For my first useful project with the Longmill, I thought it might be a good idea to try and contain the chips and dust that it spews out the sides. Very important to contain the dust for the WAF (wife-accptance-factor) as my shop is in our garage and directly attached to the house.
In the spirit of making do with what is on hand and also recycling as much as possible like the Sienci approach, it occurred to me that the shipping box the unit came in could provide the ideal material for the side dust shields.
I cut one long side (complete with top and bottom flaps) off the main box, then I used a utility knife to cut the top flap off as I only needed one flap and the long side. Seeing how well it worked, I would be more careful cutting the top flap off in future so it was tidy.
I sat down with Sketchup and Fusion and designed a simple single piece support rib suitable for use on the right side of the machine (assuming you have your machine right aligned on the wasteboard like the standard build).
Here are some pics:
Right now I just have it sitting in there and it works pretty well. I did stick a single piece of tape on the far arm to try it out, but the preferred way to lightly affix the cardboard to the arm would be a simple thumb tack from the cardboard side through to the MDF or plywood. That way it will stay in place but can be remove trivially if you need it out of the way. The lower edge of the cardboard is already resting in the groove in the photo.
One tip if you decide to make some of these - gently predrill your mounting hole in the MDF before screwing. It will likely still split a bit even with the drill bit (you’re going sideways through MDF) but the single screw plus the 90 degree edge seem to hold it just fine. You can’t put too much weight on it or you will snap the arm but it can withstand a few accidental prods of the cardboard.
There is still a small gap along the bottom edge, but I intend to cut some lengths from another off-cut and seal that up so I can keep the dust and debris on the work surface for easier cleanup.
I cut the 'Gators out of some cabinet MDF scraps I had laying around. I used fairly aggressive settings of 3048 mm/min @ 17,000 RPM and did the cut in 3 passes. Material was 18.6mm thick and I used the Sienci 1/4" downcut bit. The Longmill knocked each one out in about 90 seconds. Boy did it spray MDF dust, but otherwise worked very well. Definitely wanted eye projection and the respirator, with the shop vac close at hand. Bit was nice and clean at the edge as well.
If anyone is interested I can share the Fusion 360 file or the Sketchup model.