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March 2023 Production Updates

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

For all news and updates, please see our Blog.

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

Alfie in the office today

Update on customs hold-ups for US customers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LongMill MK2 and Extension Kit Production

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

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

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

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

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

Warehouse shopping

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

LaserBeam Production

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

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

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

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December 2022 Production Updates

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

For all news and updates, please see our Blog.

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

LongMill users on a map!

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

Here are some cool facts:

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

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

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

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

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

LaserBeam Orders

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

End-of-Year Holidays

As we typically do, we are on closing for holidays from Dec 23rd to Jan 2nd. If you have any questions or need anything shipped out, please reach out to us before the 23rd. There may be some of us providing limited holiday support and getting ready for the new year, but the large majority of us will be on holiday.