September 22 – September 29, 2023 “A Project That is Autumn/Thanksgiving-Themed Part 2” Contest

Happy Friday! Thank you to everyone who entered the contest for this week, where we asked you all to share your best Autumn/Thanksgiving-Themed projects made on the LongMill.

Last Week’s Winners

We are happy to announce that Mathew McAuley, Roger Jo, Pete Salvatore, Andrew Riffle, Shannon Marie, and Ryan Field are the winners of the “A Project That is Autumn/Thanksgiving-Themed” contest! A prize is on its way! 

This Week’s Theme: A Project That is Autumn/Thanksgiving-Themed Part 2

We are continuing our Autumn/Thanksgiving theme for this week. Help us celebrate by posting any Autumn or Thanksgiving-related projects made with your LongMill, and we’ll choose our favourite projects to send awesome prizes to!

Have ideas for themes? Let us know by commenting down below!

Happy making!

September 15 – September 22, 2023 “A Project That is Autumn/Canadian Thanksgiving-Themed” Contest

Hey everyone! Thanks to the individuals who participated in this week’s contest, where we asked you all to post your household item projects made on the LongMill. 

Last Week’s Winners

We are happy to announce that Matt Osterhaus, Tammy Noble, Larry Wotring II, Don Rideout, Jeff Richardson, and Bob Eggleston are the winners of the “A Project That is a Household Item” contest! A prize is on its way! 

This Week’s Theme: A Project That is Autumn/Canadian Thanksgiving-Themed

Hey everyone, for our American neighbours, did you know that Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up soon? Help us celebrate by posting any Autumn or Thanksgiving-related projects made with your LongMill, and we’ll choose our favourite projects to send awesome prizes to!

Have ideas for themes? Let us know by commenting down below!

Happy building!

September 8 – September 15, 2023 “A Project That is a Household Item” Contest

Happy Friday! Thank you to everyone who entered the contest for this week, where we asked you all to share your cutting board projects made on the LongMill. 

Last Week’s Winners

We are happy to announce that Wayne E. Harvey Sr., Andrew Fetzer, Darren Jeans, T.J Seering, Guillaume Croteau, and Steve Stillwagon are the winners of the “A Project That is a Cutting Board” contest! Look out for a prize! 

This Week’s Theme: A Project That is a Household Item

This week’s theme is “household items”! Show us something you made with your LongMill that you can use around the house, such as catch all trays, noodle boards, furniture, decor, or anything else. We’ll choose our favourites and send the creators some awesome cool stuff.

Have ideas for themes? Let us know by commenting down below!

Happy creating!

September 2023 Production Updates

Hi everyone. It’s September, and we’re going into my favorite time of the year, the autumn. We have quite a few updates for this month.

Want to get news like this directly in your email inbox? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list.

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

Production for LongMill and Extension Kit orders have continued to move smoothly. We have very short lead times at the moment and most orders should ship within a few days, if not on the same business day.

We have received the controllers that we were waiting on last month and we expect them to last until the end of the year. Other parts are in stock and we hope to have shorter lead times over the next few months.

We also recently launched the Beginners Kit, which was designed to help package everything we believe someone getting started with CNCing should get. The idea was to be able to:

1) Package everything so that it offers a one-stop package for CNCing

2) Allow us to pre-pack a number of kits and ship them out within the same day or next day

3) Improve our efficiency in packing and shipping kits

This is an experiment to some extent for us, since our production team wanted to see if we can streamline our process. As a way to pass along some of the savings, we have been offering $100 for each kit as an incentive.

Interestingly enough, at this moment, we still have about a 50/50 split on Beginners Kit orders and regular machine orders. We’ll continue to see if we see any new trends here.

LaserBeam Orders

LaserBeam orders continue to move out slowly, and most are shipping within a few days.

