Functionality comparison? about to make the purchase

Hey all, Long time wood worker but no experience with cnc. Been going back and forth for weeks on the model to buy (I know its the same questions you get a ton)

Wont bore you with those, mine is more "do you find the long mill as easy to operate as lets say a Shapeoko or since its a bit more “kit”, there might be a slightly higher learning curve? I have been reading tons of threads here and I see comments about runs pausing and then not being able to get back to the same spot or center etc, wasn’t sure not being expierenced if that was mainly for this unit or all of them are the same…

I produce custom poker tables mainly and would love to be able to cnc out the poker chip trays, cup holders, monogram the table etc so I see new items to sell as well as helping with my existing products. Im mainly now down to the long mill or the Shapeoko. I have been playing this the Shapeoko carbide create software to see if I can get the hang of the design process.

Thanks all

@blur1221 - Welcome to the group Justin. All of the hobby cnc’s operate pretty much the same so they all have the same learning curve. Cost is a big factor in decision making as well as how the cnc is built. Such as belt driven versus lead screws. The LongMill is very well constructed and sturdy. Yes it’s a “kit” but pretty easy to assemble and good instructions. As for the stopping run issues they happen on other cnc’s as well. Some issues are caused by grounding issues, some are software related, electrical noise, etc. They are not all specific to the LongMill. For the items you listed they can be easily produced on any of the hobby cnc’s. I purchased my LongMill 30x30 with the initial kickstarter program a couple of years ago and have been totally happy with it. Good luck with your decision.


Here is a video on one revue of the Longmill. It is long, but imformative.

@blur1221 Welcome to the group, Justin. Your questions are those that many of us have asked ourselves and others before deciding to buy the Long Mill. I don’t really have anything to add to the replies of @Heyward43 and @ozguzzi. Like Heyward, I bought mine through the KickStarter campaign and have no regrets at all.

I guess that I would add one thing and that is that you consider the after-sales support of the units you are considering. I would challenge anyone to find better support than you will receive from Sienci and this group.


well I just placed my order! excited to get making with everyone!

Thanks @gwilki, @Heyward43 and ozguzzi

Any recommendations on good free software Mac compatible that’s more beginner friendly?? I was playing the carbide create and now doing the free trial of easel.

going to be doing a lot of pocketing and v-carve or words first. the big one will be doing the power chip trays. the curved pocket with a flat vertical front and back. Still trying to figure those out on the software.

@blur1221 - Those are both excellent initial choices. I’ve not used any other as I already had a license for Vectric Vcarve. But Vectric products run on Mac via Parallels only, not native. Vectric is not free though. There are a couple of others such as Fusion 360 (big learning curve unless you’re familiar with it), Estlcam is another freeby. Sienci offers CamLab. Just google free cad/cam software as there are more.

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Just so you don’t feel you’re the only newbie here, I’m pretty well in the same boat as you. I should be receiving my Longmill (30X30) sometime today (Yay!), and the MDF sheet goods for making a tortion box will be delivered tomorrow.
In my case, the CAD software is still a big question mark. If you’d be willing to share your thoughts on this, it’d be appreciated. Perhaps we two can stumble along together?

Kingston, ON, Canada

Regarding software - Carbide Create Pro is a good program, but cannot import 3d models (stl or obj formats etc). This may not be a problem for you however, depending on how you design for your projects. The photo extrusion in Cc Pro is cool, but imperfect, and I have abandoned it for that use, but I still use it for v-carving.

I really like CC Pro, especially for its simplicity of use, but I use Blender 3d to make objects which cant be imported into CC Pro.

I have started using Kiri:Moto over the past few months and find it to be excellent for dimensional carving, and tech support is really fast & efficient. Camlab is made by the same guy who made Kiri:Moto, but since there is no in depth documentation for it I would reccommend Kiri:Moto. Both programs are free.

@blur1221 - I’m a relative newby and have been using the free version of Easel to start with. I’m happy with it. You have to use the default bits and materials, and the cut process has to be manual not automatic. They seem to default to other values, then the program won’t create any gCode unless you buy Easel Pro. Just figure out what the offending setting is and change it, then you can create the gCode.

What’s neat is that it’s browser based and your project files are in ‘the cloud’, so you can work on it from any location on any platform. Then when I’m ready to carve, I go the the PC running Linux that’s attached to my LongMill. If you have two bits, there will be a ‘coarse’ and ‘detailed’ .nc file. I download the one or two files, load them into gsender and start carving.

Oh, I always raise the z axis up an inch or two and click ‘outline’ before turning the router on to be sure the carve will not go off the wood or hit any holddowns.

Hope this helps.

-Mike M