September 2023 Production Updates

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

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LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

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

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

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

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

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

3) Improve our efficiency in packing and shipping kits

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

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

LaserBeam Orders

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

Vortex Rotary Orders

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

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

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

Test piece from Colby Browing (Facebook)

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

T8 Spring Loaded Anti-Backlash Nuts

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

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

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

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

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

Prototype designs for the V2 of the spring loaded nut.

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

SuperLongBoard Beta Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newest version of the SLB

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

Hamilton Woodworking Show

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

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

Sienci Router

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

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

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

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

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

August 2023 Production Updates

July was a bit of a slow month due to the Vancover port strike holding up shipments for us to ship LongMills in the queue. However, now that parts are back to arriving again, we’re picking back up with our regular routine.

We have a lot of news to cover, especially with the pending release and shipping of the Vortex Rotary axis and new development around the SuperLongBoard.

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UPS reaches labour deal with Teamsters before strike

This July, we found out that Teamsters working for UPS were preparing for a strike in August, which would have disrupted shipments going to the US. However, UPS and Teamsters have settled on a new UPS contract which increases worker wages across the board and improved working conditions.

We are happy to hear that a resolution has been made, especially as we get into the busiest part of the season for our business.

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

July has been a slow month for us shipping out LongMills as we have been affected by the port strike that delayed our shipment of controller boards. However, I’m happy to announce that we will receive the boards today and expect to clear the queue in the next 2 weeks.

The large majority of the pending 100 LongMill orders have been packed and are waiting to have the controller boxes done to have them shipped out.

Some LongMills waiting to be shipped

As some folks may know, we’ve continued to work on smoothing out the process of dealing with customs for shipments going to the US. Recently, we’ve been assigned a single contact with UPS to handle all of our LongMill shipments that need customs clearance going to the US. We found that some items were being miscategorized for duties and taxes, and we suspect it is because a big part of this is a manual process that causes human error. We believe that having a single contact who is familiar with the line items will speed up the clearance process with fewer mistakes.

A few new design updates on the LongMill MK2 design include a focus on phasing out of using M3 bolts in the assembly process and replacing them with M5 screws, including parts such as the couplers and ACME locking nuts. We are phasing out components using M3 screws in the LongMill assembly process because they are prone to stripping the heads more easily. Eventually, a full LongMill will be able to be assembled with just one M5 Allen key and our special wrench that we provide (as well as a drill and bit to mount your LongMill to a wasteboard of course).

Some new prototypes of the assembly wrench for new hardware
New T8 locking nuts replacing the brass ACME nuts

We are also starting to use longer Z motor cables for the motors so that LongMill 48×30 kits, which are now the most popular variant, will not need a motor extension cable, simplifying the assembly process as well.

Additionally, now that the design of the LongMill MK2 has matured over the past year or so since its launch, we are moving to figure out injection molding parts for it for the first time. If you didn’t know, we 3D print several components for the LongMill MK2, including the dust shoe and feet. We found that due to the large number of feet we print, moving to injection molding would be a natural next step to reduce our need to rely on the 3D print farm, which is harder to scale production for.

We are entering into the first day of August with around 100 pending LongMill orders, but we expect to clear the queue in a week or two, after which we expect to shorten lead times again.

Vortex Rotary Axis

The last of the Vortex Rotary Axis parts have arrived at the end of July and we are now starting production and assembly!

First batch of machined parts looking beautiful
Test assembly of the Vortex kit
Switch assemblies for Y axis to rotary mode

Our team has been continuing to work on different areas of the Vortex so that when they get into the hands of our users, they’ll have everything they need to get started. This includes:

  • Thorough assembly and installation instructions. We just completed initial trials and tests of the assembly process to make sure that we provide clear instructions to make it easy to put together. We found that everything came together really easily, except for the cam clamping system for the t-track, which we are currently working on to make it less finicky. We estimate that most users should be able to put it together in about 30 minutes. Full instructions will be found on our Vortex Resources soon.
  • Video content about the Vortex. We understand that not a lot of how-to and tutorial content exists for rotary CNCing. Our video production team and the engineers are working on the next steps for creating content so that our users can learn how the Vortex works and how to use it.
  • The gSender team continues to work on completing Rotary Axis implementation into the gSender, including homing and visualization for rotary. These features will be in gSender Edge at the time of launch and will be merged into the main version of gSender down the line. You try and learn about the latest version of Edge here.

