3D printing is all the rage these days, because it's an additive process that lets you basically fabricate any random knick knacks on your mind. But who says making has to be a strictly 3D printing only affair?
The Othermil (funding through June 4) is designed to make things using the opposite subtractive process, by cutting away material from a block to produce creations. The process isn't accomplished with brute force--its actually very precise to let you cut extremely fine creations and even help you produce custom-made printed circuit boards.
Otherfab's three-axis Othermill will be able to mill through just about anything you throw at it, be it metal, wood, wax, or plastic. With this sort of precise cutting machine, you can make jewelry, molds, engravings, and much more.
CNC (computer numerical control) machines are typically big, hulking devices only meant for industrial use, but Otherfab plans to shrink the same machine into a small, 10-inch-cubed portable package you can put on your desk. At the same time, Otherfab claims its machine will be just as precise for electrical and mechanical prototyping work.
The project has already moved well past its initial goal of $50,000 and its $100,000 stretch goal to hire another machinist to speed up the manufacturing process. As of this writing the Othermill is about $50,000 from a $250,000 funding milestone, which will grant backers some extra software features including DXF importing. For a pledge of $1399, you can get you a fully-assembled Othermill (expected in September 2013) along with two 1/8-inch cutting bits.
It's a safe bet
Although this is Otherfab's first hardware venture, the team has worked on software tools for computer aided design and manufacturing, robotics, energy, and education. And the final Othermill prototype has been in testing for several months. As long as the supply chain poses no problems, it looks like the Othermill should become a reality.