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Talking about the Crafters, Machinists, and Woodworkers End Mill Sets

Hey everyone. I’m happy to announce that we’ve now created a couple of new end mill sets!

Order them here: https://sienci.com/product-category/cutting-tools/end-mill-sets/

So why did we create these new sets? Well, a common question our support staff has always been getting has been “what end mills should I get?” and we wanted to create something that would let folks try out a couple of different bits at a great price and cater to different types of users that call in.

Every set comes pre-packed with a number of bits and end mills that offer a great starting point for each type of person. We also offer between a 15-20% discount for each set compared to the cost of purchasing each bit individually. Because a large part of the cost of selling bits is in order picking and shipping, selling more bits in packs is more efficient for us and we pass along the savings to the customer.

Do you have any other sets you want to see in our store? Let us know in the comments or by contacting us!

Woodworkers End Mill Set ($60CAD/$47USD):

Each set comes with:

1/4″ Flat Upcut End Mill – 2D cutting, such as for borders of signs, making boxes, and other simple shapes

1/8″ Flat Upcut End Mill – 2D cutting on smaller projects, as well as lettering and shape cutting

1/8″ Ball Upcut End Mill – 3D reliefs, such as topographical maps and other simple curved shapes

60-Degree V-Bit – V-carving signs and letters, as well as chamfer cuts

1/4″ to 1/8″ Collet Adapter – Useful for adapting 1/8″ bits for routers that have a 1/4″ shank

This set is a great starting point for rudimentary CNC techniques like 2D cutting, lower detail 3D reliefs, and v-carving/engraving. We believe this is a great starting point for beginner users who want to get a taste of different CNCing techniques with a set of bits that are durable, versatile, and forgiving to mistakes.

Crafters End Mill Set ($75CAD/$60USD):

Each set comes with:

1/2″ Round Groove Bit – Bowl and tray cutting, for rounded bottom edges on their projects

1/4″ Compression Bit – 2D cutting on materials like plywood which are prone to splintering

1/8″ Tapered Ball End Mill – Advanced and high detail 3D relief cutting

1/16″ Flat Downcut End Mill – High detail letter cutting and general high detail 2D and 3D CNC projects

The focus of this set was to offer bits that we would consider “advanced” and require a bit more care and experience to set up the right feeds and speeds, but with the proper use, can create stunning results. We recommend this set to experienced users who want to try advanced techniques such as super high detail 3D reliefs, lettering, and micro-CNCing.

Machinists End Mill Set ($85CAD/$67USD):

Each set comes with:

1/8″ Single Flute Upcut End Mill – 2D cutting on aluminum and plastics

1/4″ Single Flute Upcut End Mill – 2D cutting on aluminum and plastics

1/8″ Makita RT0701 Precision Collet – The best option for holding 1/8″ bits on your Makita RT0701 routers

If you want to get cutting aluminum and plastics, this is an excellent set to get going. We recommend using single flute bits on CNC routers like the LongMill as they can produce the largest and biggest chips that help with heat and chip evacuation. This is critical for materials that are prone to melt.

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March 2022 Production Update

Hey everyone, here’s the latest production update. For previous updates, please read our blog.

Folks doing projects and testing in the workshop

Materials are arriving

We’ve received a large number of materials over the last couple of weeks including some of the steel parts, power and USB cables, packaging, dust shoe parts, end mills, and more. We’ve made good progress doing the packing and processing, with most of the materials we’ve gotten in prepared for shipping once we receive everything.

We’re also expecting 3D printing filament, gantries, control boards, and other steel parts, and v-wheels to arrive any day now, as transport has been booked and are awaiting delivery this week.

Waiting on materials to arrive

We continue to wait on the shipment of power supplies for the LongMill and LaserBeam and other parts that arrived on Feb 13 at Prince Rupert. Due to rail congestions, we are still waiting on these parts to arrive. According to our updated tracking info, it is expected to arrive in the next two weeks. However, due to the uncertainty with when these parts will be moved onto rail, as well as potential transit time for truck freight from the Mississauga warehouse, we would advise customers that this shipment may not reach our shop until the end of the month.

We are frustrated with the delays in these shipments, as this shipment was expected to arrive at the end of January. We are hoping that these items will arrive soon, and in the meantime, we are doing our best to pre-pack as much as we can so that we can ship machines out as quickly as we can when they do.

By the end of this week, we are expecting to have all of the materials ready to ship the MK2s with the exception of the power supplies, which will be our biggest bottleneck.

Given these delays, for new orders placed today and onwards, customers should expect to receive their machines in April/May.

Packing progress

Rails ready to ship

We’ve been processing materials as they come in. Most of the day-to-day packing isn’t super interesting but we did make a small modification to the printers in our print farm that some folks might find interesting. With the new MK2 dust shoes, the height of the hose comes out to be around 196mm. Unfortunately, the printing height of the Prusa Minis we have in the farm, which make up the majority of the printers we have, only print up to 185mm. Initially, we printed the hoses on some of the other printers we have in the farm, we weren’t able to keep up with the number of hoses we needed to print. So, we had the brilliant idea to just make the Prusa Minis a little bit taller. After making a small simple spacer, we’re now able to print the dust shoe hoses on the Prusa Minis!

Now with 6 of our printers converted, we can now print up to 18 dust shoe hoses per day, meaning that we should be caught up with the printing in the next two to three weeks.

We’re also excited to get our 3KG filament spools to replace the 1KG spools, which means that we’ll be able to reduce the number of filament changeovers by 2/3rds, improving our printing efficiency and the amount of manpower it takes to run the farm.

Assembling dust shoe hoses

Dimensioned drawings are now updated for all LongMill MK2s.

We’ve now updated the dimensioned drawings for all of the LongMill MK2s to include the 48×30 as well as overall width and heights of the machine so that customers can prep their work areas, enclosures, and tables.

Wrapping up the instruction manual

Chris and Aleks have been hard at work making the new instruction manual and working with our staff and beta testers to perfect the assembly manual. We’re excited to share a final draft of the MK2 assembly instructions. Please note that there are still some minor updates that we need to make to finalize the manual, including making a compressed version (right now the PDF is 107MB large) and updating links for the add-ons, but we just wanted to share this with everyone to get thoughts and feedback, as well as people can get an idea on what the assembly process for the MK2s are going to look like.

LaserBeam production

New batches of drivers and other components are currently in production. We are experiencing delays with driver manufacturing as we need to adapt to component and chip shortages. Based on these supply chain issues, customers are advised to expect delays when ordering the LaserBeam. We are also waiting on power supplies and copper heatsink housing parts to arrive with the large shipment delayed in Prince Rupert to arrive to complete currently pending orders.

While we wait on parts to arrive, we’ve completed the wiring and have been assembling other parts, such as the air assist and driver housing components to prepare for the arrival of the parts.

We have pushed orders that were scheduled to ship end of Feburary to end of March, and we are advising a 8 week lead time for new orders.

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What’s going on at Sienci Labs these days? : Content creation and resource development

Hey everyone. I think this is a great time for us to introduce you to some of the folks on our team and talk about some of the initiatives we’re taking to continue to serve our customers and CNC community.

We have been truly blessed to have a strong, supportive community and growth in our business. Given how strong sales have been, and how strong we expect them to be as we continue to scale and shorten our lead times, we’ve made a decision to direct as much effort into building our resources and providing more content to our users to help them use their machines. Part of this initiative has been to build our team and focus on processes that will benefit new and existing users in the long term to learn to use and troubleshoot their CNCs.

