Othermill Pro Hacking and Repair

So me and Robert are repairing the othermill Pro which was previously eating our nice bits, like this:

This is the illustrious copper toothpick hack we developed to test the pissy mill without breaking beloved engraving bits.

…and Robert maybe found a solution gasp, applause
it turns out Bantams own Tool Library has default “custom” Speeds and Feeds to a pass depth of only 0.13mm…

which means as soon as it figures out your bit, it slams it against your material and immediately breaks it! >:o
Going to Tool Library > [select tool] > Speeds and Feeds > Pass depth = [value higher Z than all your material] fixes the issue.
Also unchecking “custom” seems to help as well.

Update: there is a second issue where Pissy Mill Pro is plunging out drill bits into the metal plate (spoilboard) :o

(working on this bug now)…

Error Log: https://pastebin.com/r2N4sWJt

Edit (again): the 1st bug above keeps happening in a seemingly random fashion…more debugging is needed. Intermittent Z origin error is most frustrating : (

More videos and info on the way. Anyone wanna help with wiki editing?

Also, if Tyler is around, could we use the equipment fund for some PCB engraving bits to use what this mill is meant to do, which is 6mil PCB engraving (for surface mount PCBs)?


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@themanmaran could we get a funding confirmation on this, pretty please?

Feeds and speeds.

Contacting Support info:

@Roboto EDIT: got reply:

Results from the special test:

Looks like warranty might be up and I’ll have to take it all apart to clean and repair… : /

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Depends how many bits you want? At like $20 a piece.

1-4: I’d call that replacement fund. 100% reimbursed

5-10+: Equipment fund. 50% reimbursement.

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Thanks @themanmaran for the reply, that sounds good for the bits.

The machine itself is missing a number of key parts and has a really ugly face cover:

What is should look like (our back cover):

the machine is also missing the needed parts to do double sided PCBs (“PCB probing system” and the rubber feet on the bottom are detroyed. Robert is getting new screws.

  1. Rubber feet: $5
  2. Parts replacement set: $55
  3. Replacement Window: $19
  4. Bit fan $15
  5. PCB engraving Bit (mentioned above 0.003" for 6mil): $28 per bit

Obv tax and shipping is extra.

Given that this is a $2,500 machine, and me and @Roboto are putting in a ton of hours to repair it and get in top shape, I think it makes fine sense for NB to put this amount of money into repairs.

Would the equipment fund cover this if the warranty does not?
Any generous benefactors out there that want to help if both won’t cover it or only 50% of equip fund?


FYI, I got some info from their support and a nice debug file they sent over. I will have another update soon.

Replacement Window: $19

Come on. I think it’s a little embarrassing to have a laser cutter and then go buy acrylic parts >.<

So looking at ~$150 all in with taxes and shipping. I think you guys could fund-raise this pretty easy, since you only need $50 - $75 (depending on the bits) for the 50% match.

Get a few people to throw in $20 and I think it’ll be good to go.

I’m confident that you can get donors, so feel free to order the parts and I can reimburse you. Then have some people send in donation receipts later.

Come on. I think it’s a little embarrassing to have a laser cutter and then go buy acrylic parts >.<

Agreed. BUT I think its worth is b/c of the embeded magnets. Thats the issue, not the acrylic. Also, who knows when I’ll have access to the lasercutter again. Been asking for lasercutting help, and @the and @gaardn offered to help with that, but have been too busy I think to make it a reality.

EDIT: FYI the reason the magnets are so important is because they enable the safety lock when the cover is placed, so it’s an important safety feature. Worth the $19 I think.

OK I will plan on doing that.

Gonna take apart the machine today and make a complete inspection.

Seems like repair of this sort of infrastructure should be covered by Noisebridge in full via the equipment fund directly @themanmaran , especially considering your labor is free. We already have the tool so afaik it doesn’t make sense to unnecessarily apply the “do we want this” standard for a tool we already own and use.


Sounds like a plan.
My hope with this project is to have the machine service the 3 hardware courses we have at Noisebridge. So that each class can make their own custom NB-PCBs . I’m asking Zach to keep the machine for a while and nurse it back to health and figure out what we are doing that is making the machine act funny. I’ve talked to multiple peeps and each has said that the machine is a hassle. So hopefully we will get to the bottom of it.

Groups that the machine will serve:(We are online now, but we are all itching to be back in the real.)
Autonomous Robots Group WED
Advanced CHM/board design ect. SUN

We are going to be taking the next many months to create a “class” for anyone who wants to use this machine(It is super finkikity) and needs to be kept clean, as such, we will need to make some small mods to it. like adding a mini vac port ect.

