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PSA: Nylon washers are no longer needed for the assembly of LongMill MK2 machines

Customers have been calling and messaging in about missing nylon washers used for assembling their machines. Those who are watching the video instead of the assembly manual will encounter this issue.


For the most up-to-date instructions on assembling your machine, please always follow the online instruction manual.

Early in the production of the LongMill MK2, we ran into some resonance issues. The patch fix was to use nylon washers between the motor spacers and gantry to help mitigate the transfer of vibrations into the machine. However, soon after, we found a better process for tuning the motors so that they can run faster with less vibration, eliminating the need for nylon washers completely.

In fact, improperly assembled nylon washers could introduce other minor issues, such as the chance of misalignment and skewing of the motor, due to the uneven compression of the nylon. However, if you already have nylon washers on your machine and it is working fine, please keep them on as usual as they shouldn’t cause any further issues.

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May 2023 Production Updates

Here is your May 2023 Production Updates. 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:

Resource and content development

I’m excited to share that we’ve recently hired two new technical writers and resource developers and a second videographer to help continue to bring awesome instructions, troubleshooting, projects, and content to the community and our users! Some of the things our new team members will be working on include:

  • Creating tutorials and projects
  • Writing and improving information in our online resources
  • Additional involvement in the online community, through our social media and forums
  • Helping create documentation for new products
  • Sharing more news about our company and the amazing things we’re working on

We hope that by continuing to share our information, knowledge, and wisdom of hobby CNCing, we’ll continue to make CNCing more accessible for everyone. For more info about why resource development is important to us, please check out this article.

Working on Rotary Axis documentation

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

In April, last month, we ran into some part shortages for the Y-axis rails due the extrusion die getting damaged unexpectedly. This pushed back production by about 2 weeks while the broken die was remade. We have received the rails and have been able to ship a large number of machines. We also ran out of the front and back steel feet for a few days, but we have also received a new batch last week as well. We believe that we should be able to ship most of the units with a turnaround of 4 weeks, better than the 5-6 weeks we promised, but we expect to run out of T12 lead screws in the next coming weeks, so we will continue to have a 5-6 week lead time listed on our product page in case there are delays in receiving our next batch.

Otherwise, although we have had to pause shipping at times, we have been continuing to deliver within the promised times for our customers. Additionally, we have recently brought on a few new staff to help continue to bring lead times down.

I should note that due to the high volume of orders we are processing, we are finding that on some days, due to space constraints of the truck picking up orders, some items may need to wait for the next truck to ship. Since we are trying to clear the backlog, it’s a bit slower than usual, but we expect things to ship out without delays once we get caught up.

Our engineers have been working on a few new projects to help improve the productivity of production in a couple of different areas. One notable update is with our tapping setup. We do hole tapping in several different areas, including with the ends of the rails and several of the gantries and feet that make up the LongMill. With our original setup, we used a tool to tap each hole individually. However, our engineers are trying a few new ways to tap several holes simultaneously with a special jig by essentially driving multiple tapping heads at the same time. With each batch needing tens of thousands of holes tapped, we expect these new tools to greatly speed up the tapping process.

Our engineers excited to get their multi-material rapid prototyping Bambu printer

LaserBeam Orders

A new batch of laser drivers recently arrived at the shop and we are currently processing our queue. We expect to have the rest of the pending orders cleared by this week. We expect to have a fairly short lead time of around 2 weeks going forward based on part availability.


We’ve had an overwhelming response to the SuperLongBoard, with over 400 survey respondents. If you didn’t read the full article, you can check it out here. Thank you, everyone, for your support!

Based on the results, it’s very clear to see that our users are very excited about this massive upgrade to the LongMill and for the future of the hobby CNC industry.

Our team and team and Expatria continue to work on the development of the board. We don’t have any major updates yet, but a few things we’re working on include:

  • Enclosure design
  • Compute module integration
  • Testing and QA jigs

Rotary Axis

We are reaching the final stages of rotary axis development. We have now placed orders for just about all of the parts and are waiting for things to ship. Our gSender development team has now implemented rotary axis functionality in the Edge version (our beta, experimental public version of gSender for internal and external testing). You can learn more about the release here:

Additionally, are currently fine-tuning the homing sequence for the rotary axis which will allow the machine to self-home, zero, and align the rotary axis, which is unique to any rotary axis system in the hobby market.