We will start to trickle out Vortex Rotary Axis kits over the next week or two as we iron out the last bits of details. We expect the first batch of kits to start shipping out at the end of this week or early next week.


LaserBeam production continues to move along smoothly, with most orders shipping out within a few days. We have stock available for the LaserBeam ready to ship now.


Work for the SuperLongBoard (SLB) continues on. The team has been able to successfully test the main functionality with excellent results. However, we found our initial tests with the onboard compute module to be unsuccessful, as the Broadcom and Rockwell-based processors used on smaller compute modules to not be powerful enough to accommodate the visualization of g-code directly onboard.

Revised SLB

While additional software development was able to make significant speed improvements, we felt that the compute module would most likely need more headroom in the future if we were to implement other features down the line such as having a camera monitoring system, which we felt would be difficult to add due to a limitation of system resources.

We have now started looking at higher power compute modules, single board computers, and other hardware that we feel would ensure that the onboard gSender experience would be smooth and seamless, as well as provide headroom for future applications. However, the downside is that higher-power computers also cost more, and while our initial budget was around $80CAD/60USD for the compute module, we expect the computers to cost somewhere around $100-$200USD depending on the specs and configuration.

That being said, since we don’t need to have certain components and other parts to support the onboard computer directly, some of the cost of the computer is offset by the lower cost of the SLB itself.

We’ve decided to split the development of the SLB into two parts, one for the board itself, which will use grblHAL, a new, more advanced firmware and all of the improved motor control and drivers, and the computer itself. This means that the computer will live off the board in one fashion or the other.

While it would have been really cool to have the whole system integrated, we believe that by dividing and conquering, we can have the main portion of the SuperLongBoard out of the development process and into production first, and focus on the computer addition after. We felt like we could tackle some of the main problems with the current LongBoard with the new controller, and that it would be better to have the improvements we’ve already developed reach users sooner rather than having everything wait on further development on the onboard computer side.

This means that users will still need to connect their computers to the board to control their machines when the first batch of SLBs release, but better communication protocols, electronics, and shielding will make the USB connection significantly more reliable than before. Andrew, our main developer on this project, assures me that unreliable connections that cause issues with some users with the current board will be a thing of the past.

This version of the SLB natively supports communication over Ethernet, as well will have onboard storage which allows for streaming onboard rather than through a cable, which will improve reliability as well.

We are making the final design changes to prepare this version of the SLB for prototype production, and we hope to have production boards available near the end of the year. If you want to learn more about the SLB, please read:

2023 Vancover Port Strike Resolved

Last week we wrote about a port strike that was going on in Vancouver that was looking to impact the delivery times for our control boards and rotary axis parts. I’m happy to share that the strike has been resolved. However, the ports are still backed up and we are expecting some delays in receiving the rest of our materials.

In the meantime, we’ve ordered another batch of controllers to be produced and shipped rush in the case the delay for controllers causes a major delay in delivery times for pending LongMill orders. We expect this batch to be ready in around 3 weeks.

As we shared in the last update, while we don’t have an exact timeline on when the parts will arrive, we are optimistic that our shipment will be one of the first to be on its way toward Toronto as our container has been unloaded from the ship and is waiting in the railyard. Additionally, since we’ve been approved for ERS (express rail service), which prioritized our cargo first, we expect that this shipment will arrive before the rush order for additional controllers will arrive.