Meet Scott, Jason, and Leandro

I have a couple of folks to introduce. Let’s start off with Scott.

Scott is our content creator! His role is to help us develop content to share products, resources, and info about the company and our developments. He’s also been a super active LongMill user with lots of CNC experience, and we’re excited to have him share his knowledge as well as share his light-hearted and fun energy through our content. Check out his IG here: https://www.instagram.com/treeringcircus_woodshop/

If you have been following our social media recently, you’ve probably seen him in a couple of the videos.

Next, meet Jason, who’s our Customer Service and Support manager. His role is to work with the rest of our team to help make it easier and faster for customers to find help from Sienci Labs. This involves talking directly with customers as well as helping develop guides and resources that make it more straightforward to use our products. Jason is also working on additional video content to grow our resources and move away from our text-heavy resources.

Jason is also a very active LongMill user as well an extremely experienced product developer that has worked with startups and large corporations in the past, make sure to check out his projects as well: https://www.instagram.com/gregariousgizmos/

Some of the resources that Jason is working on

Last but not least, please meet Leandro, our marketing manager! He is the man behind the scenes, coordinating our social media and other channels to bring amazing content to everyone, as well as being the man behind many of our graphics and designs. Also works with the rest of our team to tie many of the technical elements, such as video editing, animations, filming, lighting, sound, photography, and more.

Make sure to follow him on IG as well!: https://www.instagram.com/leandrocampos.mkt/

A magazine design for Canadian Woodworking Magazine, created by Leandro

How have you been liking our new content and resources? What do you want to see changed and what new content are you interested in? Make sure to let us know in the social media or by contacting us to let us know what you want to see next!

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Everything you need to know about the LongMill MK2 48×30 and Extension Kits

One of the most common requests for future upgrades is the ability to increase the size of the machine. With the implementation of the improved extrusion design on the X-axis from the LongMill MK2 platform, it is now possible to extend the X-axis to have a working travel of 48 inches without impacting overall rigidity and performance.

Increasing the X-axis to 48 inches allows users to pass full 48in or 4ft wide materials through the middle of the machine, as well as overall increasing the usable area that the machine can cut.

At the time of writing, both the MK2 48×30 machine and Extension Kit is a work in progress. Parts and designs have not been finalized, and shipping and completion times are estimated. We’ve had a LOT of people request to place an order for these new products, just like our LongMill MK2’s, so we’ve decided on opening up pre-orders ahead of time. Opening up pre-orders will help us to judge demand and help us get an idea of the quantities to produce for each item. 

If you wish to place a pre-order for these items, please note that we have extended lead times for all items, and shipping/delivery times may change without notice. We will keep customers update to these changes through our regular blog and social media updates.

Please read this post completely, as it provides information about ordering, to-do’s, FAQs, pricing, and more.

Pricing

Please note that all USD amounts are based on conversion from our CAD prices and may change based on the exchange rate.

The LongMill MK2 48×30 consists of a full LongMill CNC machine with a working area of 48in x 30in. This would be the kit to get if you don’t already have a LongMIll and want to jump straight to the larger size. This kit will be priced at $2300CAD or $1800USD.

The Extension Kit provides the T12 Lead Screw, extended X-Axis Rail, Y-Gantries, drag chain, and wiring to increase the width of the machine. The base price for the kit will cost $650CAD or $520USD.

Users may need to purchase additional items to adapt their version of their machine along with the Base Extension Kit.

For MK2 users, only the base extension kit is needed, as the MK2 XZ gantry and other hardware can be reused.

For MK1 users who wish to use their stock MK1 XZ gantry, an additional hardware kit to adapt the T12 ACME nut and drag chains will be needed and will be priced at $45CAD or $35USD.

For MK1 users who wish to upgrade their XZ gantry to the latest MK2 design, the XZ gantry assembly will be priced at $220CAD or $170USD which comes with a fully assembled XZ gantry assembly, aluminum motor mount, and Z motor. MK1 users will not need the hardware kit mentioned above if they are using the MK2 gantry.

Where to order

Extension Kits on an existing machine (LongMill MK1 or MK2): https://sienci.com/product/48-x-axis-longmill-extension-kit/

Upgrade on a pre-ordered LongMill MK2: https://sienci.com/product/upgrades-for-pending-longmill-mk2-orders/

LongMill MK2 48×30 Kits: https://sienci.com/product/longmill-mk2/

If you have a pending MK2 12×30 or 30×30 order you want to upgrade

Payments to upgrade pending LongMill MK2 pre-orders can be made directly on our website (https://sienci.com/product/upgrades-for-pending-longmill-mk2-orders/). Instructions and additional info can be found on the order page.

Please note that upgrading will delay the shipment of your order to June/July. If you wish to receive your 12×30 or 30×30 machine first, then upgrade later, please order the Base Extension Kit instead.

Please also note that your order will be shipped based on the order of when they are placed. You will lose your place in the line for the 12×30 and 30×30 machines and will need to rejoin the line for the extension kits and larger 48×30 machines.

Changes made

X-Axis Rail Design

One of the main developments that make this possible project is the stiffer X-axis rail. One of the main issues with working with a longer axis is that the overall rigidity of the machines decreases as the rail gets longer. To solve this issue, a stiffer rail needs to be used to provide a high level of performance. The new X-axis rail provides up to 50% more torsional rigidity over the original MK1 rails, which means that the extended versions of the LongMill will perform equally or better than the outgoing MK1 30×30 machines.

T12 Lead Screw System

Due to screw whip, T8 lead screws found on the 12×30 and 30×30 machines are limited to how fast they can turn. Above around 5000mm/min, or around 2500RPM, screw whip on a 30×30 machine becomes enough to cause excess vibrations and whip to cause issues with cutting.

To counteract this, we are using 1450mm T12 lead screws, which use a 12mm diameter over a 8mm diameter lead screw, which has 2.25x more cross-sectional area. We’ve tested the T12 lead screw system at over 7000mm/min or 3500RPM with acceptable amounts of whip. 

A T12 lead screw vs T8 lead screw

The T12 lead screw system also implements new larger flange bearings, T12 anti-backlash blocks and T12 ACME locking nuts as well, to accommodate the larger lead screw.

A T12 nut next to a T8 nut

6001ZZ vs 6008ZZ bearings

Development to-dos

Wiring extensions

We are currently working on making extensions for motor, inductive sensor, and router plug cables, as well as to the overall wire management to accommodate the longer amount of travel.

Beta testing and in house testing

As we continue to design, we’ll be working with beta testers as well as internally to do testing. Thank you to the over 250 people who signed up for beta testing. Our beta testing signup is closed.

Packaging design

Due to the size and weight of the larger machines, we’ll need to 1) develop new packaging 2) split packages up. A full 48×30 machine will weigh more than the weight limit for most couriers, which means that 48×30 kits will ship in two shipments. We need to create a tracking system that makes it easy to track multiple shipments at a time.

With regards to the extension kits, we’re also in the process of working on the packaging for the kits as well. 

Timelines

Pre-orders placed today should expect orders to start shipping in June or July. We’re doing our best to get everything done for this new product, but want to give ourselves enough time to have everything tested and sorted out before shipping. We have also been facing supply shortages and slower than normal shipping times for most items, and want to provide ourselves with ample time to work around the ever-changing landscape of supply chain. Customers should note and expect that there may be delays that may push this timeline further. Customers may cancel their order without penalty at any time before it ships for a full refund.

