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A Year in Review – 2022

Happy New Year all. It’s been quite a year in 2022. Here are a couple of milestones we’ve hit in the past year.

This post was originally shared in our internal company newsletter.

Launch of the LongMill MK2

In early 2022, we launched the LongMill MK2, the successor to the LongMill MK1. This was a big milestone for us as the LongMill MK2 was a culmination of learning and experience in two years of shipping the LongMill MK1.

Also with the LongMill MK2, we introduced a new size, the 48×30. This new size allows for the use of full 4ft wide sheets. It is now the most popular variation of the LongMill.

Chris and I are happy to say that the launch of the MK2, albeit with some hurdles, went smoothly, with our resource development and customer service teams handling these areas amazingly well.

Launch of the AutoZero Touchplate

Our launch of the Autozero touchplate is a major milestone in the hobby CNC industry as the first to allow for zeroing straight and irregularly sized bits. This project took a lot of time to develop, especially in the manufacturing side. To date, we’ve sold close to 1000 units, and this continues to eclipse the original touch plate in sales.

gSender development

gSender, first launched in closed Alpha in early 2021, has now gone through 10 iterations through 2022. This is an insane pace of development, with a new version almost every month. Some new features implemented this past year include:

  • Improvements to the surfacing tool, such as adding zig-zag pattern and overall stability
  • Addition of machine profiles outside of the LongMill ecosystem
  • Better visualizations to firmware settings
  • Pendant mode
  • AutoZero touchplate compatibility
  • Updates to keybindings and joystick compatibility

Additionally, there have been many back-end improvements to stability and performance. gSender is becoming widely known as the best gcode sender for hobby CNC machines in our industry (

Health and safety

We now have further established our health and safety at Sienci Labs. Thanks to Kelsey, John, Mike, Steph, and the rest of the operations team, we now have stuff like training videos, first aid, WSIB certification, eye wash stations, and properly stocked first aid kits.


Thanks to Kelsey, we made our first filings for SR&ED in 2022. This means we are able to receive nearly $300,000 in tax credits to apply against the corporate taxes. While the engineers aren’t thrilled to do the paperwork needed to make the claims, it does cover a substantial amount of our R&D costs.

We expect to make a new filing for 2023 covering additional developments for items such as the laser, rotary axis, and control board development.

Team growth

2022 is also highlighted by a big jump in the size of our team. In 2022, 10 new employees joined our team, with most new members being in engineering, software development, and marketing. Given we were about 19 people strong at the start of 2022, this means we had a 52% growth in our team.

2021 was an extreme growth year, with our revenues growing by 75.5%. This made put a lot of stress on our team as we received way more traffic than we expected. 2022 was a year of establishing our team. By bringing on new talent, we were able to streamline and improve many aspects of the company, such as inventory management, customer service, marketing, and resource development.

Revenue growth

While smaller than the spectacular 75.5% revenue growth in 2021, we still saw a respectable 34.7% in revenue growth. We saw a big jump in revenue in software and add-ons sales, as we grew our offerings in those areas.

The start of 2022 was quite slow, partially due to economic factors and issues with our supply chain causing lead times to extend and cause delays. Despite these issues, once we had them resolved, we’ve reached record sales at the end of the year, October to December being the highest in sales we’ve seen in company history and exceeding my initial projections.

Operational Improvements

There have been many improvements to operations. Some notable ones include:

USMCA certification: By creating USMCA certification, we’ve eliminated a large of taxes being paid when LongMills and other Canadian-made products cross the border. Those working in customer service would have been familiar with issues arising when folks needed to pay for duties and taxes, which this new certification eliminates.

Improved QA processes: Thanks to Mike and Jon, as well as the other engineers, nearly all components now have QA processes and documentation. This has greatly eliminated having to ship out missing parts and overall improved the quality and performance of the LongMill. Employees can now use tablets, calipers, gauges, and other tools to collect more data and improve the quality of our parts.

Katana to Batching system: Kye and the rest of the operations team spent a lot of time in 2022 establishing a new inventory system. Initially, we were using ATUM, which worked for the most part but introduced instability in the website. Katana took inventory management a step further, but the work order system met resistance with the packing staff. We learned that with the high level of experience our packing staff had, work order systems aren’t as critical. We have now since doubled down on the batching system that was originally implemented in the inception of the company.