Vortex Rotary Orders

We have continued to ship around 40 to 50 units per week and are expecting to complete the queue in the next 2 weeks. We are advising customers that the wait time is expected to be around 3-4 weeks, but I expect that after a couple of weeks, we expect the lead times to reduce.

We are nearing the end of the first batch of the Vortex Rotary Axis, with around 100 units left in stock at the time of writing. We are currently working on wrapping up this batch and have started manufacturing parts for the next batch.

We have started to see people using the Vortex in the wild! We are thrilled to see these new results.

Test piece from Colby Browing (Facebook)

Additionally, the gSender team has continued to improve the experience of using the Rotary mode on gSender. We are expecting a new version of Edge to come out in the next week or so. You should continue to see new resources and projects available for the Vortex on our Resources, and we are currently working putting out a few project videos and tutorials on Youtube soon, so make sure to subscribe to stay on top of that!

T8 Spring Loaded Anti-Backlash Nuts

Another recent launch was our T8 Spring Loaded Anti-Backlash Nuts. We saw a common issue with the LongMill was getting the correct tension on the original nuts, and some beginner users were making the mistake for overtightening their nuts and causing them to bind.

The idea for spring loading them was to make them self-adjusting, so that the user doesn’t need to touch them after they are installed. You can read the full article for more information.

We have continued to test our production nuts, which have overall worked well. However, we have noticed that to improve their long-term ability to reduce backlash, we can increase the force holding the arms together to further reduce backlash and allow for more variability of wear over time.

Currently, we are working on some new ideas using spring steel clips and circlips, as the size constraints of the nut create some limitations on the size and shape of the nut we can make.

Additionally, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback where people are also interested in a T12 version, and we are currently working on a design for this as well.

Prototype designs for the V2 of the spring loaded nut.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be sending our surveys to our users to gather feedback.

SuperLongBoard Beta Testing

We have installed two SLBs with beta testers last week. One with Ian, who has a Onefinity, and Ed, who has a MK2 LongMill. The objective for the beta testing is to look for issues that we might have missed in the use or design, do real-life comparisons between the old and new board, and do real-life durability and performance testing.

We had really great results with testing on Ian’s Onefinity, which was our first installation. His former setup used the original LongBoard. Once we installed the new controller we noticed a couple of new improvements.

  • – We were able to increase the max feedrate from around 8000mm/min to 16,000mm/min
  • – The noise and hissing on the motors were significantly reduced

There are currently two issues that we are expecting to resolve in the second version of the prototype expected to arrive in the next 1-2 weeks.

  • – Wiring is not good for the homing switches, causing them to disconnect. The new plugs on the new version should eliminate this
  • – Powering on the 24V side before the computer signal can cause an error with the way that the MCU communicates with the drivers. We are expecting this issue to be resolved in the new board as well.

Since this is our first-hand experience with working with our electronics on a different machine, we’re excited about the possibility of offering the SLB on other hobby CNC machines.

For Ed’s testing, we also noted these improvements:

  • – The responsiveness and sensitivity of the touch probe has improved, which we believe is because the processing speed of the MCU is much faster, and so it takes less time for the touch to be detected.
  • – While inconclusive if this makes a difference, but we noticed that the inductive sensors with the original board were flickering at times, whereas the new controller showed the lights to be on bright. We suspect that because the power coming to activate those sensors are coming from the power supply instead of the computer, we should expect the reliability of the homing switches to improve. We tested the homing sequence and they both work
  • – We were able to increase the feedrate from 4000mm/min to 6000mm/min
  • – We were told that on the original board, turning on the vacuum and running the board on the same circuit would cause a disconnection. We tested the new board while sharing a circuit, and found that it did not have a disconnect.

We are also working through an issue where a skew in the y-axis causes binding at rapids (about 4mm of skew). We think that this may be caused by a few things:

  • – The skew itself causes more stress on the machine, so the motors are over-torqued.
  • – Since Ed is using the old version of the power supply which is rated for 10A, rather than 12.5A, the board needs more power.

