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March 2024 Production Updates

Hey guys, it’s Andy again with March 2024 production updates. I am currently writing this in China, where I am taking a bit of a “work-acation” but also to visit some suppliers and manufacturers that we work with. 

This also means we’ll film the typical production update video a bit later, probably on the week of March 11th when I get back.

March is expected to be a busy month, especially as we continue to make progress in our projects like the CO2 laser and Sienci Router, as well as prepare for shipping and launch of the SLB and AltMill.


Last month we paused shipping for LongMills as we waited for more controllers to arrive. We expect around 100 controllers to arrive in the next week or so (shipped on Monday). Once these parts arrive we will continue to ship machines and clear the backlog. More controllers are expected to finish the first week of March.

Additional production is underway for the LongMill, with motors, power supplies, and fasteners in production now.

LaserBeam and Vortex

LaserBeam and Vortex are shipping as usual. Ikenna and Abeku have developed a riser mount for the LaserBeam which allows for easier use in combining LaserBeam and Vortex to do engravings with the Vortex.

They are also working on some different magnetic mounting designs for the LaserBeam to make removing and attaching the LaserBeam faster and easier, and should have more stuff to share in the coming weeks.


This month we have finally put the machine together and started running it through the paces. Check out Daniel’s video on some more updates. I would have been there for the video, but I am currently away.

For more info and FAQ, please check the AltMill landing page.

Testing is showing some promising results. Here’s an excerpt from Daniel’s notes about the rigidity of the machine.

Also just finished doing some preliminary deflection testing of the machine with some pretty good results. This was done using the standard Sienci testing parameters/setup for the most part.

  • In the Y-axis, we have 0.003” of deflection at the tool with 80N applied 
    • This is 1.05 N/μm rigidity
  • In the X-axis we have 0.0025” of deflection at the tool with 80N applied
    • This is 1.26 N/μm rigidity

For comparison sake, here are some misc numbers of other machine’s rigidity:

  • 0.1515 N/μm in the Y-direction of the Shapeoko 3 XXL
  • LongMill MK2 48” Y-axis rigidity sits around 0.13 N/μm
  • LangMuir MR1 2.9188 N/μm in the X-direction, 4.3782 N/μm in the Y-direction
  • Onefinity (with added ‘stiffy’ rail) estimated to be 0.5 N/μm (realistically much less) based on one user’s measurement of ~1 N/μm at the bottom of the Z20 plate.
    • This pretty much only accounts for beam bending in the Y-direction, and not much torsion for which is the Onefinity’s achilles heel. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was even as bad as 0.3 N/μm.
    • This is mostly speculative, so not a fair comparison but worth mentioning.

I also checked the X-axis rail’s isolated deflection contribution. The rigidity of the X-axis rail assembly is ~3.75 N/μm. This is pretty good considering the rail was sized to be 4.9 N/μm and this is real life with extrusion and alloy defects and the like. 

  • For comparison sake, AvidCNC’s 8016 extrusion was estimated to be 3.8047 N/μm. Considering it weighs (I think) like 4 times more than ours, this is amazing.

In other news, we are continuing to put together the online ordering infrastructure to prepare the AltMill for launch at the end of March.

Sienci Router

At the start of the month, we received the sample motor we’ve been waiting on to do another round of development and testing. If you’re not up to date on the development here, make sure to check out the last post.

The new motor is much more powerful, and showing promising results. However, we are waiting on some improved motor tuning to happen as we have found some issues with the speed control to achieve a full 1KW of mechanical output. We are waiting on an updated control board expected to arrive in the next week or so.

Additional to this is that we’ve started exploring more spindle options for applications needing higher power past the 1KW the Sienci spindle can put out. If you saw Daniel’s update on the AltMill, the new machine is so powerful, that even the 2.2KW spindle ends up being the bottleneck in our ability to remove more material.

Eventually, we hope to provide several options, the standard Makita as a simple, powerful, and inexpensive option for routing, the Sienci Router as a step above with more features and power to run the LongMill at its full potential, and spindle options to maximize the AltMill’s performance.

Spring Loaded Anti-Backlash Nuts

I’m excited to say that the first set of the injection molded nuts has arrived. To learn more about this project, please see the long post about them here (put link here). While the T8s overall look good and function properly, unfortunately, we are still experiencing some warping and inconsistent threading on the T12 nuts. Since not all the nuts are affected, we’ve put on the store all of the nuts that are currently ok. We will work with our manufacturers to iron out the issues with the T12 nuts.

Demand for the new nuts has been super high, with all of the T8s already sold out, and with T12s expected to be close to selling out by the time this post goes out. Not to worry, however, we are working on making another batch of a few hundred sets and make sure we don’t run out.

It should be noted that existing LongMill kits will continue to ship out with the original style of nut. Once we catch up on orders sold for replacement, we will start moving to making them a default option for new machines. We currently don’t have a specific timeline for it, but likely in about 2 to 3 months, since production and assembly of the nuts can take a long time.


We’re excited to share that the new SLBs have started production and should be ready to ship in the next few weeks. We are also waiting on parts for the controller and estops to arrive in the next few weeks.

Work currently being done with SLB primarily revolve around checking for reliability and making bug fixes. We’ve also sent the SLB for testing to key grblHAL community members for feedback.

gSender has now been updated to natively support SLB and it’s features. You may have seen a toggle when connecting your machine to allow for GRBL and grblHAL available.

Additionally work on building controllers for the AltMill to provide external driver support, higher voltage, while sharing the same features is also underway, with first versions of the design expected to be ready in the coming weeks. However for the full development cycle, we expect it to take till end of April to have production-ready designs and firmware ready.

In addition to this, we have continued to work on the computer side of the SLB at a bit of a slow pace. However, we have put together this proof of concept where we have attached a VESA mount arm to the threaded holes at the front of the machine to allow for use with a touchscreen, as well as a mount for the computer. This design was created by one of our engineering students working at the company this term.