Improvements to the 3D printing farm: 2022 brought a number of improvements to the print farm. While the Ender 3s were good in the way that they were cheap and easy to come by, at scale, the overall improvement to the print consistency and features like auto bed leveling and filament run-out sensors of the Prusa printers turned out to be worth the extra cost. Also, with the implementation of the Kanban system turned out to streamline the inventory tracking process as well.

Ron has also been implementing improvements using his CAD skills, making brackets to hold power supplies and USB cables, further optimizing the farm.

Extrusion saw and tapping arm: Given that the cost to have extrusions cut and tapped out of house would have been around $30,000 per batch of around 500 units, it made a lot of sense to bring it in-house. I’m very proud of the purchase of our sub $2000 extrusion saw as well as the tapping arm system that Mike, Jon, Dylan, and Nini has put together to make this process cheaper, faster, and easier.

Workshop improvements: We’ve brought in a lot of new tools and equipment in 2022, especially with Adam’s organizational skills and Mike’s retail therapy. Our workshop started off as a mess but has now been better tamed, with easier access to working CNC machines and tools.

Forklift: We held out on getting a forklift by using liftgates and other lifting contraptions, but the propane forklift was ultimately a great investment. With the new sea cans, growing amount of inventory being transported, and the cost of using a liftgate, we now use the forklift all of the time. It’s also important to share that we now have several staff now certified to drive the forklift.

Marketing and content creation

One of the largest areas of growth in our team is with our marketing and content creation team. With over half of our customers coming from Youtube, one big focus was in content creation. And with all the hard work, you can see we’ve greatly increased the number of engagements in our Youtube channel. Other marketing and content creation achievements include:

  • Establishment of our weekly contests
  • Improvements and optimizations to our Google and Facebook Ads
  • Improvements to our file management systems and use of NAS
  • A Sienci Tik Tok
  • Regular LaserBeam podcasts
  • Way better lighting in our videos
  • and more…

Filming bootcamp

Looking forward in 2023

2023 will be a year of innovation. I say this as our engineering and software development team continues to push out new products and developments which will play a significant impact in the establishment of the hobby CNC industry. Some developments include:

  • A new, smarter CNC control board
  • Continued developments and features in gSender
  • Rotary Axis
  • Continued development in the LaserBeam
  • Improvements to the mechanical components, such as the couplers and locking nuts on the LongMill MK2

Additional potential developments on the horizon include:

  • A new router/spindle system
  • New, unique end mills and bits
  • Heavy duty Z axis and other mechanical improvements to the LongMill
  • AltMill and YesHappy development
  • Plasma CNC development

First iterations of our new control board

Additionally, we expect to continue putting out more educational content and tutorials for our products. These include project videos, livestreams, and resource videos. This is expected to increase sales, as more than half of our customers find out about us through Youtube, but also bring more value to our community as we create useful content for the public to help them learn how to use our products.

As our company continues to grow and scale, it’s important to acknowledge the changes to Chris and my role in the company as well. I am grateful to have talented and hard-working people surrounding us to continue to push our company forward and take on many of the responsibilities that we previously handled. This has given us more freedom and satisfaction in our personal lives because of the talents of our staff.

Thank you to everyone who was part of our 2022, and we look forward to continuing our journey in 2023.

What do you want to see in 2023? Did I miss anything for 2022? Let me know!

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January 2023 Production Updates

Hey everyone and happy new year! As of Jan 3rd, we are back in action at the Sienci HQ.

Some of our team members enjoying a nerf battle at our holiday party

We have quite a large backlog of orders to ship that have come in during the holidays, which we are working on shipping at full steam.

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:

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

LongMill and Extension Kits are shipping on schedule. There is currently a large queue of orders, so we expect new orders to ship in around 3 weeks. We were expecting to have shorter lead times at the end of December, but due to a high number of orders, we’ve kept our lead times to 3-4 weeks.

We are currently in the process of bringing on 1-2 additional packing and assembly staff as some members are moving into customer support roles. We expect having a few new members on the team will help keep pace with the new sales as well as for future products.

