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November 2022 Production Updates

Hey everyone, here is our Nov 2022 Production Updates.

I’m actually writing this update at the end of October since I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks, but this should lay out everything we’re working through this month. I’ll be in touch with the team on and off during this time, but figured I’d get this update ready to go.

For all news and updates, please see our Blog.

Just as a reminder, if you’d like to get these updates as a weekly email newsletter, please subscribe here:

Louis is back

After a 10-month hiatus, Louis, our CEO has returned from vacation.

LongMill MK2 and Extension Kit Orders

Production continues to move smoothly for all LongMill and Extension Kit orders. We paused production for about a week while we restocked on lead screws, but we have received the new batch and will continue to have machines go out the door at our regular pace. We’ve also restocked on a new batch of front and back steel feet, gantries, and rails. Lead times for this month should be around 1-2 weeks for most machines.

Batch 6 is nearly over with just over 100 machines left for this batch. Batch 7 will have essentially no differences since most improvements have been made gradually throughout Batch 6. Some of the improvements include:

  • Higher grade washers to prevent bending of the washers used with eccentric nuts
  • Custom machined v-wheels to higher tolerances
  • Additional QA processes including checking variance and tolerances throughout all of our aluminum extrusions

Additionally, we’ve implemented some process changes in the office such as:

  • Kanban for 3D printed parts and some assembled parts
  • Torque settable electric screwdrivers for XZ gantry assemblies to ensure all screws are tight before shipping
  • Specialized measuring tools for checking fit and tolerances
  • Additional foam padding in packaging to reduce denting and scratching
  • SOPs on tablets and QA databases
  • Version tracking for all variations of parts
  • New MRP systems to help keep track of inventory

Our operations team and our staff have generally noted that Batch 6 has been the smoothest batch we’ve had so far with minor issues (except maybe the big one at the start of 2022). We expect Batch 7 to be even better.

Currently, we are looking at seeing ourselves run low in the next few weeks on linear guides and a few small sets of hardware, but are expected to restock in mid-to-late November.

LaserBeam Orders

We are currently stocked on LaserBeams and most orders are going out within a few days. We are also expecting to complete the first batch of roughly 1000 units as well near the end of the year.

Black Friday Sales

As of this time, we do not have any sales planned for Black Friday. We simply believe that providing the same reasonable prices for our products at any time of the year is the best way to run our business. If you’re looking to get into CNCing, we recommend customers order their machines whenever they are ready. We suspect that most customers will find our pricing quite reasonable even when other companies are selling theirs at a discount.

We have never had a discount (with the exception of the Kickstarter campaign) on the LongMill since its release.

At the end of the day, we want people to have confidence that they are getting the best deal on their purchase no matter when they place their order, and we also want to focus more of our time on important stuff like designing machines and growing our community over focusing on selling more stuff.

Just a reminder for everyone to be nice

Something that I am continually grateful for is our active, healthy, and supportive community. We now have nearly 10,000 users across our platforms today from over 30 countries. For all of our amazing community members, thank you for being part of what we are today.

Based on feedback from our support staff and other members of our team, as hobby CNCing becomes more popular and prevalent in our society, expectations and demographics continue to change as well, introducing a wider audience beyond our early group of adopters. Over time, our groups have become more diverse demographically and what people are using their CNC machines for, which is amazing.

It should be noted that although we don’t personally post publically that often, many of us at the company personally stay active on the groups and read most of the posts that you make. I make it a habit to check the forums and Facebook group at least once or twice a day to see how things look in the community and see what’s new, even though it’s rare for me to post or comment in general.

But of course, with every large group, there can be some negativity. We welcome complaints and criticism, whether posted online or directed to us privately, we use these messages to make improvements to what we do on a continual basis. I also hope that customers give us a chance to help them and let us work out the kinks that may arise, as well as open to learning to work with us as we navigate to getting started in a new hobby.

That being said, with recent growth in the community, I have also seen the rate of negative commentary and harassment pointed at us and to the company directly increase as well. I do not accept harassment aimed toward our staff and I have continually been working to help our staff navigate these situations.

In response to this, we’ve worked to create some internal processes and policies to help take care of these matters, as well as post a Customer Support Terms of Service note at the end of our Contact Us page. For our online communities, thank you to our members who’ve stepped up to comment back when people have made negative and untrue comments.

We are people. We have feelings. We love and care about our community and we do our best to make this a fun and accessible ecosystem. Please remember to be nice to us and each other.

End-of-Year Holidays

As we typically do, we are on closing for holidays from Dec 23rd to Jan 2nd. If you have any questions or need anything shipped out, please reach out to us before the 23rd. There may be some of us providing limited holiday support and getting ready for the new year, but the large majority of us will be on holiday.