If it turns out that we need to send the machine in to Bantham tools for service it may be about $300 ish, could that be covered?


We already have the tool so afaik it doesn’t make sense to unnecessarily apply the “do we want this” standard for a tool we already own and use.

@James I’m open to funding the full project. But I’m taking some precedent from the CNC repair that David and others worked on last year. Noisebridge covered 50% on that one, because it was a specialized tool that not many people used. And after the repairs, the machine has only been used once or twice.

Something like the laser cutter however, which has hundreds of users, definitely passes the “do we want this” test, and those repairs were 100%.

Given the OtherMills proposed use for classes, I think it would probably be used (or at least demonstrated) to a larger group of people. So perhaps 100% is more appropriate.

If it turns out that we need to send the machine in to Bantham tools for service it may be about $300 ish, could that be covered?

@Roboto maybe. As another example, Ruth had a technician service a sewing machine for $150, but covered $75 personally.

On that note, it may be worth reaching out to Bantham and asking if they could provide a discounted repair for a non-profit.

Below is an email I received from a fellow Noisebridge
member who last used this machine to create a USB circuit
board 9 months ago.

To my knowledge, they are the last person to successfully
use the machine, and, they’re also the person who purchased
the current bits.


Here are the end mills I got. You can get a pack of different
sizes (option #1) or just one size (#2). 0.4mm is equivalent to
1/32", which is kind of the default I’ve seen people use. If
you’re not sure which one, I recommend #2 for practice in case
you end up breaking too many (like I did).

  1. HUHAO 10PCS Cobalt PCB Drill Bits 1/8 Shank
    Micro Twist Mini Drill Bits For Print Circuit
    Board with 0.2-1.1mm Cut Diameter -
  1. HUHAO Micro Drill Bits 1/8 Inch Shank TiN Coated
    0.4mm Tip Tungsten Steel Print Circuit Board Twist
    Drill Bit Set 10pcs


OK big updates coming with more info (and videos soon):

  1. This CNC machine was mega broken. Batam wanted $300 minimum for repairs, plus we would have to ship it to New York. It is no longer under warranty.

  2. So I took it upon myself to spend this week doing nothing but TLC on it and nursing it back to health with @Roboto 's help. I had to disassemble and reassemble the entire machine…hashtag no fun : (

BUT >>>


  1. This is a very fragile machine, which for many years has been busted and has had issues (according to the wiki it was bought at a discount for having some flaws). This might be the best condition that this unit has ever been in.

  2. I still need to run more tests and spend a lot of time honing exact settings for particular bits and materials. We need a ton of wiki updates for this too.

Most people in Noisebridge have not been using this machine to its full potential (maybe because it has been broken for so long), but it supports ultra-high Precision 6 mil traces which is incredible. I think once people know of its capabilities and how to work it, it will be much more popular.

  1. This machine definitely requires training, and should have a training requirement class to use it.

  2. This machine requires regular maintenance, and a vacuum attachment would greatly extend its life

  3. I put in some very extensive hours doing these repairs, so hopefully we can spare the $150ish for original parts and drill bits.

  4. Im also going to be uploading a lot of videos and extremely detailed documentation for how to operate the machine properly, so it doesn’t fall into a sorry state again. The help links within the newest software are all dead and the machine is no longer in production. Spare parts wont be around forever so I think we should snag em while we can. Theres almost no helpful information online for doing repairs. I had to do this all by myself so I’ve been documenting it thoroughly : )

The motor guide flanges are what mainly broke btw, you can see here (due to particulate matter build up, thus the desire for air filtration). After spending hours disassembling the unit, using an air compressor and alcohol to clean everything out, I had to do painstaking microscope repair work for the damaged plastic threads:


Spent all of today honing settings and bits again… It’s really tedious work that hurts my back :confused: but I made some significant progress and the most gorgeous board yet _

I don’t know if any kids are reading this, but the following image is very very sexy:

This is the size of half my thumb. 16mil traces, 0603 parts, through hole trim pots, SOIC adjustable bandpass filter.

The last precise engraving bit here is broken, and was a big part of the struggles I was having. The cobalt bits work the best so far, assuming material placement and other settings are correct.

Struggling with dimension cutouts and bits breaking with that, still WIP with settings. When I finish all this work, well have a NB custom software tool library that matches low-cost chinese metric replacement bits and our pile of blank PCB boards!

The goal is still to achieve 6mil/12mil traces, which seems doable once I get the new bits. Very happy to find that all the disassembly and repair work I did did not put this out of alignment (!) : D

Edit: Getting dimension outline fixed : )


In lieu of a full-on air filtration system, or in addition to that, what do people feel about getting this?