Based on the motor tuning done by Andrew and his team, we are running the motors at around 3.5A peak, which is about 20-30% higher than the default setting on the TB6600 on the original boards. This means that if all motors draw power at peak simultaneously, the board could be drawing around 14A.

We have replaced Ed’s power supply with a higher-powered one and are continuing the testing.

After the testing, we found several different things that we can improve on, and Chris and the rest of the technical development team are making changes and updates to the gSender and firmware to add more features and improve the performance and settings on the board.

Newest version of the SLB

Assuming all goes well, we hope to have the new boards available near the end of the year.

Hamilton Woodworking Show

After a long hiatus due to COVID, we are coming back to the Hamilton Woodworking Show! Make sure to come join us, where we’ll be showcasing the LongMill, LaserBeam, and the Vortex! The event is on Oct 20 to the 22nd.

We’ll also have a few Beginners Kits available for sale so you can come check out our stuff and go home with a machine.

Sienci Router

Another new project we’ve started working on is our own router/spindle! The idea is to build something to replace the very common Makita RT0701 router with something similarly compatible. Although the Makita RT0701 is a very good option, we felt like there were a couple of areas that we could improve such as:

  • – Control over the speed with connecting with gSender
  • – Durability
  • – Precision
  • – Noise

We’re still in the early stages of development, so we’re still trying to decide on what sort of features and functionality we want to see in this new product.

We don’t have a specific timeline yet for this product, but we aim to have something available at the start of next year.

Want to provide us with feedback on what you want to see in our development? Please fill out the survey below, or use the link (!

September 1 – September 8, 2023 “A Project That is a Cutting Board” Contest

Hey everyone. Thanks to all the individuals who participated in this week’s contest, where we asked you all to post your topographical projects made on the LongMill. 

Last Week’s Winners

We are happy to announce that Guy Robitaille, Steve Sutphin, Jeff Richardson, Blake Harrell, Kyle Ward, and Dan Holdgreve are the winners of the “A Project That is Topographical” contest! A prize is on its way! 

P.S. We will be closed Monday, September 4th for Labour Day and back in the office on Tuesday, September 5th.

This Week’s Theme: A Project That is a Cutting Board

The theme of the week is “projects that are cutting boards”. Share your favourite cutting board projects that were made using your LongMill with us for a chance to be one of the winners of this week’s contest and win free prizes!

Have ideas for themes? Let us know by commenting down below!

Happy crafting!

Videos You Might Have Missed Last Month (August 2023)

Hey everyone. Here are some informative videos that you might have missed last month. Check them out below and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with our CNC-related videos.

LongMill MK2 User Spotlight: Interview with Benjamin Pope of Koala Karvings

It’s been more than a year and a half since we launched the LongMill MK2. To capture valuable insights, we recently conducted updated interviews with our customers. In this interview, we spoke with Benjamin Pope from Koala Karvings. Join us as he shares his journey with CNC milling, highlights his experience with the LongMill MK2, and the opportunities it has unlocked for him.

Sienci Labs Presents: The LongMill MK2 CNC Beginners Kit

Introducing the Sienci Labs LongMill MK2 Beginners Kit—a complete package for an effortless CNC journey. The kit includes your preferred LongMill variant (30×30 or 48×30), a reliable Makita Router, a Dust Shoe for workspace cleanliness, an Autozero Touch Plate for precise zeroing, and a Starter End Mill Set for beginners. Plus, enjoy gSender software and lifelong technical support for guaranteed success.

Basics For CNC Beginners Series

New to CNC? Explore our Basics for Beginners series and master Vcarve from start to finish: document setup, toolpaths, previewing, saving, gSender interface, importing vectors, tracing images, and more. Become a CNC champion with essential skills and tips for a successful start!

