Another production update for the LongMill

Hi everyone! I just wanted to provide a quick production update and let you guys know what we’ve been up to, as well as some things that you might see in your LongMill. Please note, we are working on making small changes that will improve the performance and ease of assembly of the LongMill. The changes mentioned in this post may or may not show up in the final production version.

We’ve been spending a lot of time the past week to get the parts prepared overseas and taking advantage of the economies of scale to make some small modifications to the hardware to improve performance and assembly for the LongMills. Here are some of those things:

Parts printing has started

We’ve been continuously been printing parts for almost two weeks now, fine tuning the settings on the parts and making adjustments if needed. We are starting with printing the middle Y axis rail supports and X axis rail brackets (Chris calls them “shoulders”), since the designs are finalized on those. Other parts that are being finalized for printing include the X axis motors mounts and the Z axis motor mount. We have asked our motor manufacturer to add threaded holes to the mounting face of the motors to make assembly easier, but we need to have the samples come in for us to make sure that everything comes together perfectly. Samples should arrive in the next week, so we should be able to see how that turns out pretty soon.

We are currently running our two Prusa i3 Mk3s about 16 hours a day. We have two Cetus printers that just went through some TLC so we will have those up and running soon. We are planning to grow the farm by an extra 4 to 8 printers once we finish up the calculations on print time and see how many we need to keep pace with orders.

Using an off the shelf aluminum router mount over a 3D printed mount

We’ve found a good option for an aluminum router mount to replace our 3D printed mount. This means that

  • We can save on printing time
  • Potentially secure routers better and with more rigidity (but we still need to test this)
  • Customers and builders can source the mount from multiple sources if needed

The exciting part of using this off the shelf router mount is that it comes in several sizes, making it easier and more secure to attach some of the larger routers and spindles. We will have to do some testing to see what the Z axis performance is like in terms of moving larger spindles (52mm to 80mm), but it is good to know that it is a possibility.

If we find that the performance isn’t as good, we will stick to printing our mounts. Test mounts are on the way and should show up in the next week and a half.

Taller Y axis plates and Y axis dust protection

We’ve gone and adjusted the height of the Y axis to allow for the LongMill’s Y axis to be flipped to the other side. This can help if you:

  • Want make the machine more narrow
  • Are worried about dust getting into the lead screws
  • Fit more stuff underneath the machine and cut thicker items

One downside of flipping the axis is that it is trickier to set up the drag chain along the Y axis. We’ve come up with another way to make a “shield” that works as well to help block dust. JUST A QUICK DISCLOSURE… all of the machines we’ve been testing and using have had no dust protection on the Y axis and have worked fine over all of the testing. We’ve concluded that this is just an optional precaution if you really want it.