We’ve received our first batch of parts for the 48×30 and extension kits, but are still waiting on lead screws and bearings to arrive by sea. These parts are expected to arrive at the end of February.

There are a couple of parts that are still in progress and have not been ordered, including:

  • Y gantry plates
  • Extended wiring
  • Packaging

Additional development is required to be done before release which includes:

  • Resources
  • Software updates

We are expecting the process of ordering and receiving these additional items to take between 8-12 weeks. 

FAQ

Will the Extension Kit work for my older machine (MK1)?

Yes, the Extension Kit will work with any generation of machine. The Y gantry plates will come with different hole patterns to work with both the angle aluminum Y rails and the MK2 Y rails.

Prototyping for the MK1 Gantry on the MK2 machine

When will the new kits ship?

Customers should prepare to wait until June or July for their machines or extension kits to ship. Orders will be shipped out based on the order of when they are placed. 

I have a LongMill MK2 pre-ordered. Can I upgrade to the 48×30?

Yes, you can upgrade by paying the difference. We would note that if you change to the 48×30, your machine will be shipping in June or July instead. Please upgrade through this product page: https://sienci.com/product/upgrades-for-pending-longmill-mk2-orders/

When do you take payment?

We require full payment for all pre-orders. Payment is taken at the time of order.

What’s the difference between the MK1 and MK2 XZ Gantries?

The MK1 XZ gantries are the assemblies used in the MK1 LongMill machines. We generally refer to the LongMills that use angle aluminum rails as MK1 as they have the overall same structure within that generation. MK2 XZ gantries are used in LongMill MK2s, which use custom aluminum rail profiles. 

MK1 XZ Gantry Assembly
MK2 XZ Gantry Assembly

Although overall both designs are very similar, the MK2 version of the XZ gantry puts the Z motor on top of the motor mount with spacers and couplers, similar to the X and Y-axis of the machine, simplifying assembly. The motor mount is also made from CNC’ed aluminum, which improves overall rigidity and precision in that area. 

Since the hole spacings for the v-wheels are the same between the two gantries, both can be adapted to work with each other with additional brackets and hardware. In regards to the MK2 rails, however, the overall integration of the new XZ gantry is simpler and requires fewer parts than the MK1 XZ gantry, but we will be providing the additional hardware as a kit to make either option compatible.

Will there be a 48×48 version?

At this current time, no. There are a couple of engineering and logistical challenges extending the Y-axis. One of the biggest reasons is that it is difficult to purchase a 6ft x 6ft sheet which the machine would have to sit on at the 48×48 version. Part of the reason we chose a 48x30in working area is because the machine can sit on a 4ft x 6ft sheet (basically a cut down 4ft x 8ft sheet). To accommodate a 48×48 version, we would need to build a custom table as well, which is currently not a priority in development.

For customers who are looking for 48×48 size machines, please feel free to read about the AltMill in our blog (https://sienci.com/?s=altmill). There is no set expected release date for the AltMill, but it is likely to be in the middle to end of this year.

Are the rails on the MK1 and the MK2 Extension Kits the same?

Yes, they are the same. The base Extension Kit works for both the MK1 and MK2, and additional optional hardware can be purchased separately depending on the configuration you want to use.

How do you test performance and rigidity on the new machines?

Testing is generally done using a combination of applying forces to the machine and measuring changes using dial indicators, as well as general real-world testing. We want to make sure that users will be able to drive their machines as fast and hard as they do with our smaller versions so that compromises don’t need to be made for the 48in versions of the machine.

So with that in mind, any feeds and speeds you were using with your current LongMill shouldn’t need to change.

What does “T12” mean?

“T12” is a general term to refer to threaded rods or leadscrews with a 12mm diameter. So a T8 lead screw (the one we use for the LongMill 30×30 for example) has an 8mm diameter. We generally refer to other hardware, such as the T12 Delrin Anti-Backlash Nuts with the T12 in the name to clarify the size differences between different block sizes.

What is the overall footprint of the machine once it has been extended?

We are still working on finalizing the designs for the extension kits, so these numbers may vary, but we expect foot-to-foot dimensions to be around 62.5in by 43in. We recommend having extra space around the machine for other items and attachments. 

Will there be any tramming system built into the machine? Is it possible to tram the machine?

For the uninitiated, tramming is the process of making sure your spindle or router is perpendicular to the X and Y rotational axis of your machine. If you have ever seen small ridges on a part, especially with surfacing, it may be due (but not limited to) to the small variations in the tram of the machine. 

In some CNC routers, a tramming plate is used to adjust the angle of the router to the motion of the machine. This is usually attached to the Z-axis, and allows the router to tilt left and right to adjust.

The LongMill will not come with something like this. A big part of the reason is that we are concerned that it will affect the overall simplicity and integrity of the machine by using additional components to add a feature that we believe may overcomplicate the process for most beginners.

For almost all users, tramming should not be an issue. A properly assembled and tuned LongMill will be in-tram enough for the large majority of users and provide excellent results. While the new LongMill does not have custom plates to assist with the tramming, it should be easier to adjust the angle of the X-axis now as the four bolts on each side of the rail should allow users to adjust the rail and retighten to change the angle. The process for adjusting the rotation of the router in the Y direction remains the same (adjusting the four bolts at the back of the router or the eight M3 screws attaching the Z-axis to the linear guide blocks). 

Also worth noting, the new saw process and QA process for actually cutting the aluminum rails have been greatly improved, which means that rail components will fit together more accurately, reducing the need for tramming except in extreme circumstances.

The long and short of it is that, although the LongMill does not come with a built-in tramming system, the combination of the improved design and stricter cutting and QA processes should reduce the need for tramming to be done. For users who wish to manually tram, adjustments should be easier to make compared to the previous generation, but still require loosening, retightening, and checking tram with proper tools for higher degrees of alignment.

One of our engineers, showing off the extrusion measuring tool

Will there still be continued support for the MK1 LongMills?

Yes, we’ll still be supporting the MK1 machines and any previous version of our products. Because most parts, such as Delrin Anti-backlash nuts, router mounts, V-wheels, linear guides, bearings, and control boards are cross-compatible, we will be a reliable source for consumables and replacement parts. Parts such as rails, gantries, and brackets that are made custom for the LongMill MK1 will be available until we run out. We don’t expect many people to need to replace these parts as they are the most robust parts of the machine overall.

Both the MK1 and MK2 also share the same software, which means that any resources for the LongMill will apply to any generation of machine. New content produced using the MK2 will translate in terms of concepts for the MK1 as well.

Users will also be able to find free CAD and other documentation for all versions of the LongMill here: https://resources.sienci.com/view/lm-open-source-and-modifications/

Why don’t you make the Y-axis rails longer instead of the X?

While making the Y-axis rails longer may technically make the machine more rigid as the rails are supported to the bed and not as prone to deflection, it eliminates one of the key benefits of having a wider X-axis, which is the ability to pass materials through the center of the machine. This is a trade-off we’ve decided to make, and we feel that there is little to no difference in actual day-to-day cutting between the different configurations.

At this time, we are not planning on releasing a longer Y-axis for the LongMill.

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LongMill Pre-Job Checklist Design – We want your feedback!

Hi everyone. Our amazing designer, Leandro, has recently been working on a new project to help new and experienced users follow the step by steps of running their machines. We are envisioning this as something like a poster, paper pad, or laminated checklist for CNCers to use to help them remember to check each step of the CNC setup process.

