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Inset Board placement for small pieces and carves


I am very new to the machine. If it helps I built the newest frame… At least it’s the one on top of the frame assembly page with the motors and chains spanning the top beam.

Wondering if anyone else has thought about creating a removable panel in the sacrificial plywood backing that could be removed and inserted with different sized templates/supports directly in the home position of the machine to cut out smaller pieces such as hardwoods plastics… .
The way I see it in the middle section of the sacrificial plywood could be cut out mostly with the machine and even using it to insert dowel points so it can be returned in exactly the same spot every time.

Not completely sure if this is possible but that could allow us to cut into things That are much smaller, directly in the most accurate position on the machine, while saving lots of woodfrom being wasted.

The dowel points in the two by fours behind the machine would be good places we could use the Maslow to cut out supports to for different depths of material that would then become flush with the sacrificial plywood backer and sure we would be stuck with a finite amount of smaller pieces… only limited by the amount of templates we would make… but we would never have to worry about cutting on material that is also big enough that the sled wouldn’t fall off of.

I hope my stream of consciousness talk to text post makes sense.

The Meticulous Z-Axis

It’s totally possible. I would say that if your use case calls for using small pieces often, then setting up a template jig like that would be ideal. I think for a lot of us, myself included, the size of the projects is likely to vary, and thus just fixing the work piece to the spoil board is the easiest way to go, but there is certainly no reason not to do it the way you suggested.

And speaking of fixing the work piece to the spoil board, that is also a subject of discussion. Screws, nails, hot glue, clamps, plastic nails, two sided tape… the list goes on. Essentially, any solution that allows you to cut your part unimpeded is a good solution.


I hope I’m understanding you correctly here. If you have smaller parts, all you really need to to is nail in a couple of scrap pieces the same thickness as the part you’re cutting so the sled has something to ride on. You can also buy composite plastic nails for an air nailer so that you don’t damage your bit like you would if you hit a steel nail.

You could also cut out a “window” in the spoilboard, like you suggested, but I think it would be easier and faster to just work on top of the spoilboard.


I have attached a smaller work to the spoil board. I used screws in the corners, worked fine… however this way once you begin to approach the edge, the sled tilts…
Thats one reason I thought to inset smaller work. So we dont have to buy an enormous piece of nice hardwood when we only want a 12x12 section.


I think you do understand me. I wonder if I’m overthinking this way to much.


It’s okay, I do that all the time :wink:

There’s no kill like overkill!


as @MeticulousMaynard mentioned, you can add scrap material of the same thickness (it need not be the same material, so you can go cheap) around the work piece to prevent this. Doing so may also alleviate putting screws through your work piece, if, for instance, you are making a sign and don’t want holes in the corners.



I have been thinking about an insert as well. I have received my kit but have not had time to build it yet, recovering from the flu. I am planning on building my frame with a bed that has a grid work of dog holes that will allow me to arrange the modular skirt pieces to conform to various work pieces/ shapes. This led me to think about an insert that could be for fixed sized work, especially for frequent repeat projects. Just an idea at this point. Here is a link to my frame concept… Adjusting Bed, Not Motors I will post anything I try to make, but it may be a bit down the road though. Love to see your concept drawing!


I like to use plastic nails to attach small things to the bed (see raptor
composite nails)

remember that you need to have support for your sled, so you will need to have
material that’s the same thickness (or at least provides the sled good support
everywhere if the piece is small enough)


Has that been working well for you? Is your spoil board made of plywood? (mine is MDF, and I am wondering if they would work).

I am really interested in using those Raptor nails, but it would require another purchase (which might just happen).


techshop used them for the shopbots, and they used MDF backers. The nails had no
trouble going through plywood, MDF, or ‘real’ wood

I highly recommend them.


Sweet, thanks for the info. Have you started using them with the Maslow?


I haven’t cleared enough space in my garage to squeeze in the maslow, so I
haven’t built mine yet :frowning:


For how active you are in Maslow-land, I figured you had at least 3 built.


I think you said that you had used those Raptor nails with any old nail gun (not the Raptor specific one), am I remembering that correctly? I am considering a run to Harbor Freight to pick up a compressor and gun.

Yeah, space, like time, is always in short supply for my projects too. I am looking forward to making some chips, but just haven’t had the time to get to it yet :frowning: Still need to install a spoil board over my backer and get a skirt attached. Of course, I could cut some samples without either of those, but, again, time!


Well, this Instructable kind of answers my question :slight_smile:


so, I ordered some composite nails from Raptor to use in a brad nailer and just got a call from the company rep wanting to know if I was planning to use them for CNC work based upon the Instructables article. They are concerned because the 1" length (which I ordered) can have problems penetrating into 3/4" hardwoods and plywood when used with a nail gun other than theirs, and he wanted to let me know that. Also that the brads are a slightly smaller diameter and can get misaligned in many brad nailers on the market leading to mis-fires, which is not the fault of the nail. He said that the shorter lengths don’t have as many issues as the 1" length and is sending me a few samples to test out in lieu of processing my order. That is good customer service!

I guess I have some testing to do after they arrive. I’ll be sure to report back.

For those that are interested, I have a 1/2" MDF backer board and am planning a 1/8" MDF spoil board on top of that. I have plenty of 1/2" plywood, MDF, and OSB as well as 3/4" oak, plywood, and softwood scrap hanging around, so I will try them all with the samples he sends.


@Jkmang, is this kind of what you were thinking?


by the way, support for this sort of thing is why the default frame has the two
vertical pieces in the middle. you don’t have to have plywood permanently
attached to the frame, and you have support where you would need it :slight_smile:


too busy designing, building linkage kits, and getting really started at a new
job to actually do cleaning :wink: