bugs, adding major functionality, and making the app more reliable.

Today, we’re excited to announce two things: Otherplan Public Beta is coming out of beta, and we now recommend all users to switch away from our Mac-only app, if possible. Read on for the details.

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Topics: Software, Announcements, Otherplan