Definitive Guide to Mounting Your Vortex Rotary Axis and First Moves

With assembly out of the way, it is time we mount the Vortex to the LongMill and take it out for a spin! In this video, we will cover how to set up your machine for maximum compatibility, create the mounting holes needed to secure the Vortex, and switch over to rotary mode for the first time! Sit tight as your Vortex will start spinning by the end of this video!

Cottage Country Sienci: Crafting a Paddle using the Tiling Technique on the LongMill MK2 CNC

Introducing Episode 2 of our captivating Cottage Country Sienci series! Dive deeper with us as we explore tiling techniques and the art of two-sided carving. By the end, you’ll be equipped to skillfully craft and customize your very own paddle for unforgettable paddling adventures.

Complete Guide to Unboxing and Assembling the Vortex Rotary Axis

Welcome to our comprehensive Vortex Rotary Axis assembly guide. In the following video, we’ll guide you through the gratifying journey of unboxing and precisely assembling your very own Vortex Rotary Axis. Let’s enthusiastically delve in, ensuring your Vortex Rotary Axis is primed and poised for optimal performance!

Everything You Need to Get for Starting CNCing With Your LongMill

Are you interested in starting your CNC journey but unsure where to begin? We have prepared a comprehensive video guide to help you kickstart your CNCing adventure. Discover the essential tools and equipment you need to get started with CNCing in our easy-to-follow tutorial.

Cottage Country Sienci: Elevate Your Custom Cornhole Board With the LongMill MK2 CNC

Welcome to the first episode of our Sienci Cottage Country series! In this captivating video, Scott will expertly guide you through crafting a lit cornhole board using the LongMill. This delightful game is tailor-made for quality moments with your youngsters at the cottage.

Building a Guitar on a CNC Part 6: Assembly

Time to SHRED X6! Welcome to the exciting conclusion of our epic guitar journey! We are thrilled to showcase the delightful process of assembling an actual, fully-functional custom guitar, crafted with precision using our LongMill MK2 CNC.

August 25 – September 1, 2023 “A Project That is Topographical” Contest

Happy Friday everyone! Thank you to the makers who participated in the contest for this week, where we asked you all to share your sign projects made on the LongMill. 

Last Week’s Winners

We are happy to announce that Alex No, Andrew Neeb, Bill Howard, Dan Marier, Eric Sirrine, and Bill Nebel are the winners of the “A Project That is a Sign” contest! Look out for a prize!

This Week’s Theme: A Project That is Topographical

The theme for this week is “topographical projects”. Show us your best topographical carvings, whether it be of a map, lake, mountain, city, state, etc. that were made on your LongMill. We will choose what we think are the best ones to send creators cool stuff to!

Have ideas for themes? Let us know by commenting down below!

Happy making!

Introducing LongMill MK2 Beginners Kit

The LongMill MK2 Beginner’s Kit is a, “everything you need to get started with CNCing” package. This package comes with the LongMill MK2 CNC machine and basic accessories that the large majority of users order. Not only does this help new users get everything they need to start, but also reduces lead times as it allows us to make pre-assembled kits in stock.

What is the LongMill MK2 Beginners Kit?

We created the LongMill Beginner’s Kit based on sales data for items that customers buy with their LongMill, as well as feedback from our customer service team on items we felt were most beneficial for customers to have when opening their boxes.

The Beginner Kit comes fully loaded with:

1 x LongMill Benchtop CNC MK2 – choose between 30×30 or 48×30

1 x AutoZero Touch Plate

1 x Starter End Mill Set

1 x LongMill MK2 Magnetic Dust Shoe

1 x Makita RT0701C Router

It should be noted that all of the items can be purchased separately, customers who wish to pick and choose what they get with their order can still do so through our Store.

It’s also important for us to mention that there are also certain items that we feel like although a lot of people buy them, they are either not needed for beginners or don’t bring a lot of value.

For example, let’s take the MK2 Lead Screw Dust Shield. For regular use, they are not needed at all. Since the lead screws and nuts on the LongMill are designed to be used in dusty environments, they do not need to be covered. In fact, they can be inconvenient in ways as they need to be removed every time the nuts have to be adjusted.

