Suggestions on todo while waiting for your shipment

I must confess I’ve had so many other things keeping me busy that I’ve not done this myself yet, but it did occur to me a while ago that it’s probably good to design a few projects while waiting for your machine. Especially for those relatively new to CNC.

The machine arriving and going together is a bit like setting up a new PC. Getting it up and running and updated is great, but then you’re left staring at a “clean install of windows” with no actual applications installed. Having a few projects ready to cut helps you get started out of the gate. @chrismakesstuff do you have a small library of Longmill ready projects on the site that people can make submissions to and share with the community?

The thing I share with folks about CNC that isn’t widely understood is that 90% of the work happens at the PC before you go near the machine or touch any stock. Running a job is mostly babysitting the machine for safety and once you get your feeds and speeds dialed in, not very interactive. If you wait until the machine arrives and is set up before designing a few projects, you’ll have a gap between the machine being usable and doing things on it.

Another thing that took me a while to get my head around is that it isn’t like printing or even 3D printing. You can’t easily just download someone else’s design and “run” it. Unless they also designed and ran it on a Longmill already and you have the same bits and trust. Every machine has it’s quirks and capabilities and you generally want your GCode optimized for your machine and tools - and you also want to make sure nothing dangerous is in there. At a minimum you want to run GCode you download through a simulator like NCViewer and make sure you’re comfortable with it.

Hopefully we can get a small library of useful designs, shop tools, sign templates, arts and crafts things going.



@jwoody18 I’ve got two Starter projects put together: as well as some additional sample projects and sources to find other CNC art, models, etc.

As far as a place to show off and document your LongMill projects, that would be the projects category I’ve made for the forum:

Cool. That’s a start!

For those who do a lot of sign work, would you be willing to contribute some of your sign blanks to the community?

Likewise, any Longmill optimized shop jigs or goodies?


Not sure I follow, could you clarify?

EDIT: ah ok, I understand your question now that I realize it wasn’t directed specifically at me :+1:

I seem to be exemplifying ambiguity today. My question about signs was actually for the broader community, but my sentence structure left a lot to be desired. What I was pondering, was whether other Longmill users have various signage templates (framing, inlays, detailing) that they use (without text) that they could contribute as starting points for others to use to quickly add text and cut projects.


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I don’t use any templates for signs. It depends on what I need to make and I design each one in easel on a per job basis. Then I use the free carve days it gives you. I think 3 or 4 a month to try and carve as much as I can. A template isn’t a lot of help when the jobs change sizes a lot.