Other Machine Co. Changes Name, Logo, Apparently Nothing Else

The name Other Machine Co. is now dead. In a post to the company blog, Other Machine Co. is now Bantam Tools. This news comes just months after the announcement that [Bre Pettis], one-third of the founders of MakerBot, investor in Glowforge, and undeservingly the most hated man in the 3D printer community, purchased Other Machine Co.

Over the past few years, the Othermill, Other Machine Co.’s main product, has gained a reputation for being a very, very nice CNC mill capable of producing PCBs with 6 mil trace and space. Additionally, the Othermill was excellent at very fine CNC work including wax carving jewelry, very neat inlay work on wood, and any other CNC task that doesn’t involve anything harder than aluminum and can fit inside the machine itself.

As of right now, the only change to the Othermill is the name — it’s now the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine. According to a Wired press release, this name change also comes with a change in focus. Bantam Tools will not focus on hobbyist makers, but instead to professionals that need PCBs and other small milling jobs done right now. For the record, I cannot recall the Othermill ever being advertised directly to ‘hobbyist makers’ — it has always seemed the target audience was professionals, or at least people who would make money from the stuff produced on their mill.

Other changes to the Othermill have been in the works for months. Since the time of the acquisition, Other Machine Co. / Bantam have introduced a PCB probing system, a desperately needed fine dust collection system, and automated material thickness probing. These new projects for Bantam mills are compatible with the old Othermill.

59 thoughts on “Other Machine Co. Changes Name, Logo, Apparently Nothing Else

      1. We had one of the early machines before they switched to sealed switches or double drive belts in production. The original items broke and they charged us for updating this known issue. If you search ebay for “vfd” and “ballscrew” you’ll find several machines at $800 that you just need to add an arduino running grbl and limit switches to.

      1. Actually, no. Bre undeservingly gets a lot of hate.

        I’m sitting on dozens of hours of interviews from Pettis employees dating back thirty years, and you got all your information from a Netflix documentary. Print the Legend is inaccurate at best, horribly misleading, and astonishingly incomplete and outdated.

        Of course, I can’t publish any of these interviews because chucklefucks like [above] would say it’s not accurate, because they got all their information from a Netflix documentary. I truly, truly, hate the state of historical research and journalism when it comes to the 3D printing community.

          1. “…dozens of hours of interviews from Pettis employees dating back thirty years,..”

            If they weren’t Bre’s employees, then how are those dozens of hours of interviews relavent?

        1. Was he in charge when Makerbot locked the automated build platform behind patents but also discontinued producing it so that no-one could legally have such a thing? Was he involved in that? How much of that was Makerbot’s design in the first place? My limited understanding was that when Makerbot was an open source company they had a large community which they received a lot of free development from.

          How about their various printer designs? I’ve heard (don’t know if it is true) that they did a pretty good job of not re-using stuff from their old open source printers in their newer closed source ones. So.. maybe at least they didn’t use too much of other people’s open work for their closed product. They still locked some of it behind patents though. And.. they killed off the community that they had created.

          Wasn’t it Bre Petis who was in charge of all of this?

          No, I don’t need to watch a Netflix video to dislike the guy. I never saw the video. This is just what I have gathered from various internet posts over the years.

          Then again.. I don’t dislike him. I don’t because I wasn’t a part of that community. I wasn’t there so I realize that these things might be incorrect. But… if I ever were in a position to work with him… I would need answers to those questions before I could trust him.

        2. I didn’t even know there was a Netflix movie… I learned to dislike Bre from the tales of how he f*cked a maker community. Many of those stories were published right here on HaD.

        3. Sounds like you might be the person to correct the opinions on the matter, as people will go on what they have. Right now, that Netflix documentary seems to be it. You might want to use another name for that, though, as your own has its own controversy attached to it. However hilarious that tends to be. How about Skully Couchon?

        4. What? Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but I read what you just said as that you can’t release information to correct peoples misconceptions because all they have to form opinions is incorrect information. Which seems like a flawed argument.

          I don’t hate Bre, he seems like a nice person in all the interviews I have seen / read. He does seem to have been in charge of a company that made some dodge decisions though, so I don’t really trust him either.

