200 Review Milestone for the LongMill

When we first launched the LongMill on our website, Chris set up a system to let people post reviews about the LongMill. These reviews have been important to us so that we can continually collect feedback and have real-world testimonials from our customers on how they feel about the machine.

With both me and Chris having used CNC machines for a long time now, one of the things that we’re always conscious of is how we can relate to our customers that are using CNC machines for the first time. The review system has been one way we can keep in touch with customers and their feedback as they journey into the realm of CNCing.

The review system of course helps share real experiences that LongMill users have had so that they can recommend to other customers on whether they should get a LongMill or not. We send an email to users roughly two months after purchasing a LongMill to ask about their experience with Sienci Labs and their machine to make sure that they’ve had enough time to get to know their purchase.

Here are some reoccurring positive points people have made in the reviews:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Price and value for money
  • Easy to assemble
  • Overall machine performance, quality, and rigidity

Here are some areas we could improve:

  • Missing parts and improving QA
  • Improving software support

Thank you for everyone who’s written a review for us. Your positive comments and support have been a great morale booster for us and the rest of the team!

Laser Development Update

Hey everyone, Ikenna here. Wanted to offer everyone a new update on the laser attachment and the progress on the development. I can break down what I’ve been doing into a few categories; design, samples and testing. 

Designs:

  • Copper Heatsink: Main design is completed, may make minor changes to offer better component fit.
  • Aluminum Heatsink: Main design is completed, may make minor changes to offer better component fit .
  • Lens Focus Ring: Main design is completed, testing fit with resin 3D printer before getting samples made.
  • Air Assist: Rough design is completed, will need to make major changes once heatsinks are finalized.
  • T-mount: Design is completed, if there is time I will redesign a magnetic mount.
  • Laser Driver: I have 2 PCB designers working on a laser driver design as we speak.

Samples:

  • Safety Goggles: I currently have samples from 3 different suppliers, I will test each one to ensure we are getting the optical density I need to ensure safe laser operation. Once I know which suppliers have the best quality safety goggles, we will place an order for a few hundred. 
  • Lenses: I currently have 3 sets of lenses from 3 different suppliers, I will test each one to ensure we are getting the best lens quality when compared to reputable North American lens suppliers. 
  • Fans: I have a sample set of fans from a very reputable overseas supplier being shipped this week. I am confident this fan supplier will provide high quality parts but if that is not the case, I’m in contact with a few other suppliers that I can work with. 

Testing: 

  • Software: Lightburn has been my software of choice, very simple, lots of features and reasonably priced. I will also begin using LaserGRBL for testing as it is a free option for customers and I’d like to be able to help with any issues that may arise with these 2 software options.
  • Laser Diode: I have been testing the quality of a particular 7W diode and am very pleased so far. I have been keeping current low when running tests but I will be running tests at full power going forward
  • Functionality: Currently I’ve been using mix parts from Amazon and North American laser suppliers as a proof of concept but as I get more into the supply chain the goal is to have a prototype that uses all parts from our final list of suppliers. 

Timeline Update:

  1. April 2021: 
    1. Test lenses at max current 
    2. Test cutting capabilities of G2 lens
    3. Confirm optical power with laser power meter
    4. Receive & test sample lenses, heatsinks, driver design, fans & lens focus ring
    5. Finalize list of suppliers using quality test results
  1. May 2021:
    1. Allow pre-orders
    2. Make last minute design changes
    3. Finalize all designs 
    4. Order parts in bulk
    5. Create quality control processes 
    6. Continue testing 
    7. Design and order packaging 
  2. June 2021: 
    1. Quality control incoming parts
    2. Create  assembly guide 
    3. Create troubleshooting guide
    4. Create project tutorials 
  3. July 2021: 
    1. Product assembly 
    2. Begin shipping pre-orders
    3. Focus on laser customer service/troubleshooting/community building

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If you missed the first update, check it out here: https://sienci.com/2021/03/26/laser-module-attachment-coming-soon/

Business as usual – COVID 19 updates

As Ontario once again goes back to another state of emergency and stay at home order, we’ve gotten a lot of questions on how things are looking like for us. Here’s what you should know in regards to the impact on our business:

  • Businesses in the manufacturing and supply chain (such as us) are considered essential in the province of Ontario, and thus are allowed to remain open.
  • We expect production for machines and other parts to remain as scheduled.
  • No visitors are allowed into our office. Customers may request local pickup at the checkout page. PLEASE place your order at home and wait until you recieve email notification has been sent before coming to pick your order up. Most orders (that aren’t LongMills) should be ready to pick-up within an hour or two during business hours.

