Where do beginners new to CNC go to on this forum?

I learned most of what I know about Vectric software from ytube and the Vectric user forum. Maybe we @gwilki could start a new category with some beginner test run stuff?
Learning the software is daunting and the hard part, at least for me it was. I took apart a lot of freely posted files to see how they work, bits, feeds, speeds, etc
Not to take away from Bull, this would have to be free to all longmill users.
Let’s make a place to start!

With respect, some of the recent questions tell me that some users are not yet ready for pre-made projects. Posting a project will do no good if a Long Mill user is not acquainted with the basic CNC concepts - things like origin setting, feeds and speeds, bit selection, etc.
I take your point about providing free information/tutorials to forum users. However, as you have no doubt already found out, there is a great deal of free information on the net that will take users from very basic projects to advanced ones.

I would strongly recommend Mark Lindsay’s Youtube channel MarkLindsayCNC. He has 3 playlists that I believe would be particularly responsive to what I am hearing:

CNC for Beginners
Vectric for the Absolute Beginner
V-Carving for the Absolute Beginner

I can also recommend Kyle Ely’s website. He has a paid course, but he offers weekly tips for Vectric software free. His site is here:

With reference to the forum specifically, members are encouraged to post their project files on the forum. In the Marketplace board, there is a category for freebies where anyone can post project files. I would just caution anyone posting files and anyone downloading them to be aware that your settings may not be the same as those downloading and running the files.

All this said, I am open to any suggestions on how the forum could be improved to better assist members just getting started. By all means, Rick, throw out your ideas and we can see where they may lead.

I will add that this invitation is open to all members.


It’s really tough to get someone up and running. It’s exponentially harder to get more than one person up and running simultaneously while knowing nothing about their background, software, tooling, and relative experience.

I started simple. Get a lot of cheap, soft wood. It’s easy on bits and while it will look like garbage if your feeds and speeds are too fast, it won’t snap your bits.

Follow tutorials specific to whatever you have for design software. Design a lot. Get comfortable with it.

Fiddle with your machine. Don’t be afraid to load designs and run them 2" above your spoil board to see what’s happening. Keep the designs simple and build some courage.

Develop good routines and habits… home, then load the design, confirm the size, messure your stock, fasten it to the spoil board, zero axes… basically, develop a groove that works for you to make sure you don’t miss anything. There’s nothing worse than hitting start only to realize that you forgot to zero something.


@gwilki @CncJim I don’t always think things through…
I was thinking maybe a square or circle vcarve with step by step to get to gSender and make some chips. Nothing fancy with slower feeds and speeds than I normally run.

@RickW I’m not trying to discourage you, Rick. Go for it. I don’t have the video equipment to do a good job. Mark Lindsay’s beginner videos start with very basic stuff. That’s why I directed members there. Your idea is a good one, though.

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@RickW so, I’m game, in theory. In execution, I don’t yet have a Longmill yet and have never used gSender. I’ve a lot of time with Vcarve and done a butt load of job setup on my current machine so I have a lot of general advice to offer but not much in the way of getting a person up and running a longmill. Gimme a month or two :wink:

I agree, his videos helped me out a lot. I don’t do videos either, just step by step text. I’m too ugly for video and there is usually a Rottie chewing on my left arm. They give good hugs…
I’ll make one up when I get a chance, crv to gSender to making chips, nothing fancy.

@CncJim software is the hard part so you are many steps ahead. Shouldn’t take you too long to figure out gSender if you go that rout.

@RickW I plan on giving gSender a try. I currently use UGS. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it. I won’t dig into that for risk of derailing the thread but it has limitations. I also like the idea that gSender is built for the Longmill AND its touchplate.

Vcarve has really great tutorials on the vectric site. I can see how they can be intimidating for someone who is a computer novice, though.

I think the real Achilles heal in CNC is the leap from design to interface to production, with the exception being adding appropriate feeds, speeds, and depths to design. My first CNC was a DeWalt 616 based machine with only one spindle speed so it was very limiting. No one was there to help me understand chip load so I had to rely on my own research and experience.

Then came the interface. Thankfully, gSender has this community behind it but UGS is wholly unsupported and when a problem arises, people that want to help are largely interested in the academic issue… “what’s wrong in the code”. Hey, I’m not a software engineer. I’m an end user. You lost me at gerbil… or is it jerbil?

And then that third piece, actual production. What does it take to make that theory a reality? Is my design, curated for the finest scrap pine my mom would let me buy with my paper route money going to translate into the $1000 masterpiece I envision on this piece of warped, barn dried, victorian era, 100 year old english bulldog oak once owned by Vin Diesel? Why? Why not? What do I need to do to make it work?

A lot of new users find themselves disappointed when they wreck a nice chunk of lumber because they didn’t build good fundamentals, a good understanding of what wood density means to design changes, and they try to run before they walk. Good lord, the things I could say about grain alone…

I’m down for a good collaboration. It’s kinda what I do professionally. I think that in order to really make a go of it we really need to define a scope and a goal. Perhaps it can develop into a series of collaborations that build on one another to increase the skill level some?

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thanks mike im trying to go to deciper it all that u sent so i guess i get a vector file open vectric bring it into the file i created for it ill start with that

@CncJim I also started with UGS and tried out gSender when V1.0 came out. Never went back to UGS. Yep, made by the same great people that make the Longmill so they play really well together as well as with the touchplate (I have the original).

