Ezra Spier on desktop milling machines

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: Creating an accessible tool for professionals and makers.

By Jon Bruner and David Cranor
June 22, 2016
Practical Treatise on Milling and Milling Machines, page 138. 1919. Practical Treatise on Milling and Milling Machines, page 138. 1919. (source: Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. on Wikimedia Commons)

Two years ago, the Othermill desktop CNC mill made machining radically more accessible. Priced at $2,200, it found its way beyond general small-scale milling and into electronics prototyping; it can mill copper away from an FR-1 PCB blank to make a circuit board. Other Machine’s latest work is the Othermill Pro, whose spindle speed and rapid movement are 60% and 70% faster than the original’s, respectively, and whose accuracy makes it possible to fabricate traces as small as six thousandths of an inch.

In this episode of the Hardware Podcast, we talk with Ezra Spier, the vice president of product & software at Other Machine Co., maker of the Othermill. Spier walks us through the development process for the improved machine and gives us an overview of the desktop prototyping market.

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Every week we ask our guest about his or her favorite tools. Spier’s are his Bose noise cancelling headphones, essential for reducing distractions in a noisy factory.

This week’s click spirals:

  • David Cranor: In the 1930s, the Radio Relay League released a series of tools, including “lightning calculators.” Cranor has re-created a lightning calculator that solves Ohm’s Law. His files for this, and further explanation, are here in GitHub.
  • Jon Bruner: Poles of inaccessibility, the areas of land that are farthest from coast. In 1958, a team of Soviet explorers reached the point of inaccessibility in Antarctica and erected a bust of Vladimir Lenin, which subsequent explorers have re-discovered.
  • Ezra Spier: Incoterms (International Commercial terms), rules published by the International Chamber of Commerce that set standard terms for international transactions, and the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTF), a database of product categories for imports and exports.

Disclosure: Other Machine Co. is a portfolio company of O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, O’Reilly Media’s sister VC firm.

Post topics: Software Engineering
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