The other big omission folks might notice is the Inductive Sensor Kit for the LongMill MK2. This is because we believe that most beginners will find them unnecessary, and due to the complexity of setting them up, we find a lot of customers have issues due to improper setup and settings. Additionally, since crashing the LongMill won’t damage the machine, using limit sensors are not needed for limiting travel. All in all, we feel that for most people, they will be more trouble than they are worth. We recommend adding them once customers are familiar with using their machine and are ready to take the next step in doing more advanced work.

You might also have noticed that the 1/8″ Precision Collet for the Makita RT0701 also isn’t included in the list. That’s because the Starter End Mill Set comes with a 1/4″ to 1/8″ Collet Adapter included.

The items in the Beginner’s Package are there because we think they are the products we think you should get to have the best experience as a beginner. We don’t want to sell you stuff you probably won’t need, especially when starting out. However, if you want those items, feel free to add them to your cart, we won’t stop you!

Why does the Beginners Kit exist?

We decided to create the Beginners Kit as we believe it will streamline many of the processes at Sienci Labs and in the ordering for the customer.

One major thing we’re trying to work on, especially in the busy times of the year is keeping up with demand. Most customers will have experienced some sort of wait time for their machines. We’ve identified that if we can build the same group of kits with the same items over and over again, rather than customizing the kit for every customer, we can save a lot of time and money. 

We also found that customers were getting confused with what to order with their machines when first starting out, which meant that in some cases, they would need to make more than one order to get everything they want. In fact, one of the most common questions we get is, “What do I need to get with our machine?”

Additionally, by pre-packing machines, we can stockpile them during slow seasons and ship kits more quickly. This helps keep our packing team busy, better prepared for shifts in sales during the season, and allows us to ship machines significantly faster than before. And at some point, if this works really well, we can also start setting up distribution in the US and other parts of the world with pre-kitted machines so that we can save on shipping costs overall as well.

Another part of this move is also with regards to managing customs, as we found with certain orders with a lot of line items in the customs documentation were prone to being held up and there being more issues overall. We believe that by streamlining the machine kit into fewer line items, we can help clear customs more easily. 

Also, now that the pandemic is basically over, we’ve been getting a lot more people coming in directly to the shop to purchase machines and we’re planning on going to some shows and events, and we’ll be able to take some machines to sell directly!

So rather than having things set up so that customers have to pick and choose every single item, we bundle everything they need to get set up with their machine based on what the average person orders with their machine.

How does the Beginners Kit work?

Interested in ordering a LongMill MK2 Beginners Kit? Here’s what you can do!

  • Choose the version of the LongMill MK2 Beginners Kit you want and put it in your cart
  • If you want to order anything else at the same time, feel free to include it in your order.
    • IMPORTANT: Your order may ship together or in two separate packages. You will receive tracking info once your order ships and either one or two tracking numbers.
  • You should have your shipped out within the next business day. Most transit times when with courier within North America is 3-5 days, but could take up to 2 weeks.

Beginners Kit Discount

We are currently offering roughly a $100CAD discount on Beginners Kits.

Here’s why:

  • We are moving in October and we want to clear out as much inventory as possible
  • Since we’re expecting some cost savings in streamlining the packing and shipping process, we are passing along these savings to you!
  • This is also an experiment to see if the Beginners Kit will be a potential staple product for us in the long run.

This offer will be available until:

  • We run low in stock
  • We can’t keep up with the sales
  • We realize the beginners kit wasn’t a great idea after all…

But otherwise……………..

August 18 – August 25, 2023 “A Project That is a Sign” Contest

So many beautiful tribute projects! Thanks to everyone who entered this week’s contest, where we asked you all to post your lovely tribute projects made on the LongMill. 

We are happy to announce that Dallas Forbes, Don Rideout, Créations Namily, Dave Parkerson, Peter Labonte, and Rick Gauthier are the winners of the “A Project That is a Tribute” contest! A prize is on its way!