That being said, we still are not sure of the overall impact of the strike, and the backup order should allow us to continue production in the case that delays extend. We’ve received word that parts for the Vortex are already on the way and are expected to arrive end of next week, and we are still waiting for word about the controllers now we have received confirmation that we will receive the controllers around July 28th.

If you are waiting on a LongMill order to ship, please check for more info.

July 2023 Port Strike in Vancouver

Due to a major strike happening in ports on the west coast, some of our shipments coming in from overseas have been delayed. This affects the arrival time of LongBoard controller and certain parts for the Vortex Rotary Axis.

We’ve communicated with our shipping companies who have assured us that our items, due to the timing of the arrivals, are in the railyards awaiting to be sent by train. Thankfully, this puts as one of the first shipments to start moving once the strike ends, but we do not know how long the strike will last.

Based on our research and communication with shipping companies, there is a lot of pressure to resolve the strike, as it is estimated by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters that the strike is disturbing $500M in trade per day, and creates the potential to damage trade relations with overseas companies.

We are optimistic that the strike will clear soon, and since we are currently in a slower period for shipping, that the impact will be limited. However, we would advise customers to expect a 2-3 week delay for new LongMill orders which require the LongBoard. In the meantime, we are working on alternative methods to get more control boards to continue shipping and production, and we will be pre-packing orders in advance as we wait for the boards to arrive.

The Vortex Rotary Axis is now being assembled and prepared with the parts that we currently have on hand and preparing everything in advance before our last few parts arrive. We continue to keep our set expected shipping date for late-July or early-August.

We will put another post out once this situation resolves and we are closely monitoring the situation. We will reach out to any customers with orders affected by the strike directly.

July 2023 Production Updates

Hey everyone, happy July!

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Our inventory manager Kye taking stock of new end mills and bits

In general news, we’ve done a few things in the past few weeks:

  • A new batch of end mills have arrived from our manufacturer and are being packed. New bit packs should be restocked by the time this post comes out
  • We’ve officially signed all of the paperwork for our new office. This means we’ll start moving in August 2023 with partial access. Starting October 2023, we’ll have full access.
Office layout planning

Content Insight Survey

Hey guess what! We just passed our 7000th subscriber on Youtube! If you didn’t know, we make tons of how-to, assembly, and tutorial videos on our channel.

Our team wants to keep making amazing content. If you want to help us figure out what we’re doing next, make sure to take our Content Insight Survey, which will help us understand what content you like and what we should be focusing

Vortex Rotary Axis

The Vortex Rotary Axis was launched on June 1st! We now have about half of the batch accounted for, interested customers can still get on the pre-order. This launch was probably the smoothest product launch we’ve ever had. Although some customers weren’t able to make a purchase right at the time we opened up orders due to some website caching, after we had that cleared up, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I just want to thank and congratulate everyone who worked on this project as all of the prep work, testing, and resource development that went into this product made sure we had a smooth launch.

Production for the Vortex Rotary Axis has been ramping up, as we get things made up and printed for shipping in late July. We’ve now received most of the parts for the Rotary Axis, and the last remaining parts we are still waiting on are expected to be ready in the first week of July.

There has also been a substantial amount of resource development done for the Vortex, some of which is now being uploaded to the Vortex Resources. You won’t see everything on there yet much of it is in draft form, we are getting everything ready and set up for launch.

LongMill and Extension Kits

We continue to have fairly short lead times on LongMills, however, we are running low on control boards which may increase lead times for some customers. We expect to reach the end of Batch 8 in August, and have around 270 units left in stock. Pending delivery of new control boards, lead times are expected to be 1-2 weeks, but could extend later this month to +3 weeks. Once we receive the new control boards, we expect lead times to go down again.

Lead times are expected to be short for the time being, but lead times may vary a bit depending on how quicky we can get a few kinks resolved including:

  • We are running low on controller board parts, and we are expecting to restock in the first or second week of July
  • Some rails from production are twisted out of spec. We are currently shipping rails that are within spec, and are waiting on replacements to be made.
  • Some poor threading on T12 Delrin nuts means we are making replacements currently. We expect them to be completed in the next 1-2 weeks, but we don’t expect this to be a bottleneck since we still have quite a few in stock.