          1. Can’t release information? No. I won’t, because it’s an uphill battle.

            I know my audience well enough to realize you people don’t change your minds. Moreso than the general population. Human nature is to agree with and accept what a person already believes. Confirmation bias, or whatever. The Hackaday audience doubly so. What I’m sitting on is completely counter to the general perception of Makerbot that it would be completely ignored or ridiculed. This is because it doesn’t give the reader the confirmation bias they so desperately want. I mean, first rule: write to your audience. I’m not going to get that with this.

            I’m not going to spend any more time pissing in the wind on this.

          2. Again, What? Hackaday comments are such a toxic echo chamber that it’s not worth the hassle of you expressing a counter opinion. So instead of expressing a counter opinion supported with evidence, you express an unsupported counter opinion and simply tell people that you have supporting evidence while telling them they are too biased to accept the evidence. Again, I think there may be something wrong with your reasoning.

            I though that was the second rule, with the first rule being stick to the facts and the third being cite your sources. I have no trouble with the idea that expressing opinions in the comments sections on the internet is like pissing into the wind.

          3. “I know my audience well enough to realize you people don’t change your minds. ”

            What?!? Bre Petis used to be one of the maker community’s favorites! Clearly mind-changing is possible. I think if you had something you would have presented it. Or.. maybe you do have something.. something that only refutes whatever was in that Netflix documentary straw man. Looking at other people’s comments clearly I am not the only one who didn’t watch it yet has an opinion based on what he did to the maker community not based on what some talking heads said in a video.

          4. @ brian benchoff…
            so what your saying is that you are perfectly fine trolling people with your A in STEM but you are not ok with posting some actual information that may change peoples perspectives. You are coming off as a douche lately, and i say that as constructive criticism. Think about it, you will constantly post about the A in STEM even though you know that it will rile up your audience to banter back and forth about but you wont post interview material because it will do the same thing. Its contradictory and asinine really, “I can prove that this mans hate is undeserved but i wont because it would be an uphill battle just like trying to convince people that there should be an A in STEM”.

        5. I think it’s not fair in comparison with the love that Prusa gets. Who has a tendency to act as a total a-hole as well, but is praised for many thing he didn’t actually do.

          I’m just glad that I managed to stay reasonably in the shadows in the whole 3D printing history. No matter what you do, if you are visible, people will throw hate at you. (Prime example, Mr. Benchoff)
          I’ve had my share of hate aimed at me, but that was more for not doing what other people wanted me to do. (As I followed my own plan with Cura)

        6. Yeah, admittedly my understanding of him was as a reprap supporter and dev. I didn’t particularly care for the “We design it, you patent it” aspects. At all.

          However I really have to wonder how much of this came from the VC’s. Fly on the wall, and all that would be a very neat perspective of what actually went on. Wouldn’t be the first time VC’s killed a company and demonized a CEO. — Cause they’re just a CEO with 49% ownership(if that!). In other words, they take marching orders from someone who has the money.

        7. @Brian I don’t have a dog in this fight and generally like HaD and the direction you’ve taken it over the years. However, when it comes to the point of being unable to hide your contempt of your readers, it a bummer. Yeah, there are a lot of dumb comments, I’ve made a few myself but someone in the room needs to be the adult and that’s you. If that’s tiresome then move on or at least stop reading the comments.

        8. > Of course, I can’t publish any of these interviews because chucklefucks like [above] would say it’s not accurate…

          near as i can tell, you’re proudly accustomed to that the rest of the time.

    1. Oh, I see someone watched “Print the Legend” and is suddenly an expert. Seriously though, Bre Pettis is essentially the reason we all have 3D printers. Yes, there was the RepRap project but no one was working on a turn key solution. That movie framed Bre Pettis as a villain for dramatic effect.

  1. They also added support for FR4 with this crazy oil bath thing that you can put on your milling bed. If you are really desperate for FR4 its cool but the setup and cleaning time looks immense.

    Support for material probing is great as is the dust collection system. I’ve been extremely happy with our Othermill Pro (it is beyond me how you can even compare this machine to some generic mill from AliExpress…), those are exactly the things I would have liked to see in a slightly upgraded version of the mill.
    An automatic tool changer and a separate machine for applying solder mask would be the cherry topping.

