MR-1 Spindle Upgrade - More Info!

Hi everyone; I wanted to provide a quick follow-up message to those that received the shipping delay email from us yesterday (by the way the delay should only impact those that received an email, everyone else should still be on schedule). When we first set out to design MR-1, we identified a gap in the market for an affordable and user friendly CNC machine. The first concept was meant to be a machine that customers could use to reliably cut plastic and aluminum with good accuracy and decent cutting speeds. The first prototype of MR-1 in 2020 satisfied this goal but once we started stress testing the machine we realized that it had a little more in it. We started taking light cuts into steel and realized that maybe with a little more rigidity and a little more spindle power the machine could occasionally be used to cut small steel parts slowly. Fast forward to the end of 2021 and the machine had taken on an entirely new form. This included a massively beefier frame, heavy cast iron carriages on X and Y axes, larger linear guide bearings and ball screws, and a ridiculous 3.4HP servo spindle motor. The machine became an absolute metal cutting monster from aluminum all the way up to hardened steel. We started pulling out REAL parts out of the machine with surprisingly good speed and accuracy. While we absolutely do not advise customers pushing their machine to the limits, internally we have tested MR-1 reliability up to mind-boggling material removal rates of 18 MRR (cubic inches per minute) in aluminum and 6 MRR in steel and the cuts still sound great (the spindle stalls!). Let’s think about this for a minute; this means we can put in a 1 inch thick piece of aluminum that measures 6” x 3” and erase it entirely in 60 seconds with a standard 2 flute end mill (these numbers get even bigger with roughing end mills, especially in steel where we have hit 10+ MRR). I am not aware of a single CNC milling machine on the US market under $35k that can beat these numbers. When people start receiving these machines we truly believe that the performance and capability are going to be game changing in the industry.
As the machine grew in rigidity and capabilities, we realized that this put our original spindle into more stress. While the spindle safely had the rigidity needed to make these big cuts, the bigger factor for us was long term reliability and consistency. We wanted a machine that a customer could come up to and make a cut on day 1 and day 500 and not have there be any difference to performance. We conducted weeks of endurance testing and quite frankly turned hundreds of pounds of steel into chips and the spindles and bearings passed without issue. Langmuir Systems has always been about value; we spend countless hours optimizing our designs for cost. Our goal is always to figure out a way to provide a low cost for our customers without sacrificing performance or reliability and this mantra is the embodiment of MR-1. Since the spindles were passing every test that we could throw at them, we did not find it necessary to increase the costs of the machine for our customers if it wasn’t required.
What kicked off the current issue was that once our assembly lines started cranking out spindle assemblies, we sent the first production units through reliability testing to be safe. During this testing we noticed that the sample bearings that we had been running through the years did not match the quality of the bearings that we had received in bulk production. As a result, a small percentage of the spindles that we endurance tested started to develop issues. Now admittedly the cuts we make during these tests are nothing like what actual customers will do to their machines; to be honest we beat the hell out of the machines to see what happens.
We came to a fork in the road where we had to decide if it was worth it to ship these spindles knowing that for 95% of the customers it would never be an issue in the field. After a tough couple days, we decided that reliability and longevity of this product is too important to us to ignore. Fortunately, our engineering team was able to put into action a quick spindle redesign that is significantly better in every single way. To be quite frank the spindle is now overkill for the machine but to us it’s absolutely worth it and performance has improved. We were able to massively increase the bearing size, bearing precision rating, number of bearings, spindle diameter, and spindle housing size all while not losing anything on machine travel or adjustability. The picture in this post is a very early functional prototype of the spindle and bearings that we tested but I wanted to show you folks just how stout this thing is going to be (FYI the spindle is still ER20 not BT30 this was just a quick prototype we machined in-house for testing purposes). To anyone doubting if MR-1 is a real metal cutting machine there should be no doubts left. More than anything, the spindle design has so much more safety margin that we never have to worry about reliably in the field and to us that’s worth it a million times over. While this change comes as a huge hit to our bottom line we firmly believe that it was the right decision and we stand by it wholeheartedly.
We understand that a 5-7 week delay for the early shipments is an absolute gut punch this late in the game but we really hope that customers can stick it out just a little longer because it is absolutely going to be worth it. We believe that MR-1 is the best product that we’ve released so far and we can’t wait to start delivering these in earnest very soon. Fortunately this setback only affects one assembly station in our factory and we are able to continue on with all other aspects of machine sub-assembly and packaging so that the later shipments will still be on time. Thank you all again for your patience and we can’t wait for chips to start flying soon!

10 Likes

Ship whats ready so we can start the concrete and epoxy. I’m sure the spindle can be added after. Heck I’ll pay the shipping on the spindle later.