We are expecting our queue to take about 2 weeks to clear and lead times to come down to around 2-3 weeks around the end of January.

LaserBeam Orders

We are currently waiting on a new batch of fans, bodies, and heatsinks for the LaserBeam. These parts are expected to arrive in the next few weeks. Some orders will ship earlier than scheduled with currently available stock, but customers are advised that some orders may take 4-6 weeks to fill based on part availability.

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Dec 24 – Jan 2, 2023 Store Holidays Notice

Hey there! I hope its been a wonderful year for everyone. Please note that our offices will be closed for the holidays from Dec 24, 2022 to Jan 2, 2023. We will reopen for regular business on Jan 3rd.

Some of our staff may be around to a limited degree to tie up some loose ends and receive incoming shipments, but most of the team will be on vacation during this time.

Shipping and support may be limited during this time.


Support through our contact form and phones will be limited during this time. If you are looking for help with something, please see our FAQ ( or resources page ( If you can’t find an answer on our website please submit a ticket on our Contact Us page. We will reply back to your messages when we return from holidays.


Shipping of orders may be limited during this time. If your order has not shipped yet or you place an order during the holidays, it will ship after we return.

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Sunsetting the Business Directory

The business directory at has now been sunset. Users will soon no longer be able to access this page (if it hasn’t already been shut down).

The goal of this directory was to help connect LongMill users and members of the public looking for custom CNC services. However, due to the lack of engagement, I have decided to shut the page down.

Looking to connect with other CNC users still? Please check out our forum post “Where is everyone from?”.

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AutoZero Touch Plate macros now available for alternative gcode senders

I’m excited to share that new macros for the AutoZero Touch Plate can now be found in our resources! This means that users who wish to use the Autozero Touch Plate with gcode senders that are not gSender can now do so with senders such as UGS, CNCjs, and Buildbotics/Linux CNC controllers.

We hope that users outside of the LongMill ecosystem will be able to use our unique touch plate for their CNCing.

For folks not familiar, the AutoZero Touch Plate is a revolutionary CNC touch plate design that allows for homing of both straight and irregularly shaped bits (v-bits, ball nose, and tapered) in the X, Y, and Z directions automatically using a unique chamfered-edge design.

Unlike most conventional touch plates, AutoZero also automatically measures and calculates the size and position of the bit that you’re using, allowing users to skip the process of measuring and inputting their tooling sizes into the software. Plus, with our gSender control software, users can use pre-built settings to have a seamless experience homing bits on their CNC machines.

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Everything you need to know about 4th/Rotary axis on the LongMill (so far)

One of the common asks that users have been requesting has been adding a 4th axis or rotary axis to the LongMill. We’re now happy to share some of the work we’ve been doing to add this support to the machine. We are currently in the early stages of development for this addition but have been able to get some good results from our testing.

A survey can be found at the end of the article, where you can help us understand your needs and get feedback and comments if you wish to participate!

What are we trying to sell here?

Although things are not finalized yet, here’s a breakdown of a rotary axis kit we’re looking to develop for the LongMill. Our goal is to have a kit that allows for a plug-and-play addition of a 4th axis to any LongMill.

  • Motorized chuck and headstock, along with a mounting solution to the machine
  • Cables and switches for connecting to the LongBoard controller
  • Resources and customer support to help set up and use the kit

What is a 4th axis?

Most CNC routers like the LongMill use a 3-axis system, which consists of a X, Y, and Z linear motion system that is used to position bits and end mills. One of the limitations of a 3-axis system is the fact that 3-axis machines cannot make “undercuts” without flipping or material manually. Since the machine only can orient the bit vertically, there are limitations to the types of geometry it can carve.


To address these limitations, CNC machines can come with additional degrees of motion, typically including a 4th or even 5th axis. In the case for the LongMill, a rotary axis positioned along the X direction allows the machine to turn a part as the X and Z axis can move in sync as the material turns and rotates.

On a mechanical level, the 4th axis for the LongMill will come with a chuck to hold material as well as a series of bearings and pulleys connected to a stepper motor to rotate the material as the machine carves.

What can it be used for?

The best way to think about 4th axis is to look at it as a computer-controlled lathe. Projects that are best suited for using a 4th-axis include making table legs, chess pieces, threads, and other mostly cylindrical objects.

