Kickstarter progress update #4

Original Kickstarter update here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sienci/longmill-benchtop-cnc-router/posts/2542182

Some progress, some delays

I’m happy to say that production is moving smoothly for the most part, with the exception of a couple of different parts that we’re still waiting for.

I’ll start off with all the things that are going to slow down production before I fill you guys in for everything that’s moving along well.

I would say first batch of shipping right now will happen in August, but we can do a few things to catch up and ship at a faster pace once shipping happens such as pre-packing the stuff we already have. I will try to hire some extra help to get thing pushed out if need be.

Some smaller things that are in progress:

– 3D printers are running full time, we have about 10 or 11 machines churning out parts

– We are pushing the manufacturers/suppliers to send us parts ASAP. Some delays on shipping/production on that side that we don’t have much control over at this point.

– All of the gantries are in the middle of being cut and painted. Because we have so many parts, they will be batched out over 4 weeks. 

Power supplies

We are currently in the middle of dealing with sourcing power supplies. The power supplies that the beta testers have been using are open power supplies, which are a little more dangerous (open mains, exposed electronics), so we are trying to switch to a closed power adapter. Our supplier provided us with a power supply that we set out to test. 

Testing was done by basically connecting all of the motors and drivers together to provide a realistic type of load, and we cranked up the load by adjusting the current and speed to the motors. 

The idea is to run the drivers and thus the power supply for a long time to see if they fail.

Well, after about 1 hour of testing the power supply, just stopped working. We’re not really sure why, but we opened it up, and we couldn’t tell if there was any physical damage inside. The supplier has arranged to send us another power supply.

Once we get it (hopefully at the start of next week), we’ll put it through testing again to make sure that it can run reliably. 

After we complete the testing, assuming that the power supply works well, it will take about 3 weeks for it to be made and shipped to us.

A janky test setup
A janky test setup
Inside of the power adapter
Inside of the power adapter

Control electronics

We’ve gotten our physical boards made up, and our next step is to assemble and test the boards. 

The last two components, the power barrel plug and the voltage regulator are two parts that we’ve had some issue getting in. We’ve ordered the parts, but we are still waiting on the supplier to ship.

We may be able to put it together partially to test most of the basic functions however, so I will provide an update on that later.

We’re pretty excited about this new board because:

1) It will make it a lot easier for customers to assemble the electronics

2) It will provide support for many features that customers have been wanting, which include end stops, touch probe, spindle control, and more

I expect that the remaining parts will require another week to arrive, and the final production batch to take about three weeks once the testing is complete.

Raw PCB
Raw PCB

These are the two things that right now need to be ironed out. Here’s some updates on some good progress we’ve made however.

Lots and lots of aluminum

We got our batch of freshly drilled, milled, and tapped rails in this week!

With 6 people, it looks us just under 1.5 hours to unload all the materials. A good morning workout.

Jason posing in front of the rails
Jason posing in front of the rails
Rails in our storage room
Rails in our storage room

We’ll be cleaning, wrapping, and packing them starting next week!

Packaging

As we have parts come in, we’re working on getting packaging materials in so that we can start pre-packing materials.

We’ve come up with a basic design of having four cartons on the top and two on the bottom like in the photo. One large carton will carry all of the small parts.

Having these separate cartons should make it easier for us to pack all of the different variations between the different size machines, add-ons, and other bits and bobs. We will try to pack parts into cartons as they come in and set them in storage so that they are ready when we start shipping

Lots of cardboard
Lots of cardboard

Surveys and other details

Please read this part carefully.

You want to make an adjustment on your order/pledge

A lot of people have been messaging us to ask for additional add-ons, changes to the size of the machine, ect. We can help you with that. If you are wanting to make a change, please follow these instructions.

1) If you need to change the size of your machine (eg 12×30 to 30×30), please wait until you receive a survey from Kickstarter, which will ask you for your shipping address and other details. We will have a spot for you to tell us if you want to change the size and to what. Please wait until you receive the survey.

2) If you want add-ons, end-mills, or anything else to ship with your machine, we will set up a page on our website to allow you to purchase those things. We will provide an update with further instructions so that you will receive free shipping on those items. 

When will I get my survey?

You will get a survey a few weeks before your machine ships. You’ll have plenty of time to fill it out, so don’t worry that you’ll miss it. When it will come out will depend a lot on how the production comes along, since we want to focus on that first. We’ll put it in the later updates on more clarification on when you should expect them too.