We’ve had a lot of people walk into our office without permission and disregard the signs. We ask that all customers remain outside for pick-ups and we will bring your order to your vehicle for the safety of our staff.

If you’re looking for more info about production and other news, feel free to check out our blog: https://sienci.com/blog/

Laser Module Attachment: Coming Soon

Hey everyone, Ikenna here. I just wanted to share an update about the new Sienci Labs Laser Module Attachment we will be launching this summer. Over the past 2-3  months I have been researching and playing with different designs, parts and laser diodes. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, we are now confident in our ability to provide the community with a great laser attachment. 

Over the last year and a half we’ve been building and shipping LongMills, we’ve seen a lot of users add lasers to their machines and so far it has been a very popular modification. However, we’ve also seen a lot of issues arise with the integration of aftermarket lasers such as:

  • A lack of documentation for installing the laser
  • Poor service and communication with sellers
  • Incompatibility between the laser and controller board
  • Poor quality and faulty lasers
  • The need for complicated wiring and splicing
  • Lack of software support in CAM
  • Questionable safety and protection for the user

We aim to solve all of these problems and have a simple, plug and play, Canadian designed and made laser for your CNC!

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These are the general specifications we are aiming for: 

  • Will be priced around $400-500CAD
  • 5A constant current laser driver with safety features
  • 5-7W optical power laser diode: 440nm – 460nm
  • 40mm x 40mm x 28mm turbo fan for diode heat dissipation 
  • Safety goggles with a protection scope: 200 – 540nm O.D 6+

The Sienci Labs Laser is designed to be: 

  • An entry-level to intermediate laser engraving/cutting attachment
  • High quality
  • Easy to repair or swap parts 
  • Replace the need for our customers to purchase lower quality lasers from sites like Ebay, Aliexpress, Banggood or Amazon.
  • Replace the need for our customers to purchase expensive lasers from companies like JTech Photonics, Endurance Lasers & Opt Lasers

What is a Laser Module Attachment?

The laser module attachment consists of a laser diode, focusing lens, heatsink, cooling fan and a laser diode driver. It allows you to engrave and cut thin material with accuracy and quality. The laser diode is a semiconductor device similar to a light-emitting diode in which a diode pumped directly with electrical current can create lasing conditions at the diode’s junction. Laser diodes can directly convert electrical energy into light.  Laser diodes require a special set of specifically designed electronic control elements. This set of control elements are combined to produce what is commonly called a laser diode driver or laser diode current source. Essentially, these elements determine how the laser is turned on and driven to produce a specific wavelength and output power. A good driver accomplishes this without damaging the laser diode and offering the user multiple safety features to keep everyone protected.

What’s Next?

  1. January: Market research/technical research
  2. February: Order prototype parts/create production plan
  3. March: Testing components
  4. April: Test working prototype & finalizing production parts 
  5. May: Pre-orders launch (Limited 20-25% discount) 
    • Order production parts based on customer interest
  6. June: Quality assurance & product resources
    • Create laser tutorials, troubleshooting guide & documentation 
  7. July: Product launch,  assembly & shipping

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Working Prototype V1

How do I use it?

Using your laser module attachment can actually be a little easier than using your router because designs are only 2D. This is a rough guide for those who see laser operation as a daunting task. Hopefully you can see the huge similarities between operating your Longmill CNC Router and operating your Longmill CNC Laser Module Attachment 

  1. The Laser attachment mounts to the side or front of your Longmill Router Mount with M5 hardware 
  2. You can then run the wires through your drag chains for proper wire management
  3. Connect  your laser and fan to the proper connectors, connect the other ends to your driver 
  4. Turn your driver on
  5. Connect your driver to the spindle/ground inputs on your Longboard
  6. Put your machine interface software in laser mode/confirm all EEPROM settings are properly set
  7. Fire your laser with 5% power and focus the lens of your laser until the spot is as small as it can be
  8. Use software to generate your laser Gcode file (Lightburn is recommended)
  9. Put on your laser safety goggles 
  10. Load Gcode file into your machine interface software
  11. Fire your laser with 5% power, move your laser to your project start point, reset your zero and begin your job

Community Laser Projects

Safety

When you think of a laser, safety may not be the first thing on your mind but I want to emphasize that this is not a toy and can seriously hurt the operator or damage property.  Just like running your Longmill comes with risks, as long as proper safety precautions are taken you have nothing to worry about. 