@Bigdaddy2166 We had considered this option but the problem is how it ships. The X/Z carriage assembly is 100 lbs and it’s a precisely aligned by us during assembly. There’s virtually no way to ship it via UPS ground without it getting destroyed (trust us, we have tons of experience with UPS ground :rofl:). The way our freight packaging for MR-1 is designed guarantees that this assembly sits inside the shipment and is very well protected. It’s easy to throw a box out of the back of a truck; much harder to do this with a 500lb+ pallet.

2 Likes

Ill pay for for the truck freight. Please consider my request

@Bigdaddy2166 I’ll have to talk with the team about this and get back to you on it!

1 Like

Thanks Mike. I’ll save 3 weeks having the initial assembly completed.

1 Like

Thank you for the updates. I appreciate your honestly and specificity in what is happening. I have been more than happy with the performance of my LS products thus far.

I am happy to see your team taking the reliability of the MR-1 seriously, to the point of risking capital and the potential of upsetting some customers. No doubt, a tough decision to make, but based on what has been said, definitely the right one and eventually a more profitable for LS and their customers.

Perhaps a weekly update on how things are going would help ease some anxiety for some of us.
@moderators

1 Like

Appreciate the update, that’s a serious piece of steel. Thanks for the upgrade before we ended up with problems. 5 to 7 weeks is not all that bad. Can’t wait to make some chips!

1 Like

one day ill save up enough to pick one of these monsters up

1 Like

Have you considered sticking with the BT-30 in your prototype? That is an upgrade I would pay for. I was seriously consider ditching the original spindle the machine came with to do the exact same thing in fact. But if you folks already have that design in the hopper, please make it an upgrade option.

1 Like

I was about to ask the same thing as Rotator. What bearing does this spindle use, 7006 or larger? A BT30 spindle can use up to ER40 collets. I was planning to make my own spindle anyway.

1 Like

Agreed I’d pay for the upgraded spindle

Thanks for the updates, as I think I mentioned in an earlier thread, the fact you’re pushed the date back a bit to address problems found in testing relieves me a little. I’m happy to hear that longevity and reliability are at the front of your priorities, just as they are for me. Might be interested in a BT30 spindle, but also interested to hear what the drawbacks are if so, ie reduces z height.

Keep doing what you guys are doing, can’t wait to use the machine this winter!

2 Likes

I would also be interested in a BT-30 as an upgrade option. It would allow me to have a repeatable maching sequence as the machine’s capabilities grow.

1 Like

Even a short BT-30 end mill holder is 3" long. With only 6" of travel, it would be tough to get the holder with tool in it to fit between the workpiece and spindle nose. Also the spindle would need a 1/2" through hole for the drawbar. I’m sure all these things were taken into consideration when the design was done.

2 Likes

Yeah, that’s exactly what I was getting at. Not sure if that would be worth it for me, but I guess it might be for some people

I too would be interested in a BT30 spindle upgrade, especially if it had a power drawbar. That should make a wine-rack style tool changer feasible as long as there are some unused gpio pins on the controller.

For the folks in this thread that don’t understand why there is no interest in a standardized taper, the gantry clearance is ~6" but the Z axis travel is spec as 9". Additional clearance could be gained with an offset plate added to the gantry to shift the x-axis up by a couple of inches.

For reference a bare 3hp ISO30 spindle from cncdepot is $3k and that does not include a VFD, cabling, or the labor it would take to integrate a different spindle and drawbar into GRBL and tune the VFD.

I suspect there is a significant market for an upgraded spindle and the total package price would still come in well under a tormach 1100 with ATC.

Hello, I have a reserve on an MR1 and created a forum account as I wanted to comment on this thread in particular.

This delay and quite frankly overall mentality will be the foundation of the success of this machine - and Langmuir overall. I’ve worked in large scale manufacturing (Surprisingly little machining though) for a good while and I know there are always high stakes decisions to be made: “Should we… Or shouldnt we”.

As a customer who values manufacturer support and transparency - I want to say THANK YOU for taking the time, and making the right decision even though it was a hit to your bottom line, and will delay shipments. Quite frankly I think this is a small bump in the road in terms of delivery, but the alternative route would have resulted in a stained product notoriety which is far more detrimental to business. It was good that this was caught so early in the process (Though it may seem like it’s late, in terms of this product we’re still taking baby steps).

It was the right call. Great job gents! You’re absolutely correct though Mike about this being a disruptive product in the market. There will always be whiney customers - but at the end of the day it will compete with much higher priced machines.

12 Likes

Completely agree but also like Bigdaddy’s idea.