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April 2023 Production Updates

In today’s production news, please welcome Kelsey’s (our office manager) latest creation, a healthy baby boy.

Hey everyone, here are the production updates for this month.

For all news and updates, please see our Blog.

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We’re moving (soon)!

In the last update, we talked about our search for a new home. Well, I’m excited to share that we’ve signed a new lease! Our new home will be a few minutes away from our current space in Waterloo, but offer double the square footage plus much higher ceilings, allowing us to store a significantly more amount of material.

At this time, there are a couple of moving parts the most important being that the current tenants occupying the back half of the building until October. Although we’ll have access to the front half of the building in the coming months, we won’t be able to fully set things up without access to the back space and the loading docks.

To allow for some transition time, we’ve extended our lease in our current building til December 2023, so that we don’t have to move everything all at once.

Update on customs hold-ups for US customers

I’m happy to mention that for the most part, the number of shipments that are being held up has decreased. We’ve made some changes to our documentation which seems to have been helping with the situation. We’ve also been working on finalizing the registration of our US corporation to help facilitate orders going to the US. There were some conflicting information and changes to the plan for establishing a US entity that caused this to drag further than we wanted, but we’ve finally started with the next step in the registration that would allow us to get our own EIN and TIN numbers.

After this step, we’ll still need to work on a couple of other things, such as US tax compliance and banking-related stuff, but I am sure we’ll figure each thing out over the next month or two.

LongMill and Extension Orders

Production on LongMill and Extension orders have been a bit up and down as we running low of certain parts needed for the 48×30 machines. At this current time, we are waiting on a new batch of Y axis rails to arrive. Due to the extrusion die being damaged during handling, the rails are still in production. Machines are expected to continue to ship on schedule at 5-6 weeks but shipping rates might not be consistent week to week.

There have also been a few design changes to the ACME locking nuts and couplers that will be reflected in the latest version of the LongMill. The new design helps reduce the chance of rubbing on the support bearings on each end of the machine lead screw. We’ll have the new documentation go live soon. This should help alleviate some of the issues that customers have at start of assembly where they have a binding in one of the axis.

Earlier this year, we hired a couple of new people for the packing team, but we’re still working through catching up.

LaserBeam Orders

We’ve received a new shipment of parts and are expecting the queue for the LaserBeam to be complete in the next week or two. We are currently in the middle of new production for the driver boards, which are expected to finish in a few weeks. We are keeping our lead time estimates to 4-6 weeks, just in case we run out of any parts, but for the most part, we expect orders to ship sooner than that.

Rotary Axis

Production for the rotary axis kit is now underway, with parts for the first 300 units in production. We are working on finalizing the details for the electronics and software, and expect to have a pre-order launch available in the next few weeks. While initially, we were planning to integrate an off-the-shelf rotary axis kit into the LongMill, we’ve decided to fully design the rotary axis from scratch. We found that integrating an off-the-shelf solution would be a reasonably fast and affordable way to set up a 4th axis, there were a couple of compromises we didn’t want to make, such as the form factor, ease of setting up a mounting solution to the wasteboard, and the ability for us to integrate certain features of the rotary axis, such as a way to home and probe off the rotary that would be difficult to accomplish without significant modification to the original design.

There are more details to come, but we feel that the new rotary axis allows for the same type of projects but in a much more user friendly and compact design.

Also if you haven’t seen it yet, check out our debut of the rotary axis in our 2023 April Fools video!