  2. Isn’t this the same move that ultimately caused the downfall of MakerBot, taking a machine intended for everybody that was inclined to learn how to use it and turn it into a machine for “professionals”?

    1. They always had a focus for prosumers, education institutes and small/mid-sized companies.Not much changing here and I think its the right move, what they have is much better suited for that market area. The price point is just too high for a pure hobbyist machine.

  3. Hey, wait a minute. Bantam, Isn’t that the old anagram for Batman? I guess that makes their real name Batman Tools, and if you squint, their new chicken logo looks like a profile picture of a bent-wing bat in flight! What a strange series of coincidences. ;-)

    1. “or they are a giant tool themselves.”
      Nah. Tools generally have even less tolerance for tools than the rest of us. A tool would instantly recognize any tool except the one in the mirror.

  4. hi hi (pt, adafruit, founder of hackaday, and worked with bre) – ideally the comments here would focus on how the othermill is being used for companies and makers (we use it and have re-sold it at adafruit, look at how we use it as an open source hardware company) and the technical merits. bre and i have not agreed on everything, but that is -OK- so chill out ya’ll – danielle is the ceo – https://blog.adafruit.com/2015/10/13/danielle-applestone-ald15-findingada/ … if you make things, say what you want, what would be useful, they’re likely listening :)

    1. I wish this article would back up the “undeservingly” comment. I know my opinion of him was soured years before the netflix documentary came out, but that certainly didn’t help. If i were bamtam, I would be awfully weary of his involvement on any level. He’s PR kryptonite.

    2. Hey everyone should listen to adafruit on this.

      The SupplyFrame Design Lab has three Othermills (probably overkill), and they really are bitchin’ machines. Danielle’s cool, too.

      As far as the Bre comments go, I’m only going to say that just about everyone here is very much misinformed about what went down at Makerbot, and who was actually in control pre-Stratasys. Bre is not PR kryptonite. Personally, I think he has a weird affect that doesn’t really lend itself to being the face of 3D printing, but at this point he’s just investing in companies that make tools. I can’t really hate anyone for that.

      1. I don’t have any opinion on Petis, but dude, stop complaining. You’re the one posting the “undeservingly the most hated man” line. How did you expect people to respond after reading that, without any explanation?
        It seems to me you’re just trying to get readers riled up.

        1. Brian already wrote that he will now just cater to the confirmation bias of the hackaday-readers. Disappointing to the interested readers and probably himself. Im not here for the Fidgetspinners and STEAM, im here for interesting stories and good hacks.

      2. “just about everyone here is very much misinformed about what went down at Makerbot, and who was actually in control pre-Stratasys”

        So.. you almost made a substantive claim there… that he wasn’t in control over the crappy stuff that Makerbot did. Except you didn’t. You only stated that we don’t know. Ok. you are right! I could believe it was the investors in control. That’s why I said before that I don’t hate him because I don’t know for a fact that he has earned it. But… it doesn’t look good. I wouldn’t trust him without learning that it wasn’t him first. So.. show your evidence! Otherwise we will all assume you just don’t have anything.

        I think we all agree that societies work better on the principal of “Innocent until proven guilty”. Without that our legal systems become just a bunch of thugs who can deny one of property, freedom or life for any reason at any time. In our business and personal lives however the opposite is true. It’s a big world with a lot of people. We don’t suffer just by cutting out one. We do suffer by letting the wrong one in. Guilty until proven innocent is the principal we actually live by.

        So… if a company where I know Bre Petis had influence tried to build a community around an open source product… I would not participate. If such a company is producing products open or closed in a field where there is currently a lot of open source innovation happening.. a field where patents could be harmful.. I’m not giving them any money. Contributions and money can go to a safer place. Why take the risk?

        Unless… someone actually presented evidence that he was not the problem. Then the new company he works with would be appear no more risky than another. See how that works?

      3. * “Bre is hated by the maker community, though he doesn’t deserve it” <– (paraphrased)
        * "Bre is not PR kryptonite"

        These statements are contradictory. Whether or not Mr. Pettis deserves the scorn, the fact remains (as you've stated) that he's widely reviled. As such, attaching his name to any maker-centric endeavor seems a pretty bad idea.