Our team, primarily Daniel and Johann have been vigorously testing and fine-tuning the Rotary Axis over the last few weeks with some amazing projects and results.

We expect to have launch dates, interviews, pricing, and new content to come out soon in the next 2 weeks so make sure to stay tuned!

A full size bat made for testing the Rotary Axis

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First look at the SuperLongBoard

Hey everyone, I’m excited to share with everyone a project that Chris and the rest of the Sienci Labs team have been working on in collaboration with Andrew and his team Expatria Technologies to develop a new CNC control board and firmware system. The SuperLongBoard (SLB for short) represents a huge step in hobby CNC technology, as it’s advanced electronics and software bring not just new features and functionality to the LongMill, but at a price point that we believe will be affordable for hobbyists.

LongMill running at 10,000mm/min and 750mm/s^2
The SuperLongBoard taking its first baby steps

What is the SuperLongBoard?

The SuperLongBoard is a next-generation control board for the LongMill CNC. This development gives access to a whole new set of features, functionality, and integrations more commonly found in industrial applications to the hobby CNC market. Some features and functionality include:

  • Full integration of gSender within the control board, removing the need for a separate computer to run the CNC
  • Advanced, programmable stepper drivers that run motors faster, quieter, and with more torque
  • Faster, more accurate motion control processing for smoother movements
  • Ability to control more than 3 axis, for full 4th and 5th axis motion control
  • Networking and file transfer with wifi and ethernet, USB port and SD card for removable storage, HDMI output for display outputs, and more
  • Standard PWM control for laser and spindle, with compatibility with industry-standard RS485 protocols for industrial-level spindle control
Rapid tests using the SuperLongBoard

Additionally, this design will have many input-output connections and ports to allow for new features and accessories to be used with the new board, effectively future-proofing your machine for years to come. Some of these features include:

  • Automatic tool changing support
  • Skew, cutter, and joint compensation
  • External wired and wireless pendant control
  • Camera and machine vision for features like failure and crash detection, auto zeroing, auto-tracing, and more

Please note that although these features are something we want to work on down the line, we currently do not have specific timelines on these features and they will not be available during launch.

You can even set up the SuperLongBoard to send messages through Slack!

The SLB is a system of two different parts working together. The first is the board itself, which contains all of the core functionality. This includes motor control, sensor inputs and outputs, and lower-level processing of g-code. Users will be able to tether this part of the controller directly to the computer using a USB cable in the same way as the original LongBoard currently used in all LongMills to control their CNC machines.

SLB takes things to the next step with the addition of an onboard compute module. The SLB has a small connection interface at the bottom of the board that allows for a compute module to be attached and replaces the computer or laptop. Users can connect a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to control all functions of the machine directly through the SLB.

The SLB can operate with and without the compute module. I expect that given the considerably low price of the compute module over a computer, around $40-80 dollars plus the cost of the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, as well as the extra speed, user experience, and reliability of an onboard system. But we are planning to allow for the board to be used in either configuration.

This control board will be backward compatible with ALL LONGMILL CNC MACHINES OF ALL GENERATIONS, which means that users can upgrade their machine’s capabilities by simply replacing the controller. All of the hardware and software will come ready to go, plug and play for all LongMill CNCs, and will have a similar form factor to the current LongBoard so that it can be integrated easily into your existing machine.

Why the SuperLongBoard?

The creation of the SLB comes with a series of motivations. The first and main motivation is our belief that at this current stage, the integration of smarter, more reliable, and more capable CNC control electronics will make the biggest improvement to the CNC user experience.

This new design will aim to eliminate many common issues universal to hobby CNC at this time, including:

  • Electromagnetic interference issues
  • Computer, compatibility, and connection-related issues
  • Resonance and driving issues restricting motor performance

With the integration of an onboard computer and far more sophisticated electronic systems, the SLB will not only be able to eliminate these issues, but it will also allow us to have better control of the hardware and software to optimize every aspect of the board and iron out bugs more easily.

