Building a Maslow using a TinyG and Stepper motors

Hi all,

Just discovered Maslow! What a fantastic idea. A while ago I had started a CNC router project using ball screws, stepper motors and a TinyG controller. This project became too complicates and costly and therefore stalled.

I’d like to look a making a cheaper and quicker alternative such as Maslow, but utilise the equipment I already have - a TinyG and three stepper motors.

Is this possible? I assume all the principles are the same, and that once I understand them It should be possible to replicate.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

The fork on GitHub seems to be bit quiet:

1 Like

stepper motors can’t be used directly, they don’t have sufficient resolution,
they don’t have enough torque, and when powered down, they don’t hold their

There is one person who has built a Maslow with steppers and worm gear boxes
attached to them. He paid someone to fork the maslow codebase to provide the
stepper support.

He first tried planetary gearboxes, but the position holding was a problem so he
switched to work gears.

This was significantly more expensive than the Maslow kit

search for ‘stepper’ on the old forum.

David Lang

Have a look at this instructable and you should be able to figure out how to build your own version of a “Maslow”.

Stepper motors have plenty of torque and sufficient resolution to travel at the speed Maslow does, but they will need some type of gear reduction. the only real problem with steppers is they won’t hold position when switched off! ( you would lose your zero every time you shut the machine down!) you could incorporate some kind of mechanical lock or just disconnect your sled before shutting off the power, but either of these would make it more awkward to operate. If you can find some sort of inexpensive worm style gearboxes for your steppers they will work just as well as servos. My conventional cnc router with steppers has incredible accuracy, travels ten times faster than maslow and will rip your arms off if you try to stop it!
You could design a drive using leadscrews that would be self locking but managing ten foot long lead screws would be quite a challenge! ( they cannot be left “loose” at the free end or they will whip)