It’s been just about two months since we released the first LongMill beta machine out into the wild.
We’ve gone through many changes, iterations, and struggles to improve the machine. Thank you to all ten of our testers for bearing with all the hurdles.
One of the testers provided us with feedback that made me pretty happy, especially since he kind of bashed on the X Carve (one ouf our competitors).
Here it goes:
I want to give you my initial impressions on the Longmill, now that I’ve had time to work with it.
1. Stepper calibration. This is something I do every two weeks on the X-Carve XXL. Belts stretch and need constant tightening. While I don’t expect this to be a problem with a screw-driven CNC, I didn’t expect the XY to be accurate “out of the box”! This is 31” on the X and 32 on the Y.
2. Tool changes. Totally worry-free and zero movement on the axis. With the X-Carve, it’s like trying to disarm a bomb, as the slightest exertion of force on the collet can knock the XY out of zero.
3. Rigidity. Isn’t bit chatter normal? It is with the X-Carve. I have yet to hear a sqeaak while carving with the Longmill.
4. Simplicity. I’m still amazed at how simple this design is compared to the X-Carve and Shapeoko. Yet despite this, it just feels so much more capable and solid. The only people who will be disappointed are those who enjoy spending an average of 10 hours assembling the multiple bags of parts they get with the X-Carve. Carbide 3D has gotten this down to three hours on average by preassembling some of the machine before shipping.
I’ll be running the Longmill hard all weekend as I prepare for a maker’s market on Dec. 7.
Other testers have been busy making stuff as well, such as guitars, woodworking joints, and signs.
Chris was also able to chew through a slab of aluminum to make a relief of a T-rex as well, proving that the LongMill is a very sturdy machine. Video to come out soon.
There are still a couple loose ends to tie up before calling the beta testing program a success, but I will be working with the testers as best I can to make sure all the machines are working the way they should, and everyone is happy!