As some readers know, we’re also in active development of the rotary axis. The SLB will also open up more possibilities for integrating new add-ons and improving already existing add-ons such as the AutoZero touchplate and LaserBeam. Some other potential add-ons include:

  • Plug-and-play router or spindle with programmable speed control
  • Bitsetter
  • Toolchanger
  • Plasma cutter

There are no specific development timelines for these items, but the SLB will allow for better compatibility for add-ons such as the ones listed above.

Development of the SuperLongBoard

The SuperLongBoard has been in development since the Fall of 2022. We’ve received our first batch of prototype boards and have been working with Andrew to develop the firmware and software for the control boards, finalize the PCB design, and prepare them for long-term beta testing.

The development of the SLB actually comes with many different individual developments that all work hand in hand. First is the integration of grblHAL, a rewrite of GRBL that was originally designed to work on Arduino-based controllers. One of the limitations of GRBL was that since it was designed to work on low-performance microcontrollers, it has limitations on what features that could be added. Additionally, there are limitations on things like how many processes could happen at any given point and the raw speed of the processing of g-code and motor signals.

grblHAL essentially uses something called a hardware abstraction layer (HAL). The HAL is essentially like a switchboard that the GRBL core knows how to use the microcontroller to communicate with different aspects of the board, such as the spindle control, motor drivers, and networking. This means that the development of core firmware that includes all of the functionality can be developed and only the HAL needs to be adapted to each model of the microprocessor. This means that the development of grblHAL benefits the whole community since features that are developed for one controller can be implemented on other controllers almost immediately with basically no modification. grblHAL, although still fairly new, already has a fair number of plugins that can be used to add functionalities.

The next part of the development is with the gSender integration into the SLB and to use grblHAL. Since the plan is to integrate gSender directly on the compute module, we are working on optimizing it for the hardware, such as improving the general performance and UI, adding new features and functionality, and testing the speed and reliability of gSender as a whole. We’re already working on the new gSender, and you can find an early access version here.

And lastly comes the design and production of the PCBs themselves. At this stage, we’ve mostly finalized the design of the board and are making the last few touches to the design and layout. The new control board uses a larger number of components, adding to the challenge and complexity in manufacturing, but we’ve been able to work closely with PCB manufacturers for the first batch of prototypes and expect this area to come along relatively smoothly.

We are expecting to work on testing the boards in-house for the next few weeks and start beta testing in the next coming months.


At this time, we’re expecting the manufacturing and production cost of the SLB and case to cost around $100 (prices here in CAD). The compute module is expected to cost between $40 to $80 depending on the model and spec, bringing the total cost of production to around $150.

Chris and I have been talking about the pricing and how we want to figure this out, but we do have a few goals:

  1. To offer it with new LongMill machine kits with minor changes to the current price
  2. To have a simple and inexpensive upgrade path from the original LongBoard to the SBL
  3. Reduce buyers remorse for currently existing customers

Here is our tentative pricing. Please note that pricing may change and is not set in stone.

SuperLongBoard, onboard computer, and enclosure: $280CAD/$210USD

This would be the full package with everything you need to plug and play with any LongMill. This also includes the onboard computer. Users who wish to use the onboard computer will need to provide their own monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

If you want to mix and match parts, you can use the pricing estimates below:

SuperLongBoard only: $180CAD/$140USD

For users that only want to upgrade the controller, but do not have the onboard computer. This would mean that you would still need to connect a laptop or computer to your controller. This also doesn’t include the price of an enclosure, so users can either make their own or integrate it with an existing enclosure. The case for this version of the controller is not backward compatible with the original LongBoard currently used in the MK1 and MK2 LongMills.

Onboard computer: $80CAD/$60USD

The onboard compute module is essentially a Raspberry Pi CM4 or another compute module of the same form factor. There are many different versions of CM4 form factor modules, all of which have different price ranges and specs. The price points of these modules vary greatly, which means the specific cost of this will be tied to which module we decide to choose. This would be available to users who choose to start with the SuperLongBoard and decide to add the onboard computer later in the future.

Enclosure: $30CAD/$23USD

The enclosure serves to protect the controller from dust and damage, as well as provide some mounting options onto the LongMill.

What’s next?

With regard to the LongMill

Once we get the SuperLongBoard into production, customers will be able to order them from our store to upgrade their machine electronics or as the controller that ships with new LongMills.