We are working hard to get ready for the busy season coming up this fall, which means doing lots of pre-packing, restocking and prep!

Rail twist measurement system

We have a few other things coming down the pipeline, but this is all for today. Make sure to stay tuned for the next update.

June 2023 Production Updates

Happy June everyone. I am sure the rest of the team shares this sentiment when I say we are enjoying the sunnier weather.

A couple of UW students working with us for the summer

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You can also read last month’s production update here:

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

As we go into the summer season when things start to slow down in terms of orders, we’ve been catching up with the rest of the queue. We also increased staff to speed up our packing. We now have a turnaround time of just a few days. There are a few items we are running low on, such as the Delrin Anti-Backlash nuts and the v-wheels, but our new order should be arriving in the next week or two.

The past half year has been pretty busy, as this is the first time since August/September 2022, or almost 9 months that we’ve been able to get caught up. Even though it seems like a really long time for us to get caught up, during this time, we also experienced orders nearly double over the last few months, which means we’ve been playing catch up.

May has historically been the slowest time of the year for us as well, but we expect things to start to ramp up significantly in August. You can see the trends below.

Last month in May, we mentioned our extrusion die being damaged unexpectedly. The silver lining to this however is that with the fresh die, we are getting better tolerances across the length of the rail. For those not familiar, extrusion dies have to be replaced over time once the die wears and the profile changes shape to enough of a degree that the extrusion it produces is not of the correct dimensions. This means that the quality of the new Y rails should be slightly better than before.

A recent batch of T12 lead screws has arrived, with half of them being out of spec. Due to bends in the screw, we’ve been working on a way to straighten them out. Although in the long run, our priority is to make sure that they are straightened by the manufacturer, due to the large number of bent screws, we wanted to figure out a way to fix them if possible. We expect to receive the full batch of lead screws in the coming weeks, so we’ll have stock available.

While we have some QA issues to tackle, since we have parts stocked up, we expect to be able to go through our existing parts for the time being.

This lull period will allow us to divert energy into the production and assembly of the Rotary Axis, as we expect to see parts start to arrive this month.

Parts for Batch 8 continue to trickle in, with a significant number of parts slated to arrive over the next two months.

We are at the last third of machines in Batch 7, and we expect to go into Batch 8 around August 2023.

LaserBeam Orders

New LaserBeam orders are shipping generally within 2 weeks, but usually faster.

Vortex Rotary Axis

Preorders for the Vortex Rotary Axis will be available for pre-order on June 1, 2023 at 1PM Eastern Standard Time and is expected to ship in August 2023. All important details can be found in this article.

We are expecting parts to start arriving in the coming weeks, and we are prepping assembly and QA for the Rotary units. We’ve started receiving production, and we are expecting the last batch of parts to complete production around mid-July.

Price increase on Makita RT0701 Router

Due to price increases from our supplier earlier this year, we’ve increased the price for the Makita RT0701 from $150CAD to $165CAD.

Shipping Holdups from UPS from Canada to the US

We have now obtained our US EIN number and set up an entity in the US to help facilitate shipments from Canada to the US. Over the last few months, we’ve generally seen fewer holdups, but they are still occurring. Once we get everything set up, we hope that number will drop to zero.

We just set up US bank accounts so that we can also start setting up payment processors in the US. Although for most customers this probably won’t make any impact, this means that we can save on some banking and cross-border fees that happen due to the fact we are doing everything through our Canadian banking network.

There continues to be a bit of friction setting this up, since there are a few extra steps, such as setting up a physical mailing address that can forward mail to us to Canada, learning about the US tax system, and fixing some technical issues with our payment processor as we switch over.