  • Proper Ventilation 
    • The laser module will produce smoke & other particulates 
    • Use a smoke/fume filtering system or open window or garage door for sufficient airflow
  • Fire Safety
    • Have a fire suppression plan 
    • Have a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Eye Safety 
    • These laser are very high powered, without proper laser eye protection you can damage your eyesight for life
    • Each laser module will include Safety Goggles with a Protection Scope: 200 – 540nm O.D 6+
    • This range corresponds to the range of optical density and what wavelengths you are protected from
      • The higher the optical density the less light passes through the material
      • 10^-OD x laser wattage = optical power let through 
        • 10^-6 x 7W = 0.000007W or 0.007mw
        • FDA recommends no more than 5mw to avoid eye damage
        • We will be exposed to significantly less power than the FDA recommendation
  • General Safety 
    • DO NOT CUT/ENGRAVE: PVC, ABS, Fibreglass, and any other materials that emit toxic fumes when cut
    • Never leave your laser running unattended and always make sure your driver electronics are turned off when not in use

FAQ

When can I purchase one?

We plan on opening pre-orders to the public May 1st with a discount  

When will it ship?

We plan to begin shipping July 1st 

How much will it cost?

We plan to sell the laser module for $400-500CAD (pre-orders will get a 20-25% Discount) 

What Software do I need?

The laser will be compatible with any GRBL based machine interface software that has a laser/spindle pwm control mode like gSender/UGS/CNCjs

Will there be any Addons?

We plan on having an air assist attachment available at the time of launch. Other addons we’re looking into are; magnetic mounting options, and a Pro version of the laser (more optical power)

Do I need a Longmill to use it?

Short answer no, there is a lot of complexity that goes into making laser drivers universal but that is our goal. Compatibility with other Grbl based CNC machines and 3D printers. 

Can I cancel my Pre order?

You can cancel your order with no penalty any time before your order ships. Please contact us through our website or email us with your order number and a request to make a cancellation. A refund will be processed through your original method of payment. 

April Production Updates

Hi everyone, here is our April production updates. If you’re looking to order a machine or waiting on one to show up, please read this update to find out what’s going on in our shop.

For previous production updates, please check our blog (https://sienci.com/blog/).

If you are looking for an update on where your order is on the waiting list, please check our list (https://forum.sienci.com/t/list-of-shipped-machines/1215)

Lead times for new orders

We are happy to announce that we will be shortening our lead time from 4-6 weeks to 3-5 weeks! It’s been a big effort by the operations team to slowly start whittling away on our lead times.

Why the change? Well we have a couple of factors.

First of all, most of the machine orders we’ve received, we’ve been able to ship within 3 weeks this month. Having kept this up for the last little bit, we feel confident that we can continue shipping this rate and it is likely that orders that are currently waiting on their machines should see them a little earlier than initially stated on our estimate.

The second is with the availability of parts. With the exception (at this current moment) ACME locking nuts and touch plate wiring which are expected to arrive in the next 1-2 weeks, we have around 2 months of stock remaining. This means that we have the parts here in the shop, and the bottleneck is with how quickly we can pack, assemble, and ship parts.

That being said, Batch 5 parts are now in production and most of the parts that will go into Batch 5 will arrive at the end of April and middle of March. This means that if we sell out of our current stock before then, there will likely be a gap where shipping will be on pause as we prepare to ship Batch 5 machines. At the time of writing, we have 319 machines in stock.

Once we start to run low on stock, I will post another update to let everyone know.

Commonly asked questions

If you are interested in ordering a LongMill please read this section.

If I place an order today, how long will it take to ship?

3-5 weeks.

Is there any way to skip the line/get my machine faster?

