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February 2022 Production Update

Hey everyone, here’s our February production update.

For previous production updates and other company news, feel free to check out our blog.

First batch of LongMill MK2 boxes

COVID 19 – another wave passes

COVID19 numbers in Waterloo ON.

COVID 19 hit us hard in January, with several of our staff, including myself, contracting the virus. This meant that many of us were off work or working from home. With the nature of our work being fairly hands-on, it took a bit of time to adapt, but luckily this wave has passed and everyone is back to work. Thankfully, symptoms for everyone were fairly mild and I am happy that everyone is ok.

General production updates

This past month has been especially hectic as we work to scale our business and production. The first area of growth is in our team, with us onboarding six new employees and two co-op engineering students over the last month and a half. By increasing the size of our team, we hope to be able to pack and ship products faster, keep a closer eye on quality control, and improve the speed and quality of our customer and technical support.

Our second area of growth is in our space and capacity. Although we are in the same space, we added two shipping containers for outside storage and also had a forklift delivered to the shop today. We are limited by space inside, but we’ll be able to move some of the materials outside in the parking lot, such as 3D printer filament, aluminum rails, and motors, that are not affected by the cold and take up a lot of space.

Sea cans and forklift

In the long term, I feel that we’ll have to expand to a new space. Given the growing number of products, staff, and items we have to house, we’ve reached the capacity our current space can offer. This will be something we’ll be looking at doing over the next year.

As has been the common theme for the two years, we continue to struggle through supply chain issues and shipping delays. Many of the parts that we were expecting at the end of January have now been postponed into February. This to some degree will affect the shipping time for some of our items. More info about parts delays will be included below.

LongMill MK1 Production

We’ve been making good progress in shipping the last of the LongMills in Batch 5 and have around 50 machines remaining. We are planning to have another 20 machines shipped this week, but we may be affected by snow, as we’ve received a weather warning that there will be 15-20cm of snowfall. We’re providing staff work that can be done from home, but the number of machines we ship this week may be affected by the weather.

At the time of writing, we have a new supply bottleneck, the power supplies. Another batch of power supplies was expected to be delivered at the end of January. However, we’ve been notified that the shipment has been delayed until the end of February to the start of March. Currently, we have enough power supplies to ship the rest of the machine for this week, but the last 10-15 orders will have to wait until we get more. I will be working with our suppliers to possibly expedite another batch of parts to finish with the rest of the orders.

LongMill MK2 Production

We continue to wait for parts to arrive for the LongMill MK2. We now have a portion of the materials needed for MK2 production, but some parts, including power supplies, gantries, inside packaging, cables, and a few other things are still in transport and are expected to arrive this month.

Email updates from the shipping company
Container tracking

Given the current status of the shipments, we expect that MK2 will ship closer to the middle to end of March at this point. Based on the estimated arrival dates, it appears that the power supplies are likely to be the last set of parts to arrive. We’ll be contacting our suppliers to see if it is possible to expedite a second batch as well so that we can possibly ship machines earlier.

We are now packing and assembling sub-components of the kit, including spacers, couplers, v-wheels, printed feet, lead screws, drag chains, and more in preparation for shipping of the MK2.

LaserBeam Production

We are now packing, assembling, and packing LaserBeams for orders placed in November, and have currently shipped around 300 units. Ikenna and the rest of our team continue to develop new resources for the LaserBeam system in the resources.

We are now waiting for new drivers and power supplies to arrive to ship orders placed between November and January and are scheduled to ship at the end of February. New orders placed today and onwards are expected to ship by the end of March.

LongMill MK2 48×30 and Extension kits

Our first half of parts for the 48in X-axis for the LongMill MK2 are on the way and are expected to arrive in the next two weeks. We will be testing and checking the parts to make sure that they are to spec and work correctly. Once the testing is complete and all the parts work successfully, we will start to open up for the 48×30 version of the machine as well as the extension kits. This is expected to happen at the end of February.

There are still a couple more kinks to work out with the larger X-axis, such as:

  • Longer wiring or wiring extensions for the motor, router, and inductive sensors
  • Adapters for using the original X-axis with the new rail and nut design

Development for these parts still needs to happen. Based on my estimates, I expect we will be able to ship the first extension kits out sometime in May.

We’ll be putting out more details as we continue with the development.