We’re calling on our users to provide feedback on the design and let us know:

  • What steps you take before starting your job on the CNC. What steps would you move, change, add, or remove to the checklist?
  • What other reminders you want to have before running a job. Is there a common mistake you make before running your job?
  • What format you want to see the checklist in. Would you prefer this in a large poster, penpad, laminated sheet, etc?

A copy of the checklist can be downloaded above, please feel free to print out a copy or save it somewhere.

Please feel free to comment on the social media posts for this news, or contact us here: https://sienci.com/contact-us/


For LongMill MK2 specific poster, please see below:

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February 2022 Production Update

Hey everyone, here’s our February production update.

For previous production updates and other company news, feel free to check out our blog.

First batch of LongMill MK2 boxes

COVID 19 – another wave passes

COVID19 numbers in Waterloo ON.

COVID 19 hit us hard in January, with several of our staff, including myself, contracting the virus. This meant that many of us were off work or working from home. With the nature of our work being fairly hands-on, it took a bit of time to adapt, but luckily this wave has passed and everyone is back to work. Thankfully, symptoms for everyone were fairly mild and I am happy that everyone is ok.

General production updates

This past month has been especially hectic as we work to scale our business and production. The first area of growth is in our team, with us onboarding six new employees and two co-op engineering students over the last month and a half. By increasing the size of our team, we hope to be able to pack and ship products faster, keep a closer eye on quality control, and improve the speed and quality of our customer and technical support.

Our second area of growth is in our space and capacity. Although we are in the same space, we added two shipping containers for outside storage and also had a forklift delivered to the shop today. We are limited by space inside, but we’ll be able to move some of the materials outside in the parking lot, such as 3D printer filament, aluminum rails, and motors, that are not affected by the cold and take up a lot of space.

Sea cans and forklift

In the long term, I feel that we’ll have to expand to a new space. Given the growing number of products, staff, and items we have to house, we’ve reached the capacity our current space can offer. This will be something we’ll be looking at doing over the next year.

As has been the common theme for the two years, we continue to struggle through supply chain issues and shipping delays. Many of the parts that we were expecting at the end of January have now been postponed into February. This to some degree will affect the shipping time for some of our items. More info about parts delays will be included below.

LongMill MK1 Production

We’ve been making good progress in shipping the last of the LongMills in Batch 5 and have around 50 machines remaining. We are planning to have another 20 machines shipped this week, but we may be affected by snow, as we’ve received a weather warning that there will be 15-20cm of snowfall. We’re providing staff work that can be done from home, but the number of machines we ship this week may be affected by the weather.

At the time of writing, we have a new supply bottleneck, the power supplies. Another batch of power supplies was expected to be delivered at the end of January. However, we’ve been notified that the shipment has been delayed until the end of February to the start of March. Currently, we have enough power supplies to ship the rest of the machine for this week, but the last 10-15 orders will have to wait until we get more. I will be working with our suppliers to possibly expedite another batch of parts to finish with the rest of the orders.

LongMill MK2 Production

We continue to wait for parts to arrive for the LongMill MK2. We now have a portion of the materials needed for MK2 production, but some parts, including power supplies, gantries, inside packaging, cables, and a few other things are still in transport and are expected to arrive this month.

Email updates from the shipping company
Container tracking

Given the current status of the shipments, we expect that MK2 will ship closer to the middle to end of March at this point. Based on the estimated arrival dates, it appears that the power supplies are likely to be the last set of parts to arrive. We’ll be contacting our suppliers to see if it is possible to expedite a second batch as well so that we can possibly ship machines earlier.

We are now packing and assembling sub-components of the kit, including spacers, couplers, v-wheels, printed feet, lead screws, drag chains, and more in preparation for shipping of the MK2.

LaserBeam Production

We are now packing, assembling, and packing LaserBeams for orders placed in November, and have currently shipped around 300 units. Ikenna and the rest of our team continue to develop new resources for the LaserBeam system in the resources.

We are now waiting for new drivers and power supplies to arrive to ship orders placed between November and January and are scheduled to ship at the end of February. New orders placed today and onwards are expected to ship by the end of March.

LongMill MK2 48×30 and Extension kits

Our first half of parts for the 48in X-axis for the LongMill MK2 are on the way and are expected to arrive in the next two weeks. We will be testing and checking the parts to make sure that they are to spec and work correctly. Once the testing is complete and all the parts work successfully, we will start to open up for the 48×30 version of the machine as well as the extension kits. This is expected to happen at the end of February.

There are still a couple more kinks to work out with the larger X-axis, such as:

  • Longer wiring or wiring extensions for the motor, router, and inductive sensors
  • Adapters for using the original X-axis with the new rail and nut design

Development for these parts still needs to happen. Based on my estimates, I expect we will be able to ship the first extension kits out sometime in May.

We’ll be putting out more details as we continue with the development.

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January 2022 Production Updates

Hi everyone. We are now back from the holidays and full force into getting orders shipped out. Here are some news and updates for this month.

Air Assists being assembled for the LaserBeam

LongMill MK2 is now open for pre-order

LongMill MK2s are now open for preorder. For complete info about the updated version of the LongMill, please see the update.

An example project sent in by Andy Mctaggart, one of our beta testers

Pending LongMill orders

If you placed an order for the original version of the LongMill and you’re in the queue here, we are working on packing and shipping your order. We have been delayed in shipping the remaining LongMill orders as the couplers which were estimated to arrive on December 30, 2021 have been delayed. Due to the delay, we have ordered a rush batch of couplers which are expected to arrive around Jan 12th, and shipping for LongMills will be temporarily halted until the couplers arrive.

We’ve sent customers who are expected to be affected by this delay emails over the holidays to let them know ahead of time. We are currently assessing estimated delivery times for the remaining orders and will provide customers with updates soon. We’ll be updating order statuses on our Forum and our new Order Status page.

Response times for customer service (emails, tickets, and phone calls)

We have been overwhelmed with emails, tickets, and phone calls from customers, especially as we get caught up with messages that have come in over the past week while our offices were closed. We are working hard to respond to all of our customers, however, it may take longer than usual to get back to everyone. Thank you for everyone’s patience.

COVID situation

COVID 19 cases in the Waterloo region have seen a large increase in recent weeks. We recently had one of our employees coming back from vacation test positive for COVID 19. Fortunately, they were not exposed to everyone else at the shop as they tested positive before they came back to work, but it feels that a potential outbreak in our workplace becomes more and more likely as the pandemic becomes more severe.

To help keep our employees safe, we are pushing more of our staff to work from home. We are continuing to work to help set more of our staff to work from home and reduce the number of people at our office.

We continue to ask folks that are picking up orders from our office to stay inside their vehicles for pick-ups instead of attempting to enter our building without permission.

Lead times for LongMills and LaserBeams

We continue to wait for parts to arrive for the LongMill, LongMill MK2, and LaserBeam kits and ship products out as materials come in and get processed. We’ve created a new system for people to see the status of their order and see where they are in line for shipping.

Doing customer service when lead times are long for your products is particularly challenging for a number of reasons, including:

  • Folks are antsy about when they are going to get their machine, especially since they spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on something from a random company on the internet (us)
  • It’s hard to keep track of when the order was placed and when it’s supposed to show up, as well as remember the estimated delivery time that was promised
  • There’s a lot of anticipation and excitement built up, which quickly turns into frustration when there are delays
  • Folks want to get their things to line up with their personal lives, such as with holidays and vacation time

We made some mistakes in terms of communication and setting expectations with our customers on when their machines would get delivered. For example, we said that we could ship a certain number of machines per day, so customers were expecting us to be shipping that number every day. However, because the number we can ship is limited to other factors, such as parts availability and the number of machines that the couriers can take that day, we were not clear on the fact that the number that we said we could ship was not always the number that we actually shipped. Some of our customers were calculating the number of days they would be waiting to get their machine based on the best-case scenario.