  • No. To keep things fair for all of our customers, we ship all orders based on when they were ordered. There are no exceptions. The only way to get a machine faster is to order one sooner. If we have updates to the lead time, they will be posted here and on the forum: https://forum.sienci.com/t/list-of-shipped-machines/1215If you want to see where you are in the queue for your order, please check the forum.

Does it make a difference in when I get my machine if I pick it up?

  • The only difference it will make will be that you will not have to wait for the shipping/transit time for the machine to ship. Typically, machines take around 1-3 days to ship within Ontario. Otherwise, there is no difference.

When do you charge my card/take payment for my order?

  • Your card will be charged at the time you place your order. This is to ensure your place in line, purchase parts ahead of time, and have the most accurate estimates on production and delivery.

How can I cancel my order?

  • You can cancel your order with no penalty any time before your order ships. Please contact us through our website or email us with your order number and a request to make a cancellation. A refund will be processed through your original method of payment.

Can I add other items to my order before it ships?

If you’ve ordered a LongMill and wish to add other items to your order afterwards before it ships, please choose “Local pickup” (for free shipping) and add your LongMill order number. Some items (such as the T-track sets) cannot be combined for shipping.

1/4″ Flat Compression End Mills now available on our store

Hi everyone, I’m happy to announce that we now have 1/4″ Flat Compression End Mills available on our store! These compression bits work basically the same as our 1/8″ Flat Compression End Mills , just with a larger cutting diameter.

If you’re interested in learning more about compression bits and how they work, check out our old post about compression bits.

When I started cutting this project, I realized that I had set the depth of cut too shallow as to not get past the upcut part of the end mill. I stopped the cut and started it again after changing the gcode. I guess this is a bit of a happy accident as we can show the difference between using an upcut bit versus a downcut bit, and how it affects the quality of the edge on this particular piece of plywood.

Because on the first part of the cut, only the upcut portion of the end mill is being used, we are pulling the chips up, splintering the top surface of the material. Changing the depth of cut to 5mm engages the downcut portion of the bit, pulling the chips down and leaving a smoother edge.

For this project, I used a feedrate of 1400mm/min and a depth of cut of around 5mm. The upcut portion of this end mill is 4mm long, and as long as your depth of cut for your first pass exceeds 4mm, you will be engaging the downcut portion of the end mill.

In any case, after setting up the job properly, testing shows clean, crispy edges on both the top and bottom surface of the material!

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Updated viewing windows for the LongMill Dust Shoe

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Hi everyone. If you’re familiar with our LongMill dust shoe, you might be familiar with the clear front window. We added the front window to help users see what’s going on with the endmill, but it was prone to breaking due to it being brittle. We’ve seen some hacky fixes for it, but we wanted to figure out a way to deal with this small flaw once and for all.

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The old windows are made from PETG and are laser cut in a local shop in Mississauga. PETG was an inexpensive and easy to cut material, but we learned after people started using them, that they were prone to breaking. Although we provide extras in each kit, we understand it can be annoying to replace.

The new windows are made from clear vinyl. Working with vinyl was a bit of a tricky experience. Initially, we wanted to try using a CNC vinyl plotter, but we were told by some more experienced people that it would be tricky to get the holes and other details from the thicker material we were using. Our friend Adam, from BOKO came up with a process involving guillotine presses and drills, but making it that way would have cost way too much and take too long.

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Guillotine press at BOKO

Eventually, we had the idea of using a press, which is used to make leather shapes, but with the vinyl being pretty thick, we needed a lot of force to punch the shapes out and we didn’t have the right type of tools to do that.

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Example of a leather press we used

We finally ran into a local company called Roylco a few minutes up the road, and we were able to work out a way to die-cut the windows from vinyl. The new windows have come out beautifully and are working great!

These viewing windows seem like a small detail, but we’re always looking out for ways to improve our designs and manufacturing processes, and I just wanted to show a little part of something we’ve worked on behind the scenes.

All new dust shoes will ship with the vinyl windows. We also have them for sale here: https://sienci.com/product/viewing-window/

March Production Updates

Hi everyone, this is our March production update. If you are looking to order a machine or if you’re waiting on your machine to come in, please read this to find out what’s happening in the shop.

For previous production updates, please check our blog (https://sienci.com/blog/).

If you are looking for an update on where your order is on the waiting list, please check our list (https://forum.sienci.com/t/list-of-shipped-machines/1215)

Lead times for new orders

The current lead time for LongMills is 4-6 weeks.

