First Responders getting a Longmill! So excited!

Hi everyone. Chyren here (Gary McLaughlin) and I am a police officer in BC and my wife is a paramedic and fire fighter (yes we know that’s wierd). We’ve decided to finally step into the world of CNC and decided to look at the 12x30 to start a home based business. In this crazy time finding Sienci and starting to get our feet wet in the community.

We’re probably going to order ours in early June once the world calms down a bit and we’ve already begun to prep our shop (garage) with some of the tools we’ll need besides the CNC.

We will also be starting a Youtube channel as well as we hope that others will get excited about us learning how to create. We’re focused on sign making and have been watching every video we can find online.

Once we get rolling we hope you guys will help us along the way as we’ll probably make every mistake you can lol.

First question: What are the things you wished you purchased in your shop on week 1?


A bigger shop since I purchased the 30X30 and it take up a lot of space. I have build a table which allows it to Standup Vertical in storage mode, but It’s not been stored that way, just tested to make sure it worked.

Purchases I made before it arrived:

1/8 spiral cutting bits
1/4 spiral cutting bits
90 degree v-bit
60 degree v-bit
30 degree engraver bits(for small lettering)
Surfacing bit.

I think the thing that’s most important is message with the software that is required(CAD) before purchasing the mill. If it’s something that you pickup then using your mill will be a breeze. Like I said I haven’t STORED my mill since getting its in March.

It’s definitely a learning process in figuring out how to make things without screwing them up.



Thanks Jammer. We’ve been looking at software videos and probably like Easel Pro the most to get going. That being said this opinion is from the perspective of someone that hasn’t done CNC yet lol.

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Welcome, Gary.

I’m also from BC - Kelowna - so if you’re not too far away, you are welcome to come to my shop and see what a LongMill looks like in person.

And for a business use, I’d suggest considering the 30x30. At the cost of some extra space and very little extra money, you will find you have a lot more options with what you can do with it.

@Chyren Welcome to the club, Gary.

You cannot have too many bits, or too many bit profiles. The Sienci guys’ prices are very good, so I would suggest buying the list that Jammer set out when you buy the Mill. At least, you save shipping.

I started out milling into rigid insulation foam. I’m glad that I did. It is inexpensive and easy on bits. Using it, gave me a lot of practice using various tool paths. I still use it for trying new profiles. I’ll be cutting a new picture frame profile shortly, using foam. So, I would recommend buying a sheet of Home Depot foam and having fun with it.


Gary, first off, I was always impressed and inspired by first responders, even before they were called on to do what most of us don’t have the guts for, so thanks to you and your wife.

Jammer’s list is a good one. They’ll keep you going for a while. Remember the 1/8" mills do finer work but they’re also much easier to break - ask me how I know.

I would add a quiet shop vac, and when you’re ordering your machine get the dust shoe and the zeroing block. Make sure you plan for a large enough work area that has space for dust collection, stock storage, the PC, and hand tools. Between the vac and the router it can get pretty noisy, so plan for how to not bother everyone else in the house.

I would avoid buying any software until you try free versions. Carbide Create is simple enough to help you learn your machine and capable enough to make interesting projects. Inkscape is a good way to convert graphics from raster to vector. Free CAD programs like FreeCAD and Libre CAD let you create, load, and edit dxf files, one of the standard formats for drawing/CNC interaction. As your skills and needs increase, even high-end software like Fusion 360 from AutoDesk is free.

Start compiling a list of things you want to mill, like signs, topo maps, and furniture, and keep your eye out for existing designs and ideas. And be on the lookout for material to mill. A lot of your jobs will be small enough that things like old doors and drops from construction jobs will supply what you need for a while.

You will have a blast learning CNC. There’s a technical aspect and an artistic one. Lots of fun. And there are a bunch of people on the forum who have learned a lot that they’re anxious to share.

Have fun. Stay safe.



Welcome to the group, Gary.
All the above advise is good and I’m going to add equipment for breaking down sheet goods.
First on the list would be a table saw. If you do buy one don’t cheap out. If space is a concern get a contractor saw on a folding stand so you can tuck it out of the way when necessary. One example is the Bosch 4100XC-10. Make sure it has a solid and accurate fence system. If you’re extremely tight for space you can get by with a track saw but it will cost just as much and maybe more and you need some sort of work surface to use it on so really, the space saving is minimal.
Next would be a good miter saw. I use a a Bosch glide saw like this model GCM12SD. It has very good capacity and can be placed closer to a wall than saw with linear bearings.
Although not suitable for breaking down sheet goods you will eventually want a drill press. I would wait a while to buy this until you have an good idea as to your requirements.


Thanks guys. We have gone ahead and purchased a table saw, chop saw, sanding machine and band saw in anticipation for the big purchase. We already have the vac and will purchase the accessories suggested. We are excited to get involved and hope when we get on YouTube that you all join in and give us guidance and tips!


@Chyren Gary: Here is a good book on sign making.


Thanks! Ordered. Can not wait.

edit: Received the book and its a great read. The weblinks have been extremely helpful.


Well its official! We have ordered our 30x30 Longmill today!!!

We can’t thank the community enough for all the tips, pointers and suggestions. We will be regular contributors using Youtube, Instagram and Twitter to keep everyone in the loop on our journey as First Responders/Makers.


Awesome! Get your table for it built before it arrives - you’ll want to start assembling it the day the box lands on your doorstep.

Fantastic advice (I honestly never considered that yet lol)

Insert random NOOB comments here.

@Chyren Congrats, Gary. Now the fun starts.

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table built. Shop table also built. CNC traveling across Canada as we speak. We are ready.



Gary, the pic isn’t showing up for some reason…