More realistically, customers should be planning their delivery based on the number of weeks that we advertised on our order page at the time the order was placed. Typically, the lead time will be stated as a range of weeks, such as 4-6 weeks.

The second mistake was how I sent the email out about the delay on the couplers. As some folks may know, the shipment of couplers that were slated to arrive on Dec 30, 2021, but was delayed until the middle of January. I emailed customers that this may affect the delivery time of their order. This email was only sent out to a small handful of customers who would potentially see that their orders would ship outside of the initial lead time that was promised, however, customers who the delay would not be affected also were upset that delays were happening, even though it would not affect the delivery time of their order as it is scheduled to ship later.

Our team is working to find new ways to improve transparency and communication with customers, but in the meantime, we’ve created a simple auto-updating list for new orders.

Our goal with this system is:

  • Customers can see what the status of their order is at any time, reducing the need to contact us directly about the order
  • They can see what the lead time was and how much time had elapsed, providing clarity on what delivery time was promised and if we are meeting them

Creating this system was actually a bit eye-opening as well. Given how much pressure we were putting on ourselves to ship quickly and manage customers with high expectations, we were feeling that we were always missing shipping deadlines. Now that we can visually see how much time had passed, it appears that we’ve been shipping almost all of our LongMills within our estimated times.

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All about the LongMill MK2

Hey everyone, Andy here. I know lots of folks are excited about the LongMill MK2. I wanted to create this post to give everyone as much information about the LongMill MK2, the successor to the popular LongMill we released in late 2019. Initially, we were planning on getting all of the marketing materials ready for the MK2 ready before the launch, but we’ve been getting so many emails and calls from people wanting to place a pre-order for the MK2 now, that we’re going to open up the pre-orders early, and slowly put out all the flashy stuff later.

Order page for the LongMill MK2:  https://sienci.com/product/longmill-mk2/

This post will contain all of the meat and bones, from information about the development of the machine, all of the changes and considerations between the old and new machine design, production schedules, FAQs, and more. Hopefully, I’ll be able to answer all of the possible questions you might have before placing an order, as well as show all of the hard work that the engineering team here at Sienci Labs has put in over the past year to bring you the MK2.

Our prototype of the LongMill MK2

Before you order…

Please note that:

  • LongMill MK2 resources are a work in progress and will be released at the end of January.
  • Machines are estimated to start shipping mid-February, but may extend to the end of March based on delays in production and shipping.
  • Only the 12×30 and 30×30 versions of the LongMill will be available at the current time. LongMill 30×48 and extension kits will be available for pre-order in February.

Why the MK2?

The idea of creating a newer updated version of the LongMill using custom extrusion was proposed by Chris in late 2020. We started researching and exploring the process of manufacturing aluminum extrusion, as well as making batches of extruded aluminum products just as the T-track and the LongMill angle aluminum rails.

Extrusion research

(From https://sienci.com/2021/10/15/altmill-and-longmill-survey-results-and-development-progress/)

When we first started Sienci Labs, we found that using angle aluminum turned on its side provided a sturdy, simple, and affordable way to create a linear motion system. Given that aluminum angle extrusion was readily available off the shelf, we were able to create both small and large batches of rails quickly and easily, without worrying about custom tooling and MOQs. I would attribute this factor as an important reason for getting us to this stage in our company, as we were able to continue to scale our production as we continued to build more CNC machines.

The first area to talk about would be the accuracy of rails over high volume. In 2020, we encountered a new problem. While all of the angle aluminum we had received in previous batches were made to high tolerances, we had received a new batch of material that varied in the length of each arm and angle, causing less than an optimal fit of v-wheels. This gave us an opportunity to look deeper into tolerances in extrusion manufacturing as well as perform additional quality checks to ensure each rail was made to a high degree of accuracy. We also learned that it would be a reality that at high volumes, it would be important to ensure we tackle issues at the production side with our manufacturers, since we couldn’t trust them to make every rail perfectly unless we provided the correct specifications for the rails.

This lead us to make our own “custom” angle aluminum. Basically, we arranged production of the angle aluminum using a new die made specifically for us at a higher tolerance than the industry standard, as well as extruding the material at precision spec. With these changes, we were able to reduce the number of out-of-spec rails to near zero. This also set up a better understanding of the extrusion process and the process and costs involved in it. It also gave us a chance to work with the extrusion manufacturer to work out design kinks and set us up for future development.

Today, we use tens of thousands of pounds of aluminum a year to make our rails, way higher than practical MOQs for producing custom extrusion. Because we use so much aluminum, the cost of the dies and tooling became negligible compared to the overall cost of the extrusions. So let’s talk about why custom extrusion makes sense, and some cons/downsides as well.

Improved performance

Designing our own custom extrusions lets us create a design that is more optimal for rigidity than angle aluminum. Chris conducted dozens of simulations and tests to find the most optimal designs for the new rails. Based on the results, we can expect 2-3 times less deflection in the rail than the original design. I would note that these are simulations, and real-life results are likely to show less of a difference since the numbers do not reflect deflection from v-wheels, linear guides, and other parts in the machine.

Comparison spreadsheet of different extrusion designs

This is especially important as we continue the development of larger versions of the LongMill since longer rails inherently have more deflection.

Ease of assembly

The new extrusions also include additional features that will make it easier to assemble and require fewer parts. For example, by including tapped holes on each face of the extrusions, users will be able to mount the rail to the gantry plate without any brackets. Each rail also has a t-slot, so all drag chain components can be mounted without additional tapped holes. Overall this will reduce the number of fasteners needed, the number of unique fasteners, as well as assembly time and complexity.

Improved scalability

Although time will have to tell, we expect that the new rails will be easier to produce on a larger scale. Since we already need to custom manufacture our own angle aluminum, lead times for both the angle aluminum and custom extrusion are the same. Since the custom extrusion requires less machining, we expect it to be slightly easier and less expensive to process the rail after it has been extruded. Also, since the rail requires fewer parts and a lower number of unique parts to put together the overall machine, it will save time and effort in sourcing and purchasing as well.

We are also working on cutting and tapping rails in-house, allowing us to have more flexibility in the sizes and variations in the machines we produce as well.

Less production flexibility and a step away from replicability

Since angle aluminum is a fairly universal product that can be purchased off the shelf, a determined maker should be able to replicate the rail design of the LongMill and make their own custom machine from scratch. It would be much more difficult to replicate the new custom extrusion, as the costs to produce a small number of rails are incredibly high. This, I feel, is a step away from the openness of the platform. We will continue to fully open-source the designs as we have always done, but part of the open-source movement is considering the replicability of the product. This was an important consideration when we started this development, and these are some considerations and why we made this step:

  • The number of people who make their machine from scratch is incredibly low. While there are people who use the LongMill design to make their own machine, making the designs available for this purpose serves a very small population.
  • The net benefit of having a simpler, better machine that is more easily scalable provides more benefit in our goal to make CNC accessible to beginners than to have a machine that can be made from scratch.
  • Most people who make modifications to their machines generally do it after they purchase and assemble a manufactured kit. Continuing to make the design public will continue to support people who wish to simply modify a kit
  • Building a machine from scratch generally costs more and will not perform better than a stock LongMill. We have extensively optimized the design and put an insane amount of thought and consideration to the quality of each part. Parts such as the couplers, Delrin nuts, and even the 3D printing filament are all custom made specifically for us at a higher tolerance than off the shefl components. Since we work within high volumes, we are also able to take advantange of economies of scale that do not come with buying parts in small numbers. Because of this, I believe that folks who want to build a machine from scratch would only benefit if they plan on making extensive changes to fit a specific need, or are doing it for the fun of making the machine. There are of course other designs and options that people can build besides the LongMill that lend itself in being made from scratch.