Production has continued to move smoothly. Our February update mentioned that we were running low on aluminum rails and steel gantries. I am happy to announce that these parts have arrived and we won’t need to stop shipping due to these parts. We are still waiting on the ACME locking nuts but the manufacturer has confirmed that they are completed and should be on the way soon, so we should be ok with those parts as well.

Our manufacturer for the rails has noted that the finish and quality of the new rails looks to be better than the last batch, which we are happy about.

We have also restocked on a few other parts, including packaging material, shoulder brackets, drag chain mounts, and acrylic parts, and we expect to have another large batch of parts arrive mid to late April.

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I believe we are also now back in stock for all of our end mills and cutting tools.

Commonly asked questions

If you are interested in ordering a LongMill please read this section.

If I place an order today, how long will it take to ship?

4-6 weeks.

Is there any way to skip the line/get my machine faster?

  • No. To keep things fair for all of our customers, we ship all orders based on when they were ordered. There are no exceptions. The only way to get a machine faster is to order one sooner. If we have updates to the lead time, they will be posted here and on the forum: https://forum.sienci.com/t/list-of-shipped-machines/1215If you want to see where you are in the queue for your order, please check the forum.

Does it make a difference in when I get my machine if I pick it up?

  • The only difference it will make will be that you will not have to wait for the shipping/transit time for the machine to ship. Typically, machines take around 1-3 days to ship within Ontario. Otherwise, there is no difference.

When do you charge my card/take payment for my order?

  • Your card will be charged at the time you place your order. This is to ensure your place in line, purchase parts ahead of time, and have the most accurate estimates on production and delivery.

How can I cancel my order?

  • You can cancel your order with no penalty any time before your order ships. Please contact us through our website or email us with your order number and a request to make a cancellation. A refund will be processed through your original method of payment.

Can I add other items to my order before it ships?

If you’ve ordered a LongMill and wish to add other items to your order afterwards before it ships, please choose “Local pickup” (for free shipping) and add your LongMill order number. Some items (such as the T-track sets) cannot be combined for shipping.

Production updates

No major updates for production, we are packing and shipping machines on a regular basis. That being said, there’s lots of other interesting things going on at Sienci Labs that you can read about on our blog: https://sienci.com/blog/

Bringing back the Mill One

Hi everyone. I just wanted to share an update about where we are about the Mill One. Over the last couple of weekends, I have been playing around with some new designs that I hope will pave the road to the successor to the original Mill One. For this new machine, I will refer to it as the Mill One Plus.

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Here are some general specifications about the Mill One Plus:

  • Will be priced around $500-700CAD
  • NEMA 17 motors on all axis
  • Lead screws and Delrin Anti-backlash nuts on all axis
  • Working area of approximately 247mm x 290mm and 60mm of Z-axis travel
  • 1/4″ steel gantries

The Mill One Plus is designed to be:

  • An entry-level, first CNC machine on a budget
  • Small
  • Compete against smaller, hobby CNCs such as the Sainsmart 3018 CNCs, Millright M3, OpenBuilds Minimill, etc.
  • Replace the original Mill One

What was the Mill One?

The Mill One was a machine that we developed and launched in the autumn of 2016. To fund the production and manufacturing of the machine, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised just over $61,000. This was a major milestone for Chris and me, taking what was originally a school project into solidifying Sienci Labs into a company.

The Mill One aimed to meet several objectives:

  • Be affordable. We wanted to create a product where people could use CNC technology for the first time at a price point low enough that the average hobbyist could purchase.
  • Be open. We wanted people to tinker, modify, and change what the Mill One was and could do. Since the launch of the Mill One, all of its design files, BOM, and other details are available for free.
  • Be simple. We wanted to create a machine and ecosystem that provided a machine that was easy to put together and use at a level approachable to the average hobbyist.

Depending on the time you purchased it, the Mill One could be bought for roughly $519-539CAD. If you want to read more about the Mill One, please check out our product page for it.

To this day, we focus all of our products with these three objectives, and the Mill One Plus will also focus on these objectives as well.

What’s new with the Mill One Plus?

