Material Prep

Getting Your Stock Ready

Before we jump into the CAM side of things, it's a good idea to think about what material we want to use. Here, we're using a few different types of hard wood (cherry, maple, walnut and oak). I got these from various places, some from online (inventables) and other from my local hardware store (Lowe's). These came in different sizes and thicknesses. Some of them are nice and flat, others need a bit of work to get nice and level.

If you have a large piece of stock, we'll need to cut it down to size so it can fit within the build volume of the Othermill (5.5 × 4.5 × 1.35 in or 140 × 114 × 34.3 mm). If you're purchasing your stock from your local hardware store, you might be able to have them cut them for you. In my case, I had to cut them myself. I used a portable tabletop saw to cut my stock. I used a t-square to measure 3x4inch squares and marked guidelines on the stock. I used the included rip fence to get straight cuts. 

Preparing your stock can be a project in itself. If you're not setup for it, you may need to get your workspace and tools in place before starting. For me, I hadn't worked with wood before, so I didn't have the tools or workspace setup. To get ready, I cleared out space in my garage and got myself a tabletop saw. I needed a table to fit it on, and a shop vac to take care of the saw dust.

Leveling Your Stock

It's really important to get your stock nice and level. You can lay your stock on a surface like a desk or workbench and press down on the corners. If it's rocking from side to side, then the stock isn't level. Some of the wood that I purchased was pre-leveled, but other's needed a bit of work. To get them level, I used a hand planer given to me by a friend. Hand planers are the essential tools for woodworkers. It 'skins' away the surface little by little with a chisel like blade until it's nice and flat. It's a labor some process, so you may find an electric hand planer to be much faster and easier.

Clean Surface & Edges

Which ever process you do, it's a good idea to sand down your stock so it's nice and smooth. Any rough edges can easily be smoothed out with a bit of sand paper and elbow grease. Don't worry about applying solutions or finishes to the stock just yet. If you do want to apply lacquer, stains or wax, we'll need to do that after our part is milled. Once your stock is prepped and ready, we can get started on setting up our CAM stuff. Lets go!

This guide was first published on Apr 27, 2017. It was last updated on Apr 27, 2017. This page (Material Prep) was last updated on Sep 21, 2019.