If you’ve decided to purchase the LongMill and are not sure what you need to get, you’ve come to the right place!
This article is designed to cover:
- Some of the things and accessories you can get with your machine
- The minimum number of things you need to have or get before starting
- A general budget for each item
Some items you can buy from us, some items you can buy elsewhere, and some you can buy from either or. The listed budgets are in Canadian Dollars.
We’re going to denote our opinion on how important it is to get something with three categories:
- Must have (***)- things that you need to have to actually use your machine
- Nice to have (**)- things that you don’t need but you may find useful
- Not needed (*)- things you can hold off on buying for a while or might never use
The machine itself (***)
Budget: $1650 to $2300, depending on the size.
Of course, you need the machine itself. Every machine comes with all of the parts you need, such as the rails and electronics. We’ll assume you’re ordering the machine here.
By default, the LongMill does not come with a router. You will need to order one from us ($150CAD), use one you have on hand, or buy one from your hardware store.
We highly recommend the Makita RT0701 or one of its variants. This router is extremely powerful and comes with a wide range of speeds, which is perfect for CNCing. The 65mm router mount which comes included with the LongMill fits perfectly with any version of the Makita RT0701.
Some customers use other routers. You can read more about other options here.
End Mills (***)
Budget: $10 and up
You will need end mills or other cutting tools to use your machine. We sell a whole ton of specially designed CNC router bits that work well with the LongMill. You can often find cheap bits from online retailers for around $1 each all the way up to over $100 for specialty bits for production-level use. We recommend trying one of our End Mill Sets which offer a number of bits to try which range from $60 to $90.
One item you might want to consider having is our 1/8″ Precision Collet For Makita RT0701 or 1/4″ to 1/8″ Collet Adapter, which lets you use 1/8″ tooling in your Makita router. It should be noted that some End Mill Sets come with an adapter already so another one does not need to get purchased.
Budget: $35 to 65
You will need a surface to mount your machine to. We recommend 3/4″ MDF as it is inexpensive, readily available, and dimensionally stable, however, any flat surface that is stiff and flat, such as high-quality plywood and particle board may work as well. You can learn more about mounting your machine and what sizes you need in our Resources.
You may also want to mount your machine and its wasteboard to a sturdy table or workbench. Some customers make their own, or some use existing tables and desks, such as a kitchen table, to bring the height of their machine up.
Budget: $10 to $120
Simply put, you’ll need to make sure to keep your material in place when you’re cutting. There are many different options, such as screwing your material directly into the wasteboard or double-sided tape which are cheap and easy to do, or more complicated options such as thread inserts and t-tracks that cost more money. In most cases, screws, tape, hot glue, and other workholding systems will work great, whereas threaded inserts and t-track can offer more repeatability in workholding. If you are on a budget, we recommend trying out some of the cheaper workholding options and consider more expensive workholding solutions as you do more projects with your machine.
You can find some examples of workholding on our Resources.
Budget: $0 and up
We provide gSender, the LongMill’s control software for free. You will need a CAM and design software to create projects, however. Luckily there are some excellent free options that we recommend users to start with before considering paid options. If you want to check out some different software options, please see our Resources.
If you want to read about our opinion on free vs paid software, please check out our blog article.
Budget: $100 and up
A computer is needed to run and program your machine. We have a general list of system requirements, but generally speaking, any modern computer with a USB port made in the last 5 years running Windows or Mac OS will work. You do not need an internet connection to run your machine, but you may need it for using some design software if it is on the cloud.
Your computer may be exposed to a dusty environment if you are using it near the CNC. In some cases, customers will have one, inexpensive computer that runs the machine itself and a second one to do projects and create gcode.
Dust Management (**)
Budget: $100 and up
A CNC machine produces dust as it cuts. A good dust collection can reduce or eliminate the need to clean up as well as prevent dust from getting into the air.
We offer the Magnetic Dust Shoe ($75) which was specially designed to act as a vacuum attachment for sucking dust up as your machine cuts. This item is not needed to be able to run your machine, but it can greatly improve your cutting experience.
You will also need a shop vacuum or dust collector to work with your dust shoe and for general clean-up. Our recommendation is to use a good quality shop vacuum with your machine and dust shoe, which should cost around $100 to $200. A cyclone or dust separator is also a good addition to have to improve the performance and longevity of your vacuum. Our shop uses a RIDGID shop vacuum which cost around $120 with a cyclone (about $200 in total).
We also offer a dust shield ($60), which helps prevent debris from getting into the lead screws. However, they are not required for general use and are only recommended if you are cutting abrasive materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass.
Touch Plates and Inductive Sensors (*)
Budget: $35 to $120
Touch plates and inductive sensors are useful for machine positioning. These items can automate some of the processes that go into finding the location of your material’s origin point and machine working coordinates. However, all of these processes can be done manually.
We recommend most users to start learning how to use their machines without touch plates and inductive sensors, and then add them when they have spent some time with their machine.