June 30 - July 7, 2023 "A Project You Learned Something From Making It" Contest

It’s weekly contest time! Thank you to everyone who participated in this week’s contest, where we asked you all to share your acrylic projects made on the LongMill.

We are happy to announce that Harlow Reiman, Joe Owen, Chris Bridger, Russell Kalis, Lester Brake, and Robert Ryl are the winners of the "A Project That is Acrylic” contest! Lookout for a prize!

P.S. We will be closed Monday, July 3rd for Canada Day and back in the office on Tuesday, July 4th.

This week’s theme is a little different, but very interesting. We want you all to share a project that you have learned something from using your LongMill to make it. All you have to do is post your project and within the caption, share with us what you learned from doing it. We’ll choose our favourite projects and send awesome prizes to the creators.

Visit our blog for more information on our Weekly Themed Contest:

Weekly Themed Contest Rules and Guidelines:

Have ideas for themes? Let us know by commenting down below!

Happy making!

I learned a host of things from making a relief map of Devon Island.

  1. Spellcheck - family and friends can be just as blind to the spelling mistakes as you are (probably because they have been blinded by the rest of your beautiful artwork);
  2. Wood will surprise you with hidden features that only appear once you’ve carved that low (knots, cracks etc.);
  3. Carving a project from your new design always reveals either new CAD or new CAM processes that will improve the quality of the project or reduce the run time, or save tools from excess wear or breaking. So get ready to do it a second time. (e.g. you don’t need to run 2 3D roughing passes - that is 4 hours I’ll never get back, or use a 1/8" tapered ball nose on a 12"x12" project where that level of detail will never be seen - another 4 hours supervising the mill);
  4. Choose your X, Y and Z zero points carefully, hard to set a Z zero to the top of the material when you have carved everything away;
  5. Don’t try to adjust the mill’s v-wheels while the job is running because your bored watching the mill do it’s thing but maybe there’s a squeak you can eliminate - I mean what’s the worst that could happen, right?;
  6. No one sees the flaws but you (except spelling mistackes … eventually) - so don’t sweat them.
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I’d like to enter my latest project for this contest - draft taps with walnut inlay.

You can find more details here: Draft Taps with Walnut Inlay

Main things I learned:

  1. Certain types of Fusion 360 toolpaths have incorrect default settings that will generate huge gcode files that don’t run very well.
  2. Driving a 1/8 bit into the stock for any reason (such as #1 above) can cause your bit to slip in the collet and creep down in the Z axis into the work.
  3. Wood is both fussy and forgiving when it comes to inlays. Sanding is key!
  4. Every project I do I learn another way of doing things - whether work holding, Fusion 360 capabilities, finishing - so many things.
  5. I have to agree with @grubbertire, nobody sees the small flaws (thankfully I had no spelling involved in this one) except you!
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I read that somewhere early in learning woodworking, never point out your flaws because you might be the only one that sees them!

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I learned that if you pay close attention to what you’re doing, things actually work the way they’re supposed to.

Things like start depth and cut depth must be correct if you are doing inlays.

Remembering to invert the inlay in reference to the pocket. (Messed that up a few times.)

Picking a font that will cut clean enough that there is some material left to actually use as the inlay. Not all fonts work with all projects.

Spelling has been mentioned, and that can slip by really easy. I don’t make anything with words unless my wife proofs it first. At least, I don’t anymore. LOL.

Part of the fun and part of the frustration is learning something new. Keeps you young.


So here is my first carve - nothing but learning here! I probably spent well over 200 hours, my guess is spent 180 some hours figuring out what doesn’t work. Basically got a boat load of Signatures from paper, text message and email. Had to digitize them then convert to vector then figure out what VCarve would do with it. Let me tell you garbage in defiantly generates garbage out.

Here is the finial result.

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