Milling is subtractive manufacturing: a cutting tool called an end mill gradually removes material from your starting stock material.
Compared with 3D printing, milling is more precise and you can mill more materials including some woods, plastics, and metals. However, milling is often slower and there are some limitations to the geometries that can be created. This article goes into more detail on the differences. If you’re unsure which to use, you may ask staff for their opinion.
The process of learning to mill is more involved than 3D printing. If you think you may need milling in the future, look ahead on our calendar for workshops planned each quarter. Milling workshops are typically a two-part workshop, one for setting up your files and another for running the equipment.
We have many models of mills available for use. We have two Othermill V2‘s and one Othermill Pro. We recommend users start with these mills; they are smaller and have a more user-friendly interface. The links above include operating specifications and allowed materials.
We also have one Roland MDX-540. This mill has similar capabilities as the Othermills, but with automatic tool changing and a different interface. The Roland mill can also accommodate a fourth axis (rotation, in addition to x, y, and z).
Our newest addition is a Tormach PCNC 440 mill.