Who is it for?

At this current time, we are exploring the suitability of a rotary axis as examples of practical use are limited on the market. We’ve put a link to a survey at the end of the article to help us understand the use cases of a rotary axis by asking what the community is interested in creating!

Based on our research and experience, we feel that this is best suited for early adopters and people who are wanting to tinker with the technology and can accept that at this current time, it is quite primitive. There are quite a few steps to using this add-on and the learning curve involved that may not be intuitive to folks that are mostly familiar with the typical cartesian coordinate system. Additionally, there are a lot of new software features that need to be tested and created, and we expect software bugs in the initial development of the rotary axis that may be frustrating if it’s not expected in the early stages of this product.



By far the most important aspect of the viability of this project comes down to the software since a rotary axis is useless without being able to program it. At the current time, the number of software that supports 4th axis machining is limited and the ones that we feel are best suited for this application are paid. Some options include:

  • Vectric VCarve Desktop, VCarve Pro, and Aspire ($349USD, $699USD, $1995USD)
  • Fusion 360 ($1600/year)
  • DeskProto Multi-Axis Edition (€249.00 for the hobbyist edition, €995.00 for commercial)

From our testing, Vectric’s software, in terms of functionality, ease of use, and price, is our recommended choice.

We won’t get into any specific details comparing the software today, but it’s likely that when we start to create documentation for 4th-axis programming, that it’ll be done using Vectric software.


It’s also important to specify that with the current setup, this is not a true 4th axis. Rather, this setup uses the motor control from the Y-axis, disabling the linear motion from the two motors and redirecting the power to a single motor that controls the rotary axis. At this current stage, the plan is to provide hardware that allows for switching between rotary and linear motion by connecting directly to the control board.

While this seems like a big downside because the programming of true 4th axis is quite complicated and not supported by most hobby-level software.

Users who wish to explore true 4th-axis machining will need to use a more advanced control system and sending program to control the extra axis. We are working on creating electronics and software that will support this in the future, but we are not quite ready to share these details yet.


Due to the size of the LongMill and the size of the rotary axis, users should expect to be able to cut materials up to 4.5 inches in diameter and roughly 10 inches less than the length of their X-axis. So 12×30 and 30×30 users would be able to do up to 20 inches in length and 48×30 users would be able to cut up to 38 inches in length.

The longer the material, the less stable the cutting is, since the material is only supported from each end of the machine with a chuck and headstock. Further testing will show practical speeds and feeds at different sizes.


During the development of the project, we explored using either an off-the-shelf rotary axis option or designing one from scratch. It turned out that at this stage, it would be difficult to beat the cost of an off-the-shelf option purchased in bulk since if we were to design and manufacture it ourselves, the investment into design and the high volume of custom parts we’d need to produce would make it economically unviable.

Additionally, the off-the-shelf option appears to be quite well-made and good value, and ubiquitous enough that customers on a budget and willing to tinker may be able to source the same or similar option and use it for their machine, rather than buying it straight from us.

We’re estimating a landed unit cost for a pre-made unit in bulk will cost around $200. Additionally, the cables and electronic hardware required would add roughly another $15-20 to the unit cost. We also may need a precision fixturing plate that may cost around $100. Once applying a margin to account for things like development cost, customer support, shipping, resources, packaging, quality control, and everything else that we need to run a business, we’d estimate a price of around $500-700CAD per unit.

Additionally, users should budget to purchase software, as at this time we do not have a recommended free software option.

Next steps

Our next step is to determine the demand and viability of providing a rotary axis option to our user base. If we see enough demand, we can start to invest more time and resources in additional work and development such as:

  • Sourcing parts to create a rotary axis kit
  • Developing new features into gSender to add 4th-axis compatibility
  • Design of hardware for mounting to the machine
  • Resource development
  • Stress and long-term testing

Our first step is to share this survey so that interested LongMill users can share their thoughts, wants, and opinions on what they want to see in a kit.

In terms of timeline, we expect to make decisions on the direction of this project by the end of January. Depending on demand, we’ll start taking pre-orders for the kit and start sourcing components. We expect the sourcing and manufacturing process to take around 2-3 months, which brings us to around April-May 2023 when users may start getting their rotary axis kits.