Backward compatibility

While the rails have been designed to be as backward compatible as possible, and many of the old LongMill parts can be used on the new rails, this brings up another important debate, which is “is it better to take apart and modify an old LongMill to put new parts on it, or is it better to buy a new one?” This is what I think.

First of all, if you already have a LongMill and are happy with the current size of it, I believe that keeping it the way it is and continuing to use it is the best option. While the newer versions of the LongMill will perform better, not only does the current version work well already, the extra cost to switch over parts isn’t worth the extra performance you may get. Instead, investing in other things, such as better tooling, software, and materials for projects may give a better return on investment. It should also be noted that the price of the MK2 LongMill will be higher than the current LongMill, so that we can account for changes in material prices, cost to build the machines themselves, and inflation.

If you are wanting to upgrade the machine to a larger size, then the debate gets a little more tricky. If you take apart your old LongMill to swap in new rails and lead screws, you’ll be left with a lot of leftover parts. Instead, it may make more sense to sell the LongMill and buy a whole new machine instead. So the formula would go:

(Cost to buy a larger LongMill – Price you sell your old LongMill) v.s. Price of the upgrade

I personally like the idea that instead of having this be an opportunity for a new user to scoop up a used LongMill at a discount so that they can get into the CNC hobby and prevent having a bunch of unused parts lying around. The net number of machines is one instead of two.

Of course, we will offer both an upgrade kit and full kit options to customers. These parts are interchangeable between all generations of the LongMill:

  • Motors and electronics
  • Lead screws, couplers, and nuts
  • V-wheels, fasteners, and eccentric nuts
  • XZ gantry assembly
  • Drag chains

Beta Testing

To assist with the development of the LongMill MK2, we recruited several beta testers. We provided our testers with prototype versions of the LongMill MK2 30×30 for testing and use in their personal shops as well as one-on-one assistance from me directly and the rest of the engineering team.

Thank you Dale, Andy, and Ed for being our guinea pigs.

Andy and his father assembling their MK2
Dale, finishing up the wiring on his beta machine.

Our beta testers were responsible for several tasks, including:

  • Putting the machine through its paces
  • Reporting back to us with feedback on a regular basis
  • Letting us observe and test their machines

A couple of key areas we wanted learn were:

  • What are the best ways to assemble the machine? How can we make the assembly faster, easier, and less prone to error?
  • What sort of long term use and maintenence concerns would there be?
  • How much of a performance difference is there between the two machines?
  • Are there any design improvements we can make before production?

Here are some things we learned:

  • Average assembly time between all of the beta testers were 2-3 hours, an overall improvement of from 4 hours that most users report spending to assemble their LongMill.
  • Wear and tear and maintenence is expected to be similar to the original LongMill, especially since it shares the same motors, lead screws, and delrin nuts.
Ed and Daniel (one of our engineers) figuring out the wiring on their LongMill

Overall, the engineering team here at Sienci Labs did an excellent job designing a worthy successor to the Longmill MK1. I was impressed on how easily everything came together. Overall, we faced very few issues in the beta testing phase of development, especially compared to the initial beta testing of the LongMill MK1. I believe this is a testament to our growth in experience and knowledge gained over the last three years of LongMill MK1 development and production.

How is the MK2 better?

The MK2 is an improvement to the current LongMill in these ways:

Fewer overall parts and a simpler design means faster and easier assembly

There have been several critical improvements to the LongMill MK2 design that makes assembly faster and easier.

First is the overall reduction of 3D printed parts. With the exception of the middle feet and dust shoe parts, we’ve redesigned parts to be made from steel or aluminum. For example, the MK2 Z motor mount design uses a machined aluminum part to hold the motor and lead screw parts together rather than the original combination of a steel and 3D printed part.

MK2 Aluminum Motor Mount
3D printed Z motor mount with Z motor plate on the LongMill MK1.

Other parts, such as the front and back feet have also been changed from 3D printed parts to formed sheet metal parts.

We’ve found that one of the biggest pain points for our customers was dealing with inconsistencies with 3D printed parts, such as nuts not fitting correctly and parts breaking. With steel and aluminum parts, we are able to produce them at a higher level of precision, making the assembly a smoother process.

The second is with reducing the overall part variety in the MK2. Rather than making the X rail a two-part assembly joining two rails in the MK1, the MK2 uses one single rail that is not only lighter but more rigid. This eliminates a tricky assembly step but the hardware required to put it together as well.

We also made many of the parts interchangeable. While the MK1 uses 6 different types of the front, back, and middle feet, the MK2 only uses 2 different parts that stand-in for all of the feet. This means that customers don’t need to root around and identify each foot they need for their assembly.

Lastly, we’ve significantly reduced the number of types of fasteners used for assembly. The MK2 now can be assembled completely with two Allen keys, a 2.5mm and 4mm Allen key (included).

Based on our beta testing results, the average assembly time for the LongMill MK2 was 2.5 hours.

Optimized rail design reduces overall deflection by up to 50%

Based on our testing, the MK2 deflects 30% less in the Y-direction and 50% less in the X-direction, using a 10kg load on an end mill. This improvement in rigidity is attributed primarily to the improvement in rigidity of the rails and should allow the machine to run faster, harder, and with a better surface finish.

An example of a simulation done on the computer

Testing the MK2 at 8mm DOC at over 3500mm/min

Other small changes to the LongMill MK2

There are a couple of other small changes that have been implemented on the MK2, as follows:

  • 24V 10A power supplies have been upgraded to 24V 12.5A power supplies. The higher power supply is expected to provide more headroom for stock electronics and allow for easier upgradability for the addition of higher power motors in the future. However, the 24V 12.5A power supplies will only be compatible with North American voltages (110V-120V) and customers that use higher voltages (220V-240V) will need a transformer or alternative power supply to use their machines in their country.
  • Most hardware supplied will come with integrated lockwashers, helping prevent screws from backing out over time.
  • Each kit will come with small wrenches and allen keys to do assembly. Customers will still need a drill or driver to mount their machine to a base.

Production timeline

We expect all of the parts needed to start shipping LongMill MK2s to arrive between now and the end of January. We estimate that the first LongMill MK2s will start shipping in the middle to the end of February. However, due to overall delays and issues in the supply chain industry, customers should prepare to have their orders potentially be delayed until March. We expect delays to come primarily from shipping delays from incoming parts.

All of the parts needed to start production are expected to arrive at the end of March/early April. Parts that have already arrived are actively being packed to prep for shipping. For the latest production updates, please see our blog: https://sienci.com/blog

A list of pending orders can be found here: https://sienci.com/order-status

Please note:

  • We will update the estimated shipping and delivery times on the product page.
  • Please prepare for delays due to material shortages. We are doing our best to keep things on schedule, but sometimes we are hit with unexpected delays and shortages out of our control.