Here is our current general plan:

  • Once the SuperLongBoard is launched, to offer the original LongBoard and SuperLongBoard as separate options. The option for the original LongBoard would be the same, and the SuperLongBoard option would be a little more expensive.
  • Once we run out of or decide to phase out the original LongBoard, all new LongMills will ship with the SuperLongBoard.
  • For existing LongMill customers, we may provide a coupon so that users who wish to upgrade to the new controller can do so at a lower cost.

Based on where we are in current development, we expect SLB available sometime in the late fall or winter of 2023.

The exact details and pricing will come later.

With regards to other CNC machines

Given how powerful and integrated the SuperLongBoard is, we expect other CNC users to want to integrate the board with their own machines. While the board itself isn’t expected to cost a lot, given the complexity of support, resources, and documentation, we expect that a significant consideration in terms of support and price point will come down to many different factors.

We do plan on releasing the board designs open source as we have done for all of our hardware and software, which means that even if we don’t provide any official support, users who want to tinker should be able to figure out how to integrate things.

Here is our current general plan:

  • Users who want to use this board for other machines will be able to purchase it from our store, but they will not receive any technical or setup support. We will provide resources that we feel will be adequate for an experienced user to use for setup. At some point, we may also set up an online community where people can help each other.
  • In the future, there may be a certain tipping point in terms of scale for us to offer specific machine support, or if a third party decides to provide support themselves.

SuperLongBoard Survey

If you want to help contribute to our development for the SLB, please feel free to do our survey!

Link to the survey:

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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.

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

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!

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How to replace your brushes in your Makita RT0701 router

Hey guys, I’m excited to share that we are now carrying OEM replacement carbon brushes in our store! If you have reduced or intermittent power and your router, replacement brushes can bring back performance levels in your router.

As more customers use their LongMills for daily production use, we’ve seen more customers replace the brushes in their motors from constant use. Although for most customers, the need to replace the brushes will be extremely low, since they do last a very long time (we have some with 1000+ hours that still have life in them, more than what most people use their machine in 1-2 years), in a high production setting, I can see that there is a small subset of people could save time and money by replacing brushes versus the whole router itself.

At Sienci Labs, we try to have as many spare and maintenance parts available in our store so that customers can make sure that their machines run for many years to come. We also provide open source documentation and drawings, as well on the product pages if applicable, if customers need to source parts locally. If there are any other products or parts you feel like we should be offering, please feel free to reach out!

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March 2023 Production Updates

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

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:

Alfie in the office today

Update on customs hold-ups for US customers

Many US customers with LongMill orders may be experiencing a hold-up at the border for LongMills. For more information about the situation and what it means to you, if you are waiting on a shipment, please read our post here:

We have not seen a decrease in these hold-ups, and we are still working on some solutions for this. At this time, we’re working on:

  • Looking at a new shipping software that can improve the quality of documentation to reduce hold-ups
  • Talking with the Canadian Trade Commissioners and US Border for additional help and information
  • Working on consolidating shipments and working on the classifications for our products
  • Looking at alternative distribution methods and production methods

We have also been establishing a US entity, which means that very soon we will have a US corporate presence (and a lot more paperwork to fill out).

Because some of the bits and parts are being made in China and are on invoices, certain items are now being charged an additional 25% duty due to the Trade War (China Section 301-Tariff Actions and Exclusion Process) which was established several years ago but lax on enforcement. However starting this year, we are now being charged extra for duties and taxes.

At this time, we continue to cover the costs of duties and taxes for US customers. We hope to find a way to mitigate some of these duties and taxes soon.

It should be noted that order under $800USD regardless of the origin of the items being shipped, that enter the US, are not charged duties and taxes. You can learn more about de-minimis here:

LongMill MK2 and Extension Kit Production

Sales for machines have been extremely high at the start of this year, with an 84% growth in revenue from last year this time. The LongMill MK2 has now been in production and shipping for 1 year! We are expecting that before the end of this year, the LongMill MK2 will surpass our population of LongMill MK1s which was released in March 2019 and was in production for about 3 years.