The machine would benefit greatly. Without something like this the particulate matter will clog the gears and it will break again…
It needs one dedicated to the machine for each use. I know we have one in the space already, but if it can’t sit by this machine at all times, I think this miniature one would be a very good call.

Open to thoughts. Wondering if the equipment fund would help with this.

OK finished doing some resarch on double sided tape
(required for each use, so we need a lot of it)

^ the standard, good stuff only this has a backing to its better than the cheap dispenser kind.
^ washape reapply! this would be ideal if it works as advertised. I guess we’ll find out?


^ for cleaning burrs from PCBs after finish

^ we can use to create solder paste stencils!

I know this is a lot of stuff, and I could contribute some money towards it. But I’ve contributed a huge amount of time in this repairs so far and will have to contribute a lot more towards documentation and upgrades. Would be great to get any financial assistance.

This machine is quite incredible, and producing our own PCBs in-house, teaching people how to stencil and every part of PCB manufacturing will be something truly amazing and I think will give noisebridge quite a lot of popularity as well. Id like to teach a class on it as well.

Assembled bandpass filter! (I dont need the through hole pots yet).
Uses 0603 and 0402 parts!!
16mil traces, SOIC chip

So I finally heard back from Bantam tools. They want $20 per part of what we need. It’s a pretty steep price so I started to do more research and hallelujah, I finally sourced the exact part that is needed:

Update 3: Just got off a long call with Dings Motion USA and a very nice guy on the phone, Nicholas, told me all about this part, explained that its actually not plastic and it’s an injection molded special material and much better quality than the metal ones.

We ended up having an awesome long talk about noisebridge and he wants to come vist us! He’s gonna do his best on the price, but given the special nature of the part it will still be around $20 each (we need 4).

So we’re going to need to spend a little more on this guy, ~$80 backlacsh nuts, $55 parts set + $19 cover + $5 feet. The last two items are sorta optional, but I highly recommend. Anyway, I’m working on hard here to keep costs down, does anyone have thoughts?


Nicholas from Dings Motion USA and Devin from Bantam gave us a legit discount! :smiley:

Bantam parts quote:

Quote Summary:
4 x Special Request: Back Lash Nuts for $10.00 USD each [Needed to repair the unit]
UP1004 1 x Vacuum Port Upgrade for Othermill and Othermill Pro for $15.00 USD each [Needed to keep the unit from breaking again]
SP1008 1 x Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine Tool Set for $55.00 USD each [Needed to make double-sided PCBs and also reduce risk to the machine breaking]
SP1004 1 x Windows - Front/back window for $19.00 USD each [a safety mechanism w/magnets to properly operate the machine]
SP1012 1 x Rubber Feet - Rubber Feet for $5.00 USD each [Optional, but a very good price since ours are destroyed it’s worth replacing]
SP1003 1 x Wrenches for $5.00 USD each [Optional, but I expect our wrenches to go missing at some point and you can’t work the machine without them. Very good price]

Discount (EDU): -$6.95 USD
Subtotal: $132.05 USD
Shipping: $15.69 USD
Grand Total: $147.74 USD

To purchase your order via credit card, follow this secure payment link:

It’s more than originally projected, but I only ordered things with very good prices and I think this is an extremely worthy investment to keep this expensive gear continuing to work.

I also am donating an expensive high-powered filter fan and vacuum hose attachments to work with the adapter.

Please feel free to ask any questions about these parts. Hopefully this is okay with @themanmaran and @Roboto and the community.

$91.00 (already paid) + $148 = $239 which is a good bit over the initial discussion of $150.

I think that you need to get some additional people willing to contribute at this point.

Broken down like this:
Replacement fund: $150.00

  • Less $90.99 paid. $59.01 remains.

Remaining expenses: $147.74

  • $171.74 less $59.01 = $88.73 required

Equipment fund matching 50/50 donations:

  • = $44.37 needs to be raised

OK parts all paid last night, will send receipt shortly. @the offered to pay the remaining $50 at last Tuesday’s meeting, so I think we’re all set!

I’m currently working on coming up with a good air filtration solution as this will be absolutely key to keeping the machine continuing to work. @the or @Roboto: do we have a small Shop-Vac in the space or a small vacuum cleaner that can stay with this machine?

When the parts arrive, there’s one more repair that I’m going to have to do (not looking forward to it, eep) and Im also likely going to buy more bits and parts with my own $ beyond this fund, just so everything can stay in top shape with everything people need to make all kinds of PCBs.