We are currently working towards expanding our production capacity, and we have several things we are working on such as:

  • Creating outdoor storage and additional storage space to hold more parts
  • Hiring more packing and operations staff
  • Hiring more customer support and resource development staff
  • Purchasing and stockpiling additional inventory

We will keep customers updated through email for:

  • When their order is being packed (pre-shipping notice)
  • When their order ships, which includes the tracking number

Answering your questions

We recently put out a call for questions about the MK2. Although some of the questions have been reworded for clarity, I’ve done my best to answer as many questions as possible that may not have been answered earlier.

What is the working area of the LongMill MK2?

The LongMill MK2 30×30 has a maximum working area of 820mm or 32.28″ in the X-axis and 868mm or 34.17″ in the Y-axis.

The LongMill MK2 12×30 has a maximum working area of 820mm or 32.28″ in the X-axis and 368mm or 14.48″ in the Y-axis.

The total Z-travel for both machines is approximately 125mm or 4.9″. Total working area may vary slightly depending on the addition of a dust shoe, inductive sensors, and other add-ons.

For dimensioned drawings, please download the PDF.

Will the older version (the MK1) be available once the MK2 is released?

Once we have sold all of the MK1 machines, they will be discontinued and will no longer be available.

If I have a MK1 on order, can I change my order to a MK2?

If you placed an order for the MK1 and it hasn’t shipped yet, please cancel your initial order and place a new order for the LongMill MK2. The best way to get in touch with us to cancel your order is through our contact form on our website: https://sienci.com/contact-us/

What software can be used with the LongMill MK2?

Any software that already works with the LongMill will work with the MK2. For a full list of compatible software, please check out our Software Resources.

Will the MK2 be able to support a 4th axis?

No, the MK2 will not come with 4th axis compatibility.

Will there be assembly instructions or videos on putting together the MK2?

Yes, our team is currently working on the assembly manual for the MK2. Videos will also follow to assist users in the assembly process. New resources will be available at the end of January.

Is there an upgrade path from the MK1 to the MK2?

With the number of different parts that are needed to upgrade a MK1 to a MK2, it may be easier to write the parts that can be carried over between the MK1 and MK2, which include:

  • Motors (with the exception of the Z axis motor)
  • Bearings
  • Lead screws
  • Anti-backlash Delrin Nuts
  • ACME locking nuts
  • Motor spacer
  • Couplers (one extra coupler is needed to complete the upgrade)
  • Control board and e-stop
  • Eccentric nuts
  • Power supply
  • Delrin V-wheels
  • Drag chains

At the current time, we are not planning on having an “upgrade kit” for the MK1 to MK2, but we may consider creating one based on customer feedback.

If you want to read more about my personal opinion on whether its worth upgrading your MK1 to a MK2, here is an excerpt from one of my previous posts:

“To also note, for some people who might be wondering, making a dedicated kit to swap out rails and gantries to change a current LongMill to a MK2 is not our priority. We don’t think the extra cost doesn’t justify the real-life increase in performance, we don’t want to create a lot of extra waste, and if a machine is already assembled, most of the benefits that come with the faster/easier assembly is never realized (since you have to take apart and reassemble a machine). We will still offer individual parts on our store for customers (as we already do), so folks can make up their own mind. I’d also like to note that there WILL be a kit to use the original LongMill and add a longer X-axis (48×30 in the working area).”

Also to add onto this, the kit to extend the X-axis from 30 inches to 48 inches will work for both the MK1 and MK2.

Is the price increase from the MK1 to the MK2 justified?

There will be approximately a 20% price difference between the MK1 and MK2.

The price increase between the two versions comes due to several factors, both internally and externally.

The first reason for a price increase comes from the fact that the MK2 costs more to manufacture. Over the past two years, we’ve experienced price increases in nearly all parts and materials across the board. Although we’ve been able to keep our prices low as our scale overall reduced other costs through the power of economies of scale, we now produce a high enough volume of machines that any increases in volume have less of an impact on the unit cost of each machine. We also expect that prices for parts to continue to rise over time, and this price increase accounts for overall increasing costs.

The second reason is the demand and capacity that we can handle. At the current time, wait times for MK1 continue to be long and we expect that it will still take us a few months for us to scale up to handle the growing demand. This price increase is to help reduce overall demand as we continue to scale production up at our shop.

And lastly, we believe that the MK2 is simply a better overall machine. Although the improvements between the machines are generally incremental, we believe that the performance and quality improvements justify a slightly higher price tag.

When will the LongMill MK2 ship?

03/02/2022 EDIT: Due to shipping delays pre-orders are now expected to ship end of March, see February production update here.

Pre-orders are expected to ship starting mid-February. However, not all parts and materials have currently arrived for the MK2, and are subject to production delays. Additional updates on production will be provided as production continues. Customers should prepare for potential production delays in the case of supply chain issues.

When will the LongMill MK2 30×48 and the extension kit be available?

Parts for the larger version of the LongMill have been ordered and are in production. We expect parts to arrive at the end of February and the kits to be ready soon after. A pre-order page will be available around the end of January or February.

Do you take the payment now or when the order ships?

Full payment is required to hold your place in line. You can request a cancellation with no penalty or cost at any time before your machine ships.

Is there any way to get my order sooner?

No, all orders will be shipped in queue of when the order was placed. There are no exceptions.

Are you looking for any beta testers or reviewers?

No, our beta testing program is now closed. Thank you to all of our beta testers who have been working with us to test and make improvements to the MK2.

Will the LaserBeam or any other laser work with the MK2?

Any laser that currently works with the LongMill will work exactly the same with the MK2 and the LaserBeam will be fully supported with the MK2.

Will the MK2 support any spindles?

At the time of release, no. However, we are planning to be working on spindle options in the second half of the year that will be compatible with the MK2. Users however are welcome to add third party spindles and we sell different size router mounts on our store (up to 80mm).

Would adding an extra set of rails to the front and back of the machine improve stability or squareness?

Although the answer is technically yes, for most users, having a sturdy bench and following our installation instructions will still offer the fastest and easiest way to set up their machines. For users who wish to do additional modifications, all of our 3D CAD design files will be available from our resources in the coming weeks.

Is there an upgrade path between the MK1 and MK2?

Since a lot of parts are shared between the MK1 and MK2, a user could potentially swap some of their parts from the MK1 to the MK2. However, in my personal opinion, if you’ve already set up and assembled a MK1 already, the differences between the two machines are not large enough to be worth spending the time and money to upgrade.

That being said, we will make the extension kits work with both the MK1 and MK2, so if you will not have to upgrade your machine to be able to extend the X-axis.

Will this be a Kickstarter?

No, we will allow customers to place orders directly from our website.

Will there be any custom size options?

At this time, no, but since we have recently purchased our own extrusion cutting saw, if there is enough interest, we may consider offering machines in a larger variety of sizes.

Does the MK2 come with limit switches?

The MK2 can be ordered with a set of optional inductive limit switches. Since the MK2 has been designed with limit switches in mind, they will have a more robust installation compared to the MK1.

Will there be a built-in way to tram the MK2?

The MK2, like its predecessor, will not come with a tramming system found in some higher-end machines. Assembling the machine following our instructions will result in a machine trammed close enough for nearly all woodworking projects. However, for users who wish to explore tramming, the mounting method for the X-axis will allow for easier rotation of the X-axis and the four bolts holding the router mount on the Z-axis will be reachable when the machine is fully assembled, allowing adjustment on the A rotation axis easier.