Our sales at the end of 2022 and going into 2023 have been far higher than expected, and because of this, we are continuing to struggle with keeping up with the pace of orders. Although we are expected to ship our pending orders within 5 weeks, we will keep our lead times of 5-6 weeks as we are still waiting to restock some items used in our 48×30 machines. Some items we’re likely looking to run out of first include:

  • NEMA 23 motor cables and inductive sensor cables
  • T12 delrin nuts and T12 ACME locking nuts

These items are currently on order, and are expected to finish production in the next 3 weeks.

Last month we brought on three new packing and assembly staff, and are currently hiring more management team members. This has helped catch up on packing, but we still have around 150 LongMills still in the queue. We are additionally working on bringing in more tooling and equipment for tapping, as we are hitting a new bottleneck in the plate and rail tapping process.

Warehouse shopping

We’ve also been looking at some new places to move into, as our currently 8200 sqft + back shop + outdoor storage is bursting at the seams. At this time, we’re making machines in 1500-unit batches, but for us to keep our sanity, we’ll need to increase our batch sizes. With lead times for specialized items being so long (usually a couple of months to half a year), we need more space to hold more stuff so that we don’t keep running out. Our lease ends in our current building in September, with the option to renew, so we will be making a decision fairly soon.

LaserBeam Production

Our latest batch of aluminum and copper heatsink components have now arrived and are being used in production. We currently have a 4-6 week lead time for lasers, but many may ship out earlier than expected. We are currently assembling and packing lasers at a regular pace.

At this time, we have the parts needed to continue production, but we are expecting our bottleneck to be with our stock of cables and fans. They are currently in transit and are expected to arrive in mid to late March.

If you didn’t hear, we’ve made some tweaks to our heatsink design to improve the assembly. With this new design, it takes us about half the time to put it together while slightly improving the heat dissipation performance!

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A look into the resources at Sienci Labs and why it’s important for you and our business

Just last week we posted a video where Jason covers the ins and outs of our online resources that we’ve continued to put together over the years. I just wanted to highlight this video and talk bit more about why this is so important to us, and you as the user and community.

The resources pages has a single fundamental goal which is to encompass all of the information one may want to or need to know about our products. This includes the LongMill, the LaserBeam, all of our accessories, and gSender software. In essence we wanted to make it so that if a meteor fell on our office and all of the customer support team perished, our users would still have no problems assembling, using, and troubleshooting our products.

Probably the most important reason for these resources to exist is simply to help you, the user, to use the products we create. Many of our products require assembly, instructions, or additional guidelines to use and enjoy. Additionally, CNCing as a hobby in general comes with many things for a new user to learn, such as choosing bits, workholding, dust collection, and more. The resources contain information and guides on ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

Here are some things you can find in the resources pages:

  • What a spindle is and information on setting one up with the LongMill
  • How to set up an IOT relay
  • Open source design files, gerber files, CAD, and BOMs for many of our products and accessories
  • Speeds and feeds for our end mills
  • Demo projects and files
  • A wizard to help you choose which software to use with the LongMill

You can even search topics by keyword!

I’m not kidding when I say the resources just about covers everything you need to know, and will want to know. One of the main strategies in our resource development is to continually cross reference our resources from the questions that our community asks to make sure that we cover all of our bases.

This includes basic topics, as well as just about any type of troubleshooting that one can do for the LongMill and all of our other products. Although I don’t answer technical tickets and questions that often anymore (we have the rest of the engineers and our customer support team to help out with that now, thank goodness), I read every single ticket that comes in. I do this because:

  • It keeps me in the loop for any issues that may be production or quality related, such as a faulty part
  • It lets me update our CNC Issues and Fixes page whenever I see a new problem

Let me tell you, the CNC Issues and Fixes page actually covers more than 99% of the problems that LongMill users send in technical tickets for. Additionally, I’ve also included a link to an article I recently wrote that talks about common misconceptions about machine issues and some troubleshooting tips. Frankly, if people listened to what we had to say about troubleshooting their machines versus strangers, albeit very helpful and well meaning strangers, on the internet, it would save a lot of time for users to diagnose their machines. I am almost certain that if people looked at this Issues and Fixes page and actually went through to check the recommended solutions, we would have nearly zero troubleshooting tickets.

In fact, when training new customer support staff, we typically just get them to read over our resources so they get familiar with everything, and then use that as a starting point for helping customers.