I agree on the tutorials on the vectric site, that’s where I started and still check if I get stuck on something as well as Mark Lindsay’s. I wasn’t planning on a Vectric tutorial at all, too many wizards on the Vectric forum that are way better at that. I was thinking more of a workflow from Vectric to gSender to actually making chips with a simple rectangle to start with. V-carve and V-carve with a pocket including the clearance path. The newer versions of Vectric have a built in chip load calculator…
I do use a lot of firewood for projects but never start with a nice chunk of anything, always do a test run on pine or whatever scraps are handy.
Scope would start with something simple like the rectangle and making some chips without breaking stuff would be a good goal. Once that is achieved, the more advanced stuff would be on Youtube for both the Vectric software and gSender. More of the workflow from Vectric through post processor to making chips. We could collaborate once the basics are covered.
Been busy around here lately moving snow, work, 3D printing stuff so I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. Hopefully this week.

There is also this:

@RickW In term of checking to see if the files work, I can’t check the .crv3d file. I don’t have Aspire. As to the .crv file, the first thing that I see is that you have set a flat depth of .2". In this project, that setting is superfluous. The bit will not go that deep if you set no max depth. It will cut until it touches the two vectors. Setting a max depth deeper than that will not push the bit deeper. Even though you set a max depth of .2, the actual max depth of that carve is less than that. Why did you choose to set a max depth? Generally, when you set a flat depth, you also select a clearance tool to go to that depth. However, you normally do that because the v bit would go deeper than you want before touching the two vectors.

In your video, when you open your tool database, you don’t select a tool. You close the tool database window. I realize that you did that because you had already selected the tool you were going to use before creating the video. However, if the purpose of the video is to guide someone creating the toolpath for the first time, you need to “select” the tool.

The other thing I noticed in your video is that you using a post processor identified as grbl(inch) NO M2 (*.gcode). I do not believe that is a post that is included with VCarve Pro or Aspire. I stand to be corrected, but it is not in the lists of posts that I can find in my version, which is the latest.

While it is your decision, I would strongly suggest that you take the .gcode file out of your .zip file. Anyone using that file by simply opening it in gSender or any other code sender will not have any information on feeds, speeds, bit profile, etc. All of that information is contained in the .crv file, but for anyone that is not using Vectric products, that will not be available to them. You have included the Vectric work sheet that does set out all that information. If you want to include the .gcode file, I would suggest that you make it clear that it is not to be used without reading and understanding that work sheet information.

Finally, as to where the file should go, in the short term, I’m torn between marketplace/freebies and Community Discussion/New Wisdom. What are your thoughts. In the longer term, maybe we can create a new, more descriptive category.

All this said, I think your efforts are commendable. Please don’t take any of my comments as indicating otherwise. :grinning:

Thanks for looking at it Grant. The flat depth of 0.2 is my built in safety feature and will not be hit with these vectors. In the beginning, I plunged a v-bit through a board because the vectors were far apart. Lesson learned and it is just habit now. Clearance tool will be in the next V-Carve-2 coming soon…
Post deleted, I will fix the video (select the bit) and remove the .gcode file. It wasn’t suppose to be included.

I did make a custom PP to remove the M2 command that changes the workspace and irritated the heck out of me. I can get the original PP’s back by changing the file extension of the custom one so it is ignored and all of the out-of-the-box PP’s will then show up in the list (neat Vectric trick). Using Aspire v11.504 and it seems you were able to open the .crv file without issue.

LOL that’s why I asked you about category. It may fit better in New Wisdom, It is up to you whether to create a new category or use an existing one. The link above for Sienci Resources covers gSender really well so a link to that should be all that is needed. I won’t do a step by step on that unless you think more info is needed.

As always, just tell it like it is. I have fairly thick skin!

@RickW I’m glad that you took my comments as they were intended. :grinning:

Another thing that I though of over pizza. (Isn’t there always “another thing”?) Judging from the comments in the forum, you may want to show how you created the shape in the first place. I figure you created a rectangle, used the fillet tool to create the corners, then used offset to create the second vector. It is very simple when you know how, but a mystery when you are starting out. Just a thought.

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A post was split to a new topic: Beginner VCarve tutorial

@RickW Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way first off. I do appreciate your asking me my opinion, But, my opinion is worth exactly what you are paying for it and no more. :grinning:

This one is a big improvement over the previous one. To nitpick, I will only say that when you create the rectangle, at first you leave the corners square. When you go back, you change that. However, as I know you are aware, to avoid creating another rectangle when you open the tool the second time, you need to select the first rectangle and hold down the shift key when you click the rectangle tool.

I emphasize that I am nitpicking here. (There is a reason why I did not “volunteer” to do these. I am bad at it.)

Well done, Rick.


ps. To take this off topic somewhat, I want to relate a process that I had to document in a former life. I was taking a COBOL course. (Only seniors like me will know that refers to.) Anyway, on the first day, we were told to write the steps to tie a shoe. No one in the class was even close. This is a task that we all had done millions of times in our life to that point. However, not one of us documented the task step by step in a way that a computer could comprehend. In effect, you are trying to do the same thing. You/we have the great benefit of being able to use video. However, it is still a very difficult task to explain tasks that we have performed so many times that it is second nature… FWIW.

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@gwilki LOL got it.

If I select the rectangle before I select the “Draw Rectangle” button, the “Create” button changes to “Apply” without having to hold down the shift key.

I have heard of COBOL but have never tinkered with it. It is difficult to remember step by step tasks that are automatic for us as you said. I did go through the steps a few times before I even started.

If you want to move the file to “New Wisdom” I will post the next one there as well.
Thanks Grant!

You’re right about the rectangle creation. I’ve done it a thousand times and still gave you bad feedback. Sorry about that.

Cobol, as you likely know, was big with mainframe systems. LONG before PCs.

I’ll move the file to new wisdom. I hope that your audience appreciates all your time and effort. I do.


I moved it and named the topic. You should be able to edit it and add whatever text you would like. I figured that it was best to just include the file and not our back and forth.

Well done, Rick.