To participate in the survey, please click the link below. Your participation is greatly appreciated!

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December 2022 Production Updates

Hey everyone, here are the production updates for Dec 2022.

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:

LongMill users on a map!

Using a new feature in our e-commerce sales tracking software, we can now look at all of our customers on a heatmap!

Here are some cool facts:

  • We have customers in 59 countries, including Aruba, the Faroe Islands, and Oman!
  • The United States represents our largest demographic, followed by Canada. We have customers in all 50 States!
  • We estimate that we have about 5000-6000 LongMill users in total!

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

Last month we slowed down shipping due to a shortage of lead screws and linear guides. I’m happy to say that our new batch was expedited (at no small cost) and we are currently working to get through the current backlog. Although we expect to get through most of the backlog next week, we are currently keeping our 3-4 week lead time for the time being. Once the backlog is cleared orders should ship within 1-2 weeks. We will have an updated lead time once we have gone through initial quality checks today and early next week for the new batch of parts.

Batch 6, which consists of 1500 machines, is officially complete! New orders are now part of Batch 7. For changes and improvements we’ve made through Batch 6, check out the write-up from the last production update. Batch 7 consists of another 1500 LongMills.

Recently we had a few issues with bent lead screws. We’re currently working on testing all of them before shipping to make sure they are straight and don’t cause binding issues. Here we’re using an optical comparator to check how much deviation each screw has.

LaserBeam Orders

Orders for LaserBeams continue to ship as usual with fairly short lead times. Although we have stock, we are currently working on adding another 500 units to inventory. Due to a sudden increase in sales, we are currently low in stock and while some order will ship quickly, customers should expect to wait 4-6 weeks for their orders to ship based on part availability.

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.

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Updated Feeds and Speeds Resources and Tool Libraries for Fusion 360 and Vectric Software

Happy Monday folks. Over the last couple of weeks, our engineering team has been working on creating a standardized testing method and recording values to provide recommended feeds and speeds for a large number of end mills that we provide in our store.

Check out our resources page ( where you can find downloadable PDF guides for feeds and speeds and tool databases for Vectric and Fusion 360 software.

Our updated resources also provide additional learning and theory in choosing feeds and speeds, so make sure to take a look through!

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General Tips on LongMill Troubleshooting

Hey everyone, it’s Andy here. Over the past few years, we’ve welcomed many thousands of CNC users into our community. Of course, with any electro-mechanical machine, some degree of troubleshooting is to be expected.

For the first year and a half since the launch of the LongMill, I had taken on the large majority of troubleshooting from customers directly through email. This was an excellent experience for me as it opened my eyes to observe almost all of the issues that were possible, as well as giving me the chance to learn and communicate with customers better. Even to this day, I am regularly checking on customer tickets and working with our support team to tackle new or more complicated support issues, although it’s typically no longer my day-to-day role.

What has been interesting to see over this period of time has been not just how we collect data and information about issues over time, but also our understanding of the human nature of users when it comes to identifying and troubleshooting issues.

One of the things we’ve come to recognize is that there are a number of misconceptions to address in terms of troubleshooting the LongMill. This article covers some of my personal recommendations for helping you troubleshoot issues on your LongMill.

Our custom dashboard tracking what types of tickets we receive and the frequency of certain issues

Tip 1: Listen and look at your machine carefully

Simply listening and looking at what your machine is doing can help a lot in identifying problems. Is the machine making a weird sound? Do you hear the motors stalling? Is the machine stopping and starting irregularly? Is there a component that is slipping? Making a close observation can help identify the cause of an issue.

It’s important to note that the large majority of issues for the LongMill are mechanical. This means that for most issues, you can physically, hear, or feel issues. A few extra tips for this tip:

  • Jog your machine manually on each axis and check for smooth motion. I recommend running at the highest speed for each axis as stalling is more likely at higher speeds
  • Run your project in the air. Look for any irregularities and odd behavior.
  • Try turning lead screws and moving your gantries by hand. This can help identify looseness or binding.

Tip 2: Most issues are simple issues

The large majority of issues are caused by something simple. Always start with simple fixes first before trying something more drastic. This will save you time and give you statistically the best chance in fixing your issue.