So it turns out, the truly challenging part of making the resources isn’t putting together the information itself, but actually getting people to read it! And that is one of the reasons why Jason put out a video to help promote the resources site.

How our resources fits into our business model

One really important thing to know is that CNC support is a huge part of what people pay for when they buy any CNC machine. The technical support, troubleshooting calls, and customer service alone can account for 20% or more of the actual cost of the purchase price. In essence, anytime you ask for help, it’s coming out of your own pocket!

So you can see that reducing the human interaction time and cost means being able to pass those savings along to you. That’s why I strongly recommend that people check out our resources, since it saves the company money and saves you time. In this way, we can keep making affordable hardware while making sure we take care of our users.

As our company grows and scales, the customer service burden will continue to grow and may potentially be a bottleneck in our development. Additionally, while we currently have a very strong reputation for amazing customer service, it becomes more and more difficult to hold the same level of standard as a company grows larger. This is why investing in our online, self help resources, as well as making sure everyone is using it is so important for the long term.

It’s been challenging understanding the psyche of our users and how they use and navigate our resources, and I think there is still a long ways to go until we get to the point where everyone’s adopted using it. We’re exploring a couple different things, such as turning more of the resources into video content or creating an e-book, and hopefully a combination of these things will continue to improve engagement with our vast and growing resources.

Alas, thank you for reading this article, and happy making!

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US Customs Hold-Ups in Detroit

Hey everyone. This is an update on how things are looking for the customs situation for certain LongMill orders coming into the US. Over the last few weeks, some LongMill shipments going to the US have been held at the border requiring customer SSN or TIN numbers to clear.

If you are in the US with a LongMill on the way, please read this post carefully.

This post is to inform everyone about the situation, what to expect, what to do, and what we’re working on to fix the process.

What is going on?

Due to changes in the shipping and customs processes implemented by the US Customs and Border Protection Services earlier this year, some shipments for the LongMill are getting held up at the border.

Why are shipments getting held up?

There are currently two main reasons why shipments are getting held up.

First is the high-value nature of some of the shipments containing LongMills. This article ( contains information about the clearance of shipments. While we continue to cover the cost of duties and taxes directly, customers still need to provide this information.

Second is the implementation of Section 301 Articles of China. While most of our products are made in Canada, some items are made in China. There is currently a trade war between China and the US, which means that the US will identify and apply duties to Chinese-origin items separately. This means that these parts are more likely to get flagged as well. We automatically provide the correct data for customs services, but sometimes this can require additional processing to complete.

What do you need to do?

If we need your SSN or TIN number, we may:

  • Contact you by phone or email
  • UPS will contact you by phone or email

If you want to be proactive, you can contact UPS by (please cc or calling the UPS national warehouse at 313-967-0457 and providing them with tracking number as well as your SSN# or Tax ID #.
If you do not feel comfortable with providing your SSN and do not have a Tax ID number you can get a free tax ID number at:

Alternatively, you can send us an email or contact us with your details directly and we will forward them to the right place.

If you see that your item is in the warehouse, please contact us ASAP.

If we don’t receive a response within 10 days, we may need to re-ship your items.

What else are we doing to address this?

There are currently several things we are doing to reduce the friction in sending orders to the US. Some of these we are implementing right away, while some things are longer-term plans that may take several weeks or months. These include:

  • Updating our customs form to provide more information and mitigate the chances that the order will be held up at the border.
  • Proactively contacting customers and placing notices for people to follow to get additional information
  • Creating a US entity/corporation to help assist with the transfer of goods between the US and Canada
  • Establishing a system for communication between us and customs clearance to provide the information more quickly.

With over 60 shipments currently affected, we are working on this as quickly as possible. However, in the meantime, it is likely we will need the co-operation of our customers to help work with customs to get everyone’s orders to them!

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February 2023 Production Updates

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

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:

Customs Hold-ups for some US customers

We’ve recently experienced some of our customers having their machine orders held up at US customs. For some orders above the value of $2500USD, UPS is requesting customer tax information for clearance. We are working on eliminating this process, but either UPS or Sienci Labs may reach out to you for the extra info. Some changes to our customs documentation implemented in the last few days should mostly eliminate this issue, and we are working on automating a system to let customers that fall under this specific set of rules (US customers with high-value shipments) about the situation proactively. Currently, this has affected about 10-12 customers in the past few weeks, which is a small percentage of the overall number of issues, but we just want to let everyone know just in case this happens to you.