May 2023 Production Updates

Here is your May 2023 Production Updates. For all news and updates, please see our Blog.

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Resource and content development

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

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

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

Working on Rotary Axis documentation

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

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

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

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

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

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

LaserBeam Orders

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


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

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

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

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

Rotary Axis

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

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

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

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

A full size bat made for testing the Rotary Axis

April 2023 Production Updates

In today’s production news, please welcome Kelsey’s (our office manager) latest creation, a healthy baby boy.

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

For all news and updates, please see our Blog.

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We’re moving (soon)!

In the last update, we talked about our search for a new home. Well, I’m excited to share that we’ve signed a new lease! Our new home will be a few minutes away from our current space in Waterloo, but offer double the square footage plus much higher ceilings, allowing us to store a significantly more amount of material.

At this time, there are a couple of moving parts the most important being that the current tenants occupying the back half of the building until October. Although we’ll have access to the front half of the building in the coming months, we won’t be able to fully set things up without access to the back space and the loading docks.

To allow for some transition time, we’ve extended our lease in our current building til December 2023, so that we don’t have to move everything all at once.

Update on customs hold-ups for US customers

I’m happy to mention that for the most part, the number of shipments that are being held up has decreased. We’ve made some changes to our documentation which seems to have been helping with the situation. We’ve also been working on finalizing the registration of our US corporation to help facilitate orders going to the US. There were some conflicting information and changes to the plan for establishing a US entity that caused this to drag further than we wanted, but we’ve finally started with the next step in the registration that would allow us to get our own EIN and TIN numbers.

After this step, we’ll still need to work on a couple of other things, such as US tax compliance and banking-related stuff, but I am sure we’ll figure each thing out over the next month or two.

LongMill and Extension Orders

Production on LongMill and Extension orders have been a bit up and down as we running low of certain parts needed for the 48×30 machines. At this current time, we are waiting on a new batch of Y axis rails to arrive. Due to the extrusion die being damaged during handling, the rails are still in production. Machines are expected to continue to ship on schedule at 5-6 weeks but shipping rates might not be consistent week to week.

There have also been a few design changes to the ACME locking nuts and couplers that will be reflected in the latest version of the LongMill. The new design helps reduce the chance of rubbing on the support bearings on each end of the machine lead screw. We’ll have the new documentation go live soon. This should help alleviate some of the issues that customers have at start of assembly where they have a binding in one of the axis.

Earlier this year, we hired a couple of new people for the packing team, but we’re still working through catching up.

LaserBeam Orders

We’ve received a new shipment of parts and are expecting the queue for the LaserBeam to be complete in the next week or two. We are currently in the middle of new production for the driver boards, which are expected to finish in a few weeks. We are keeping our lead time estimates to 4-6 weeks, just in case we run out of any parts, but for the most part, we expect orders to ship sooner than that.

Rotary Axis

Production for the rotary axis kit is now underway, with parts for the first 300 units in production. We are working on finalizing the details for the electronics and software, and expect to have a pre-order launch available in the next few weeks. While initially, we were planning to integrate an off-the-shelf rotary axis kit into the LongMill, we’ve decided to fully design the rotary axis from scratch. We found that integrating an off-the-shelf solution would be a reasonably fast and affordable way to set up a 4th axis, there were a couple of compromises we didn’t want to make, such as the form factor, ease of setting up a mounting solution to the wasteboard, and the ability for us to integrate certain features of the rotary axis, such as a way to home and probe off the rotary that would be difficult to accomplish without significant modification to the original design.

There are more details to come, but we feel that the new rotary axis allows for the same type of projects but in a much more user friendly and compact design.

Also if you haven’t seen it yet, check out our debut of the rotary axis in our 2023 April Fools video!

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!

February 2023 Production Updates

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

For all news and updates, please see our Blog.

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

Customs Hold-ups for some US customers

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

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

LongMill and Extension Kit Orders

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

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


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

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

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

Rotary Axis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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