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Frequently Asked Questions 2020

Why did I write this? Over the last 6 months, the questions have largely been repetitive. Perhaps it has been that way for years and years. As a new user I have been concerned with trying to help other new users get going and make it easier for us to get started and be successful. I think much of it is the ease of finding information. This is another attempt. Please correct the entries as this is a starting point.

  • Why is there no technical support phone number? Maslow is open source. Suppliers provide various kits of parts that users assemble to build their own maslow. Open source support is from other users in the community on their own time. This is on the forum or on facebook groups and is therefore free. The low cost of the maslow does not include overhead for support. That is one of the benefits and sometimes one of the challenges of open source projects.

  • What is the deal with eastbay, metalmaslow, and makermade? Each are supplying a kit of parts for an open source system of software to automate a maslow system. No one of them own maslow. They each are trying to add value to improve the user’s ability to build a reliable, accurate, and robust maslow system.

  • Should I buy classic Mega system or newer Due (like M2)? Subjective question. It depends. User results have varied widely depending on the supplier and the user. The best upgrade is the z axis, not so much the controller.

  • Where do I start? Read the manual and the wiki entries then search for specific information, then don’t be afraid to ask specific questions.

  • What is the feed speed limitation during cutting? A lot of things. Quality is best with slower cuts.

  • Why does my due system drive itself in some direction other than what I want? Must set machine Home/ reset chains before first movement.

  • Why is my z axis backwards? Pitch +/- or $3=4

  • What is the best thing to upgrade to speed up the cut time? The z axis. A faster plunge/retract will cut days off of your movement time.

  • What is the most common pitfall and how do we avoid that? Electrical wires not seated completely or working loose. Firmware upgrade sometimes. Only rarely is it a wire or a motor or encoder.

  • What frame should I build? It depends: How much space do you have, how much chain length do you have, what size cuts will you be making? There are many discussions on this, best to search and use the google sheet to study it out.

  • What part of the frame is most critical for accurate cuts? Beam height and width. Larger is better. Y offset, and ring height and beam match for a parallel chain setup for smooth chain motion around gear.

  • Why can’t the system cut well in lower corners? Beam is not wide enough, sled is not smooth enough.

  • How heavy can the sled be? See sheet.

  • Why are the cuts not straight? Sled sticking, chain catching, or top beam flex on the middle or the fact that the chain cannot push the sled into the lower corners.

  • How do I build a 12’ frame? There are not instructions. Make the frame taller so the beam is higher and get a longer beam… Search forum for 12’ beam.

  • How do I upgrade the firmware? See here.

  • Why don’t the motors move? Check power is connected to top board, motors are plugged in, usb is connected, shield is tightly plugged in, and correct firmware is being used.

  • Is it normal for the motors to whine? In Makerverse, yes.

  • What control software should I use? Makerverse for DUE or MEGA or webcontrol for MEGA.

  • What firmware should I use? Depends on your control program. see next question.

  • What is the latest version of x software?
    Groundcontrol - Mega 1.26 ( eastbay has a 1.26b)
    Webcontrol - Mega 1.26 (triangular), Mega 51.26+ (holey)
    Makerverse 1.1.2 Due 20200915, Mega 51.28

  • How do I generate gcode? Use cad or drawing program and then export gcode for maslow or grbl. (examples in wiki posts)

  • Can I control the system with easel? No. Just generate gcode with it.

  • What is my responsibility as a user? Search for an answer and read / watch / learn / share / cut / build / use.

  • is it a due or a duo? How is it different from the Mega? Due is short for arduino duemalinove, a 32 bit microcontroller in the arduino family compared with the 8 bit Mega 2560 microcontroller. It has more ram, a faster processor, and similar IO plug configuration. It does not make the motors move any faster because it can use the same shield though with the faster processing, it can do path planning to start and stop smoother. The upper movement limit is 1000 mmpm for the due vs 800 mmpm for the mega. In practical use, the speed is limited by the bit and sled movement, not the processor.