The Mill One, although a pioneer in hobby CNCing back in 2016 in terms of what it offered, wasn’t perfect by any means. Some sacrifices in its mechanical design were made to keep costs reasonable and compared to machines of today, wasn’t able to take advantage of improvements in off-the-shelf CNC parts, decreasing part cost from increasing demand, and the economies of scale we enjoy with LongMill production. There were also many mechanical design choices we made that in hindsight may be different from our new experiences with machine design and manufacturing.

So here are some improvements between the Mill One Plus versus the original Mill One. Please note that I am still in the very early stages of prototyping and although there are many changes that I would call improvements, are not yet tested in the real world.

Fully constrained lead screws

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Mill One Plus Y axis design

One of the limitations of the Mill One came from the fact that it relied on the bearings inside the NEMA 17 motor to constrain any axial or rotational movement. Although the motors we used were chosen to have stronger bearings and parts inside, larger forces would be able to move the shaft of the motor back and forth. The Mill One Plus uses a combination of 608ZZ flange bearings, solid couplers, and ACME locking nuts found on the LongMill to constrain the movement of the lead screw, decreasing the axial movement in the system.

H-Design/Moving Gantry/Fixed Bed Design

The Mill One Plus shares the same basic layout of the LongMill, with two Y-axis rails carrying the X-axis rail, rather than the Mill One’s fixed X-axis and fixed Y-axis rails. Although this design is generally stiffer, because of the way the Y-axis bed was designed on the Mill One, any cutting on the left or right edge of the bed would deflect significantly more than cuts that happened on the middle area of the bed.

The Mill One Plus has a fixed bed, and the cutting tool moves around a stationary workpiece. This has the advantage of having more flexibility with workholding and the ability to “pass through” materials larger than the bed itself. Although having a moving X-axis rail means two degrees of freedom of movement on the rail, I believe that the machine will be more rigid with the use of thick steel gantries over MDF walls.

This design, when using the same length rails, offers slightly more working area (around 247mm x 290mm versus 258mm x 185mm).

Using LongMill parts

The Mill One Plus uses several parts straight from the LongMill such as linear guides, Delrin ACME anti-backlash nuts, solid aluminum router mount, bearings, and ACME locking nuts, all of which are better, more precise, and durable parts than what was originally used on the Mill One.

Although the overall BOM cost of the Mill One Plus will likely be higher than the Mill One, when taking into account that if many of these parts are shared, we can reduce costs by taking advantage of the economies of scale that we already have for the LongMill.


Overall I feel that the new design is a significant leap forward compared to the original Mill One design.

Next steps for development

I have been testing the fit and assembly of the design over the past week or so and although there were a couple of adjustments that needed to be made, the Mill One Plus has come together surprisingly well.

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Once all of the parts fit together well, my next step would be to make steel versions of the gantries, as right now I am using acrylic because we have it on hand at the shop and it allows me to see the inner workings of the machine behind each gantry. All of the other parts we already have in storage that are old Mill One parts or stuff from LongMill production.

Electronics will be the next big thing to tackle, as I believe that the original CNC shield from the Mill One won’t be up to snuff. Either we will design our own controller or use something off the shelf.

If you want to see the Mill One Plus CAD, please check it out on our Onshape document.

Making a business case

One of the reasons why the Mill One project has been put on the backburner has simply been because 1) we’ve been so busy will producing the LongMill and scaling production and 2) because the LongMill is simply more profitable than the Mill One was.

Just to put things into perspective, when we first started selling the Mill One, it was just me and Chris mostly putting together and shipping the machines from our garage after class. Today we have a team of close to 20 people to build and support the LongMill. It has been a massive undertaking for us to scale the company but now that the LongMill has started to mature as a product, we’ve started to take on new projects to improve the CNC ecosystem.

It is also important to mention that we would have to sell three to four times as many Mill One’s or Mill One Pluses to match the amount of revenue that one LongMill provides, which brings up a couple of questions:

  • If we have to dedicate or hire new staff, develop resources, and work on creating a manufacturing process for a new product, will it generate enough revenue to be a sustainable part of our business?
  • Will our new customers need the same amount of support as our LongMill users do? How will we be able to manage and scale our support team while still continuing to provide high-quality customer service?
  • Will we be able to sell enough Mill One Pluses to break even on fixed costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, and software?