        Also, the bit about claiming to have TONS of evidence that he's not a bad guy, but refusing to reveal any of it is a bit odd. I'm willing to accept that he might just be a patsy/stool pidgeon, but he never (that I'm aware of) attempted to clarify any of the events that cast him in a bad light, nor walk away from the toxic situation he was embroiled in.

      4. “As far as the Bre comments go, I’m only going to say that just about everyone here is very much misinformed about what went down at Makerbot, and who was actually in control pre-Stratasys.”

        Then INFORM us! stop hinting around on what you think and what you believe is to be true. take the time to write up an article and present your case. Rational minds should be able to take all of the information present and come to their own conclusions. By sitting there and saying that we are wrong and we dont know anything but you do and yet you wont share that information with us makes you look like an elitist and a blow-hard. It comes across to readers that you seem to know what is best for us rather than allowing us to come to our own conclusions.

        Ive been on many online forums for discussion and from my experience HAD is up there in the intellectual as well as civility of discussion but lately YOUR and specifically your behavior has seemed belittling of the readers. This is especially true with you trying to force your own views upon the reader or trying to troll the reader. Seriously, you are turning into BeauHD from /.

    3. And that’s perhaps what would have happened if someone didn’t intentionally drag a nice (unsupported) bait in the water…

      Unrelated there are many “professional” machinists that would laugh themselves to death for suggesting a machine made in plastic would be suitable for professional use. Natural granite or gay cast iron with a minimum weight of one ton is needed to enter that domain ;P

      1. Neither LPKF ProtoMat nor T-Tech Quick Circuit use a ton of granite or cast iron. I encourage you to research professional PCB prototyping machine tools.

        On the other hand, those machines aren’t made out of basically milk bottles. Good luck to Bantam Tools, they’ll need it.

      2. I designed the Othermill and the software interface.

        The reason it is as accurate as it is is because it is *small*. As size goes up, forces go up, vibration increases, more mass is needed to counter those forces. The HDPE is plenty rigid for the size and scale of the work the machine was designed for and has the added benefit of being able to machine many mechanical components, like preload flexures, directly in place. It also does an excellent job of absorbing high frequency vibration which would impede accuracy in a sheetmetal machine. Which is something that gets generated by tiny cutting tools moving at high speeds.

        My team & I pushed the design of the Othermill *hard* for accuracy and ease of use at the expense build volume. It’s accurate enough that people have milled glass with it for micro-fluidics research. Admittedly though, it still isn’t a good machine for milling engine blocks ;)

    4. As a maker, not a company, I would be very interested in hearing about something that does what the Othermill claims to do… in a hobbyist price range.

      If that’s what Brian wanted from this article.. people thinking/talking about the Othermill he would not have worked in a comment about anyone/thing so controversial as Bre Petis. I mean come on… he can’t be that stupid. Whatever he knows or things, however right or wrong the community is… You don’t bring things like that up if you want a productive conversation about something else. That’s the kind of thing you mention if you want to derail a conversation or… just get attention.

      I’d call it click bait but you have to click to see it. Probably just looking for repeat clicks.

  5. OMP is great. I’ve had some years using a Benchman and CNC Lathe (mid-size machines) to make very high precision optics and was very skeptical that the OMP could do anything useful. My experience was that the tighter the tolerance, the bigger the machine.

    I was wrong.

    I’ve seen EE internes make boards, intricate masking films for sensors and I myself have experimented with making light guide films with a fair amount of success. For the price it is a lot of machine that operates with a minimum of fuss, unlike my machines at home, where getting them to do what I want is a hobby in itself.

    What Could Be Improved?

    The software is great . . . for PCBs. While it’s not a problem to import .gcode files, do tool changes, touch off, etc. I would like the software to have a more traditional interface when NOT doing PCBs.

    Another issue is that the path planning part of the software can really bog down and spend a long time computing paths when certain settings are used. I don’t encounter this very often but when I need a lot of copper removed, it’s a pain.

    Finally, I would LOVE if the software were ported such that I could have a dedicated Raspberry Pi 3 running the machine rather than my laptop.

    Thanks and keep up the good work, I actually think the move to B2B sales is smart.

    – Robot

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