99% of issues that our users have can be found in the Common Issues and Fixes section of our resources. I encourage everyone to read through it carefully as it covers everything that we know that may help you solve your issues. This section is updated regularly with new issues and fixes when they are found.

From my experience, users often have a tendency to jump to the conclusion that if they run into an issue, it’s a rare, complicated, or unknown issue. Sort of like being a…LongMill hypochondriac? This means that many people try to troubleshoot their issues in the wrong place and become frustrated with the machine, rather than checking the most simple reasons for issues. For example, you’d be surprised at how many people reach out to us because their machine won’t work at all because they just never turned on the machine in the first place.

Tip 3: Mechanical and electrical issues happen randomly. Software issues happen exactly the same way over and over again.

The main differentiator between a mechanical and electrical issue versus a software issue is that mechanical and electrical issues seemly happen at random and software issues happen the same way over and over again.

While mechanical and electrical issues can be caused over time by loose fasteners and connectors, wear and tear, and power fluctuations which can happen seemly randomly, software works in a series of exact pieces of code that is rigidly defined. While double-checking firmware settings and reinstalling gSender can help eliminate those as being the issue, if your issue seems random, it’s more likely to be a mechanical issue and updating or reinstalling gSender will not help.

I sometimes joke to Chris that many users use gSender as a scapegoat, as many pin their issues on gSender when they aren’t sure what’s going on. I suspect it’s because its easy to blame something that people don’t feel as comfortable with (aka the software). Sometimes it feels like gSender is messing something up randomly, however, the reality is that the vast majority of issues come from something mechanical.

If you are running into issues with gSender, additional help and documentation can be found here:

Tip 4: Static and EMF cannot cause a machine to lose steps

It is a common misconception that static and EMF can cause a machine to stall or lose steps. The main symptom of static and EMF is a complete disconnect between your machine and CNC. Issues caused by static and EMF will likely cause your machine to disconnect or stop completely. Additionally to note, due to the high draw of tools such as routers and dust collectors, its easy to mistake brown-outs for static and EMF, even though they are completely separate problems.

If your machine is losing position or steps randomly, it’s best to check out the mechanics of the machine first, as static and EMF does not cause the machine to lose its position. Use the process of elimination by turning on and off different tools and dust collectors in your shop while running your machine to identify the culprit.

Tip 5: Let us help you

Don’t forget that our technical support team is here to help answer any questions and help tackle technical issues. Sending us a message with detailed information, videos, and photos of your issue through our Contact Us page.

When you send a ticket, you’re talking to:

  • One of our team members or engineers who designed a certain part of the machine
  • Someone with hundreds, if not thousands of hours of CNC experience
  • The whole technical support team, as tickets and information can be shared between all members

We also use tickets to collect data and improve the quality of our products and make adjustments to our resources.

Reaching out directly to our technical support team is typically the fastest and most reliable way to solve technical issues.

A note from Jason Kent, our Customer Support Manager

Provide as much information as possible. Information such as recent changes or updates made to the machine or software is useful to include.  When reaching out for customer support, please add images or videos relevant to the issue. While family photos are cute, images of the issue help us to diagnose your problem faster.


Tip 1) Observe the mechanics of your machine carefully, such as the sound and the movement, as mechanical issues are the most common in LongMills.

Tip 2) It’s statistically more likely that an issue is caused by something simple. Always troubleshoot by checking basic things first. Troubleshooting guides in our Resources contain fixes for 99% of issues around the LongMill and are regularly updated.

Tip 3) Understand that if the problem happens randomly, it’s most likely a mechanical or electrical issue. Software does not cause random problems.

Tip 4) Static and EMF does not cause stalling or missing steps. Static and EMF causes the machine disconnects or to stop completely.

Tip 5) Don’t forget to reach out to us directly! We can help too!

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Sienci Labs Shop Tour 2022

Can you believe it’s been just over two years since we did our last shop tour? Since then we’ve expanded our shop and our team in leaps and bounds. Join me and Chris in our shop tour where we show you where we make our LongMills and other things at Sienci Labs!

Want to see our shop tour from 2020? Check it out below: