CNC Milling

Pick Your Tool & Materials

In this project, I used the Othermill Pro desktop CNC from Othermachine to mill the pads out of 6061 1/8" (3.17mm) thick aluminum bar.

If you have access to a different CNC machine, you'll need to generate your own GCODE for milling the touch pads. You can download the Fusion 360 source file and program your own tool paths via the CAM workspace.

If you do have access to an Othermill, you can use my GCODE file in Otherplan and cut them out as is. As long as you have aluminum stock that's about 3.1mm thick, you should be able to cut them out without any issues.

Othermill & Otherplan

I'm going to assume you know how to use the Othermill and Otherplan. So I won't cover that in this tutorial. I will however show you how to setup multiple jobs in Otherplan so you can cut all six pads on a 4" x 4" piece of aluminum. 

Set Material

First, choose "Generic" from the materials dropdown and set your material size. Click on the "Open Files" button to browse for the pad-1-8-alum.nc GCODE file and select it. Click on the dropdown near the file and choose the 1/8in Flat End Mill. Then, click the dropdown near "Placement" and set the Z to "-3.1mm" so the gcode gets positioned on the spoilboard. You can leave the X and Y at zero.

Duplicate Copies

You can add additional jobs to Otherplan to make duplicate copies. It's more efficent to mill several copies instead of milling one at a time. Click open file and select the same pad-1-8-alum.nc gcode. Then, click the dropdown and select the 1/8in Flat End Mill. Click the "Placement" dropdown and make Z "-3.1mm" and X "46mm". Leave Y Zero. 

 

You can repeat this process for the rest of the pads. Make sure to change the position for each gcode file. You can use the screenshot to reference the positions for the other pads.

Secure Material to Spoilboard

I used pieces of Nitto (Permacel) P-02 Double-Coated Kraft Paper Tape to secure the material to the spoilboard. The material should be position square with the lower bottom of the left side of the spoilboard.

Start Milling!

Once the 1/8th aluminum bar stock is secured to the spoilerbed, you can start milling!

Vacuum Swarf!

When the milling is complete, you'll be left with a lot of swarf (material dust).  Use a vacuum to clean up the workarea.

Remove Stock

You can use alcohol to soften the adhesive from the tape. Then, pry the material off of the spoilboard using a spatula. 

Remove Parts from Stock

You'll need to break the parts away from the stock. If there's any burrs or scratchs on the parts, you can buff them out using a polishing wheel and rotary tool.

Milled Parts

And here are the parts!

Test Fit Touch Pads

It's a good idea to do a test fit before wiring anything. If the tolerances are too tight, you can use a filing tool to loosen up those edges on the 3D printed cover. If the tolerances are loose, you can use adhesive, tape or mounting tack to keep the pads in place. 

This guide was first published on Feb 15, 2017. It was last updated on Feb 15, 2017. This page (CNC Milling) was last updated on Oct 12, 2019.