How confident are you in being able to ship the MK2 on time (in February)?

To provide full transparency, I am expecting that there is a high chance that there will be minor delays in production. The production on the first batch of any product is always a bit hairy, with the MK2 being no exception. At this current time, nearly all of the parts for the MK2 have been ordered, in-transit, or completed and in our shop. It has been my goal to have all of the parts needed for production to be completed and in our shop before the end of January. Although I feel that the estimate of a mid-February shipping timeline is reasonable given the current production schedule, I would ask customers to be aware that delays are possible, and we will continue to update everyone with regular production updates as usual. Customers should be aware that there is a potential for shipping to be delayed to March.

Add-ons

The LongMill MK2 also comes with a couple new optional add-ons.

LongMill MK2 Dust Shoe

The dust shoe has been redesigned to address several complaints from the original magnetic dust shoe, which include:

Bristles being sucked up on especially powerful vacuum systems

Some customers reported having their bristles being pushed into the inlet of the vacuum especially when using more powerful vacuums. The new dust shoe uses:

  • Shorter length bristles
  • Additional consideration on the airflow within the dust shoe
  • Improved bristle mounting

Reduced X-axis travel

While the original version of the dust shoe reduced the X-axis travel by approximately 33mm, the new design should only reduce the X-travel by about 5mm*.

*Please note that some parts of the design are still in progress, and this amount may change.

Finicky front window

We had a transparent window that was prone to breaking. We changed the window to a softer material, which mostly solved this issue, but having the window also provided additional leakage of dust based on the alignment between the window and the rest of the bristles.

The new design removes this window completely and focuses on improving visibility through the top acrylic part of the body. Since the new dust shoe has a lower profile, it is easier to see the bit from above.

LongMill MK2 Lead Screw Dust Shield

The LongMill MK2 now comes with an additional option for a dust shield for the Y-axis lead screws. These shields help keep dust away from the lead screws and nuts, especially when cutting without a dust shoe or dust extraction system.

We recommend this product to customers if they are:

  • Cutting abrasive materials such as carbon fibre, fiberglass, and ceramics
  • Not using a dust collection system
  • Have a messy workplace and want to prevent tools, debris, materials, wires, and other items from getting caught in the wheels of the Y-axis.

Each dust shield is easily installed and removed with a set of M5 screws on the front and back feet of the machine.

Please note that the lead screws and Delrin nut system used on all LongMills are designed for use in dusty environments, and for most users, the dust shield only serves a limited benefit.

Other add-ons

The Makita RT0701 and Touch Plate will also be available for order through the product page and are identical to the ones currently sold with the LongMill MK1. Inductive sensors will also be offered as an add-on with the new machine, which will work the same as the MK1. For a full list of add-ons for sale, such as lasers, t-tracks, and software, please see our Add-On category of our store.

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LaserBeams Have begun Shipping this Monday – Resources will be Live Thursday end of day

Hello all Laser customers, Monday December 20th we began shipping our LaserBeam pre-orders out. I am working everyday to make sure we can get our first 300 pre-orders out the door before the end of the year.

I will be in the office next week, testing, packing and shipping LaserBeams.

I made the decision to begin shipping before our resource section was live because I did not want to delay shipping while I finished our resource section.

Each laser and laser driver is tested before shipping and I will have resources posted before Thursday end of day.

For now I will be providing the User/Safety Manual pdf with our tutorial video that was made for the Youtube Channel earlier this year for those who have received your Laser before Thursday.

I appreciate you all for sticking with this project and I’m still working hard until you all have Lasers and resources.

Cheers,

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December 2021 Production Update

Hey everyone, here is our December 2021 production update.

If you’re waiting on a machine to ship, you can find the list by order here: https://forum.sienci.com/t/list-of-shipped-machines-f-w-2021/4133

New LongMill orders

*Very important: If you are a customer looking to order a LongMill this month, please read this part carefully.

Due to low stock and high demand, our lead times for the LongMill are now extended to 4-6 weeks. New orders will not ship before Christmas. We are now limiting stock and customers may not be able to order once we go out of stock on our machines. A pre-order page for the LongMill MK2, the new version of the LongMill is scheduled to be available at the end of December, and orders for the LongMill MK2 will ship at the start of February. The new LongMill will have adjusted pricing that will be released at a later date, but are estimated to be around $1800CAD for the 30×30 version.

If you are interested in learning more about the differences between the MK2 and the original version of the LongMill, please read our development posts from our blog here: https://sienci.com/?s=longmill+MK2. More information will come soon.

Because of our shortage of parts, new orders (starting Dec 10, 2021) will start to use some of the parts that may have cosmetic defects on gantry plates and rails which do not affect the overall performance and use of the machine. We expect most customers to not even notice the cosmetic defects. All machines will come with the same high quality customer service and technical support, as well as the standard 90 day warranty.

Also, not all parts will have a cosmetic defect, as you may, for example, have a cosmetically perfect set of rails and one gantry that has a scratch. All parts are carefully inspected before being packed and shipped.

Some examples of scratches, dents, and other cosmetic dings

Every rail we ship out gets checked for:

  • Dimensional accuracy
  • Dings and dents that may impede with the travel of the v-wheels along the edge
  • Cosmetic damage

While the first two criteria are critical to making sure that the LongMill works, cosmetic damage along the sides and inside of the rail does not impact the performance and functionality of the machine. Rails that were rejected due to cosmetic damage but not from the first two criteria would be used in this version of the machine.

Every gantry plate gets checked for:

  • Paint defects, such as chipping and orange peel
  • Gouges and scratches
  • Uneven paint

Plates, such as the one shown above show orange peeling and would be rejected in production. This may be caused by contamination on the plate surface before coating, but overall does not affect the use and performance of the machine.

Why did we make this decision?

Our goal is to use the remaining stock of rails and gantries to bridge the gap between when we’ll be able to restock on parts again in January and February. Between each batch of production, we’ve kept our functional but cosmetically imperfect parts in storage. Using up these parts will help us use excess materials and clear out space for new inventory, as well as keep our lead times lower.

This is actually not the first time we’ve done this. On some rare occasions where we run out of a part and are waiting to restock, we’ve asked customers if we can provide them with imperfect parts, and all of our customers preferred to get their machine a week or two earlier, rather than wait till the new parts arrived.

Although we have considered remaking or repainting the rest of the parts, this would extend the lead time significantly, as new parts can take upwards of 8 weeks to produce. Instead, we figured we would let the customer know that some of their LongMill parts may be cosmetically imperfect, and let them make the decision at purchase.

LongMill MK2 Production

We’ve slowly started to gather parts for the production of the LongMill MK2. In our last update, we talked about the extended lead times for the MK2’s aluminum rails. It just happens that Almag was able to rush order the rails and have them dropped off a lot earlier than expected. Yay!

On top of this, we have also received full or partial shipments of:

  • Linear guides
  • Lead screws
  • Fasteners
  • Delrin nuts
  • Z motor mounts
  • Drag chains

There are still a lot of parts that are in transit and production, such as:

  • Control boards
  • Power supplies
  • Motors
  • Couplers
  • Packaging materials

We are crossing our fingers that these parts will arrive by the end of December or early January.

Holiday schedule and office closures

Please note that our offices will be closed from Dec 24th to Jan 3rd. We will be back in action and shipping again on Jan 4th.

If you have any orders that need to be shipped out before the holidays, please place your orders before Dec 23rd so that they can be shipped out before we close.