This Week’s Theme: A Project That is a Sign

This week’s theme is “projects that are signs”. Post your most creative sign projects that were made using your LongMill and share them with us for a chance to be one of the winners of this week’s contest and win free prizes!

Have ideas for themes? Let us know by commenting down below!

Happy building!

Everything you need to know about the spring-loaded anti-backlash nut

Hi everyone, I’m excited to share a small development, the Spring Loaded Anti-Backlash Nut! As we’ve continued to have LongMills out in the wild, we’ve recognized that the finickiness of the Delrin Anti-Backlash Nut was a pain point for our users, such as the need for adjustment on a regular basis, the potential for the adjustment screw to fall out, and improper tensioning causing jamming, especially at higher speeds.

The Spring Loaded Anti-Backlash Nut is designed to address these issues by using a set of springs to tension the nut against the threads radially, allowing smoother operation and no adjustment needed from the operator. We are now putting this out into the wild for field testing!

These nuts are drop-in replacements for any T8 size Delrin nut on the MK1 or MK2 LongMill.

Assembled Spring Loaded Nut

This new version is now available on sale and ready to ship in our store.

Flaws with the current Delrin Anti-Backlash Nut

For those who don’t know, the Delrin Anti-Backlash Nut design comes from the original Openbuilds Anti-Backlash Nut Block. At the time, this was more or less the best option for this type of hobby CNCing for T8 lead screws because it’s:

  • Inexpensive
  • Simple
  • Easy to manufacture
  • Easy to integrate
  • Low maintenance
  • Generally works pretty well

Since we were still in the early stages and didn’t have the manufacturing volume and capability to make our own designs at scale, we stuck to a lot of open-source and off-the-shelf components. As some users may have noticed, we’ve slowly been working on different innovations to improve and redevelop our own components to work better and more reliably.

The original design comes with a couple of flaws:

  • Requires constant adjustment to reduce backlash
  • Over-adjustment or incorrect assembly results in binding
  • Inconsistent resistance during its life cycle

To improve on this design, I worked on some different concepts using springs to pre-load the nuts, finally resulting in this shape:

“This design incorporates OpenBuilds, LLC design work(s) shared Open Source under the CC BY-SA 4.0 License.”  

In this design, we use two springs in the gaps to apply radial preload on the lead screw threads. This allows the two “arms” to push into the threads as it wears, automatically reducing the backlash.

According to Helix Linear, another manufacturer for anti-backlash nuts, “the radial anti-backlash nut can handle loads greater than the spring force. There is also less of an increase in required drive torque compared to an axial anti-backlash nut.”

In this design, we use two arms instead of three typically used in industrial nuts, to keep the same form factor, so that the new nut can drop in to replace the current version with no modification.

Other benefits include:

  • Zero adjustments or maintenance after installation
  • Lower potential for binding
  • Smoother, lower resistance operation

Next steps

We’ve done some initial testing with 3D-printed nylon nuts, which have pretty good results, showing basically no backlash over testing. We’ve now ordered 400pcs (100 sets) of machined Delrin nuts. Our goal is to put them available for sale for people to use on their own machines. If they work well in the field we will switch to spring-loaded nuts as the default standard in LongMill kits.

I should include a disclaimer, which is that these are still a new, unproven product, and it is still possible that in the long term they may perform worse than the original nut.

We want to put these nuts out in the field so that we can get feedback and long-term testing done to validate the design. I’m very confident that this will make an improvement to the overall experience of using the LongMill, but before we make the switch, we want to make sure that we do some real-life testing.

There may be some small tweaks we may consider making, such as adjusting the spring force and length and spacing of the arms, which may happen based on the beta testing.

For this first batch of nuts, we will collect some survey data to help understand the experience of the user. At this current stage, we only have T8-size nuts, but we may expand it to the T12 size as well.