Ultimately, there are risks in launching a new product. To mitigate this risk, I believe it is necessary to do some market research and basically see if there are enough people interested in this new machine to build it.

I’d like to know if you’d be interested in getting a Mill One Plus and why. To do this I’ve created a survey to let me know what you think. If you’re interested in this new machine, please make sure to share your thoughts. There is also an option to subscribe to a separate mailing list about updates about the Mill One project.

If you are interested in building one yourself, you can find all of the design files here: https://cad.onshape.com/documents/0b14f66c71ea1abec0716d92/w/3d4a9e516e78969663d5781d/e/d7eb0b2dfddbefc90a76fbae*

*Please note that this document contains files and projects that are under active development. Designs and files may change without notice. We do not assume any responsibility for your use of these designs and files and are as-is without support.

Things I think will be on our FAQ

Can you upgrade from a Mill One Plus to a LongMill

While both machines share certain parts, there is no simple upgrade path from a Mill One Plus to a LongMill. If you have a Mill One Plus and want to upgrade to a LongMill, I would recommend selling or passing along your Mill One Plus as it allows the machine to be used by someone else and you will likely recoup more of the initial cost by doing so.

I would also note that although technically the materials in the LongMill kit would be lower if certain parts can be transferred over from the Mill One Plus kit, the added time and customization of the kit for each customer will end up costing more overall due to additional labor involved in doing so, which is why we currently do not offer partial kits for the LongMill.

Can I make the Mill One Plus bigger?

For the most part, yes, if you are able to use longer rails and lead screws, the machine can theoretically be extended. There are other considerations to make that may be covered in this post for making the LongMill larger.

When it comes to offering different variations for machines, it generally is difficult to do at scale as we need to have enough sales for each size to make it viable. It is likely the Mill One Plus will only be offered in a 400mm rail per axis size and potentially a 500mm size taking rails from the LongMill 12×12/12×30 Y-axis.

When can I purchase a Mill One Plus?

Currently, we are in the middle of engineering and development of this machine. As of right now, we do not have plans to share about purchasing the Mill One Plus but the project files will be publicly available for other people to make their own.

If you want to order one, please fill out this survey as we will use this information to decide on a launch plan for the machine.

What software does it come with/work with?

The Mill One Plus will be compatible with any software that works with the LongMill. Please read our Software Resources for the LongMill for more info.

Introducing 1/8″ Compression Bits to our Store!

Compression Bit Demo

Hey everyone, I’m excited to announce the introduction of 1/8″ compression bits to our arsenal of affordable and high-quality end mills to our store! Compression bits work great for cutting products that are prone to splitting from both sides of the material, most namely with plywood and other softwoods.

This is a game-changer for folks that make signs and other plywood-based projects that require cuts that go all the way through the material. Our testing with this new compression bit results in clean edges on both sides of the material with little to no sanding needed.

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So what is a compression bit? A compression bit combines both upcut and downcut flutes into the same bit.

With some materials, cutting with a regular upcut bit causes splintering and fuzziness on the top edge of your cut as shown in the project below.

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Cutting coasters for StarterHacks

Using a downcut bit pushes the chips downwards leaving a clean edge, but cuts along the bottom edge of the part are pushed down, causing a rougher edge on the bottom of the cut.

A compression bit on the other hand offers the best of both worlds. The tip of the bit works as a upcut bit, while the top of the bit works as a downcut bit. Used properly, the upcut part of the bit cuts the bottom edge of your workpiece, while the top of the workpiece is cut with the downcut part of the end mill. This helps provide a clean edge on both the top and bottom of your part.

Want to get your hands on your own compression end mills? Make sure to check out our store here: https://sienci.com/product/1-8end-mill-compression-bit/

How to use a compression bit

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With any compression bit, you want your first pass to be deeper than the length of the upcut side of your flute. In the case of our 1/8″ compression bit, the upcut part of the bit is 3mm long so we want our depth of cut to be larger than 3mm.

In the case of the demo video shown above, the settings this cut was 3.8mm depth per pass at 1300mm/min. You can use any depth of cut as long as your first pass is larger than the length of the upcut portion of your bit.

Then the rest of the cut should finish with the bottom of the part being cut using the upcut portion of the end mill cutting the last layer of material.

P.S. We are expecting to get 1/4″ compression bits around the end of March/start of April so make sure to look out for that!