Please note that this DOES NOT mean you will need to pay duties and taxes, but it does mean that we may be charged warehousing fees if the item sits in storage for too long.

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

We have raised lead times for LongMill orders as we currently have a large queue. We are consistently shipping out machines on a daily basis, but due to a big increase in sales this month, we are currently at full capacity. By next week, we will have another three new hires to assist with packing and assembly, which should bring down our lead times. Additionally, we are currently working on acquiring additional production space to relocate our rail processing and create additional inventory storage space.

We are also actively working on Batch 8 supply chain. Based on current sales numbers, we expect to start Batch 8 in around May or June. This is quite a lot sooner that expected. Although many of the key components for the LongMill have been ordered, due to the long lead times we face for some of the parts, we expect that there will be longer lead times closer to the transition point in Batch 8.


Due to a shortage of some components, we have raised lead times for the LaserBeam. However, most customers may have gotten theirs a lot earlier. As our typical fashion, we want to provide conservative lead times. We have partially restocked all of the parts, which means that we are currently working through the assembly for the remaining orders in the queue, and expect to wrap up pending orders by end of next week. For new orders placed now, we’re telling customers that they may need to wait up to 6 weeks potentially, but it’s likely most will ship sooner.

We’ve made some design changes on the heatsink and wiring that we’ve started implementing, which will reduce assembly times so that we can produce these items faster.

Additional parts for the LaserBeam are expected to arrive around the start of March, at which point, we can pre-assemble and keep inventory on hand for Lasers.

Rotary Axis

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the rotary axis. For more info about it, please see this post here:

The engineering team has continued to work on the rotary axis kit. Here are a couple of updates.

We received a sample rotary axis a couple of weeks ago which we have been using for testing. Due to some imperfections, we have been reconsidering our strategy for the production of the rotary axis. Initially, we were planning on using off-the-shelf components for the whole kit, doing QA testing, and shipping to customers, but as we have continued to do testing and research, we have started to reconsider and look at custom designing and making some or all of the rotary axis from scratch.

There are a few areas that must be improved to reach large-scale production, especially in the quality and tolerances of the components that off-the-shelf rotary kits have shown to be inconsistent. First is the edges of the bottom of the rotary axis, which need to be accurate to allow it to mount and align with the track accurately. Second is the motor mounting plate, which needs to line up with the rotary pulley. And lastly, the overall fit and finish need to be consistent and of good quality. We found that from the sample, these were notable areas that needed improvement.

When we started manufacturing LongMills, we used many off-the-shelf components as they were the most affordable at a small scale. However, as time has gone on, basically all LongMill components are toleranced and custom-made to our specific requirements, even if they are otherwise exactly the same as an off-the-shelf alternative. At scale, quality issues compound, and making custom, higher-quality parts helps mitigate issues and ensure fewer issues with assembly and use.

I share the same sentiment with the development and production of the rotary axis. For it to be a viable product, we need to produce hundreds (and eventually thousands) of kits. To accomplish this, we need to take control of the whole production process.

At this stage, we are currently deciding how we want to progress with the production of the rotary axis. We are doing a cost-benefit analysis and working on design ideas. As far as where we are with things now, for us to bring up quality, we also need to bring up the price. Based on our survey results, it seems like interested customers are able to accommodate some increase in price, given that we can provide more value for their rotary axis. It seems like increasing the price and budget of the project will overall provide more value, as we can dedicate more to the software, hardware, and resources for the rotary axis.

The software team is also currently working on the implementation of 4th-axis support in gSender. Some things in consideration include:

  • Visualization of rotary axis code
  • Switching between both modes
  • Homing and zeroing of the rotary axis
  • Firmware and control board changes

The engineering team has currently made tons of progress overall with regard to documentation and processes that will eventually be used with whichever rotary axis we will provide.

At this stage, we do not have exact dates on when the rotary axis will be launched, but we expect the earliest time for it to ship to be in late summer. If you’re interested in the project, I encourage you to stay in the loop on our blog and social media.

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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!