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December 2023 Production Update

Hey everyone, here’s our December production update! Many things happened in November.

On a side note, I just turned 27. I think it’s sort of crazy I’m in my “late-20s” now?

Holiday Break

Please note that our offices will be closed from Dec 23 to Jan 1st. We will reopen on Jan 2, 2024.

During this time:

  • Shipping of items may be paused until we return.
  • We may not have someone answering phones at this time.
  • Responses to emails may be slower than normal.

We will have a shipping cut off of noon on Dec 22. Please place your orders if you’d like to have it shipped before the end of the year.


Moving continues to chug along, with the final moving to be done before the end of the month. Please note that response times and shipping may be a little slower than usual.

Our new address will be Unit D, 120 Randall Drive Waterloo.

LongMill MK2 Orders

LongMill orders continue to ship as usual. We were a bit low on bristles for the dust shoe, which meant that some orders took a few days extra to ship.

Thanks to a grant from the government, we are getting a new CO2 laser cutter and CNC mill partially subsidized for prototyping and production use. We’re planning on taking the old CO2 laser which we’ve been using for the last 3-4 years and taking it apart for R&D use for our CO2 laser project.

We are now waiting on injection molded feet for the LongMill, which we expect will help reduce our reliance on the 3D printing farm by about 25-30%. This should help us free up more capacity for printing other parts, such as dust shoes and LaserBeam parts so that it will be less of a bottleneck for production in the future. Ron, our print farm manager, also started working with input shaping, which is a feature that allows for faster movements with less resonance by analysing the printer’s movements and adjusting its movements to cancel vibrations. This also is helping to improve print quality and increase print speed by 15-25%.

LaserBeam and Vortex

LaserBeam continues to ship as usual. We are currently waiting on a new batch of heatsinks, drivers, and cables to arrive in the next few weeks so that we can stockpile more units.

Vortex also continues to ship but we now have around 17 (at the time of writing) left. Probably by the time this post goes out, we probably will have a few less. There is another batch in production now for 300 units, which should be ready to ship early January.


Chris just put out a update video about the SLB which can be found here:

I’ve taken a step back from helping Chris with the testing side of the board currently and working on some of the manufacturing along with Daniel, but it appears that the testing in the back room continues to happen at a blazing pace. I just placed an order for another 40 controllers to ship in the next few weeks for final testing.

The designs for the SLB controller case have now been finalized and in production. We expect samples from production to be ready in the next 3 weeks, and parts to arrive in the new year. One of the main differences for the new controller is that it is designed to mount directly to the Y rail on the LongMill, which allows it to take a bit less space on the workbench. However, users will still be able to mount their controller using the screw holes as well.

Design for SLB case

We are also wrapping up the design for the new E-stop buttons and macro buttons as well now and starting production for it this week.

Pre-orders are slated to come in December 4, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for that! For more info about the pre-order, please check the Blog post here.


As we were alluding to in the previous updates, we’ve started working on the AltMill. Kelsey and I are currently working on the shipping of the first batch of parts for the AltMill.

For the latest update, please see our blog article.

Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey. It looks like we have quite a bit of interest in the AltMill. We’ll continue to post updates here and prepare for pre-order availability as we move forward with production on the first batch. At the time of writing about 5 days after the survey went out, we have over 50 respondants, half of which are ready to put down money to get the new AltMill.

Initially I was expecting sales for the AltMill to start out pretty slowly, maybe 15 machines per month, however I feel pretty confident that sales will be much stronger especially given the lack of information we have out for the AltMill at the current time.

Sienci Router

Continued development on the Sienci Router has been fascinating, especially as Johann and I have been looking beyond AC universal motors found in most power tools like the Makita RT0701.

One of the main important things we’ve been looking at has been the efficiency and actual power output of the Makita router. Based on loading and testing the router, we see that the true power output of the router is much lower than the 1.25HP rating in some scenarios.

In theory, this means that a more efficient motor could use less power, but get the same cutting performance as a Makita RT0701.

This is where we’ve been exploring brushless DC motors (BLDC motors).

One of the main advantages of BLDC motors is that they are much more efficient than a universal AC motor. Based on the suggestions from the company we are working with on developing the motor, it may be possible to use a 400 watt BLDC motor in place of a 1200-watt AC motor.

Additional advantages of using a BLDC motor include:

  • Higher efficiency and lower power consumption means less heat, which also means a smaller fan that creates noise
  • A wider speed range, allowing the router to be used more effectively at slower speeds
  • No need for replacing brushes, which also lowers noise caused from the brushes rubbing
Sample motor with BLDC

BLDC does have a few disadvantages. The first is the price. We expect a production-ready motor to cost 3-4 times more than a universal AC motor. Second is figuring out the additional complexity in understanding the motor control systems and feedback loops we can implement to ensure that we have steady and accurate speed control.

That being said we believe it is possible to keep the overall BOM cost overall low to keep the router affordable and we’ll be able to use some off-the-shelf designs and external expertise to optimize the speed control for the router.

We expect to receive some motor samples in the next week or two, and we’ll start conducting testing to determine if BLDC offers an effective option for the Sienci Router.

CO2 Laser

I just talked to Ikenna to get an update about the CO2 laser development. The CO2 laser development team just finished filming an update video today and plan to release it in the next few weeks. There will also be a survey to help us direct the development for the new product. We expect to start purchasing prototype parts in the next week and expect to have a working prototype at the end of January.